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As a continuation of the first part, here are another three small things you can do to make going vegan easier.

1. Buy or rent a cookbook. There are many great vegan cookbooks out there. Libraries are even starting to carry them. So go to the nearest bookstore or library and browse the selection. I have written a couple of reviews (here and here) but there are many more options available. You can try “Appetite for Reduction” if you are looking for low-fat and healthy recipes, “The Kind Diet” if you are interested in a macrobiotic diet, or “Color Me Vegan” if you want a little bit of everything. Many libraries are even offering the option to electronically download a book to rent.

2. Don’t give up on your favorite food. You love sushi but think you’ll never have it again once you go vegan. I have great news: you don’t have to give it up!  Quail egg shooters are out of the question, but many sushi restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan rolls. I’ve found that many places are willing to make substitutions if you ask nicely. Sushi is also very easy to learn to make at home and very inexpensive. Learning how to modify your old recipes will make going vegan that much easier. Check out sites like VegWeb for recipe ideas.

3. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you are like me, you spent a good portion of your life being told that meat and other animal products are vital for your survival. Our culture holds the belief that animals are at our disposal and it can be hard to go against this idea. If you slip up or need extra time to fully make the transition, don’t fret. What matters is that you are trying and you are making a difference for those whose voice cannot be heard.

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If you are interested in helping the animals, but are unsure of where to start, or are not ready to go vegan just yet, here are three easy ways to make your meals a little less cruel.

1. Switch to Earth Balance and stop using dairy butter. I love Earth Balance! You can use it as you would dairy butter in baking and cooking: you can saute with it, melt it, use it as a spread, and bake with it. The Earth Balance Buttery Spread also comes in stick form so you can easily measure the required amount. Earth Balance products are vegan and they offer soy-free alternatives as well. Earth Balance is found in many stores, including Wal-Mart.

2. Use vegetable stock. For many recipes, you can substitute vegetable stock in place of  beef or chicken stock without compromising the flavor. Vegetable stocks are available in the same section of beef and chicken stocks at grocery stores. If you want a chicken-flavored stock that is vegan, you can get that too. Vegan Essentials sell Better Bouillon Powder in beef and chicken flavors that are completely vegan.

3. Eat one less meat dish a week. If you have a turkey sandwich for lunch every day, why don’t you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch one day? Or if Thursday is stir-fry night, make a vegetable stir-fry and leave the chicken or cow out of the dish. Once you get used to making one less meat-based dish a week, make two meatless dishes a week. And then three.

Even if you don’t go any farther than the three steps mentioned above, you are still making a difference. Making changes to your food choices can be hard and take some getting used to, but I bet that with each change you make you will expand your culinary repertoire and gain confidence in a cruelty-free way of eating.

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