A Helping Hand

As promised, here are some of the vegan resources I use the most.

We have gotten the best recipes from www.vegweb.com.  Look for recipes that have been rated 4 or 5 stars and the more people who have rated a recipe, the better.  Read all the comments for variations, substitutions and helpful hints.  I love the fact that so many pictures are available as well.  If you want a vegan cookbook, the best that I’ve found is the Vegan Lunch Box by Jennifer McCann.  She has a recipe for “the best brussel sprouts” which is basically a sweet and sour sauce for veggies.  We don’t like brussel sprouts, but have made it with cauliflower, broccoli, snap peas, artichokes, mushrooms, red peppers and they are TO DIE FOR!

For tips on vegan options in restaurants, this website has been the most complete and helpful.    

http://godsdirectcontact.us/com/vegetarian/abc/veganeatinginanyrestanrants.htm

Remember, too, that most restaurants are eager to help you.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve “created” my own meal with ingredients from the menu.  For instance, TGIFridays has very little in the way of vegan options.  But by looking through the menu at the ingredients, I was able to ask for a salad with black olives, diced tomatoes, mushrooms, red pepper strips, corn, jalepenos, and tortilla chips served with salsa and guacamole.  Not only was it by far the BEST meal I’ve ever eaten there, but several other customers asked my server what I was eating because it looked so good.  It’s also standard for me to order a sandwich in any restaurant with tomatoes, lettuce, mushrooms sauteed in oil and salsa.  Almost ALL restaurants have these items.  As a bonus, I can often add other veggies or guacamole.  Any and all of these items are great on a baked potato as well.  You can also ask for pasta tossed in oil, garlic and other seasonings with various vegetables in upscale restaurants.  Most of the time my servers are so eager to please that they watch the cook make my order to ensure it’s done right.  And usually they price me fairly (they charge me for the cheapest sandwich on the menu or kid’s meal because I’m mostly ordering veggies.)

For information on which companies do not conduct animal testing on their toiletries and make up, I routinely check out this site: 

http://www.caringconsumer.com/pdfs/companiesDontTest.pdf

For vegan vitamins, I go to www.thriftyvegan.com because shipping is always free and customer service is excellent.  I once e-mailed to ask how big a vitamin was because I was afraid I couldn’t swallow it.  The owner took the time to take a digital picture of the pill in his hand next to a quarter to give me an accurate idea on the size — and he did it in less than an hour.  They received all my business after that!

Finally, when ordering food items I can’t get at our local health co-op, I try www.amazon.com which carries an amazing amount of gourmet foods and also www.veganessentials.com which carries almost every hard-to-find vegan item.  If you sign up for their newsletter, you will routinely be notified of discounts.

For good, solid advice for beginning vegans, tips on how to eat healthy, how to combine flavor combinations so you can cook without a recipe, great recipes, and educational information about “new” foods — what they taste like, how to buy and store them, how to cook them, — check out www.vegancoach.com.  Sassy Knudson is fabulous!  You can also sign up for her newsletter, The Golden Banana. 

Finally, for the best clothes, check out www.animalrightsstuff.com.  They have great t-shirts, tanks, etc., to start conversations anywhere about what you believe.  I’ve actually drawn crowds at the bank, post office, library, overnight shipping store, and grocery stores — people are hungry to talk about the issues that affect our world. 

It’s amazing to me the resources that are out there on the web.  I can’t imagine trying to be a vegan 30 years ago!   Hopefully these resources make your journey easier — it certainly has for me!

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