BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Not Just For Girls

113 Comments

Despite the limited audience that the title might imply, The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life is a book for all genders, ages, and walks of life.  Though the self-help section of the bookstore isn’t somewhere I would start looking for delicious, tried-and-true recipes, crafts, or inspirational profiles on kick-ass, successful vegan women, that’s exactly the category Melisser Elliott‘s debut work of writing is filed under.  Far more than just another cookbook, the pages of this slim text are positively crammed with DIY projects for those with crafty inclinations, help on selecting cosmetics free of animal products, and general advice on living vegan, presented in an exciting and approachable way. Melisser has a fresh, fun style all her own, so you can bet this won’t be a dry, monotonous read. Heck, she could make a computer manual sound like fun!

Melisser has been a dear blog buddy and long-distance confidante for years now, so of course, my opinion is highly biased. However, I know a good vegan quiche when I taste one, and Melisser’s definitely ranks up on the very top of my list. Those leftover slices were so tempting, the wait I would have had to endure while reheating them in the toaster oven was entirely unbearable; Sneaking downstairs in the middle of the night for a little late nibble, I ended up skarfing down almost the whole thing cold.

Naturally, I skim straight to the recipes first, and there are quite a few keepers to bookmark. Happily, I had the incredible fortune to photograph a few select entries, so I feel confident that I sampled a good cross section of the overall offerings found in The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life.

Flip over to the dessert section, and you’ll find a sweet recipe from me! Simple but unique cupcakes, again pushing the limits of natural coloring with Purple Cow Cupcakes. …Hate to tease, but you just have to check out the book to see what they’re all about.

For those with a sweet tooth and a penchant for brunch, the Banana Bread French Toast is another must-make. Combining the best of tender banana bread and custard-like yet crispy french toast, it’s the kind of meal that you dream about waking up to.

And those craving heartier fair will not be disappointed, because there are plenty of meaty, spicy, and salty offerings to go around! In particular, the Jackfruit Carnitas could woo the most staunch carnivore- Even the texture is eerily “realistic.”

Graciously, Skyhorse Publishing has offered an additional book for one of you to ogle and enjoy! If you’d like to win a free copy of The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life, please leave me only one comment on this post with your name and a correct email address, answering the following question: What piece of advice (or vital recipe, tip, or trick) would you give to a new vegan?  [Open to those with mailing addresses within the continental US only; Sorry!]

The contest will close at midnight on November 8th, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter. Win or lose, you’ve got to check Melisser’s listing of tour dates, because you may be able to meet the brains behind the whole operation and even snag yourself a signed book!

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

113 thoughts on “Not Just For Girls

  1. I think there’s a lot of advice that I give to new vegans, so it’s hard to pick just one. I would say the most important is to be confident when they are asking what is in something or what vegan options are available when out to eat. I think a lot of new vegans (myself included) felt like they were being “high maintenance” when asking a lot of questions. There are a lot of ways to make the situation more comfortable in the beginning too. You can scope out the menu online ahead of time, and even call the restaurant to ask questions at a not-so-busy time of day when they are more likely to take the time to help you figure out what your options are.

  2. I would tell a new vegan to just explore and have an open mind. There are so many resources in books and online, you just need to wade through a few. And give new foods a shot- you might ( and probably will) be surprised.

  3. Hannah, I am so excited about this book. I just adore Melisser almost as much as I adore you!

    My advice to new Vegans is to be kind to themselves. The first year of my new Vegan life I made mistakes here and there eating things that I thought were Vegan but had sneaky ingredient lists. I was very hard on myself to the point of tears and I now realize that it is ok to mess up and it is more than ok to forgive yourself for doing so. My second word of advice is to findother Vegans out there either through blogging (how I met the wonderful Hannah and Melisser) or local meet-up groups in your area. It helps to havefriends who are compassionate and also who can share kick-ass recipes. (:

    Thanks!
    Rikki
    rikkicupcake@yahoo.com

  4. Would love this book!

    My advice to a new vegan? Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be. Buy a couple of vegan cookbooks (ideally one that has an intro section that includes “vegan staples” for your pantry) and start cooking!

