October 4, 2022

What I've Been Eating Since Becoming Vegan

(Ugh, I spent so much time on this yesterday and I forgot to click "publish"! This is yesterday's post.)

This post has been a long time coming. I've been asked several times about what I eat since becoming vegan, and the answer was kind of boring. I eat the same breakfast and lunch almost every day (which I'll explain below) so there wasn't much to share, especially in the beginning. However, I started taking photos a few months ago to collect for a post about what I've been eating since becoming vegan in January.

I'm going to save the weight loss questions for a later post (I've been putting it off because I feel like it's going to be very long--but I'll work on it this weekend). I became vegan for ethical reasons, but I saw it as a good opportunity to clean up my diet as well; I had chronic pain and after a bajillion tests last year, still didn't have answers. My rheumatologist finally diagnosed fibromyalgia and said two of the major things that have shown good results for fibromyalgia are 1) getting enough sleep; and 2) a plant-based diet.

Side note: I didn't really understand the difference between 'vegan' and 'plant-based' at first, because they both eliminate animal products. Vegan is more for ethical reasons (animals and the environment) while plant-based is more for health reasons. Lots of vegans (but certainly not all) still eat junk food (french fries, Oreos, chips, etc) where eating plant-based is more about whole foods. I haven't eliminated junk food from my diet completely, but I very rarely eat it anymore. My cravings for it stopped! But I'll get into that in my weight loss post.

And I have to say, that I was completely SHOCKED that my chronic pain was gone after a couple of months of switching my diet. I never really believed it could work that way; my pain was so severe and had been going on for years. Even though I became vegan for ethical reasons, the health benefits have been amazing.

I originally started eating this daily breakfast and lunch because I was trying to get in a lot of fiber. Even though I was losing weight last year, I wasn't getting much fiber and I decided to concentrate on that this year. I wasn't anticipating becoming vegan (I literally gave up animal products cold-turkey with no forward thought after watching a documentary called Dominion late one night on YouTube) but eating the high-fiber diet was very helpful when I made the switch.

I really love my breakfast and lunch and haven't gotten sick of them (yet), so I continue to eat them daily:

Breakfast: Grape-Nuts with frozen blueberries and unsweetened soy milk (I started with almond milk but after trying soy milk, I liked it much better). I recently started adding flaxseed to this as well when I wanted to add more calories.

Lunch: Cold oats. I vary what I put in them based on what sounds good, but I generally make about 5-6 mason jars at a time. I add the soy milk to 2-3 and put them in the fridge, then put the others (without the milk) in the pantry. It makes a super easy, ready-to-eat-whenever lunch.

Currently, what I've been making: steel cut oats (raw--if I add the milk and put them in the fridge for 24 hours or so, they get chewy and I like that texture better than the rolled oats), cocoa powder, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, vegan chocolate chips, chia seeds, unsweetened soy milk, and a few drops of almond and/or coconut extract. When I'm ready for lunch, I can grab a jar from the fridge. I also eat a piece of fruit (usually a pear or banana).

Cold oats (steel cut oats, cocoa powder, vegan chocolate chips, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, soy milk, and peanut butter)

Like I said--boring! I've really enjoyed experimenting with and discovering new foods for dinner, so that's where it gets a little more creative. At first, I started out eating a lot of chickpeas with some sort of sauce (General Tso's is a favorite); with a high-fiber grain (like barley); and vegetables (like broccoli). I loved this combination! I ate it frequently for dinner.

When I started to experiment with other foods, this whole world of possibilities opened up and I started to enjoy cooking again. Tofu was a total game changer for me; I love it now and eat it a few times a week. I also started making sauces and "cheese" with raw cashews, which sounded completely weird--until I tried it. The thought of nutritional yeast grossed me out--mainly because of the name of it--but I've come to really like that as well.

I started using spices that I never used before, combinations of foods that sounded wacky but turned out really good, and exploring ingredients I'd never tried or even heard of. I make a couple of new recipes each week because I have loved getting familiar with the unfamiliar.

