Okay, enough ranting about all the non-vegans of the world. I'd like to talk about all the great parts about being vegan in no particular order:
All things Field Roast - Their Chao slices are amazing and their Apple Sage Sausage would have been something I preferred as a pre-vegan, if I had known it existed. I've even been known to melt a slice of Tomato Cayenne Chao into taco 'meat' -- see Beyond Meat Crumbles below. M will eat a grilled cheese made solely with the Creamy Original slices. Actually, she eats them three at a time.
Beyond Meat Crumbles - I actually combine the Field Roast slices, Apple Sage Sausage, and Beyond Meat Feisty Crumbles, mustard on appetizer bread to make some kick-ass hanky pankeys. Great for anything you used to make with ground beef.
Gardein chicken strips and chicken sliders. Great easy weekday meal. Some sweet potato fries, a tomato, Veganaise and 20 minutes, presto. The strips are great with Ginger People Ginger Chili Sauce. I've heard great things about their other products, but I was never a fish sticks or pulled pork person, so I'm not looking to replicate those. I have seen they've come out with a vegan version of what closely resemble Hot Pockets -- [insert Jim Gaffigan voice here] -- that I would like to try if they ever make it to CLT.
Veganaise - could have switched this out a long time ago and never noticed. I prefer the grapeseed oil (purple) but I haven't tried one I didn't like.
Peanut butter - I have a love/hate relationship with Whole Foods. One of the things I love is grinding some peanut butter. I have PB&J (preserves) on toast almost every morning. Great to eat on the way to a job.
Hummus - didn't love it at first, but it has since become a staple. Some whole grain pita chips and spinach artichoke hummus is a perfect meal/snack that's very satisfying and easy to eat/transport. I often take a refrigerated bag with a baggy of chips and a container of hummus, some fruit and I'm good to go for the day. When attorneys decide they want to 'work through lunch' I have something to munch on during breaks. I love red pepper hummus on wraps. I have a dream that I will one day get a pita to work for me because I love Pita Pit's hummus pita with tons of veggies.
Fakin Bacon (tempeh) - does it taste like bacon? Not really. But it is really good and makes an easy BLT. I like to saute some onions and spinach, Veganaise the toast up (of course) and throw some tomato on. Really satisfying, quick easy meal.
Being able to cut anything on a cutting board without worrying about cross-contamination. Sometimes I forget and will go to change it out for a new one after cutting up something with a meaty texture and then I realize NONE OF MY FOOD HAS SALMONELLA IN IT.
I also love Justin's dark chocolate PB cups. Their PB is creamy and smooth and the whole thing is delicious. I think if I were to eat a Reese's now, it would taste like powdered crap.
I also probably don't go a day without at least one square of the Endangered Species 80-something percent chocolate. I've been told there's a panther on the front, but I'm pretty sure it's a chocolate lab.
Amy's Kitchen makes a lot of great vegan frozen meals. I love the Sonoma burgers. The rice and veggie-teriyaki-whatever and Quesadillas (somehow they make eating black beans tolerable, craveable in fact) makes a nice working-from-home lunch. A lot of their stuff takes 35-50 minutes in the oven, so it's not a great travel food. If you're wondering what of theirs is vegan and what's not, it usually says it right at the beginning of the ingredients so you don't have to go digging for hidden milk products. Their breakfast scrambles are also great in both forms. I've tried their vegan mac & cheese and the cheese was a bit too plastic for me, but decent taste. Probably something you'd like if you were ever into Velveeta, which I was not. I'd prefer to use the Chao slices if I'm trying to make something cheesy. I do like their margherita pizza, even though it's got a bit of Daiya cheese on it, which is not my favorite.
Apple Crumble Love Crunch - also very portable. Keep it in my purse, just in case.
Fruit - love granny smith apples and nearly anything citrus. Strawberries (when you can get decent organic ones - they're a dirty dozen.) Bananas can never be wrong. Grapes are also hard to find as organic, but a great snack when you can find them.
Veggies - never loved veggies but I try more and more all the time and find I like some I didn't used to, especially when paired with a good sauce or other veggies that complement them. Black olives, for instance, are something I would never eat by themselves, but are great with other veggies.
Whole Foods double chocolate vegan cookies. Ate these before I went vegan and they are to die for. Glad I only get there once a month or so because I would be 200 pounds if I had full-time access to these.
Virtual Vegan Friends - so many great vegans online. Better than that, so many great vegan recipes and products online. Other than medicine, there's not anything I can think of that I couldn't find a vegan version of.
Vegan apps - Happy Cow has found me vegan restaurants or restaurants with vegan option when I'm traveling. Vegan Express lists common grocery store foods that are vegan (sort of a portable 'accidentally vegan' list. I used it a lot when I first became vegan, but don't spend all that much time with it now. Also in my vegan folder is Healthy Out, which you can filter through dietary preferences, Vegan Delish - recipes, Animal-Free - look up ingredients to see if they're animal derived, and Forks Over Knives, which is great because you can save recipes on it and it'll make a grocery list of the ingredients you need. Not an app, but VegWeb.com also has great recipes where you can build a grocery list and save recipes you want to try later.
Passion - I love all things vegan and will spread the word to anyone who's willing to listen. I also do my best to educate myself in order to better educate others.
Vegan restaurants - Bean Vegan Cuisine is one of my favorite places and they now have a little shop that sells some great vegan food items.
Non-vegan restaurants that accommodate vegans - In a perfect world, I would only support vegan things. Sure, this list is in no particular order, but the things at the top are from vegan-only companies and vegan things made by non-vegan companies come second. I do love Bean but it's at least 30 minutes away. There's another vegan restaurant that I like even more, but it's take-out only and even further. I get there a couple times a year. I recently went to Mellow Mushroom to eat with non-vegans and they were very accommodating and even have Daiya cheese. Do I like spending money somewhere that supports the oppression of animals? Absolutely not. But I do like that options are not so scarce that I always have to cook at home.
There's so many vegan things I want to explore still and some of that will take place after I move. I've got a tiny kitchen right now that is very frustrating and it's maddening to try to use a blender or food processor in there if you need counter space for anything else. I do make a mean vegan lasagna (They Won't Believe it's Vegan Lasagna from the aforementioned VegWeb) that requires a food processor to make the vegan ricotta, but that lasts me weeks.
The list could go on and on but these are the things that make it maddening that others think they can't live without animal products. This is the tip of the iceberg. I've never felt deprived or like I'm dieting or that I'm living a bland life or suffering at all. Well, maybe it did feel a bit restricting at first, but it was more like I wasn't sure where to start or how many options were available.