hey everybody welcome back to the Bramble podcast I'm so happy to have you here today today I'm going to be answering a listener question and this is actually going to be a two-part episode we are answering a question about some of the common struggles we may encounter when we first decide to go vegan or are making more vegan choices and sort of inching our way there there is a lot to cover which is why I'm making it a two-parter in part one which is today's episode we'll be talking about some of the Practical aspects when it comes to building your meals and finding recipes and just navigating how to build your plate everything that has to do with the actual Act of eating and in next week's episode we're going to go a little bit more in depth into what I consider some of the more internal struggles and often some of the hardest struggles and they have to do with the social aspects of being vegan and what happens around us when we decide to make this change and we start telling people so let's get right into it welcome to the bromwell podcast everybody now also on video on YouTube for those of you who are new to our podcast all questions you send me are tackled anonymously of course and I give you all the name of Sam so if you have a question that you would like us to answer in the show just remember to send it on Uber as an email to support or leave it as a DM or a comment wherever you find us on social media and also here on you YouTube if you're watching on YouTube you can leave it as a comment in any of our videos the question this week from Sam goes like this do you have any advice for someone struggling when going vegan it's been a few months since I took the leap but I've been struggling slightly and wondered if you had any advice or tips for new vegans of course I do Sam that's what I do that's what we do at Rumble we give you all the support you need I think that when people ask a broad question like this there can be so many angles from which to tackle this question so many aspects could be hard for some people very easy for others and for another person it's completely the opposite so I'm going to try to tackle as many angles as I can in this two-parter and today we're going with the the things we struggle when we first encounter a new way to eat in terms of our plate of how we actually build those meals and how we wrap our minds around a completely new way of eating when we perhaps have been eating in a very different way I think that when we first take this leap that's the first line we encounter that's the first place where we need to just get comfortable and find a way that works for us for our schedules for our budgets for the time we have available for our tastes first let's talk about building that plate figuring out what to eat is something that can really uh just Boggle your mind when you first start making this change because it isn't until that first meal that you realize just how many animal products were in your meals previously so the first thing I like to tell you is that your plates can look very different to the way it used to look and it can also look like something really really similar so if you were used to that big piece of steak and those potatoes and that side salad you can still make a very similar meal and have that be vegan but one thing I like to teach our students is that we're just habituated to that way of organizing our plate because it's the way I've been doing it for so long and our meals can now look in a very different way if we want them to and sometimes we can rely on what's habitual one thing I always love to start with it's the way I got started is thinking about the good old-fashioned veggie Bowl so a veggie bowl is just a way of seeing the plate and what you're going to have all of those same components but you are sort of creating a marriage of flavors and textures and ingredients on that plate and I'm going to give you some resources when it comes to making sure you're getting all of those components that you need nutritionally speaking that's going to be extremely helpful for this but when it comes to the veggie Bowl what I like to think of is having a protein source that can be anything from uh your legumes so beans and bean stews and lentils and it can also mean tofu or tempeh or seitan it can mean vegan meats that you enjoy it can mean so many things so you're going to have your main source of protein you're going to have some kind of grain and you're going to have some vegetables they can be cooked vegetables raw vegetables some kind of sauce or a topping something to make it a lot of fun and I always love to think of adding lots of those leafy greens I'm going to teach you why well I'm not going to teach you why I'm going to send you to the pros when it comes to those nutritional aspects of how to build your meal and that is a very delicious way of eating because you get to grab a few of the components in each bite it's fun you can change up each of the components so if you're feeling very lost in the beginning that's a great way to start another great way to start is to think of the meals that you used to love and how you can simply swap out the animal based components for plant-based components that's really essentially all you really need to do so if you loved having burritos you can now have bean burritos and add in all of that guacamole salsa all of those delicious fixings that you love if you loved having hearty stews making the stew with some seitan instead of meat so many pasta dishes can be easily modified and made vegan the idea is that you tackle your next few meals if you're just getting started with what feels comfortable with what feels satisfying and just try to take it one step at a time you're going to be adding to that repertoire of meals as you move forward the vegetable is a great place to start but if you're still feeling like comfort and familiarity for you is that plate with that big piece of steak and your starches and your vegetables go ahead and do that Grill up a delicious seitan steak or make one of our many tofu recipes for example get yourself some delicious vegan sausages there are so many out there these days add all of those other components which are vegan by default or can be made vegan