I still don't eat a ton of vegetables, but I eat much more than I used to and I've been adding them over time. I love looking for ways to add them in foods I eat regularly and I rarely throw out veggies anymore! They used to sit in my fridge with good intentions until they went bad; now I look for opportunities to add them to meals.

As far as snacks, I only eat them if I'm hungry. Lately, I've been having peanut butter with vegan chocolate chips for a treat at night (trying to maintain my weight instead of continue losing). In the mid-afternoon, a lot of times I make dinner early and eat a small portion before going to cross country practice, then an actual dinner-sized portion when I get home. Or I'll have a piece of fruit. I've been eating a lot of bananas lately, too.

Anyway, here is a collection of a lot of the foods I've made and enjoyed (there are some things I haven't liked, but I'm only including the things I have):

Tofu stir-fry with fresh green beans, carrots, peas, and green peppers

Asian pear (this was a treat from my mom last week; I hadn't had an Asian pear in SO long because I can't find them anywhere, and I miss them! She found this small one and it was $2.50! My favorite fruit.

Banana bread

Quesadilla with black beans, corn, Impossible burger, jalapeƱos, and nacho "cheese"

Whole wheat pizza crust with tomato paste, mozzarella "cheese", broccoli, and vegan parmesan.

Creamy gnocchi with garlic and spinach

Dried passion fruit (another favorite fruit that I can't find)

Lentil tortilla soup with avocado and tortilla chips

Mexican quinoa skillet

Vegan mac and "cheese" with roasted Brussels sprouts

Current favorite treat: 2 oz. peanut butter with vegan chocolate chips

Roasted purple cauliflower

Dave's Killer Bread with hummus, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, and sprouts

Tofu scramble on toasted Dave's Killer Bread

Pizza with mozzarella "cheese", broccoli, peppers, and olives

Avocado toast (Dave's Killer Bread, avocado, salt, and pepper flakes

My new favorite comfort food: Jerry's beans and greens

Black bean soup

Curried cauliflower over basmati rice

Peanut butter oatmeal cookies

Creamy tomato pasta with fresh basil

Garlic noodles

Korean BBQ Lentils over brown basmati rice

Lemon Pepper Tofu over mac and "cheese" (The texture of the tofu was not as it looks--like croutons! Haha)

Minestrone soup with vegan parmesan

A peach from The Peach Truck(!)

Indian-spiced potatoes (I make these a lot--they are so good!) with broccoli

Rice paper "bacon"

Whole wheat pizza crust, tomato paste, mozzarella "cheese", pan fried tofu, caramelized onions, and vegan parmesan

Tofu scramble with Yukon gold potatoes, bell peppers, and toasted Dave's Killer Bread with vegan butter

Panera Bagel with a sad avocado slice (I wrote this whole story on my blog)

Beans and greens with quinoa

Roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts with vegan parmesan

Silken tofu chocolate pudding with vegan chocolate chips

Spicy Corn Chowder 

General Tso's tofu with rice noodles

Truffle Mac & "Cheese" (we love this!)

Margherita pizza: whole wheat pizza crust, tomato paste, mozzarella "cheese", fresh basil, and black pepper

Firecracker tofu with basmati rice

Peanut butter and jelly on Dave's Killer Bread and applesauce

Salad with cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and lemon pepper tofu with tahini dressing

Indian-spiced potatoes with hummus

Tofu scramble with (very over-roasted) purple potatoes and ketchup

Macaroni and "cheese"

This is actually a relatively small sampling of everything I've eaten since becoming vegan! Remember, I'm not a food photographer so the photos make some of these things look not-very-appetizing--but I only included foods I've really enjoyed.

It would take forever to look up recipes for everything I've shown, but if there is one that you're particularly interested in, just let me know and I'll be happy to share (if it's available). The top five foods we really love and make most frequently:

1) Lemon Pepper Tofu Cutlets
2) Truffle Mac & "Cheese"
3) Indian-Spiced Potatoes (I use the dry ingredients listed next to the original)
4) Pizza with my favorite vegan mozzarella recipe (it's from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken, but it's not online--it's from her cookbook, Fuss-Free Vegan) and whatever toppings we have on hand
5) Lentil Tortilla Soup (the whole family--including Eli--loves this!)


