There is not a veg-friendly person on the planet that has not been asked this question. It’s a common myth that you won’t get the nutrients you need on a plant based diet. Protein is simply amino acids, and they’re in most foods. There are plants that are particularly high in protein, like hemp seeds, lentils, and oats. But even broccoli has protein. As long as you’re eating enough you’ll get all the nutrients you need.
Foods are infinitely complex, and I encourage you to focus on the pleasures of dining together rather than trying to count micronutrients.
You don’t have to be vegan to eat vegetables. Vegan food is just food and you won’t be depriving yourself of any of the pleasures of eating by going plant based some (or all) of the time. We’re all afraid of being hypocritical, but the truth if that no one is perfect and going plant based even part of the time will benefit your health and the environment.
I’m pretty sure I also said I’d never go vegan, so never say never.
I get it! You are making a stand, and you feel vulnerable. You might be afraid that you’ll be judged or rejected or mocked. I have been vegetarian or vegan for over 15 years, and I have encountered every reaction you could possibly imagine. But the truth is this: we don’t get to control other people’s reactions. We do, however, get to tell our stories. And telling our stories is not a judgment on the quality of another person’s character.
The best way to have a conversation about your choices is by getting in the kitchen and cooking with your loved ones. Actions speak louder than words, in this case, and you can show your family and friends how abundant and inclusive a plant based life can be.
Not to worry! It is possible to make plant-based food that everyone will love. If you are new to plant-based living, or if the people you share food with are worried they’ll never eat a good meal again, I recommend sticking to familiar favorites. You can make a delicious macaroni and cheese, using a cauliflower based sauce, like my Creamy Cauliflower Fettuccine. You can also make decadent desserts, like my Truffle Brownies.
The bottom line is this: all textures and flavors can be created with plant ingredients. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, I’d be happy to work with you one-on-one to develop recipes that are suited to your exact needs. Just shoot me an email at Amanda@inclusivevegan.com.
Often when this question is asked, it’s because we’re afraid of being judged by those we love. This is totally normal. We all want to have a sense of belonging, and being the only veg-friendly person in your circle can make you feel isolated, especially at the dinner table. I encourage you to express this fear to your loved ones. You might say, “I’m worried about being judged,” or “this is important to me, and I would love your support.” Chances are they also feel vulnerable and would welcome the opportunity to name their concerns. Vulnerability is scary, but it’s the only way we can truly start to live harmoniously in mixed dietary households.
Absolutely! The point is to focus on the ingredients you can include in your diet.
The nine most common allergens are dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, corn, wheat, tree nuts and soy. If you’re following a plant-based diet, you’ve already eliminated dairy, eggs, fish and shellfish. There are many substitutions you can make for common plant-based allergens. You can replace peanut butter with tahini. Instead of an all purpose flour, you can use a gluten-free flour mix (Bob’s Red Mill makes a great one). The Inclusive Vegan provides Peanut-Free, Corn-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free and Soy-Free recipes, as well as tips and tricks for modifying recipes.
Depending on the severity of the allergy or intolerance, it is important to follow basic food safety practices. Abstinence is the best policy on this one, and ideally you’ll want to remove the offending food from the house entirely. If the allergy is not very severe, it may be possible to keep the allergen in your home, just be sure to thoroughly wash all contacted surfaces with soap and warm water, as trace amounts can linger. Also, you’ll want to be sure to carefully read food labels when you’re purchasing ingredients. Processed foods are often made in facilities that process common allergens. Check with a doctor to determine the daily practices you should be following.
Does this sound restrictive? It’s really just a matter of adjusting your habits. This can be intimidating, but it is definitely possible to thrive on an allergen-free, plant based diet.
Inclusive Vegan cooking is about what you can cook, not what you can’t cook. During the first few months that my boyfriend and I were dating, he was following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and I was an ethical vegan, so I totally understand the challenge.
Think of a venn diagram. On one side, there might be ingredients you can eat that your partner can’t or won’t. In the case of a partner who is one the Paleo Diet, you can eat grains and legumes, and they will not. On the flip side, there will be ingredients that a vegetarian or vegan partner won’t eat but whose partner will, like eggs or fish. But there is a wide space where you can meet in the middle. You can both eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms, herbs, and spices. You could make a hearty Portobello Piccata with Cauliflower Mash, and have a side dish or roasted broccolini, and a Cardamom and Rose Petal Cheesecake for dessert. All of those recipes can be found in my upcoming book, The Inclusive Table. You can also check out my free Inclusive Paleo Recipes.
And then there’s always compromise. Perhaps you have some dishes that you make independently and make a few dishes that you both can share, like my Golden Salad. You can’t control what your partner chooses to eat, but you can create food that you both can enjoy and be open about how their choices make you feel. The point here is to connect without compromising on your ethics. And this is definitely doable.