    JL
    jl@jlgoesvegan.com

  5. My advice would be to check out websites like vegweb and the ppk so that a new vegan will know that vegan food isn’t tasteless and doesn;t have to be boring!

  6. I’ve often thought that the best thing I could do for a new vegan would be to make them my classic enchiladas with daiya cheese. That stuff is just so darn good, I know it would show them that they can live without “regular” cheese, and can live quite delicioiusly!!

  7. Hi,

    This book looks wonderful. I became vegan on Feb. 1 of this year. My words of wisdom would be to be prepared to have to “make” most of your food so that you always have something on hand. You will most likely need to pack your lunch and this may be a change of lifestyle for most people. Just be prepared.

  8. Wow what a great post and great pictures of delicious eats! I think one tip I would give to a new vegan is to find someone to mentor you and help you with substitutes. Noone is an island and the hardest thing about transitioning is doing it alone. Noelle @ noellsky (at)gmail (dot) com

  9. Ahh there’s that quiche you mentioned months ago. Looks really amazing! (I already have a copy on the way, so count me out of this giveaway)

  10. The carnitas look especially amazing. I might have to get the book just for that recipe!! :)

  11. My advice would be to not get too obsessed with finding replacements for meat/cheese/etc., and to really explore new vegetables, grains and legumes that one wouldn’t have tried before. Rather than trying to replace certain things on the palate, just expand the palate to the point where you don’t miss the old!

  12. O.M.G. This book sounds just like what my three teen-age girls would need to read to get their facts about being Vegan. We have been vegetarian for over a year now and we love it. Only problem, they don’t eat as many vegetables as I think they should.
    Your photo’s are beautiful. I love your web-site.
    Thank you
    Jane Gavlitta
    Anna,Alyssa & Katieface xo

  13. P.S. My advice would be to “give your body time to adjust to your new diet” Your body is a gift from God, what you do with your body is a gift back to God.

  14. Oooh, thanks for the chance to win! My advice would be experiment and try all sorts of new recipes, it seems like a lot of new vegans aren’t sure what to eat and end up having the same things over and over again.

  15. Amazing! This is definitely at the top of my list of purchases!

  16. My best advice to a new vegan would be when trying any subsitutes be it cheese, meats, etc-they aren’t going to taste like the real thing. Try not to think about it that way. Only think does it taste good or not. I know that this is easier said then done when you want a pizza and the vegan cheese doesn’t do it justice. But give it time.

  17. When you aren’t sure what to eat or make use the vegan food blog search. It inspires me every time!

  18. My best advice to new vegans is to get a friend to do it with you!

  19. My best advice to new vegans is to find new favorites, rather than trying to “replicate” old ones.

  20. I would tell a new vegan to keep an open mind and not to be afraid to try new things. Get a mentor or get on the PPK for support.

  21. Congratulations to Melisser and to you! That all looks fabulous.

  22. Awesome! I can’t wait to read this book. My advice to new vegans would be that you don’t actually have to argue with your weird old uncle (or whomever else) who tells you about how he can hear plants screaming when they’re cut down and why don’t you think about the poor poor plants–it’s perfectly OK to just ignore him.

  23. My advice to a new vegan is it doesn’t have to be expensive! Avoid the processed stuff and stock up on whole, fresh foods and it will make a huge difference.

  24. I suppose I should buy Melisser’s book, but winning it would be fun too :)

    I would tell a new vegan that focusing on what they can eat, rather than what they can’t, will make it so much easier. My diet is MUCH more varied now than it ever was before I went vegan. Oh, and that it gets easier eventually.

  25. i would tell a new vegan to be open to trying new things, don’t be afraid to cook your own food and go vegan with a friend (if possible). it is so much easier to change your lifestyle when you have moral support.

