Welcome! This is the fifth post in my 2019 guest blogging series. Elle DeFreitas, the author of this piece, is a vegan mogul in Austin, TX. From her colorful and informative Instagram to the Vegan Wonder events she hosts around town, she truly has adopted the vegan lifestyle and invites everyone to join in! She’s approachable and genuinely interested when you have questions about veganism and healthy diets. I think you’ll really find her beginner’s guide to going vegan helpful! Enjoy!
I followed Shruthi on Instagram when I moved to Austin in 2016. I enjoyed her veggie food pictures and used her IG as a guide when I moved. Connecting with others over food is so fun to me so, after months of following her on social media, I finally worked up the nerve to ask her for lunch. Long story short, we are friends now and here I am writing a beginner’s guide to going vegan ha!
The Start of It All
Back in 2017, my boyfriend and I went on a trip to Mexico City. While there, we ate lots of tacos, cheese, meat, eggs, etc. and we noticed throughout the journey that we felt rough. On the trip home, I think we were both holding our stomachs on the plane! Right then and there on the flight, we decided to try “going vegan.” We didn’t give it a time frame; we just thought let’s give it a try. We wanted to be healthier and we thought veganism could help us with that!
Once home, we watched ‘What The Health’ and ‘Forks Over Knives,’ and these documentaries drove it home for us. Over the next few months, we experimented with plant-based food, tried vegan restaurants, learned what jack fruit is, made new vegan friends, and attended vegan events, really immersing ourselves in the scene. I noticed a gap in the market for elevated vegan events and that’s when my brainchild Vegan Wonder was born. I began hosting vegan food events around town and have loved every minute of it!
So Where Am I At Now?
I would say that I am mostly vegan for health, but I am also grateful to be helping animals and the environment. My thought is to eat what is best for my body, and that is how I make food decisions.
Three Tips to Transition to a Healthy Vegan Diet:
Milk, cheese, eggs: are all being replaced by plants.
Some products are better than others; I’ve done a lot of exploring and research, and these are the best replacement products I’ve found:
- Milk: Malk Organics – this comes in oat, almond, and cashew. Malk has the purest ingredients of any milk I’ve seen.
- Eggs: Spero and Just Egg – these work as a scrambled egg. Stay tuned for more vegan egg products out on the market!
- Cheese: Treeline, Monty’s, and Miyokos are my favorites. If you live in Austin, check out Rebel, a new all-vegan cheese shop.
When you’re first starting veganism, it can be hard to cook.
You may feel like you only have lettuce and mushrooms to work with. FEAR NOT! These three recipe blogs/cookbooks have done the groundwork for us:
- Minimalist Baker https://minimalistbaker.com
- Oh She Glows https://ohsheglows.com
- Thug Kitchen https://www.thugkitchen.com/book/tk1-official-cookbook
Find the vegan restaurants around you!
Use the app Happy Cow, an all-vegan and veg-friendly restaurant finer. Or search “vegan near me” to see what’s happening in your city.
My favorite Austin “healthy vegan” restaurants are Curcuma, Counter Culture, Casa de Luz, TLV, ATX Food Co, Blenders & Bowls, Bento Picnic, Poke Poke, La Matta, Lucky Robot and Sway.
Being vegan has been fun for me because I’ve tried so many new foods and have made lots of like-minded friends that have taught me so much about health, animals, and the environment. This isn’t the right choice for everyone, and that is also 100 percent okay. Do what is best for you.
Start simple and go meatless one or two days a week and see where it takes you! For anyone interested in incorporating more healthy vegan habits, I love providing information that helped me in my journey! You can connect with me via email here.