very easily and see where you're at and then you can start incorporating some of the other meal ideas now of course we have countless recipes options me I ideas in our online program and our courses at here on our YouTube channel so take a few of those and see how you could pair them up even if you don't make the exact recipe this is going to give you lots of ideas of how to put together delicious meals another common struggle is coming up with recipes so the great news is you don't have to come up with recipes there are so many recipes out there not only ours but so many on the internet that are just so easy to access so many options in terms of Cuisines for you to find what is familiar and delicious to you and you can just start with what you are familiar with very similar to the tips I just gave you if lunch to you has always been I don't know sandwich and salad try to continue making the meals that you feel comfortable with and start swapping out some of those ingredients for others and then maybe after a few days you can start looking at some new recipes for different ways of making that salad or new ideas for sandwich combinations and you start building up from that Baseline but I always find that the Baseline is always easier to wrap your head around if it's your Baseline one thing I always find with our students is that they want to just make so many changes at once in that maybe they weren't cooking a lot of at home and suddenly they decide to go vegan and so they want to make a different recipe for every single meal they want to just try everything they see on Pinterest they want to just open every single cookbook they have and make a different recipe for each night of the week and that can become overwhelming so quickly because first of all you're going to be shopping for ingredients day and night and also because we just need to sometimes go at it a little bit slowly and slowly start adding on but if we want to just do everything and completely revamp everything it's going to be a little bit harder you're gonna find yourself burning out halfway through so this is another great reason why we can start where we are and start adding to that and that happens with recipes and that happens with all of the habits that we're going to be changing we're going to get back to meal planning and meal ideas in a bit but before we do I definitely want to guide you to some resources because one of the things that people struggle with when they first go vegan and a lot of people don't like to talk about this but you know me I like to put it all on the table because the idea is to help you and to give you the support that you need but sometimes people decide to go vegan and for whatever reason you aren't feeling your best physically you aren't having enough energy to go about your day you might be experiencing headaches you might be experiencing bloating or changes in your digestion and that might be quite scary when you just first go into this remember that you're going into such a big change and so you have all of the emotional stuff that's going on all of the getting used to a new way of eating all of the social aspects that might be going through some changes because of this decision you've made and then you've also got all of the physical part of of changing the way you're eating and so it's quite common to start feeling things that you weren't feeling before to wonder if it's okay to wonder if you're doing something wrong to have questions about supplements to have questions about whether you're getting enough of certain nutrients or not and so for this I have some fantastic specific resources that I want to share with you and they all of course have to do with some of the most science based Pros in the field of vegan nutrition and they are there with Incredible websites where you can find so much information free they have incredible books that I highly recommended I think should be recommended reading for every vegan out there but there's so much out there that is open sourced and available to everyone so I'm going to guide you to the first one the first one is the website this is a website created by registered dietitian nutritionist Jack Norris who I mean that website is incredible you're going to see just how up-to-date how evidence-based it is and it's going to give you everything you need to know it's going to answer every single question you have when it comes to how to supplement things like vitamin B12 which is a necessity for vegans and so many other aspects how to make sure you're getting enough calcium how to build that plate um and and so much more another one and this is someone who has worked quite closely with Jack Norris is the and this is a website created by registered dietitian nutritionist Virginia Messina who I absolutely adore I have read so many of her books in fact one of the books that I'm going to recommend is co-authored by both of these registered dietitians both Jack Norris and and Virginia Messina and it's the vegan for Life Book I'm going to be linking to all of these resources below so you don't have to do anything and if you are listening through your favorite podcast player you're going to have all of the links in the show notes but uh this book is an absolute must it's fantastic there is a very recent Edition which I love I love when books get updated with all of the latest makes me feel very secure when I follow their recommendations but is a website where Virginia Messina has so many blog posts on so many things regarding vegan nutrition that can be very helpful together they have created as part of that wonderful book something called the food for Life food guide I'm going to be linking to it below and it's basically their version of the food pyramid it comes not in the shape of a pyramid but in the shape of a plate if you've ever heard me talk about the plant plate before the plant plate was the previous version to this it's very similar um and you're going to be able to see from a bird's eye view what that plate looks like it doesn't mean all of your meals have to look like this it doesn't mean you're going to have to meticulously measure and calculate every gram of this or that in fact overly focusing on that isn't going to be the best