  26. Something I’d give a new vegan would be this stellar recipe for vegan chocolate cupcakes – it convinced my friends that being vegan didn’t mean I’d be giving up delicious desserts. It’s simple and made in one bowl: Combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add one cup water, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1 tsp white or red wine vinegar. Mix well, then add 3 Tbsp oil. Bake at 350F for 15 minutes or so…they are amazing and easily adaptable (coffee, juice, tea instead of the water…).

  27. I hope I’m not the only omnivore here who loves vegan cooking! I have been vegetarian/vegan/omnivore at different points in my life, each for their own reasons. My advice to new vegans–be clear about your motivation(s), because people will ask! Seek out support (blogs, cookbooks, friends) to make the journey a bit easier. And lastly, ask your friends and family to be considerate of your choice; but also respect their choices as well. As a vegan, I resented when others made me feel like a radical weirdo. As an omnivore, I equally resented when vegan friends would question my compassion or ethics. Sometimes the reasons behind our food choices are complicated, even if the food itself doesn’t need to be!
    And those Purple Cow Cupcakes look divine :)

  28. Ooh, I’d love to win Melisser’s book!

    My best advice to new vegans is to get in the kitchen and experiment; try new fruits and vegetables, try new recipes, and be open-minded about new types of cuisine.

  29. would love this.. I recently uh yesterday decided vegan was my way of life.. This book would help me further with learning to cook vegan style!
    cher_theblondeprincess@hotmail.com

  30. find other vegans, experiment like crazy, love vegetables :)
    This book looks awesome!

  31. Love your pictures.

    Grace Dickinson -grace.dickinson@temple.edu

    I’d say, stock up on peanut butter. It’s my favorite go-to protein, and adds a healthy source of fat and protein.

  32. Melisser is the best, and I can’t wait to check out that book! Your photos are absolutely gorgeous (per usual!). My advice for new vegans would be to look at this journey as an adventure rather than a sacrifice, and to not be hard on yourself if you slip up along the way.

  33. Don’t think you have to fall into the Rabbit Food Rut (iceburg lettuce, raw carrots, steamed bland broccoli every day.) Experiment with mushrooms, chickpeas, different kinds of tofu, nuts, lentils, hummus, barley… things that give a wide variety of flavors and textures. Vegan food is, in my opinion, far more varied and interesting than most omni food!

  34. Hannah, thanks so much for all that you do. My one piece of advice would be to remember what your values are, and remember them when temptation strikes.

    If your highest value is love, non-cruelty or eco-consciousness it can be helpful to reflect on this when faced with food decisions…or even the decision to argue with those you love most.

  35. This looks like a great book. I think it would be a perfect gift for my friend’s daughter who is vegan and very young.

  36. My advice is to go at your own pace and just let the criticisms roll off their back. Since vegans only make up some .01% of the population, most people will be super-curious and others will be a little mean, too. Just stick to your guns and offer up some yummy cupcakes- they win everyone over!

  37. My best advice to a new vegan would be DON’T GET DISCOURAGED. It was hard for me at first because most of my social activities are based around going out to eat with omnivorous friends. I was afraid I would miss out on all the fun because I couldn’t eat anything at whatever restaurant we ended up at. Now I just invite friends over to cook dinner or bake cupcakes at my house. It’s a lot more fun and A LOT cheaper than going out all the time. I love that I get to send baked vegan treats home with my friends, who then share them with loved ones and coworkers, spreading delicious vegan love all over the place!

  38. Talk to other vegans to get recommendations of which products to try, because if you try the wrong product and you don’t like the taste, it could discourage you from continuing on with your vegan journey.

  39. You all must have some super strong will power to go vegan!…I have tried a few times and keep giving in, rather to just include vegan dishes into my meals…

  40. I’m not vegan but I definitely do appreciate good vegan recipes as I find myself cooking vegan food pretty frequently. The recipes in this book sound amazing.

