Preparing vegan meals sounds a lot more difficult than it is. Many years ago when I first considered becoming vegan, I hesitated. I feared it would isolate me a bit, that it would be hard to go out to eat with my friends.

A big part of my life has been “covered dish socials,” potlucks, and other food-centered social events. I’ve always been considered a good cook so I worried that I would no longer be preparing things that my friends would rave about. Happily, I’ve found my concerns to be groundless.

Beginning to cook vegan seemed a bit intimidating. I looked for cookbooks. So many years ago there were no online recipes as are available now. Naturally, I asked my few acquaintances who were vegan for some guidance. Some of the really good advice I received was to start out with very simple ingredients. Since I know that most good cooking is based on fresh ingredients that aren’t overly fussed with, I believed that bit of advice was worth trusting and following.

At first, I used quite a bit of canned beans as a good and handy source of protein. At one time I had been semi-vegetarian, meaning that I was still eating eggs and dairy products. I did have a fund of tasty recipes for beans and rice and other grains. I just had to experiment and branch out.

It was interesting to see what happened in the lunchroom at work. My fellow workers would quite literally lean over me as I ate my lunch. They were most curious about what I was eating and why I would bother. Many of them brought a lot of very unhealthy fast food to the office. They had always exclaimed to me, “You eat so healthy!” They said that as if it were very odd.

I rather regret that I let people know that I was becoming vegan. It would have been better for me just quietly to have made the change. My co-workers wouldn’t have had more reason to comment about my food for its lack of animal products. I decided, however, not to allow myself to become defensive about their distain.

I have tried to avoid the dangers that people sometimes get in when they adopt a new pattern. I didn’t want to treat those who eat differently as though they are wrong or need to be converted. I have learned to wait to be asked why I would eat this way. My reply is that I believe it is good for me and I have other reasons as well. If I’m asked for more information, I talk about the health, economic, and environmental implications.

What I love to be asked is how to eat this way. How can one have an interesting diet without animal products? I always say that it is quite easy for anyone who is willing to prepare simple recipes. It certainly is an economical way to eat. When asked, I’m eager to share tips on making vegan food. Most of the time—when I let someone taste what I’ve prepared—he or she wants the recipe.

Preparing vegan meals to suit my vegan lifestyle has been pretty easy to learn. Now that I’ve been a vegan for more than forty years, I feel I have a lot to share. I do know a lot of ways to make tofu and tempeh, but I tend to rely more upon eating a lot of grains, beans, nuts, and fresh produce. This decision has helped me feel better, save money, and help the planet Earth.

Depending on your personal preference, preparing vegan meals can be simple, quick and easy or it can be fancy and labor intensive.  In either case, you will learn a whole lot more about it by reading my new Amazon.com ebook that can be yours as soon as you download it right to your Kindle, iPad or PC.

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