I've tried to take the plunge a few times now, and here are the problems I keep running into:
I haven't been able to find a reasonably large community of people that just want to eat plant based for health reasons. Every large enough community I have found seems to be rather dogmatic in their moral beliefs around animal cruelty, environmental exploitation etc. etc. Those things are good, but I get tired pretty quickly when that is all I hear, and I just want to eat some plants and stay healthy. r/vegan on Reddit is really good example of this, where every post has connotations of us (vegans) vs. them (the world) and how terrible non vegans are.
Another problem I have seen with online communities is that there seems to be a lot of pseudoscience going on. I see a lot of diet recommendations made by people who don't seem to have any particular dietary expertise, and certainly nothing holistic.
When I look around for vegan recipes, I see a lot of stuff. That is great. The problem is that pretty much everything has some sort of obscure ingredient like poppy or pumpkin seeds. Then I need to shell out $10 for a container of something to cook one dish that I may never use again. I also see a lot of recommendations to eat relatively rare vegetables, not something I can find at the local Safeway.
I know the common question is "where do you get your protein". I get it, I mostly understand the difference between complete and partial proteins, so I don't need to be sold there. The main question here I have is how do I know that I'm getting other essential vitamins and nutrients? In general I'd prefer not to take a multivitamin or need to go to the doctor for regular blood work to make sure I'm getting enough iron. I just want to have a balanced diet that will mostly guarantee I get what I need, and not need to go to extreme lengths to find ingredients or take any supplements.
Some staple meals I have come up with so far:
1. Instant rice and canned beans with some fruit or vegetable, canned or otherwise.
2. Oatmeal with walnuts (for omega or whatever) and berries.
3. Peanut butter toast.
Any practical advice or recommendations here would be really helpful. Thanks!