for your mental health or your physical health it's not about obsessing over those numbers it's about learning about some of those basic components that should be making their way into your meals as much as possible and it's going to give you so many ideas as to how to build that plate that meal that veggie bowl that I mentioned earlier that was my go-to way of going into this into this way of eating so this is a fantastic resource I'm going to be linking to the image and the blog post that accompanies it so that you can see what all of the different what the diagram means and when it comes to servings and all of that what are the recommendations another resource that I cannot recommend more and if you're a listener of this podcast I think you hear her name maybe maybe it's the second most mentioned name after um Carlos my husband and bramble's co-founder maybe this is the name I mentioned the most and it's Taylor Wolfram so Taylor Wolfram is a registered dietitian nutritionist based in Chicago and she has the most incredible comprehensive website online course about vegan nutrition but just so much information she is one of the best follows on Instagram so go follow her there I'm linking all of that below and I love her approach because it tackles so much more than just meeting your nutrient needs as vegans it has to do with improving your relationship with food with leaving restriction and restriction and dieting behind so much to do with mental health as well even though she's a registered dietitian and I respect her work so so much and always send our students her way and this is a great excuse and that's by the way the website I'm going to mention it here is I'm linking as well and this is a great segue into saying something that isn't very common and I don't know why I think it's this new era of we try to sort of bulldoze our way through anything alone and try to go on ever go through these Journeys and and these big transitions on our own and certainly it can be done like that but if you're struggling if you're worried at any point if you're not feeling your best going to a registered dietitian especially and this of course has I'm a little bit biased because this has to do with the framework that has helped me in my relationship with food and that has helped so many others but especially if you can find yourself a registered dietitian nutritionist that is familiar with vegan nutrition but also has an intuitive eating approach that is a match made in heaven Taylor Wolfram is one of those so uh this is a fantastic way to get support while you're going through this journey specific to you because they're going to be ordering blood work they're going to be talking about your schedule and your specific needs both in terms of nutrition but also in terms of making this transition manageable so this is my reminder that you do not have to go through it alone we're here for you of course and we've got so many things at and so many resources to help support you but of course it's never individualized help and support based on your specific biological characteristics and that's something that a registered dietitian can help you with I'm also going to be linking to the registry of Professionals in the intuitive eating space because this can be hugely helpful if you're someone who has struggled with food before and you want to get some support in many different areas now that we know a little bit more about those basics of vegan nutrition and we have an idea of the different components we need to think about when it comes to our meals allowing tons of flexibility understanding that many of our meals are going to look different from that and we're going to do the best we can now that we know some of that and we'd know where to go for support what do we do about planning all of those meals what do we do about getting organized and just putting this into place in a way that doesn't stress us out that doesn't feel like this huge mountain in front of us when we were completely used to another way before so the first thing I want to talk about is that the reason why the previous let's say meat centered diet or standard diet felt so easy and so doable is simply because we had made it habitual we have probably grown up for most of our Lives eating in that way it became second nature and that's what feels familiar and really what we're doing now is we're going through the process of learning a different way and that's going to take a bit of a learning curve it's going to take some time and then eventually it's going to be it's going to feel exactly like it felt before with the diet that you were used to I almost don't even have to think about building my meals it's just second nature now so many years in but it wasn't in the beginning in the beginning I really had to think about it and wrap my head around it and I would sometimes reach dinner time and I wasn't sure what I was going to make because it took a little bit of that extra effort it's not that it is harder or that it is more difficult to put components together or that it's more time consuming there are so many ways to get over each of those hurdles if you encounter them it's really about habituation so one of the main suggestions I have is to do a little bit of batch prepping or batch cooking this is something I teach so much to our students in our online program because it is a lifesaver it's not about creating although that's a possibility if that's something you're comfortable with but I've never enjoyed it um this idea of absolutely planning and measuring out and preparing all of your meals for the week ahead of time and having these perfect little baggies and containers with all your Meals Ready that's an option if that's what you feel comfortable with but I'm just talking about the simple Act of assembling or preparing some components when you come back from the store so once a week you head into your kitchen maybe you're going to cook a pot of beans or lentils some grains that you enjoy you might roast a big big tray of vegetables and have those ready to go you might make a salad dressing a big batch of salad dressing and have that in your refrigerator you might make you might make some pasta sauce so that all you have to