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Going vegan... not as hard as I thought.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

I want to clarify that. My son Sean has gone vegan; I have not (see below). However, I'm not going to cook two meals every evening, so I'm having him cook at least two meals per week. This has worked out very well.

Sean bought a few vegan cookbooks; one I highly recommend is "101 Best Vegan Foods" by Publications International, Ltd. This book lists ingredients in alphabetical order (from agar agar to zucchini) and has a recipe associated with each ingredient. I am teaching him the finer points of cooking (how to prepare a food for cooking, which pans to use for what purpose, timing, ingredient substitutions and so on). It's about time; he is nearly 18, but better late than never.

The vegan books use a lot of more complex grains, like quinoa, and very few "modern" grains like corn or processed white flour, which is also a good thing. We're losing weight, getting better nutrients, and the food tastes really, really good to boot. When I cook fish Sean will heat a veggie burger, so there's no hardship there. I've found textured vegetable protein (TVP) is a good substitute for ground turkey, and we make veggie tacos or some casseroles from that.

All in all, I think this was, and will continue to be, a good move for us.

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I've noted one odd discrepancy between the book and logging the recipe in SparkPeople. Sometimes the nutritional values vary slightly, with SparkPeople always being higher... sometimes they vary significantly. Even when correcting by serving size the SP values are higher than in the book. For example, if the nutritional values are double in SP what the book says, I assume there's a typo in the book and adjust the number of servings accordingly. I mean, I know darned well one serving of a food containing only a few ounces each of squash, black beans, and tomatoes, plus 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil, is not 840 calories (as found on SP), so I assume the book's "number of servings" is too low and adjust it to more-or-less agree with the SP values.
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    emoticon Good for you for adapting the plan into a workable one for you and Sean. Great that he is learning the cooking basics, too!

    I've found discrepancies in the nutritional info on SP, too, and have usually ended up entering the food in question on my own and adding it to my favorites. If it's a recipe I make all the time, then I'll enter it into the recipe tracker with the number of servings I usually get out of it.
    2554 days ago
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    Good for you and Sean! I love that you're teaching him how to cook and that he's really taken an interest in it, too. I may have to check out that vegan cookbook.

    You may be interested in the Spark Team, Vegetarians/Vegans Living With a Non-Vegetarian/Vegan. We share ideas for how to bridge the gap and make mealtimes less of a "two-meal ordeal." It sounds like you and Sean have a good system worked out.

    2555 days ago
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