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Vegan beginner

Vegan alternatives to dairy, eggs, and meat

Vegan alternatives to dairy, eggs, and meat

Transitioning to veganism can be complex, which is why we want to help you figure it out and give you as many tips and tricks as we can. One of the best tips our founder, Tifany, gave us was… veganize your favorite recipes! Instead of going crazy trying to change your entire meal plan, you can just find ways to replace animal products with vegan alternatives. 

Here are some of the most popular replacements for eggs, dairy products, and meat: 

Egg alternatives 

  • Two of the best vegan egg substitutes are flaxseeds and chia seeds. Mix one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or chia seeds with three tablespoons of water and leave for 15 minutes in the refrigerator to form the egg mixture. These egg substitutes will be thick and sticky like real eggs, helping your recipes stick together.
  • Aquafaba is also a great egg replacement. The cloudy liquid you drain from a can of chickpeas is perfect for baking – you can use it to make meringues, mousses, and lots of bakes like macarons, sponges, and brownies. It also allows you to use every bit of what you buy, making it a win-win situation. 
  • Bananas can also be substituted for eggs in most baked recipes —just use one banana for each egg. Of course, this might add a slight banana taste, but there’s nothing wrong with that!
  • There are also a lot of packaged egg replacements. These powdered products are available at most grocery stores and can be added to recipes as desired. Follow the package instructions to mix with water and enjoy! Some of the other options we mentioned can be more unpredictable, so these are a reliable and effective option. 

Cheese alternatives 

  • There are several vegan alternatives to parmesan cheese. Some good options include nutritional yeast, which doesn’t require refrigeration, are easy to store, and can be used in a variety of recipes! Even better, as its name suggests, nutritional yeast is nutritious. This product is packed with nutrients and is great to use on everything.
  • You can find vegan cheese at grocery stores across the country, made from a variety of ingredients. Some vegan cheeses are made from soybeans, others are made from nuts, and some are made from coconut oil. You can also make your own with cashews and nutritional yeast. 

To make vegan cheese, you will need:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • Water to blend all ingredients together into a smooth sauce that resembles the consistency of hummus or ricotta.
fortified nutritional yeast

Our favorite fortified nutritional yeast!

It can be used as a spread, or for your favorite mac and cheese recipes. The best part about this recipe is that it can be altered to suit your taste buds by adding different spices or flavors like garlic or onion powder! 

Other dairy alternatives

  • There are plenty of plant-based milk on the market (as you’re probably aware). Soy milk is the most popular choice, but almond milk is another great option. If you want something different, there are a number of other options as well: hazelnut milk, flaxseed milk, hemp seed milk, coconut milk, etc. You can use these products in any recipe that calls for dairy products—from mashed potatoes to lasagna to grilled cheese sandwiches!
Chobani’s “Dear Alice” commercial. “Because how we eat today feeds tomorrow”.
  • There are many types of plant-based yogurts, perfect for adding to foods or just eaten on their own. It can also be used for baking and cooking. Like other vegan “dairy” products, it is fortified with vitamins and filled with probiotic bacteria. In short, vegans can get the same health benefits as a regular dairy yogurt.

    Some coconut-based creams and yogurt are great for Indian and Asian curries. For other recipes and toppings, it might be better to choose a less tasty, more neutral alternative, such as soy or almond yogurts. It is also worth experimenting with different brands and ingredients! 

Meat alternatives 

  • You can easily find vegan substitutes for chicken or beef burgers and vegan ground beef! They are great to use for lasagna, stir fry recipes, or pasta sauces. However, we don’t recommend using these as your main protein source for every meal; they are more expensive and processed than other protein substitutes.
Beyond Meat is one of the most popular meat replacement brands.
  • Tofu is made from soybeans, which are a complete source of protein. It is a less-processed substitute for meat, and is a popular choice for vegetarians and vegans. Tempeh is also made from soybeans, but this time they have been fermented. It has a firmer texture than other soy products. It is a great substitute for protein in Asian recipes, but it can also be used as “bacon” if you thinly slice and fry it. Both tofu and tempeh are tasty and go well with many dishes.
  • A meat replacement that is gaining popularity is jackfruit! It is a versatile and surprisingly cheap ingredient, often found canned, meaning you can have a supply on hand in the cupboard. It’s especially popular as a replacement for pulled pork in Asian cuisine, but it can also be used in all types of dishes. 

We hope you found this article useful! We’re more than happy to help you out in your journey, and we even have a section on our blog dedicated just to vegan beginners like you. You can also reach out on social media if you need extra help, we’re in most places. 

Also, if you’re looking for some lifestyle changes, our shop is a curated marketplace, so you can find the perfect self-care items without having to read labels. Check out our shop! 

