It’s funny. I’ve been vegan more than a year now and I have to say that I was surprised how easy it can be. Even if a person finds it hard to go all the way, there are some really easy things that can be done to use less animals products.

Why am I saying this now? I just came back from a vacation with my family, and we ate really, really well. OK, we were in the US, which is the land of plenty. That plenty includes vegan options to foods. It’s amazing the quality and quantity of all the food out there. We rented a house with a full kitchen, and I had a real party when I was there.

If you’re wondering how, I have two words for you – Whole Foods. Whole Foods is the most amazing health food supermarket in the world. When I lived in Dallas, over 20 years ago, we went to Whole Foods to buy all the neat different types of flour to make really cool breads. It was great 20 years ago. As good as it was back then, to my new vegan eyes, it was nirvana. Tofurky and shnitzel and burgers and cold cuts and ground “beef” and non-dairy ice creams. I could spend all day just talking about the ice creams. My favorite ice cream was (wait for it…) Purely Decadent. Now how can you go wrong with something called Purely Decadent? Not that I had time to try out all the flavors, but I think that my favorite was chocolate peanut butter. All I can say is WOW.

Besides all the cool stuff that I was able to buy, it was so easy to pick up cake and pancake mixes in the supermarket and just modify what needs to be added. Instead of milk, I used soy or coconut milk. Instead of eggs, I used apple sauce. I promise, no one could tell that they were vegan. I know, all those mixes are laden with chemicals and nasty things that we don’t want to eat on a regular basis. I say it’s all OK. It’s perfectly fine to take short cuts now and then. My whole philosophy is trying to find ways to make it easier to be vegan. This one works great.

How do you know which mixes are OK to use? The first thing I that did was look for a kosher symbol on the packaging. If there is a symbol and it doesn’t have a “D” next to it, that means it has no dairy in the product. After that, I do a scan of the ingredients for eggs. Another thing to look for is the list of allergens that the product might contain. A lot of products now include a list on the packaging. I’m sorry that people have allergies, but it does make it a lot easier to figure out what’s animal free.

One of the things that I did while I was away (besides go on a ridiculous number of roller coasters) was bake cookies for a conference that I was sponsoring. The Pet Wiki was a sponsor at BlogPaws and I made my sugar cookie recipe to give out at the table. I also made a cookbook that was half recipes for pets, and the other half vegan recipes. I gave the cookbooks out at the conference, but that’s a whole other story. Let me tell you right now, if you don’t have a rolling pin, a can of Pam can do the trick. I didn’t have a mixer, but hand mixing the dough worked just was well.

I’ll be going to the US again next week for another conference. I’m so glad that we will be staying in my father-in-law’s apartment. That means that I’ll have a kitchen and a fridge to make all these yummy foods again.

Vegans of Israel – we need to find a way to import these foods over here! I can’t afford to travel back and forth to have Earth Balance margarine and Veganaise. There’s got to be a way. Does anyone have any protectizia with an importer?