Everyone has their own experience going vegan, which I’ve learned from joining a few different Facebook groups and sharing my journey with the rest of the vegan community. But there should be a few commonalities, such as the compelling reasons for wanting to make the switch to plant-based foods. Watching documentaries such as What the Health and especially Game Changers (being that I’m an athlete) helped me realize that the health benefits far outweighed the bliss I enjoyed after taking a bite of the finest Gruyere and even my beloved go-to salmon dish with crispy skin.
If you can’t already tell, I had always been a major meat, fish, and dairy lover. Before going vegan, I ate at least one cup of Greek yogurt every single day and my protein portion size at dinner (which usually rotated between chicken, ground beef, ground turkey, or steak) was sizable in comparison to the carbs on my plate. Maybe not the veggies — and that’s because I have always been committed to eating healthy — but coming to terms with the fact that plants are actually way healthier and can be just as nutrient dense as animal protein took a lot of time and processing for me.
In the back of my mind, I always knew that the decision I was making to buy and eat meat was harmful to the environment, and especially to animals, but I felt like that food was my fuel for hour-long workouts at least six days a week (I run, cycle, swim, strength train, and practice yoga). Little did I know, I would feel just as charged, if not more energized, for my daily gym routine eating nuts, seeds, whole grains, and plant-based foods and — this is the best part! — there are delicious tasting replacements for all of the meat, fish, and dairy I’d be giving up. (You better believe I found an almond-based “yogurt” that tastes just like that Total 2% Faje I never thought I could completely omit.)
Ahead, my guide to the best-tasting vegan foods that have successfully replaced a specific animal product in my old diet. Trust me, I’ve tried just about every brand out there at this point — you won’t regret investing in these companies specifically, and I’ll be updating this list as I find more gems, so drop me a line if you think there’s something I’m missing.