Happy Sunday Sweet Friends! I hope your coffee is hot and you’re cozy on the couch ready to dive into today’s blog post. A lot of times on Instagram I’m asked to share my personal recommendations on everyday products that are easy swaps to make when switching to a plant based diet- a “vegan starter kit”- if you will, LOL.

So that’s what I’m going to do! When we started our vegan journey we leaned a LOT on plant based products because it was the easiest way to take out the things we didn’t want to eat without reinventing the wheel. While we do still eat meat alternatives from time to time, I do strive to eat a more whole foods plant based diet as that ensures I am nourishing our family in the best way. But hey man, I’m not here to judge. I remember how many times I drew a blank because I knew I didn’t want to continue consuming animals but didn’t know what to buy and whether or not it was any good!

I’m breaking down the post into the most commonly asked questions: dairy, meat and cheese alternatives so you can easily scroll down to whatever you’re looking to replace. As a note, this post is not sponsored in any way- I’m simply wanting to make this transition super easy for you that if you’re not already making the decision to be vegan, you’ll at least have somewhere to start when you do. *wink*

Dairy Alternatives

Our favourite dairy alternative is soy milk. It is high in nutritional content, tastes pretty neutral and for me, it bakes really well. When we stopped drinking cow’s milk, I didn’t want the experience to be a sad one. After all, it’s NOT a sad decision to make, (same goes for cheese, but more on that later!). There are so many delicious dairy free options out there that it really seems silly that humans rely on the milk of another species. But again, I get it, it’s what I was taught, how I was raised and now I’m woke AF. LOL!

Here are some other delicious options to try. Make it a fun taste test; blindfold your kids or spouse and go through all of the milks to figure out what tastes the best. In the beginning we toggled between almond and soy since some of our family preferred one over the other. Now we just drink the one and they’re pretty particular right down to the brand too! It’s important to note that you should find a fortified plant milk to ensure you’re getting some vitamins and minerals such as calcium, vitamin d, iron and B12!

  • Soy – we like the Silk brand (same goes for my coffee creamer!)
  • Oat – we like Earth’s Own brand (same goes for the barista blend!)
  • Almond – we like Malk (not fortified though!)
  • Cashew – Silk or Earth’s Own is good

Ice Creams & Yogurt

  • Magnum dairy free ice cream bars
  • Ben & Jerry’s dairy free ice cream selections
  • Breyers makes a peanut butter almond based ice cream and a cookies and cream (good, bigger container, decent price point!)
  • PC coconut ice cream and mango ice cream (SOO GOOD)
  • Gay Lea coconut whip (for all your whipped cream needs!)
  • Silk – coconut based yogurt plain (also now comes in fruit flavours too!)
  • PC – coconut based yogurt
  • Chobani – coconut based yogurt

Meat Alternatives

This one is the most frequently asked question when it comes to cooking plant based meals. I get it, we’re all so used to having a piece of animal on our plate, that when it’s gone, we suddenly don’t know what to do LOL. In a whole food plant based diet, you’ll find yourself leaning on tofus, tempeh, beans, lentils and whole grains for your source of complete protein BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with some pretty kick ass products out there! You’ll note I don’t have Beyond Meat in this list. Honestly I enjoyed them when they became available with A&W- but since then, I found I could never finish a burger and its mainly due to it’s taste. It has a strange after taste to me so it’s not making the list LOL.

Burgers, Grounds & Others

  • PC Undeniable burger – by far our most favourite plant based burger
  • PC chick’n strips & patties
  • Great Value meatless burger – so delicious and best price point at $6 for 4- will have to share in stories when I can find a Walmart that has it in stock LOL!
  • Yves veggie burger – easy to find, tastes great also their veggie ground is one of my go-tos
  • Gardein all types of burger patties & meatless ground, meatballs, fish filets, chick’n strips, chick’n patties
  • Lightlife veggie ground

Cold Cuts & Sausages

  • Lightlife bacon, hot dog wieners
  • Yves veggie bacon, faux turkey ham, veggie ham, hot dog wieners
  • Tofurky spinach pesto sausages, smoked veggie ham
  • Field Roast – apple sage sausages
  • Yves – kale & carmelized onion sausages

Cheese Alternatives

Dun dun dunnnnnnn. This question is HUGE! People always say to me, “I’d totally be vegan if I didn’t love cheese so much.” Well friends, your love for cheese (and the 5 mins it takes to consume it) isn’t enough to justify the immense suffering these animals go through to get these products. Believe me, I know they taste delicious and there’s really nothing out there that can replace the flavour of animal based cheeses. BUT- when you shift your thinking into experiencing flavours for what they are instead of comparing them to dairy, you’re opening yourself up to a WORLD of incredible flavour combinations and textures. As the saying goes- “Comparison is the thief of joy” and friends, I don’t need ANYONE taking away my joy for vegan cheese LOL!

Melty Cheese

  • Emborg cheese slices and shreds
  • Chao cheese slices
  • Vegan Gourmet slices & shred, parmesan
  • Daiya “cutting board” series cheese shreds (hear me out guys- the cutting board version is SO MUCH more melty and tasty than the original- try to find it!)

Spreads & Gourmet

  • Pulse Kitchen – sharp cheddar
  • Zengarry Fauxmagerie – basically all are delish
  • Miyoko’s – also all delish
  • Nuts for Cheese – unbrielievable
  • Violife – parmesan
  • Black Sheep Vegan Cheeze – voursin, veta, camemvert

Well there you have it friends! I will continue to update this list of goodies as I come across something new! Remember to give yourself grace when making this transition- you’re doing something new that is going to require a little bit more time to figure out what your family likes best. As always, feel free to send me an email or send a DM over on Instagram and I’ll do my best to answer any questions you may have!

HAPPY SHOPPING!