Post # 1
I think I am going to stop eating meat, dairy, & eggs. DH and I don’t eat a ton of meat as it is, so I am not too worried about that….but dairy will be tough for me. I drink a LOT of milk (about 12 ounces a day). I have known that I am going to have to majorly cut back on that eventually but for a multitude of reasons, I think its the right time.
So, from all those vegan bees out there….was it difficult for you to transition to not animal products? Do you have any suggestions for someone making the transition?
Post # 3
I have some vegan qualities, but I’m mostly vegetarian. I’ve been a vegetarian for over 15 years and I tried going vegan about 5 years ago but failed. The only remnants of my vegan trial are that I don’t drink milk (I prefer almond milk), I go out of my way to purchase things that specifically say they are not animal tested, and I don’t wear animal – derived fabrics like wool or leather.
I found a fully vegan diet too restrictive, which is why I failed. I don’t like to cook and I don’t do it very often so I eat out a lot and eat pre-packaged foods a lot. I found it difficult to avoid foods at restaurants and stuff that do not have dairy or egg products. I felt like I ended up eating less healthy because I didn’t make a great effort to round out my diet very well with all the things I had to omit from it.
Anyway, I decided that veganism isn’t for me as a result but I took some knowledge with me when I ditched it. Having been vegetarian since childhood, I find it easy to maintain and eat healthy. I probably would have been a better vegan if I cooked more, to be honest.
Post # 4
I was never vegan but, I was vegetarian for a long time and became severely anemic from lack of iron. No amount of supplements could help I bruised incredibly easy and my immune system wasn’t very strong either, I don’t think this is very common. Also, I would be careful not to eat too many “fake” foods (cheese and eggs) because of the chemicals that are used to make them.
Post # 5
@Kelly_mac: I was vegetarian for 6 years. My biggest tip is use an app to calculate how much of your macronutrients, vitmains and minerals you are getting. In my case, everyone told me I would become anemic and have a B vitamin deficiency, so it took the wind right out of the haters’ sails when I was able to confidently tell them that I was already monitering my levels.
I live in a major city so it was not hard to adjust at all. There are so many options here. If you live in a rural area than the internet is your freind! Cutting out dairy will probably be your hardest thing because it takes a lot of standard options for dining out and party food out of the running (pizza, potato skins, many pasta dishes, ice cream– sorry for even mentioning ice cream!)
Pumpkin seeds have a lot of iron and B vitamins in them for something so tasty.
Post # 6
@peasantsong: Interesting point of view! DH and I cook vegetarian a lot, because we try to incorporate more veggies into our food then we normally would if we didnt cook vegetarian. So I think that wouldnt be too difficult of a transition (and it will help us to continue to avoid more processed foods). I think cheese is going to be very difficuit to give up although I know they make some “veggie” cheese now that is supposed to be not terrible. As far as the restaurants go…I could imagine that would be pretty difficult. Luckily, we live in Portland and have access to a lot of vegan/vegetarian restaurants!! Im hoping it will be doable for me….but its very intimidating!
@Lbward6: Wow thats crazy! I take supplements now (vitamin D, B complex and multi) but Ill definitely have to pay attention to my iron levels. I didnt eat a lot of meat when I was younger and ended up anemic…but the supplements seemed to help me. I think thats definitely something people do not consider. I know a lot of vegetarians who eat just processed crap thinking that its a “good” diet.
Post # 7
@fingerscrossed: Thanks for the pumpkin seed tip!!! Thats great. I am taking supplements already (living in Portland we have to get vitamin D somehow!) so hopefully that will help make the transition a bit easier!
Post # 8
@Kelly_mac: Prepare and plan in advance! If you know what you’re going to eat and have it on hand, it’s so much easier to stick with it. I was vegan for three years, and only recently started eating eggs again (mostly because my SO did.. darn him!). I would say definitely try as much as possible to eat a whole foods diet, and use the processed soy stuff less. Beans are GREAT for protein, and so easy to throw into a salad for a little extra protein (chickpeas are my faaave).
I would say get a couple of good cookbooks, and browse some vegan recipe websites.
Almond milk is my favorite regular milk alternative for sure. I think the most important thing to keep in mind is you may not be able to eat the same things, but you’ll be able to have the same food experiences. For instance, a veggie burger will never taste like a beef burger, but you can still load it up with condiments and chow down the same way. You can make nachos with a nutritional yeast based cheese sauce, and it wont TASTE like cheese, but youll still get to eat crunchy chips with gooey sauce and chunky chili, etc etc.
it might be a good idea to start carrying around food bars with you if youre not able to pack a lunch or whatever, just in case youre starving and need something. My favorite are Pro-Bars. You should always be able to pick up some fruit or raw veggies though!
Is there anything specifically you’re looking for advice on?
Post # 9
Kelly_mac Yeah, I think the main reason for getting so sick was because I was a college athlete and had minimal body fat and was constantly exercising a lot more than the average person. These probably all made for a bad combination. I am not much of a meat eater but to be healthy I kind of have to eat it a few times a week. My FFIL is a vegan and always has vegan dishes at family dinners and stuff and some of the stuff is really good!
