I feel like the ‘plight’ of having to figure out what’s for dinner is an oddly developed-world privilege thing, and yet, I totally get it. So, take at least part of the guesswork out of what to make; plan ahead so you don’t buy a bunch of stuff you don’t need; recognize how lucky we all are to complain about this task of deciding what the heck to eat.
That said, I think a lot of us can agree that if we aren’t intentional about eating well, it doesn’t always happen. Or maybe this comes naturally to everyone else, but according to research, it’s not just me!
A 2014 study by Faunalytics found that 84% of vegans/vegetarians abandon their diet; reasons given included: unsatisfied with food (293), health (237), social issues (120), inconvenience (115), cost (56), lack of motivation (56), and other (228).
And then you have me. I am committed to my plants-only diet, BUT that diet doesn’t always include enough, well, FRESH PLANTS + VEGETABLES, in general. We live in a world of conveniently packaged boxes and cans and bags and did I mention potato chips?
So do something for your health, for the environment, for the animals, and put a little more thought into what you eat. Maybe this thing I made will help; it is in color but it prints just fine in black + white. Think of it as a ‘cheat sheet’ (from someone who hates that phrase) when you are thinking of what to make + eat. It’s a framework, a starting point. Put it on your fridge or your planner or wherever you are when you contemplate what to eat (Maybe the inside door of your pantry? A shelf in your fridge?).
Are you interested in taking part in a plants/vegan menu planning group? If so, comment below or send me a DM.
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite cookbooks, the ones I use again and again, the ones worth having on your shelf:
Jack Bishop’s ‘A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen‘, which is out of print, but that means you can grab a used copy for a few dollars on Amazon. Yes, it’s ‘vegetarian’ but has vegan options and is the book that changed my thinking about what constitutes a meat-free ‘meal’. Favorites: Soft Corn Tacos with Garlicky Greens, Root Vegetable Tarts with Rosemary, Black Bean Chilaquiles (no egg!), Spiced Red Lentils (Dal), Drunken Pinto Beans with Charred Onions and Chiles (FAVORITE!). You’ll learn a lot about combining flavors and fresh produce and how to create ‘meals’ from vegetables. A little fancy but still surprisingly simple.
Isa Chandra Moskowitz + Terry Hope Romero’s ‘Veganomicon’. It’s pretty much a tour of vegan cooking, ranging from basic to gourmet, but written in an accessible style; an essential primer on living without animal products. Favorites: Snobby Joes, Lemony Roasted Potatoes, Midsummer Corn Chowder, Potato + Kale Enchiladas, Southwestern Corn Pudding, Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions, Cholent (stew), and Peanut Ginger Sesame Cookies. Plus, there is a whole section on sauces + staples.
Madhu Gadia’s ‘The Indian Vegan Kitchen’. Other cultures are so much better at eating well without meat as a main dish. Even if you are knew to Indian cooking, this book will guide you to making some incredible dishes. Did I mention most of the dishes are ‘quick’, like under 30 minutes? Most of the spices can be found at grocery stores; there are a few specialty items, but she offers alternatives. Favorites: Potato Stew, Creamy Mushroom Curry, Quick Kidney Beans, and Creamy Vegetable Stew.
Last but not least, Heidi Swanson’s ‘Super Natural Cooking’. Another book that is vegetarian, but offers vegan options and introduces a whole new way of looking at grains, vegetables, and meatless lifestyle. Plus, the photography + writing are beautiful and calming and all things inspired/inspiring. Favorites: Cashew Cream, Chile de Arbol Sauce (ESSENTIAL–sub cashew milk for cream), Dairyless Chocolate Mousse (Otherworldly). Her philosophy and aesthetic will change the way you look at food and eating.
The above are Amazon affiliate links, which means if you buy one of the items, I will get a small cut. Basically a little change to pay for web-hosting and the pounds of chocolate I go through developing recipes (and in general). This is at no extra cost to you–you are presented with Amazon’s current price, affiliate link or otherwise. Read more here.