    Piece of advice…hmmm. I would say it’s not to get caught up in all the processed veganized foods but to try to eat whole foods as much as possible. tempeh over tofurkey…that kind of thing.

  41. I would say make the grocery store your new best friend when traveling. It’s the best place to get healthy and budget friendly meals!

  42. Great question–I would definitely encourage them to start cooking, and also to get plugged into the local vegan/activist community (even a meetup group) so that they remain motivated and encouraged. One last thing to throw in would be not to become discouraged–there’s definitely a lot to learn but you have the rest of your life to get better at reading labels, etc. Start where you are and continue taking one baby step in the right direction at a time!

  43. I’m not a vegani’m more of a flexitarian but I do love vegetarian and vegan recipes!! The only advice for a new vegan that I would have since I’m not one myself is that when you change your diet that you need to find substitutions for the cravings that your are going to experience and realize that you need to get used to the new products that you will be using. A couple years ago I had to give up dairy which I loved very much and started to use soy as a substitution. It took me a while to adjust to the taste of it but now I love it!

  44. I’ve not heard of this book before so I’m so happy to have stopped by today! My one piece of advice to a new vegan would be to take it slowly – the transition to veganism can be long and it is not without challenges. Remember to be nice to yourself and allow some mistakes as part of the process.

  45. I’m not vegan.. so I may not be the best advise giver on the subject, but I’d tell them not to worry because there are SO MANY amazing vegan recipes out there and the number of quality recipes seems to be growing based on this new book! Even as a non vegan I’d be happy to eat up all those tasty things!

  46. I would tell a new vegan to not think that meat substitutes should taste like meat substitutes. You have to think of them as something else–then it’s easier to like them in their own right.

  47. Biggest piece of advice is to listen to your heart not what other people say to discourage you from the choice you made. The rest will fall into place.
    JoLynn
    dreaminitvegan@yahoo.com

  48. I would LOVE that book.
    My advice for a new Vegan is do your research. You would be suprised at the hidden animal ingredients in so many products.

  49. Hi Hannah,

    As someone who is just trying out being vegan (with Vegan MoFo) as my inspiration, I need all the help I can get and definitley don’t have any advice yet– but I’d love to win the book.

  50. This book looks amazing, so hearty congrats all around. I absolutely loved that jackfruit carnitas recipe when she posted it to her blog way back when, and have made them many times since, so I know first hand that Melisser can write a recipe!

    My advice for a new vegan would be to feel good about your decision, be forgiving of mistakes, know that it’s impossible to be “pure” or perfect, and get yourself a lot of support so you can weather the doubters and the haters. Find a friend to do a 1-month vegan experiment with you if you can, and read all the books, blogs, and PPK/VegWeb forums you need to know that you’re not alone, and that this *is* a 100% sustainable lifestyle. Don’t argue with people or let haters bring you down, and if you’re having trouble, turn to books like Carol Adams’ Living Among Meat Eaters. And I would give them a congratulatory high-five :)

  51. Lots of good advice already in this comment thread. I definitely agree with those who suggest that new vegans should focus on whole foods over processed animal product substitutes (it’s cheaper, healthier, better for the environment, all that good stuff), learn to love cooking if they don’t already, find vegan or vegan-supportive community, etc.

    Along the lines of the person suggested new vegans remember that they don’t have to argue with un-supportive family members, I would suggest that folks keep self-righteousness out of the picture. I know it feels so good to be living your values and that you may be bursting with passion for animal rights, and that’s really great, but there isn’t just one right way to live. Everybody is doing the best they can to live with integrity based on where they’re at in their lives right now. For me, that means being vegan (and a bunch of other things), but that’s not the case for everyone. You aren’t perfect, and not everyone’s activism/values/whatever centers around food. You’ll win a lot more hearts and minds by sharing delicious food and keeping the smugness firmly in check.