think about when you come home from work is cook up a big pot of pasta and toss that together and this is a ritual or a habit that you can get into that becomes really special when you make it quite fun so put on a fun podcast a movie in the background and it's not about spending your entire day doing this but just doing one or two things and you're gonna see how that starts building up another suggestion I have if you do not have this time or you don't want to invest this time on one day each time you cook something make extra and that can be Frozen and used up later when you need it it can be stored in the refrigerator and then you have all of these different components to pick and choose from because veggie bowls were so important for me when I first went vegan and it was my way to start understanding the components of vegan and vegetarian cooking I loved having different components ready in my fridge and each day I would just mix and match and have a combination of those that that was slightly different it was so much fun and that is something that is really helped out a lot if you've done a little bit of batch cooking or batch prepping batch prepping on some weeks can mean something as simple as washing and drying your salad greens and having them ready to go and it can be as simple as making a big pot of soup and having that available or stew sometimes I just pop a bunch of potatoes in a big pan I roast the potatoes and then I have those already cooked and roasted just to add some fillings and that can be a quick meal on our Instagram page we have a highlight with some ideas of some of the things that I regularly batch cook when I batch cook and again that's sometimes just arranging fruits and veggies and fixing them up cutting them up putting them in baggies or containers so that they're easy to grab making a dip if that's all you can do making a batch of hummus if that's all you can do and my next tip is sort of equally important do not think that because you've gone vegan and you've taken these steps you have to cook everything yourself I know this is my job I love cooking things from scratch and that's what I teach you and that's hugely important but don't be afraid to use Little Helpers and by that I mean getting some store-bought items they're gonna make life easier convenience foods are not the enemy they can go hand in hand with all of those delicious home-cooked meals and components that you're going to be making and they save so much time and make the job easier I'm a professional vegan cook and I use some of these in my day-to-day cooking because they really help out in that department I can't recommend getting lots of um freezer friendly components into your freezer and that can even mean Frozen fruits frozen vegetables we think that we're it's not going to be the same as fresh vegetables and of course you know you can't freeze something like lettuce but many vegetables are going to turn out just fine and they're going to be there for you on that day when you're between shopping trips and you really need to put something together you're going to find components in your freezer you're going to find maybe some store-bought items in your fridge and you're gonna find a way to put those together into a meal that is going to be satisfying and then you can go shopping and carry on with your routine so don't be afraid of getting those little helpers they're right there in the store you're shopping in now another tip I wanted to mention has to do with the actual ideas for what to make so of course cookbooks help of course recipes you've saved up help but you really need to put these ideas that have worked in front of you and have them handy for when you're really not sure what to make it's going to save you so much time it's going to give you so much inspiration and if you are a member of our online program my brow you can easily star the recipes or meal ideas that you've enjoyed that have been satisfying to you and you can quickly find those that way but if you're not a member or you have recipes from other places that you want to include more in your repertoire one of the things that I highly highly recommend is keeping a list of meal ideas not only recipes you want to try and you haven't tried that can go somewhere else but if meals that are now habitual familiar and satisfying to you and that you could basically almost just by thinking about it picture the process the ingredients you're going to need and be able to tackle that with ease this is going to help so so much so ways of keeping that list you can keep an actual binder in your kitchen a list in your kitchen you can stick the list to your fridge after you go shopping and just to remember some of the meals you've thought about when you went shopping and bought those ingredients for but another way because we're constantly carrying around our phones everywhere is to either keep it in the notes on our phone just meal ideas and there you can have a list you can also include uh just photos or screenshots of ingredients of for example a favorite salad dressing you always use and you never quite can quite remember the ratios and the amounts you can add that in there that's one way another way and of course you probably already know this but it took me a while to figure this out that I could organize the photos on my phone in folders and I have a folder for meal ideas and sometimes that includes a quick screenshot of something that I saw on Instagram that I thought looked interesting a quick recipe that I tried that I want to make precisely because it's something very specific and sometimes it's a meal that I prepared that I just assembled together and that we really loved and I don't want to forget about it and so sometimes with the plate as I'm putting everything together I take a screenshot I take a photo not a screenshot I take a photo and I keep it there in my phone in my folder and just having these ideas on hand is going to be so helpful when it comes to that moment where you're almost at dinner time and you're going to say I have no idea what I'm gonna make there you've got plenty of ideas now before I go today I want to talk about two more struggles that have to do with the eating aspect one of them is cravings