5 foods I never thought I’d like before I became vegan

If someone had told me years ago that I would have a new appreciation for food if I became a vegan, I’m not sure I would have believed them. Like many people, I just never realized how many doors you open when you lead a vegan lifestyle. One of those doors has food behind it–a delicious array of glorious, mostly nutritious morsels. I listed just five things here that I think I had closed my mind to at one time; but no more! I have three of them in my fridge right now…

Avocados. I grew up in New Jersey—we don’t exactly grow avocados on trees like they do in CA. I can find them in the food store (at least the Hass variety), but paying $1.50 for one is cost prohibitive. Still, I never realized how nicely they fit into a salad or taco. I never ate much guacamole when I was younger, but it’s one of my favorite snacks now. Avocados are rich in vitamins B, K, and E, and have a high fiber content. Although they are quite fatty, much of the fat is the monosaturated type which is thought to lower cholesterol.

Ethnic food. Okay, so I’m cheating a little with this one–but hear me out. Until I became a vegetarian, I had tasted a small number of ethnic foods—Chinese, Japanese, and Indian. I believe changing my food consumption has opened me up to trying a variety of different kinds of food now. I’ve eaten Ethiopian, Creole, Greek, Middle Eastern, soul food, and Thai—and I would eat them all again (as long as they are vegan, of course). These ethnic foods offer diverse flavor profiles, aromas, and textures. There are so many foods to try and it’s so much fun sampling them all.

Nutritional powerhouse, quinoa.

Quinoa. Although widely considered a grain, quinoa is a chenopod—an herbaceous plant producing dried fruit seeds. Nutritionally, it’s like a cereal—it contains lysine, calcium, iron, and phosphorous. Quinoa is super-easy to prepare, and unlike rice, isn’t starchy—so you don’t have to watch the pot constantly while it cooks. I throw it into salads and stir-fries—and you can even bake with it. It’s got this rich, nutty flavor–and I eat it quite often.

Kale. Most people who have studied a little about nutrition know that kale is a superfood. It’s high in calcium, vitamins C and K, beta carotene, and lutein. It takes just a little time to cut it up and throw it in a steamer and goes with pretty much any meal. It’s also inexpensive; I bought a bunch the other day for about $2.00 (and that was the organic variety).

Delicious superfood--kale!

Sprouted bread. I never gave much thought to the kind of bread I ate. I was never a fan of white bread (unless my grandma made it), so I usually bought some kind of whole wheat or multigrain bread. When I tried sprouted bread, I realized I was just more satisfied with one piece of it than I was with several pieces of whole wheat. Sprouted bread isn’t milled, so you’re eating the bran and germ of the grain. Additionally, the kind I like has seeds—so I’m getting some important nutrients right on my bread without any thought.

Contrary to so many of the stereotypes about veganism, it’s not a “restrictive diet.” It’s a conscious way of eating and living. It’s opened me up to such a wide variety of tastes–and I’m proud to call myself a “foodie” because of it.

 

About Chris Lucas


Chris has been in the bookselling and publishing industries for nearly 20 years. A family trip to Farm Sanctuary in 2008 helped her change her perspective on animals and food, opening her up to a vegan lifestyle. In December 2009, Chris and her husband Jim began Bucks County Vegan Supper Club out of their home in Pennsylvania. In the winter of 2011, along with Jim, Lydia, and Mauro, Chris became a co-founder of fromatovegan.com as a way to help inspire and motivate other people interested in adopting a plant-based lifestyle.

Comments
6 Responses to “5 foods I never thought I’d like before I became vegan”
  1. Great post Chris! I agree with you 100%. Once I stopped eating meat it opened up a whole world of gastronomical opportunities for me. I eat a broader variety of foods I wouldn’t even think of eating if I hadn’t become vegetarian/vegan. And to top it all off everything became so much more flavorful once I got meat out of my system.

    One food I never imagined I would like is okra. It was just a texture thing. I got a ton of it this CSA season, so I started experimenting with it. I found that its slimy/stickiness is perfect for gumbos. Who knew?

  2. Callie says:

    This post is so fantastic! I agree with everything, I feel the same exact way about my diet most often. I would never guessed I would be sitting around eating Kale chips or pumpkin seeds by the handful. If anything, trying to become vegan hasn’t limited me at all, instead it has helped me grow to love the beautiful plants that our Earth provides for us!

  3. DSuryan says:

    I am currently struggling with cutting meat and dairy out of my diet ( I have roommates that ridicule me daily cause I want to be vegan). Lately I’ve been seriously considering going raw. What are the general concerns on being raw vegan? I don’t know I am just so confused lol ><

    • Hi @DSuryan,

      We all have issues with family and/or friends not understanding why it’s so important to us to become vegan. We don’t want to support the cruel practices against animals or cause further harm to the planet and our health. It’s truly odd that such a peaceful mind set causes so much fuss. If you truly want to become vegan, I would recommend that you try to find a vegan Meetup group, or something similar, close to where to live. Meeting up with other vegans on a regular basis, sharing good vegan food and discussing your struggle with others can be really helpful. That’s how we all at From A to Vegan found the support we needed and how the idea for the From A to Vegan site started, from a vegan supper club group on Meetup.com. Having vegan friends, reading vegan blogs and joining vegan discussion groups on social media outlets makes the transition a whole lot easier.

      As for advice on a raw diet, since none of us are raw experts I’ll refer you to our friend Shannon Marie over at http://rawdorable.blogspot.com/ I’m sure she can give you the full scoop on the pros and cons.

      Good luck and feel free to check in if you need more help.

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