  52. My advice would be to have fun and explore! Try new recipes, cook familiar foods in new ways, and don’t get bogged down by non-vegan negative attitudes!

  53. my advice is…when you’re craving something sweet and can’t get to a vegan bakery, go to an asian market and get mochi! they’re usually vegan and the ones with red bean filling cure my sweet tooth immediately!

  54. My advice to any new vegan is, Just keep cooking and stay inspired! You will get better at it, and there is more to life than tofu everything :)

  55. My advice is to not sweat the small stuff. Don’t beat yourself up if you accidentally eat a piece of cheese…the Vegan Police won’t come after you. Just learn at your own pace as you go. Vegan isn’t supposed to be stressful!

  56. [Despite my email address, I assure you I live in the US.]

    I would say: there’s a lot of amazing products and food combinations out there that closely approximate meats and dairy. So if you have cravings, fake is ok. Experiment and get advice on which ones are the best and which ones are not so great.

  57. My advice to a new vegan is to keep trying new foods! I was a picky eater when I was younger, but after going vegetarian, and then eventually vegan, I completely opened up my horizons by trying new foods. Tofu, tempeh, and a whole list of asian vegetables completely changed my outlook on cooking a meal. And I’ll never forget the moment I tried a mangosteen… tastiest fruit on the planet. :)

  58. Simple: keep trying new foods! Even if you miss things, even if you don’t like some things, you’ll discover lots of things that you would have never eaten before that will be your new favourites!

  59. I would say in general if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Meaning, I’ve been to a lot of events, non-vegan restaurants, etc. where something (ie. a pasta dish with a suspiciously-creamy looking sauce) is presented as vegan, but upon further inspection, isn’t in reality.

  60. I am sooo excited about this book.

  61. My #1 advice is probably counter to a lot of people’s, because I say, DON’T STRESS! To me this means don’t worry about reading every label, or interrogating your server at every restaurant. Just do what you can, when you can, and use common sense. The rest will follow naturally.

    Amber Shea
    almostveganblog AT gmail DOT com

  62. Thanks for your informative posts. I’d say as advice: you’ll need to make time for cooking if you’d like to stay healthy. Quick fix meals lead to feeling like crap. I only got to appreciate nutrients as I became vegan. Before, it was sold like, “Meat diets contain everything a body needs”, sort of.
    I can’t win here, but have a question. Why do so many places in the US not ship to Canada? Alot of book sellers on Amazon, and online retailers in other fields. I mean it’s not like I live in Iraq or a jungle hut in Thailand. Is America really becoming as protectionist and insular as it seems? Sorry, I’m not sure you can answer this, but thought I’d put it out there.

  63. My tip would be to not be afraid to try new things! I think most vegans I know have a wider variety of tastes they like, & are more adventurous, on average than omnivores. Sure, some of that is that we had to get creative when we became vegan, but I think that tends to unlock whole new worlds of awesome things to eat!

  64. Looks so good! I am intrigued by your cupcake recipe.

  65. I would encourage a new vegan to approach the adventure with an open mind. Being vegan is less about EXCLUSION and more about INCLUSION. It’s what you GET to eat, not what you CAN’T eat!

  66. I would say to just remember why you decided to make the choice to switch to a vegan diet and keep it in mind whenver you’re being tempted to stray. It can be difficult in the beginning (heck even not at the beginning, especially when traveling or out and about) but keep your chin up and you’ll get through it.

    Oh, and keep snacks in your purse…

  67. I would point a new vegan in the direction of egg replacer list for baking – I find a LOT of people get hung up about making muffins and cakes and think it’s impossible to still indulge in these ways.

  68. I would tell them to learn how to either cook or bake a few things really well and bring them to work, to class, to parties, to dinners, etc. to counteract any friends, family, or coworkers who might have negative conceptions of veganism. You can tell them your food is really quite delicious but tasting is believing!

  69. I would tell a new vegan to ask as many questions as possible and research the “hidden” animal products on labels since often times things aren’t called what they are!

