Yep. That burger you’re seeing is indeed 0% anything animal. Even the creamy thousand island dressing and the super stretchy melted “cheese”.
I’ve many times been the culprit of taking nutrition to an extreme. When I first became vegan, I obsessed over getting the proper nutrients, counting everything that went into my body. Living like that became extremely detrimental for my mental health, because I was trying to find ways to force nutrient dense foods into my meals and I eventually began to see eating as a job.
Recently, I’ve been creating ways to make it more fun and incorporate all of the vitamins I needed while still eating my favorite foods. What I ended up doing is putting a spin on dishes from my childhood and some of my comfort foods.
I’ve honestly never been a fan of re-creating dishes with a twist as I feared that they would disappoint and always land inferior. All my life, I wanted to keep the classics classic, because I believed that’s what made them so timeless anyways! I am learning now that there is nothing wrong with a little bit of evolution, a touch of improvement, and tossing a bit of ‘new’ into the things I’ve loved longtime.
One of my most favorite foods growing up were pancakes. When I first went vegan in middle school, I terribly missed stacking a plate with a tower of pancakes and lathering butter all over. Even though there were vegan substitutes, I steered clear. For one, I was afraid that I wasn’t being a true vegan if I treated myself to foods that weren’t considered healthy by society. I was under the misconception that to be truly vegan, you must always choose perfect, organic, whole foods that haven’t been touched by sugar. I was militant about my eating habits, consumed by such a toxic mindset, especially after those around me would say I was not fully invested in veganism if I enjoyed a plant-based cookie or broke open a bag of chips. At such a young age, it became ingrained in my mind that to be vegan also meant not enjoying food so much and restricting myself from my favorite foods.
I was embarrassed that my journey into veganism wasn’t smooth and dreamy like people claimed it would be. I felt more tired than I did energized. I was disappointed in my body and how it was or wasn’t reacting to my eating shifts. I had so many bumps along the way and gave up on this lifestyle and myself so many times over. But, over the years, coming in and out of veganism, I myself evolved, along with my foods, and proved my beliefs way, way wrong!
The beautiful thing about veganism is that you actually begin to enjoy food more! Because you realize how much food you have to explore, and find foods you never knew even grew on our planet. There is so much magic you can add into your everyday meals, such as topping oat milk yogurt with chia seeds or sprinkling nutritional yeast onto your pasta. I could have my favorite foods, just “vegan-fied”! Your grocery shopping begins to feel like an adventure and quest for kindness as you wander through stacks of fresh vegetables and treat yourself to a container of vegan strawberry cupcakes, knowing you do not have to limit yourself so much. You feel good in your soul as you walk out of the store with a bursting cart knowing you did not take another living being’s life to enjoy your classic favorites. And, that you don’t have to stop eating your favorite foods, you can re-create them into something more wonderful.
After all the food fear, doubt, insecurity, and restriction, here I am today chowing down on a super juicy impossible burger that tastes no different from my favorite hamburgers, and greeting myself in the morning with cloud-like golden pancakes, all the while getting every last vitamin, mineral, and nutrient I need. Who knew. You don’t need to restrict yourself from splurging and enjoying your most favorite treats when you’re going vegan, and it’s okay if your transition to veganism wasn’t a fairytale dream like everyone makes it sound like.
Here are some simple vegan twists I put on my childhood favorites!
The recipe for all of these is in the recipe corner of my blog, (and linked here)! Feel free to wander about, enjoy, and of course, never be afraid to experiment yourself; see where it takes you!