So I have always been a vegetarian at heart- I am too animal friendly and eating meat just isn't for me. However, since I don't eat meat it has meant I eat a lot of unhealthy things and have gained a lot of weight.
I became friends with a fellow mom who is Vegan- and immediately thought there is no way I can take out dairy- that is just crazy talk. Well, now i am the one doing the crazy talking!
I have decided to really work on eating cleanly and become Vegan. Here is my issue......How do you start?! I have no problem with not eating meat, but eating healthy has somehow eluded me thus far.
I am so overwhelmed by the shear thought of it- it seems so foreign to me and out of reach. I have tried several vegan "cheeses" and switched to soy milk but as far as meals I am struggling with how to start. I have gotten books and researched recipes but I feel like I have to change everything all at once and it bogs me down.
So my question is, how did you start to make the change? Did you do 1 vegan day a week and go up from there?
Does anyone have some easy recipes for me to try that they really enjoy?
I think part of my issue is just not knowing where to start or how- I know it shouldn't be this difficult but I keep getting caught up in the details and it stalls me from truly starting.
Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated!!
I used to be one of the biggest cheese lovers on the plant. Initially started cutting out meat but then one day I just went vegan and never looked back. I didn't try vegan cheeses for a long time and really wouldn't recommend them. I bought a few cookbooks including Vegan with a Vengeance. There are a lot of really good vegan cookbooks out there. Besides Vegan with a Vengeance, Vegan on the Cheap and Supermarket Vegan are pretty good beginner cookbooks.
Thanks Nelie for the website- I saw that in the sticky too and just pulled off a couple of recipes I want to try.
I guess for now it will just be baby steps until I am totally there. I think I have that issue of "all or nothing" thought process and it always trips me up.
Do you find you have to get a lot of your grocery's from a Whole foods type store or do you find most of what you need at your local grocer? We have a whole foods but it is about a 30 minute drive there, so hoping I can get away with going there only once maybe twice a month.
I've been a vegetarian for most of my life and it's never (not even once!) been something I've struggled with. I don't want meat of any kind. It's not tempting in the least. Vegan however...I tried it and it was really difficult. I struggled daily to make compliant food choices - and it was WAY too much work. I'm half-time vegan now and it's the best I will do. Compared to my previous cheese gluttony lifestyle, I eat only a little cheese, no milk/cream, no honey, very few eggs...but I eat a TON of greek yogurt. I can't imagine giving up yogurt. There must be people who don't crave dairy just like I don't crave meat and being vegan for them is probably just as easy as being vegetarian for me. I wish I was one of those people because it's better for the planet and a lot easier to avoid fat when your soul does not cry out for brie....but this content and satisfied vegan is not me.
My advice is to make one meal a day vegan and see how you feel. If it won't work for you, don't feel bad. There is a reason very few Americans are vegans - it's a ridiculously difficult food lifestyle for our palate.
You can eat vegan fine by shopping at a regular grocery store. The things I like about health food stores (Whole Foods and others) is that you can buy grains and beans in bulk and thus they are cheaper. Supermarket Vegan is a cookbook designed for eating vegan by shopping at your average grocery store. Personally, we eat very few specialty foods, almond and/or soy milk and sometimes soy yogurt.
I wouldn't stress yourself out by thinking that if you aren't eating vegan then you aren't doing any good. Reducing your animal products by any amount is progress.
And one thing to remember is that dairy is naturally addictive. There have been studies that show that there are addictive qualities to it which makes sense because it makes babies (human, cow, goat, etc) crave it. The addiction can be overcome though and there are some good replacements that help. Avocado is a common one and if you find yourself turning to dairy for a specific type of food, feel free to ask here about tips for a substitute.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
I had always ate meat, cheese, etc...but when I watched some shows that showed how things were really done with the animals, i quickly began to think this wasnt something i should be eating. I had tried to go Vegetarian before that, but i didnt understand what i was doing or why i was doing it. Now I do. I struggle still, like today...but i still will always think of the animals and feel bad after.
I'm a life long vegetarian and was a perfect vegan for six months last year. It's really easy actually. I gave it up because I've spent the last nine months traveling Europe and it sucks trying to translate foreign languages to make sure things are vegan and fit your weight loss plan. Cold turkey is the best way to do it. Just let all of your groceries run out and make a vegan shopping trip. There are a million and five vegan alternatives. Vegan butter tastes exactly the same. Veganese I prefer to mayonnaise. There are a few good vegan cheese brands, but honestly you get over cheese a lot easier than you'd expect. I used to think cheese was necessary in everything and a lot of it and after being vegan I don't really care for it much and use about 1/3 the amount when I do have it.
My favorite meal when I was vegan was toast with a little vegan butter, avocado, and garlic. Basically you can eat all of the same things you ate as a vegetarian, but swap out the dairy options for non dairy versions of them.
I will say though that it's a lot harder to focus on both losing weight and being vegan at the same time. When I was vegan I had to pay more attention to things like protein and health, but that's what I was focussing on and while I was losing weight I wasn't losing it as quickly as when I was just focussing on weight loss.
It's the whole all vegetarians are skinny and vegans are skeletons myth. I've been and known plenty of fat vegetarians and there are plenty of very fattening vegan treats.
I think the easiest way to start out is to have a small list of a few easy breakfasts, easy lunches, and easy dinners, plus snacks. Make sure that you gather the ingredients for all of them, and rotate them. As time goes on, you can always add more meals into your rotation.
Just a few ideas:
Scrambled tofu, smoothies, toast with avocado or nut butter, and oats are great for "traditional" breakfasts
Easy lunches can include hot or cold salads, soups, and sandwiches
Simple dinners are stir fry, rice and beans, topped flatbread, pasta with veggies, curry - in other words, grain + vegetable.
I thought I couldn't live without cheese, I was such a cheese-a-holic. But turns out I can live without it, easily.
I went vegan cold (happy, non-eaten, living, cutie-pie) turkey one day, and I am the world's laziest, non-cooking, impatient-to-eat, where's-my-dinner-I-want-it-now, did I mention lazy, type person. If I can do it, anyone can. Best thing I ever did.
These days there are a wealth of resources and convenience foods that definitely help make the transition easier. And also you'll find lots of blogs and support online, that's always helpful!
And I had no problem being a FAT vegan, either. That's how easy it is, and how yummy the food is. I can put avocado on and in EVERYTHING. Hold me back.
I didn't try cheese substitutes until maybe a year after I'd been vegan and totally cheeseless, and Daiya works great for me, I love it (too much, I have to limit my intake). And almond milk was a no brainer right out of the gate, I liked it immediately. Smart Balance is TOO good, I can't even keep it in the house.
Good luck to you!
Edited to add: I just realized the OP was made back in 2011, soooo, this may all be a few years too late, lol.
Last edited by Mrs Snark : 10-24-2014 at 06:19 PM.
I watched this documentary once and it completely changed how I see food. In fact, I can name 3 people who have done the same thing.
I think starting out is the easiest part. It's something new. You are inspired. It's the coming weeks that are tough. I think it helps if you remind yourself why you are doing it. And Forks Over Knives will help give you some reasons to try out a whole-foods plant-based diet.
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