  70. I would cook with the new vegan! It has worked for me in the past. Have the person over to cook and send them home with the recipe (and a few extras). If you can make tasty food, you will probably stay vegan (and having access to good vegan restaurants helps, too! Yay NYC!)

  71. Wow that jackfruit looks amazing!!
    My biggest piece of advice would be not to be too hard on yourself! It’s a big transition and every little step helps, both your body and the planet:) Take it a little at a time if you need to or jump right in but don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up.

  72. I love Melisser! You’re so right, she could make a computer manual sound like fun!

    That is the most perfect quiche I have ever seen. I’ve been wanting to try jackfruit ever since Melisser talked about those carnitas. And I really want a copy of The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life! The most vital tip that I would give to a new vegan is that they need to do their own thing and not pay attention to the bullies that might want to tease them into giving up. People make fun of things they don’t understand. The first time I tried being a vegetarian back in my teens, it didn’t work out because of too much teasing and not enough emotional strength on my part.

    Thank you for hosting this awesome giveaway! :)

  73. I would tell a new vegan that there is more out there than frozen foods, you just need to experiment in the kitchen and there a many helpful blogs online.

  74. Learn to cook, don’t be judgmental, share but don’t preach, and eat like a mofo!

  75. hey hannah, what a cool giveaway! awesome! I think the advice I would give a new vegan is to remember that you CAN eat anything, but you are CHOOSING to eat only vegan things. This always helps me from feeling sorry for myself at potluck parties or restaurants… and reminds me how strongly I feel about my convictions.

    Great pictures, as always. You are seriously amazing with the camera, girl!

  76. I don’t have advice, but I enjoyed reading all these comments. I found your blog through knitting patterns, and although I’ve never considered going vegan, reading these comments have made me intrigued. I eat whats cheap, while I need to eat whats healthy. Maybe I can incorporate at least some of these comments into my habits. (:

  77. A health tip for new vegans:

    Contrary to what people might tell you, there are indeed some excellent vegan sources for the essential omega-3-fatty acids. Easy vegan sources of omega-3-fatty acids include flax seed oil, canola oil, walnuts, brown flax seeds and sea vegetables.

    Likewise, better avoid foods that are exceptionally high in omega-6-fatty acids (the omega-3-fatty acid’s antagonist), such as sunflower oil and safflower oil. Vegan diets are per se richer in omega-6-fatty acids (grains, margerine), so its best not to add excessive extra amounts of omega-6-fatty acids, but choose sources of omega-3-fatty acids instead.

    Olive oil btw. has no noticable amounts of either fatty acid, so this is the ideal “neutral” oil to turn to for everyday cooking, frying, braising, baking etc. Choose EVOO whenever possible.

    (PS: no US mailing adress, so out of competition, but I find this information helpful nonetheless so wanted to share it).

  78. Don’t just eat what you ate before, without the meat/dairy/eggs! Make sure you get protein in every meal to avoid feeling tired and sick. Nuts, beans, soy, tempeh, yum! Also: coconut ice cream is the most delicious thing ever.

  79. I will have the cupcake please…YUM!

  80. Being vegan is easier than ever and it can be a rough adjustment at first but it’s worth it.

  81. My real email address is in my comment.

    I would tell new vegans to call restaurants ahead and speak with someone who’s actually in charge of making food or at least that works in the kitchen; not someone who doesn’t works out on the floor. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had servers lie to avoid asking the kitchen staff a question.

  82. I found your blog while googling the Vita-Mix grain attachment. I have a Vita-Mixer and we use it a LOT. While I am not a vegetarian, we do eat more produce and whole grains and legumes than we did before we bought it. The reason is simple. Soups take five minutes.
    So do dips (I do have a copy of the Cafe Flora vegetarian cookbook and it has a red lentil dip to die for, and I am NOT a fan of legumes!) and smoothies when we have colds or are not feeling like eating a full meal are easy to do.