when we go vegan or when we're making this change it can be very common to have cravings for old familiar foods for textures for flavors for moments with those foods and so this is something that I I'm go I have expanded on in previous episodes and we're going to have separate episodes to talk about the specifically but the biggest way to kind of think about Cravings is this make sure that the foods are incorporating that the recipes you're making that what's getting onto your plate is satisfying make sure that sure all of the nutritional aspects you're making sure that you're eating some of those calcium rich greens that you're getting that protein that we all need all of that is very important but if your meals aren't feeling satisfying if you're craving something meaty and you're not getting that meatiness fulfilled of course you're going to have cravings you're a human being so the first thing that I always see in students that are struggling with Cravings a lot is that they have added a lot of rigidity in the way they're building their meals that doesn't really need to be there and so we're going to talk about this in future episodes a bit more and it's why we have a non-restrictive approach here at Brown bull so make sure that if something keeps popping into your mind there are now alternatives for anything your heart desires in its plant-based forum and if you can't find out where you live there are ways to make it and sometimes if it's not the exact same thing just make sure that you're having meals that are feeling fun and satisfying that are filling you up and that are giving you lots of that energy that we all need so really important to not put that aside because you're going like this superhero person trying to make up these quote unquote perfect meals because you've heard somewhere that I don't know it it might be about purity of certain ingredients and that's what you should basing be basing your meals on it's important that you pay attention to satisfaction and it's important that that plays a part in how you build your meals as well last but not least let's talk about eating out my number one tip is to go on they're not sponsoring this episode neither are any of the other websites or resources I've shared a lot of new vegans don't know that this website exists and it's basically a website that will tell you around your area or to a place you're traveling to or a place that's a town that's nearby a city that's nearby all of the vegan vegan friendly vegetarian vegan stores stores with vegan options what places are around you yeah and so it can be so helpful to finding some of those restaurants if you don't have a fully vegan restaurant in your area restaurants that have a vegan menu that have lots of options or a restaurant that has vegan options or options you can easily make vegan the great news is that now at least compared to when I first went vegan options are labeled as such more and more because it's become such a popular way to eat it's like gaining just so much traction and that's amazing and so that's going to be very helpful but we all have someone we all know someone who lives in a very small town very meat-centric way of eating town that doesn't have a lot of these options you don't have a lot of these options around you so that website is going to help you find some maybe it's a little bit further away than what you're used to but definitely check those options out but another thing I want to say okay is that it can be so helpful to look at the menus of the places you already visit and enjoy and some of the places you walk by that you've previously thought would probably you know they don't have vegan options we really don't notice the vegan options until we need to find them and so it can be so helpful to start looking at some of those menus there are so many restaurants that will be very happy to make any substitutions for you on a dish and so start looking at those menus the way you're looking at your meals now you're trying to figure out how to substitute some of those components how to put some of those meals together and you can do that at restaurants too and of course try some of the amazing vegan restaurants that are out there if they're accessible to you it's so much fun when you get to go somewhere where everything is vegan and you can choose and have many options available to you that's becoming more and more of a usual thing nowadays which is great news also if you are in one of these areas where there are no vegetarian or vegan restaurants around look for the types of Cuisines that are maybe more International Cuisines so things like Chinese restaurants Japanese restaurants Mexican restaurants Middle Eastern restaurants they have so many vegan by default options and there are many ways to just do a little bit of research of some of those dishes you might not have heard of before you might not have tried of Cuisines that you're not familiar with and find the ones that are vegan and that are everywhere so all of these different types of restaurants that have their own Cuisine from a different part of the world often have the most options and that's a great place to start so Sam these are some of my beginner tips that I give to new vegans all very you know brief there's so much I could expand on each and every one and you can find so much more on that on specific episodes that we have on the Bramble podcast and on our website but I hope these helped definitely go and check out those resources also remember that we have a full online course a 21 day course called the roadmap to help guide you in taking this leap and going vegan with support with all of the tools you're going to need we cover so many things including of course delicious recipes menu ideas but everything else that comes with this big change so go and check that out at I hope these help make the ride a little bit smoother and in next week's episode we're going to tackle what in my opinion are some of the more in-depth struggles or deeper struggles that we go through when we first go vegan they have to do with the people around us and the social aspects of being vegan so stay tuned and I'll see you next week have a good one

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