Helpful tips? suggestions? Cookbooks? Recipes? Thanks
If you're looking to eat fewer additives, I'd avoid meat substitutes. I don't think turning small green soybeans into things that resemble hot dogs and cheese is natural or additive-free. If you stick to grains, fruits and vegetables, that would naturally be low in fat. But don't forget that a lot of fats are good for you and they help you absorb nutrients better.
Have you considered talking to a nutritionist about making a safe switch to a primarily vegan diet?
The good news is that you can still have banana bread, and you might like it even better than a conventional recipe! There are plenty of vegan recipe sites and blogs out there, just do a search. But the best way to get started is to experiment with your own time-tested recipes.
If you really like banana bread, you can adapt your recipe to be vegan. For example, one tablespoon ground flaxseeds blended with 3 tbp warm water is the same consistency as an egg, and can be used to replace them. Or, for sour cream, sub store-bought coconut yogurt. My favorite replacement for butter is coconut butter. Coconut butter is halfway between coconut oil and shredded dried coconut. You can make your own by combining coconut flour and virgin coconut oil, or just blending dried, unsweetened coconut until it turns to butter (you have to have a pretty high-powered blender to do this, though.)
Many things you wouldn't expect happen to be vegan. Example: Most bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, except for the low-quality brands that add milk powder as a cheap filler. You don't have to drastically change your diet, you just have to 're-prioritize' your plate. For example, the traditional American plate is half meat, one quarter starch, and one quarter vegetable. A vegan plate is vegetable, vegetable, vegetable :)
For example, for dinner tonight, I had pan roasted kubocha squash, a simply dressed spinach salad, a store-bought vegetable burger (all veggie, no soy) and some rice noodles in homemade peanut sauce. Just start with the veggies you like most and eat more of them. Be sure to incorporate plenty of nuts and seeds into your diet. You can sprinkle them on salads, cereal, pizzas, even sandwiches. Some of my favorites are pepitas, sunflower seeds, hempseeds, cashews, walnuts and almonds.
And please, eat dessert.
Thank you! I already eat mostly vegetarian and do most of my cooking from scratch so I don't think it would be difficult it just means saying goodbye to my true love- cheese! Ha. And thank you for the banana bread substitutes!
The Raw Gourmet by Nomi Shannon is a great book. Vegan is not hard - vegan is a matter of focusing on whole, unprocessed foods. If a processed food in your store says vegan, don't buy it. You will be charged extra for the label.
Anita is right on in her advice. Sit in your favorite bookstore and read books.
Also, consider attending some vegan/raw food classes or retreats.
By the way, vegan and low are not the same. When you do your research, you will find and experience that you need good fats.
Are you trying to follow the dietary guidelines recommended by Dr Caldwell Esselstyn? If so, check out The Healthy Librarian's blog http://www.happyhealthylonglife.com/. She has lots of recipe ideas and food suggestions for plant based low fat eating.
If you're looking to do a low-fat vegan diet, then I suggest http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/ as a recipe blog.
However (coming from someone who was vegan for two years and who has several vegan family members), I strongly advise you to just try to eat whole, vegan foods (seconding Kristy up there with the avoiding meat substitutes). Avocados, nuts, oils are all "high-fat" but certainly healthy in moderation and will make a world on difference for your palate.
Just out of curiosity, what is your motivation for going vegan? That will definitely help me tailor my answer better.
Totally agreed with the Hotliners above -- veganism is about whole ingredients, vegetables, and grains, not factory-made processed foods! All this month, Kenji from Serious Eats has been on a vegan diet, and I've really been enjoying his writing on how it's changed him (and his recipes too!)