    I am now going to get the grain attachment. I do have a dedicated grain mill, but I have had it for 18 years, and it is showing signs of slowing down and not doing what I need it to do. So, since that post on the grain attachment is over a year old, I thought I would tell you here what reading and seeing your review has done for me.

    Your blog is wonderful and I hope I may drop in from time to time to get ideas for more variety in our diets.

  83. What delicious looking recipe and pictures! This cookbook sounds wonderful.

  84. I would say to a new Vegan, don’t start off using strange ingredients. Use what you know and slowly add unfamiliar ingredients one at a time. Keep it simple.

    Rob

  85. Hi! I think my advice to a new vegan would be: Enjoy it and experiment with recipes! It is a very healthy and delicious lifestyle!

  86. the first thing i would say is, “it gets easier!”

    the first tip i would give is, “stock up on some nutritional yeast, stat!”

  87. Find a favorite mac and cheese recipe which always makes the world a more tolerable place.

  88. My advice for a new vegan is to make food you’re already familiar with but veganized versions. It makes it easier to transition.

  89. My advice for a new vegan would be EDUCATE YOURSELF! It can be easier to avoid animal products than it is to know if you are getting all of your essential nutrients. They are easy to get once you know how to get them, but if you don’t do a little self education it could be easy to omit really important ones like your b-12 vitamins for example. Luckily, there is so much information and resources online! While it is a wonderful decision to become vegan, it is also important to be a healthy vegan!

  90. My advise for a new vegan is to start slowly making changes in the way you eat. Select a recipe from this website and try it. Gradually replace non-vegan dishes with vegan ones until you have completely made the switch. If you try something you don’t really like, don’t give up. Keep trying different recipes. There are some really delicious recipes on this site and other’s listed in the blogroll section.

  91. My advice to a new vegan would be to explore! There are so many amazing fruits, vegetables, and legumes that most people never eat. Going vegan gives you a chance to break free of what you’ve always eaten and gives you a chance to try something new!

  92. My advice would be twofold. First, be careful how you think about your dietary “restrictions”: instead of thinking “I can’t eat that,” think “I don’t eat that (because of x, y, z).” After all, you are empowered and can eat whatever you want, but are choosing not to for your own good reasons.
    Second, don’t be put off when small minded people turn their noses up at trying a food just because they know it’s vegan, or who try it but then say they “knew something was off about it”. If you’re making yummy things (especially using recipes from people like Hannah and Isa) they will either come around eventually or they won’t, in which case it’s their loss!

  93. Hands down, my advice to new vegans would be – it’s all your attitude. You made an amazing, life-changing, cruelty-free, unselfish decision & if you’ve been carnivorous most of your life, it can be a tough transition at first. For me, it really sank in when I readjusted my outlook from focusing on the food I COULD NOT eat to focusing on all the amazing new food I COULD eat! Becoming vegan opened so many doors for me – I had never eaten a zucchini or a Brussels sprout! Now, I cannot imagine life without them! Not only are you making a powerful statement through your food choices & saving the lives of countless, innocent, beautiful creatures but you get to eat in a new way that makes food even MORE exciting & delicious! What is better than that?!

  94. Oh boy! I love contests. My advice to a new vegan is always, “Stick it out for at least a month before deciding if it’s for you or not.” If they press me for reasons for the month-long trial period, I tell them that any lifestyle change takes some time to get used to–especially a dietary change! If someone asks me how to prepare for going vegan, my advice also includes this: “Budget for eating out!” Trying to revamp your whole cooking style at first is overwhelming. It helps to have a little extra cash on hand to go out and explore the vegan options at the local restaurants!

  95. This book looks great! My advice for new vegans is to not worry if you “fail” every once in a while. Everyone does.

  96. I would say you are on an amazing new journey where you will learn to cook and enjoy foods you previously couldn’t identify…get a quality cookbook and start experimenting!