Post # 10
My transition was slow but lasting, I think the most important rule is to listen to your body and to take things as they come. Instead of focusing on “what you can’t eat” which is what I feel like people do in the beginning stage look at things you CAN eat. I’d also suggest not diving in to the wacky foods first, you can eat normal foods and be vegan, you don’t have to dive right in to Chia Seeds and Hemp Milk. Map out your meals and keep them simple when you start, I’m vegan but DH is very much not, however we eat a lot of meals that are very similar, tacos for example are a stample because I eat mine with beans, or we do rice bowls, pasta, etc when things are busy and we need a quick meal.
If possible make an appointment with your doctor if you think you’re going to be serious about the change, they can test your vitamin levels, etc so you can see where you are now and then go back and retest to ensure you’re on the right path. I make sure to get a physical every year just for that purpose.
Post # 11
@jessicadarling: I think the whole idea of going against the societal norm is pretty intimidating. I want to live a healthier lifestyle and any information or experiences I can read are a great help to get my motivation going! We started eating cleaner last summer and this is a great next step for us. If my husband ate eggs I would totally get some chickens and keep them in our yard (fairly common around here actually) but sadly, he does not. I have no problem eating dairy if I know the animals aren’t being treated poorly. But with mass production thats pretty much impossible now.
We have a great vegetarian cookbook that I could tweak some recipes to make them vegan. But Ill definitely pick up some vegan cook books as well! Ill look into the pro bars! Thanks so much!
Post # 12
@cora_123: Good thinking about the dr…I should definitely schedule something.
All of your stories and experiences are so inspiring! Its making me more confident in my decision to attempt this lifestyle change! 🙂
Post # 13
As far as fitting the societal norm, don’t worry too much about it! If you go out with friends to eat, scope the menu out in advance. So much stuff is easily ordereable and vegan just by asking for it without butter, or leaving the cream out of pasta sauce, etc. The longer you do it the more you just get into the groove of things, and after a while you don’t even need to think about it anymore. I’m with you.. I have a lot of feelings about animal welfare, and don’t feel good about the way we literally MANUFACTURE animal products as if living creatures aren’t involved.
This really is the best time to be vegan/vegetarian though! Most restaurants have a few options, a lot of times clearly labeled! Almost all coffee shops have a non dairy alternative available. Theres new and better products coming out all the time now! It will only get better, easier, and more accepted. I mean if a former president (Bill Clinton) can go vegan, we sure can!
Post # 14
I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t eat cows or pigs and I only eat poultry sparingly. I do eat a lot of seafood though, and I focus on sustainability.
For your health and ease of transition, I think that getting some cookbooks and using a nutrition tracker will help a lot. Also, listen to your body. If you’re having a craving for something (other than sugar or something like that lol!), you might need it.
if your reasons for avoiding eggs and milk are purely animal welfare based:
In terms of the milk, I just found this website that actually rates organic dairies on a farm by farm basis. This allows you to know that the milk you’re buying really came from happy cows! I usually buy either Stonyfield or 365 Organic (both 4 cow ratings). You could also go to farmer’s markets or research local farms. Some farms are even resarting old-fashioned milk delivery.
For the eggs, get them from a local farmer! It’s so easy to do- of course at farmer’s markets, but also many times you can get them at local farms themselves. I get them for $5 a dozen, which is barely more than I would pay for organic eggs at WF or TJ’s. My mom, in VT, gets them for $3 a dozen.
Post # 15
My fiance is vegan and has a lot of dietary restrictions. Therefore, we keep a vegetarian home. I do not keep meat at home, but sometimes I will have eggs and cheese in the house. However, when I cook a meal for us, it is vegan.
At first I found it really difficult to re-train myself to cook without dairy and eggs. We have lived together for over two years now, and I don’t even think about it. For me, it was important to learn what substitutions I could make–it was a lot of trail and error on my part.
For instance, we only use almond milk or rice milk in place of dairy milk. We use Earth balance in place of butter. We use apple sauce in place of eggs when baking (or canned pumpkin can also be used). I use Vegannaise in place of mayo (it’s delicious!). It will just take time and definitely more thought for awhile, but eventually it will become easier. Don’t be hard on yourself when it’s difficult to think of something to make.
Post # 16
@Kelly_mac: I was a vegetarian for 14+ years and the only thing that kept me from going fully vegan was cheese and ice cream. I didn’t/don’t drink milk or eat eggs and avoid most dairy products still.
Honestly it is easier now with the decision becoming more popular. I remember when I first stopped eating meat not only did people think I was strange I remember being called a bitch by a fast food employee when I asked for no meat. The options today are above and beyond making this lifestyle choice an easier one to adapt too. I actually started eating small amounts of meat for dietary weight loss reasons as advised by my doctor.
I would say the thing to be most cautious about it not replacing meat with carbs. A lot of the vegetarian meat substitutes offer little protein (although delicious) and are mostly carb based. This seems to be improving but the immediate go to for a lot of people when they stop eating meat is by replacing it with more carbs in their diet. I would use a dietary tracker to make sure you don’t find yourself in this habit.
Best of luck!