  1. This made me SO hungry! Thank you for sharing! I'd love to hear where you find most of your recipes. I know you said Jerry is currently following a plant based diet too. I'd love to hear what your boys think and how you handle dinners for them.

  2. Look at all this variety!! That is insane, you should be so proud of your cooking! These all look super yummy too, I'm always down to try new things! I don't know if oat milk is vegan (?) I'm not well versed in vegan foods haha but I wonder if that would be another fun alternative to try in your oats? Or maybe it would be too oat-y now that I'm saying that out loud lol! ;) But I've been using oat milk in my coffee and I'm loving it! This was such an interesting post, I'm so glad to hear your pain is so much better!! <3

    1. I haven't tried oat milk yet. When I was drinking coffee, I tried an oat milk creamer, but I didn't know it was sweetened when I bought it. It was VERY sweet and I wasn't crazy about it. I'll have to give the oat milk a try--a lot of people love it!

  3. I was vegan for nearly a decade (after being vegetarian for 10 years before that), and I miss a lot of the vegan foods; I'm on a migraine elimination diet and soy and legumes are one of the categories you need to avoid to figure out your migraine triggers. Anyway, just a cautionary tale; when I had my third baby, after being vegan through three pregnancies, they found I had a severe carnitine deficiency. Apparently carnitine is something you synthesize from certain elements only found in animal foods, like eggs and chicken, and you can get carnitine directly from beef and pork as well. It's necessary for energy metabolism and heart health. I was told to go on a supplement and/or incorporate animal foods back into my diet. It's something your doctor can test for--they can do a blood test to see what your carnitine levels are. And of course I only developed that (probably) after being on a vegetarian and vegan diet for so many years and then going through three pregnancies--babies don't make their own carnitine, they take it from the mother, so the geneticist I talked to theorized that my own carnitine supply had been severely depeleted after the first two pregnancies, and then I had none to give to the third baby, who was born with a severe carnitine deficiency. This is something I try to tell women who are considering going vegan, especially if they are of childbearing age--I know you're not having more kids, Katie, but some of your readers might, and in all my study of veganism, l-carnitine deficiency is never something that supporters of a vegan diet mention. But it can very much affect a mother's and a baby's health. Anyway. That's my soapbox for the day!

    1. That is something I've never heard of! Thanks for sharing. I have read a ton about vegan nutrition, and you're right--it's not mentioned. I'm always curious about the things we can learn from our blood, though. I was actually really excited to go to the lab on Tuesday to get my blood drawn! Hahaha. It was too late to ask for the carnitine test, but I am going to talk to my doctor and look into it. I appreciate your sharing!

  4. Saving this post!!! So much variety.

    1. It's funny how much more I enjoy cooking when I'm trying new foods. While my breakfast and lunch are always the same, I love the variety of dinners I've been able to make!

  5. I'm hungry now too. How do you think eating vegan has affected your grocery bills? Are you spending more by purchasing unique ingredients or less by not purchasing meat?

    1. That's a great question! Even with the unique ingredients, I spend far less on groceries. (Well, taking the cost of inflation into consideration! I can't believe how much the cost of everything has gone up.) When I see the meat and dairy prices at the store, I feel like I quit eating it at just the right time, haha. I do still buy a little for Noah and Eli, but there is no question that it's cheaper without buying the meat and cheese.

  6. Everything looks so good, including your "boring" breakfast and lunch. I started eating plant based after reading The China Study and because of that I follow a lot of plant based doctors. After hearing what they have to say about their training in medical school and the pitiful amount of nutrition instruction they get it's great to read that someone actually suggested it to you.

    That beans and greens with quinoa looks so good. Is that an actual recipe or did you just wing it? I'm terrible at just throwing things together so I need a good recipe for pretty much everything. lol


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