  97. vegweb.com’s General Tao’s Tofu would be the recipe I would first make for, then give ti a new vegan :)

  98. oooooh, i would say don’t be afraid to be adventurous! vegan cooking is just like regular cooking, just sometimes with ingredients you might be unfamiliar with. but surprisingly, it’s rarely any more difficult, and frequently much more healthy and tasty! be brave, dive right in, and get ready for some tasty, healthy living! :)

  99. Love you both, love the book!

  100. I would say to keep a notebook. There’s so much new information out there when you’re just starting out, that sometimes it’s hard to keep it all straight! So I took to jotting down notes on almost anything vegan I came across. It really helped me!

  101. As a new vegan myself I don’t have the best advise, but what has really helped me so far is making an individual reason for why I no longer want to eat each ingredient.

    Some are easier than others, for example, All I needed to do to never want to eat smarties again was to find out what carmine is. That way there is little temptation to deal with :) Research is key.

  102. My best advice would be three things:

    1. Get a good cookbook with recipes focusing on the type of cuisine you generally eat.

    2. Stock up on vegan ingredients so that you always have vegan food easily accessible.

    3. Find a vegan community, either in your city or online. The experiences and support of other vegans will help you as a “baby vegan”

  103. First off, a bunch of vegan christmas recipes, let them know how to make flax eggs, and what christmas cookies are actually vegan.
    Also, that ordering vegetarian cheeseless pizza is not always as horrible as it might sound…
    Oh, and that a lot of sweets are still vegan. You don’t have to buy everything from an expensive health food store…
    Some of that, I’d have liked to know…

  104. Remember that being vegan is a choice, and make sure you know why you made that choice. You may need to justify your veganism at times (to yourself or to others), and it’ll be easier if you have concrete reasons that are important to YOU.
    Also, check out all the vegan blogs! There are SO many delicious, free recipes and pieces of advice waiting for you on the internet. Besides Bittersweet, of course, I’d recommend Vegan Dad and Have Cake, Will Travel.

  105. always bring food when you travel – even if it is to someplace where you think your needs would be considered – because that is often not the case and it is better to be prepared.

  106. As with all things new, be patient, New Vegan, with yourself, your choice (for whatever reason(s)), and others in adopting the a vegan lifestyle. And it is a lifestyle. All of the advice given thus far, is good, and useful, so check out the blogs, websites, meetups, etc., read as much as you can, ask questions, and take it easy. Welcome to our world!

  107. When I decided to become vegan after 40 years of being a vegetarian the thing that helped me the most (to not give up) was thinking about the baby cows. Sorry if that sounds melodramatic but that was what kept me going – baby anythings belong with their mothers… and if my being vegan helped one baby stay then it was worth it. That was ten years ago and it is so easy now there is no way I could ever revert back.

  108. My advice would be what Sue Walborn (above) mentioned … make the change to veganism GRADUALLY. Don’t try and do it 100% overnight. I think changes that are made gradually are more likely to stick; additionally, doing such a big change from a SAD diet to a vegan one requires learning a whole new way of doing things.

    Do the change gradually makes such a big change much easier, IMO.

    Thanks for the contest! Skyhorse Publishing’s generosity is much appreciated!!

  109. I would love to win the Vegan Girls Guide to Life for my son. I will add many of the recipes to my recipe files for using on holidays when vegan meals are needed in addition to my menus. I have crocheted the cupcake pattern shown in recent emails and the children in my preschool class love taking them home as a special gift on their birthdays. It gives me great pleasure to hand them their cupcake!!!! I look forward to my next emailblog from bittersweet!

  110. Looks like a fantastic book, and definitely not just for girls. Love your styling of the jackfruit carnitas. I’ve been meaning to try using jackfruit as a pork substitute. Sounds just crazy enough to work 8).

  111. YOur book looks great! Can’t wait to get it! :)

  112. here’s what i tell folks who tell me they want to go vegan: learn how to cook, avoid prepackages fake meats, and don’t despair!

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