either softbound or Kindle/Nook/etc. eBook at Amazon
12 Untangle and tame food cravings.
a bugaboo of new vegans, cravings for things you once ate may likely
come up and the cravings may be strong. There are people who might use
a shaming and strident tone about cravings in the vegan community.
Ignore those voices. Instead, let’s face them head on with some common
I was someone who didn’t really experience cravings when I first went
vegan even though I loved cheese as much as the average dairy addict
and when I first went vegan, there were no decent dairy-free
replacements. Same thing with ice cream. Despite the fact that there
are many kinds of great vegan cheeses and ice creams today, not to
mention plant-based proteins and eggs, there are still some people who
have a really hard time with cravings when they first transition. There
is no rhyme or reason to it; it is just much easier for some more than
others and condemnation doesn’t solve this. So let’s talk solutions…
* If you are craving specific foods, like say your grandmother’s
brisket, it may simply be that you’re missing your grandmother or a
time in your life, you had a hard day or you are seeking something that
you once turned to for comfort. In other words, it could be a
psychological or emotional craving rather than a physical one, which is
not to say that it’s not equally compelling. Tune in to the craving to
try to determine what is going on. Is it emotional? Is there something
other than that specific food that could nurture your spirit right now?
* As I said, when I first when vegan more than 20 years ago, there were
no decent vegan cheeses so I just had to get over my addiction. In some
ways, I think this made my transitional time simpler. Today, there is
much more to choose from on the market, from Miyoko’s artisan cheeses
to Chao cheese. That said, I highly recommend a break of at least three
weeks to a month, ideally even longer, to rewire your taste bud’s
expectations of what cheese should taste like. Same with the vegan
meats and egg replacements if they are tempting to you.
* If you are craving something creamy and rich during this
transitional period, I'd recommend avocado, tahini, hummus and nut
butters to be as or more satisfying than vegan cheeses. Similarly, if
you are craving meat, vegan versions may not be satisfying during this
transitional time so focusing on increasing your umami intake may be a more successful approach. Important
sub-point: your transitional period is not a good time to adopt other
dietary changes, like going fat-free or salt-free. Just concentrate on
your vegan changes for now. They are enough.
* That said, another strategy some have found helpful is to figure out
what you’re craving in what you’re no longer eating and try to
replicate the flavors and textures: for example, is it the fat, salt,
smoke and crunchiness of bacon? Try some coconut bacon. The creamy tang of a ranch dressing? Make some.
Try to adopt the attitude that it may not be exactly the same, but that
doesn’t make it an inferior version. It’s just different. In time, you
will adjust and you may very well find yourself surprised as to how
fully you have moved on to the point of being actually turned off by
something you once thought you loved. As someone who accidentally ate
dairy cheese a few years ago and was utterly repulsed by the smell,
taste and texture, I couldn’t believe how much it once seemed like
quitting cheese would be a huge barrier to my veganism. Flexibility and
open-mindedness are key, though. With time, it will not feel like a
sacrifice at all.
* Here is another plug for learning how to cook even a little. If you
know how to create some satisfying dishes, you will be far less tempted
to jump ship.
* Books like Breaking the Food Seduction by Dr. Neal Barnard and The Pleasure Trap
by Douglas Lisle and Alan Goldhamer might help you to better understand
the addictive nature of certain foods from a physiological perspective.
* Last, I know this is counter to what I posted earlier about avoiding
disturbing videos and content but seeing exactly what happened to dairy
cows and their calves in a video was what it took for me to get serious
about my commitment and why I made it. There has been no looking back
since. If your commitment is vacillating, cravings can become very
tempting. Perhaps you’ve been just going through the motions. If so, I
recommend dipping into a film – Earthlings seems to do it for a lot of people – as much as is necessary to reconnect with your values and why you want to be vegan.
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Intro: Welcome new vegan!
1. Make peace with making mistakes
2. Find community
3. Don't overload on disturbing videos and content
4. Develop your vegan voice and assertiveness
5. Stay strong against social pressure and gain resilience as a vegan
6. Learn how to cook, even just a little
7. Technology helps you over hurdles
8. Listen to vegan podcasts
9. Take advantage of other resources
10. Don't let yourself get famished
11. Expect that your digestive system might take a little while to get straightened out
12. Untangle and tame food cravings
13. A primer on vegan kitchen appliances, tools & gadgets
14. Bring joy to your vegan practice
2013-2017, Vegan Street