Sometimes the most miserable thing about being vegan is dealing with non-vegan CRAVINGS.
In my mind, cravings often take on the form of a monster under the bed or horror-movie killer knocking down the door. The victim runs, but there is no place to hide.
I often have no control over my cravings. Willpower, too, can be a fickle thing; at least that is how I have come to know it. One minute you have an abundance of resolve and the next minute you’re washing down grilled cheese bites with gulps of milkshake. No?! That never happens to you? Umm, Okay, don’t judge me, I only did it once!
Maybe there is not much that you can do besides compost the remainder of the offensive thing that you have just ingested, if you wake up in the midst of a somnambulant lapse of judgment.
The one trick I do have up my sleeve is this: I have devised a secretly unsophisticated pairing of non-vegan cravings with yummy vegan foods. Some of them I have chosen for no reason other than it satisfied my craving once. Others are based on speculations about why my body might be craving a certain thing.
I have never read anything that proves that cravings for food are directly related to nutritional contents, but I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to keep nutrients in mind. Of course, all of these are a matter of personal taste. Some of the items on the list are things that are arguably vegan, but are often excluded or limited the diet of one who is concerned about their health.
Vegan Substitutions to Satisfy Your Non-Vegan Cravings
1. If You’re Craving Beef . . .
For some reason eating things like kale or broccoli cooked in tamari or soy sauce has helped me with this one. Black beans, kidney beans, and mushrooms are good for this craving too. Who doesn’t love portobello mushroom steaks?
2. If You’re Craving Candy . . .
Dried fruits, fruit leather, and smoothies usually help me curb my sweet tooth.
3. If You’re Craving Cheese . . .
When I’m craving cheese I’ve found that cashews, avocado, nutritional yeast, and daiya cheese are all good options.
4. If You’re Craving Chicken . . .
Seitan! It seems like I’ve had the most “wait this is vegan, right?” moments with seitan. Chickpeas are another substitute that I often love.
5. If You’re Craving Comfort foods . . .
Sometimes the foods I am craving are because I am craving the sentiment that is attached with eating them. What is the feeling you are craving? Try to identify it and it may help you come up with a solution. For example, what I usually really want are ice cream or some other type of sweet, or friend and greasy fast food (remember my cheese sandwich mentioned above?). Luckily there are vegan alternatives that can satisfy my cravings.
6. If You’re Craving Eggs . . .
Try tofu! Tofu scramble, tofu eggless “egg” salad. Baked tofu bagel sandwiches are a breakfast time favorite of mine. I also hear one can make a mean crepe using chickpea flour!
7. If You’re Craving Fish . . .
Sushi or really almost anything with seaweed in it. Make a creamy lemon-dill aoli to go on a tempeh or tofu “fish” sandwich. Sea vegetables are packed with trace minerals, so start experimenting with them!
8. If You’re Craving Fried Foods. . .
Indulge in something fatty, like nuts or avocado. Add a little coconut or olive oil to whatever you’re making. Try some kale chips!
9. If You’re Craving Milk . . .
Learn how to make your own milks. I love making my own raw almond milk because it tastes fresher than any milk that ever came out of a carton. Another thing I eat when I’m craving something rich and creamy is anything made with coconut milk. Tahini can make a nice creamy sauce or dressing.
10. If You’re Craving Pork . . .
I’ve tried some really yummy seitan and tempeh vegan sausages. The list of types of homemade vegan bacons I have tried and liked are endless: tofu, tempeh, eggplant, seitan, and coconut, to name a few.
11. If You’re Craving Rich Foods . . .
Try curries, miso, or roasted garlic.
12. If You’re Craving Sour Cream . . .
I am convinced that guacamole would beat sour cream in a battle on any day. If you want a rich dressing or sauce you can drizzle over something, try using tahini.
Now that so much time has passed, I remember the things I used to eat and I much prefer the vegan versions. Sometimes I think I could just use a bit more reprogramming. I’ve successfully staved off a doughnut craving with a nice hearty salad. Afterwards I felt really good because I made a healthy choice. Try to establish a new set of cravings by trying new foods and eating well. When I give into my cravings, I usually end up eating something not as good and feeling worse afterwards.
P.S. Don’t even try and make me give up dark chocolate unless you think you’d like a knuckle sandwich!