General info Vegan beginner

14 Tips for Vegan Beginners

We know that going vegan can be hard, especially for people who don’t really know where to start! We want to be there for you, and provide you with more information to make your vegan journey as smooth as possible, which is why we have a whole section of our blog dedicated to vegan beginners! For now, let us give you a couple of tips that we’ve learned along the way: 

Start with a good attitude and an open mind.

If you think of veganism as a punishment, you will never actually get into it! It’s important to start off with the right attitude: open to trying new things and ready to step back up if you ever slip. 

Get blood work done

So you know what to supplement. You will probably need a B12 supplement (it’s most commonly found in meat products), but you won’t know if you need anything else unless you get blood work done. You can check out this comprehensive guide by the International Vegan Association that will help you figure out what you need to supplement! 

Stock your pantry.

Something that helps a lot of vegan beginners is stocking up on plenty of vegan snacks so that you always have food available when you’re hungry. Most slip-ups happen as a result of cravings and impatience! Having some Annie’s Vegan Mac and Cheese might save you from eating something you’ll later regret. Here’s a list of some easy to access snacks that are vegan! 

Plan your meals.

Once you’re a seasoned vegan this won’t be necessary! The thing is, when you’re just getting started, this will give you some structure so you don’t freak out.  Even just writing down a rough idea of what you’re going to eat is helpful. You can even buy everything you need at the beginning of each week and do some meal prep! 

Find a vegan support group

Going vegan is not always easy, and it helps to have someone who can answer your questions and motivate you when you’re losing steam. The thing is, not everyone has that person in their lives! It’s very important to actively seek new people who share your lifestyle and who can relate to your struggles. You can start off by going to vegan events, volunteering at animal sanctuaries, and connecting with people on social media. You can find an active community and resources on our Instagram!

Veganize your recipes.

Nowadays, in most places, it’s extremely easy to find substitutes for products derived from animals! Be it meat, eggs, or cheese, you can definitely use your old recipes and just switch the animal products for vegan replacements. 

Use HappyCow or Google Maps to find vegan places to eat

HappyCow is an app dedicated to curating vegan-friendly places based on any location. It works similar to Google Maps, but it’s specifically made for vegan people. You can also use regular Google Maps! Just type “vegan restaurants near me” and Google will try to find vegan-friendly restaurants in your area.

Give yourself extra time to cook.  

At the beginning, you should be gentle with yourself! You are changing your entire lifestyle and you’re definitely going to take a little bit longer to cook. You should also make sure your pantry stays stocked with plenty of pasta, beans, whole grains, and vegan friendly-sauces. This way you can make a meal without that much hassle if you’re not feeling like cooking.

Watch a documentary when you lose motivation.

Losing motivation doesn’t come from weakness or lack of ideals. We live in a world of consumerism, which means we are constantly surrounded by products that might make us slip up. Whether it is a pair of leather shoes or your favorite meal from when you were a kid, something might make you want to give up your goals. When this happens, it may help to watch some documentaries to remind yourself why you started this in the first place. Here are some recommendations: What The Health, Cowspiracy, and Earthlings.

Rethink how you do your grocery shopping:

Veganism doesn’t have to be expensive, as many people say! Many typical vegan foods —like grains, beans, and nuts— are cheap, and they usually store well if you buy them in bulk. Going vegan is also a perfect excuse to start using all kinds of vegetables that you never regularly ate before. Many “beginner” vegans start trying out more vegetables and different ways to cook them. See this as an opportunity to give new vegetables a chance!

Pack food with you!

It’s really important to take food with you when you leave your house. It’s not that you’ll get hungrier as a vegan, it’s just that on the off-chance that if you miss a meal, your options as a vegan are more limited.

Don’t Assume Vegan Food Products Are Healthier

Vegan cookies aren’t necessarily any better than regular cookies! Processed vegan foods often contain saturated fats from palm oil and coconut oil. Even though cutting animal byproducts is better for overall health, vegan junk food can still make you gain weight!

Make a list with your go-to vegan meals.

It’s not that hard to learn a few easy, affordable meals that you can cook quickly. Even though it’s great to experiment when you first go vegan, it’s also important to avoid getting overwhelmed. It doesn’t matter if it’s healthy or not; it could be fried rice, pasta, a quick sandwich, whatever you want! 

Have empathy towards our fellow humans

Not everybody is at the same place in their life and, unfortunately, we live in an imperfect world in which it’s not possible for everyone to be a 100% purist vegan. Being a “vegan police” makes veganism seem hard and unpleasant when it’s not. This policing can make people turn away from a vegan lifestyle. Instead, win people over with action! Bring some vegan food over or tell them about your favorite vegan brands and events. Let’s also be compassionate towards our fellow humans when “perfection” isn’t achieved.  

We hope these were helpful! Our website is dedicated to making veganism easier and giving you access to all the lifestyle products you might need to start your vegan journey. Check out our shop

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