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Colorado Springs Vegan & Vegetarian Group Message Board › Suggestions & tips for going vegan?

Suggestions & tips for going vegan?

Kelly A.
Colorado Springs, CO
Post #: 8
I have been vegetarian for many, many years, and I am finally making the switch to vegan. When I first went vegetarian, I wasted a lot of money buying mock-meat products that turned out to be disgusting before I found the ones that I liked. It would have been great to have someone guiding me in those choices. Now that I am going vegan, can anyone give me suggestions for products that are good and products to stay away from? I would love to receive information on any of the following:

1) Best vegan products (mayo, butter, cheese, etc.)

2) Worst vegan products to AVOID

3) Best stores to buy vegan products (food, shoes, purses, etc.) -- I live in the Springs, but will travel to Denver if needed

4) Common things that I may have in my life that I may not realize are NON-vegan (e.g., I know that the mock-meat products usually contain eggs)

5) Best vegan cookbooks and/or websites

6) Best restaurants with vegan options

7) Best vegan dog foods and cat foods, and where to buy them

8) Any other tips you may have!

I have already signed up for the 21-day vegan kick-start (, and I am very excited to make this change to my life!

Thanks so much!
user 8091234
Colorado Springs, CO
Post #: 102
I'll tell you all I know...

1) Best vegan products (mayo, butter, cheese, etc.)
mayo - vegenaise, any kind. I hear there is nayonaise, I've never tried it. I like vegenaise with tofurkey and follow your heart cheddar sandwiches. It also goes good on toast with avocado and a dash of salt.
butter - I like smart balance light, it has flax oil in it. I use it for everything. It's by the same people as earth balance, but cheaper. I actually ate this long before I was vegan. You can also bake with it/fry with it, whatever.
Cheese - Daiya, you can find it at whole foods. I love the mozerella, never tried the cheddar. Follow your heart is good for sandwiches and things of that nature. Daiya melts nicely.
Nutritional yeast is also nice for making cheese sauces - you can find it at health food stores. Natural Grocer keeps it in the vitamin section.
Ice cream - I love temptations, I don't think they have it in Colorado Springs. :( Second best would be coconut bliss, any flavor or soy dream, vanilla fudge swirl. You'll have a happy moment with that one, it's that good!
I'd also recommend not diving into the alternatives right away, they may let you down. Give it a month, then you won't remember the "originals" as well.
best cookbook, I think, is 1,000 vegan recipes by Robin Robertson. It has basic things, a lot of quick things, and it is the same price as the ones by the "cool" authors.
For sweets, I recommend vegan cupcakes take over the world by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, I'm sure her cookie book would be nice too...
Alternative Baking Company cookies are also AWESOME, you can get them at Sammy's, Natural Grocer, and Whole Foods.

2) Worst vegan products to AVOID
Some of the rice ice creams have a slight ricey aftertaste.
And, off brand vegan cheeses. I don't go much for "fake" foods though, so I don't know.

3) Best stores to buy vegan products (food, shoes, purses, etc.) -- I live in the Springs, but will travel to Denver if needed. is nice.... I'm not a big consumer though. For food, I used Natural Grocer for my special items and then any grocery store for beans/rice/produce.

4) Common things that I may have in my life that I may not realize are NON-vegan (e.g., I know that the mock-meat products usually contain eggs)
animal tested lotions and cosmetics....
for lotion, I recommend Salus, it's in manitou or desert essence available at Natural Grocers. I don't do make up though.

5) Best vegan cookbooks and/or websites
Craigslist vegan forum, cookbooks mentioned in #1, veganessentials. Amazon also has a lot of vegan things. I also hear moo shoes is good.

6) Best restaurants with vegan options.
City O' City and Water Course in Denver.
P.F. Chang's all their vegetarian entrees are vegan.
Poor Richard's has some stuff.
Souper Salad labels vegan/vegetarian stuff.
Noodles has a few things.
I hear Trinity is nice, I've never been. :(

7) Best vegan dog foods and cat foods, and where to buy them
Evolution for both. Vegecat for cats. I also recommend reading Obligate Carnivore. All of this is available at
I make seitan and use that with the vegecat ph for my kitties. (ph is mandatory for males...)

8) Any other tips you may have!
Meet more vegans!
Skinny Bitch has a nice by-product list.
Watch earthlings on
email me if you have questions....
user 7165713
Colorado Springs, CO
Post #: 93
Hi Kelly,

1) Best cheese that you can buy at the store is Vegan Gourmet ( I prefer the monterey jack and mozzarella over the cheddar). It will melt but not quite as easy as regular cheese. I think there are some melting tips on their website.
Best Butter: Earth Balance ( they now have a soy free one too that is good too)
Best Milk: Almond milk for cereals and hot chocolates but for baking and cooking I still use soy milk if the recipe calls for it.
Eggs: I usually make a tofu scramble. I have a great recipe posted on the message board if you put in a search for it.
Alfredo Sauce: I have a super simple recipe for Alfredo Sauce on the Message Board (tip soak the cashews for a few hours before you make it in a blender).

3) Best vegan shoe store in Colorado: http://www.ahimsafoot...­
You can do online shopping there too. Sometimes I luck out at Ross or Macys too for vegan shoes. You just have to check every label at these stores.
Buying food at any natural food store should be easy. Whole Foods, Natural Grocers, Mountain Mommas.

4. A great mock meat is called Field Roast. Also Sunshine burgers are good too! Much more natural too then a lot of the mock meats. I used Field Roast (Italian Sausage torn in pieces) as a layer in a lasagna that turned out good.

