Vegan living has been an aspiration of mine for some time now. I've had times in my life where I've eliminated most meats and all dairy from my life simply because I didn't like the texture or taste. This started when I was 14. Since then I've mostly altered between vegetarian and a "regular" American diet. A little over 5 years ago, I started looking into vegan eating because of what I read about the safety of meat and dairy products in America (and more recently, a movie like Food Inc.). I'm lucky enough to live in an area where farmer's markets during the harvest months are easy to come by, and you can drive to local farms to pick your own produce and buy it there. What I'm having a problem with, and this may sound silly, is being able to put it all together. Here are a few questions I have, and I'd be very grateful to any more experienced vegan that can help.
1. I've read that Vegans usually don't get enough nutrition to sustain optimum health (such as not getting enough iron or b-12 from diet alone), and I was wondering is there a way to eat Vegan and not have to depend on supplements or should I just take them along with my food anyway?
2. Eating vegan during the summer months is easy enough. There's more variety in the produce sections of the store, and raw food eating is fairly easy. My problem is the colder months of the year when I want to eat something hot and have my "comfort food." During the cold months, the variety in cooking for me is limited, and that's when I start moving into being vegetarian, and then a few old cravings around the holiday season take over and I'm eating "regular American" again. :( It's hard to make it off of bean soup, vegetable soup, pasta and veggies, and rice and veggies for roughly 6-7 months. So, I end up giving in. Are there any affordable and relatively quick vegan recipes that anyone can point me to for the cold months of the year? Any cookbooks I can buy that have good recipes? I want to stay away from processed food as much as I can, even the vegan stuff, but I don't mind having it sometimes.
Thank you to anyone that can help.