5. Tons of wonderful vegan cookbooks out there! I like to see if the library first carries the book before I go ahead and buy it. I am enjoying the book "The Vegan Table" right now. There are so many books I would go to your local bookstore and see how easy the recipes look and if it's the type of food you would like. Any books written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz are good ones!

6. Restaurants are hard so we eat home a lot. Trinity has more vegan options then most places in town. But its more or a burger and fries kind of place. Silver Pond (chinese) has a large vegetarian selection for dinner. Taco bell I can order a bean and rice burrito and a tostada fresco style. I went to Macaroni Grill recently and they had a nice create your own pasta dish that was really good. Our choices are not a lot yet. At many places there is only one thing we can eat but if they make that dish well then that is what matters.

8.)And one other bit of advice. Include natural fats/proteins like nuts and avocados in your diet. If your not eating dairy these are good substitutes for protein and fat. I lived along time as a vegetarian fearing the fats of these natural foods. In fact I would always go for low fat sour cream then a guacamole. When you eat right you don't have to worry about that anymore. And eating these foods will make you feel better. We hear from people that they tried vegan and didn't feel good. Well you have to eat the right foods and not just eat a plain salad with low fat dressing.

Hope that helps and you can also e-mail me if you have any questions at all. Eating a mostly vegan diet for me has been one of the best decisions I have made : )

Kelly A.
Colorado Springs, CO
Post #: 10
Lisa and Eliza, thanks so much! I am going to make a list of all your suggestions to take to the store with me this weekend! Thanks especially for mentioning sweets -- I have a serious sweet-tooth!

As of a few days ago, my BF is talking seriously about moving from a total meat-based diet to vegan! I truly hope he does it, but we'll see.... :-)
Kaiserslautern, DE
Post #: 74
Hi Kelly,
Keep us posted on your 21 day program. I think you'll find it pretty easy to make the change. I'm sure you are already a label reader but now you'll be even more so. I very recently went vegan. I had a hard time with cheese and as time went on I eventually lost my craving for it. There are some great mock cheese sauces online made with nutritional yeast. My best resource for going vegan and more raw has been online. If you are craving a certain meal, google it as vegan, read the reviews/ratings and see what you come up with. So far I've had good results based on other positive reviews. I have also recently cut out a lot of the meat substitutes since I wanted to start getting away from even the "processed" vegan and vegetarian foods. We do however, enjoy the Sunshine Burgers (even more so when they are on sale). Most all the Health Food stores carry them. Flax seed is my egg replacer and other than cooking with soy milk we mostly consume enriched hemp, almond or rice milk (makes me feel like I'm hopefully absorbing some B-12). We also really enjoy the Tempeh Bacon strips and using Tempeh more than tofu or other unfermented soy products as I'm really trying to watch our family's soy intake. Have you combed through the message board? There are a lot of great topics discussed that you might find helpful. I am adding the dates to help you find each post but I guess the page number would have been better. I'll apologize now if you have already visited these.

December 5, 2008: Vegan Food Alternatives and Favorite Vegan Food
Jan 8, 2009: Ingredient Substitute Guide
Jan 5, 2009: Enhancing a Healthy Veg Diet
January 29, 2009: Great Resource Websites for Colorado Vegetarians
March 26,2009: Recipe Websites and more....
March 29, 2009: Vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Colorado Springs (vegan in here too)
November 10, 2009: Daiya Cheese
November 8, 2009: More Vegan Cheeses to check out.... (I haven't tried all these but they were reviewed in Vegetarian Times)
July 31, 2009: Confused over Soy Debate
October 28, 2009: Obligate Carnivore - Cats, Dogs, and What it Really Means to be Vegan
October 23, 2009: Gardein- Great Chicken Substitute
October 20, 2009: Alicia Silverstone's Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips
October 1, 2009: TV Show Ellen- Favorite Vegan Taco Recipe
December 27, 2009: Exciting New Veg Cookbooks
January 2, 2010: vegan blog
January 17, 2010: Kale - the leafy green superfood
January 18, 2010: Fabulous Recipes (lots of vegan)

And then you have probably seen the most recent posts from Linda "Vegan - what to eat and how to pass the word to others". She has this under the files section (a good vegan food pyramid) and Christine seems to be having great fun and results with her recipes under "great vegan chef".

We eat lots of salads - add raw pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and drizzle a little EFA or Udo's oil on top and sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top as well. Nice to cut up your favorite veggies early in the week, store in the fridge and then your salads don't seem so time consuming to prepare during the week.
We make lots of green/fruit smoothies (add either spinach, kale, or swiss chard along with berries, bananas, agave, flax or hemp seed or EFA oil and so on).

Also, I've had amazing results with ALL of Isa's books (Vegan Brunch, Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World, Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar)
My sister really enjoys Dreena Burton's books as well (easy recipes with not so crazy ingredients)­

Here's a great recipe out of Vegan Brunch (using Tempeh)­

We don't eat out much so that we can spend more money on good food at Whole Foods, Sunflower Market (double coupon day on Wed.), Vitamin Cottage (Natural Grocer's) and Costco.

We don't eat much of these but they are pretty good replacements: Veganaise, Tofutti Cream Cheese and Tofutti Sour Cream.

Hope this helps some....


Kaiserslautern, DE
Post #: 75
This is a great website as well that I think you'll find helpful:­
Kelly A.
Colorado Springs, CO
Post #: 12
Shannon, thanks so much for taking the time to give me all that information!

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