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Thread: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

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    Default How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    How did you transtion to a vegan lifestyle?

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    Lentils's Avatar
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    Default Re: In transition...

    Over night, luckily any animal products I had at the time would be eaten by others.

    I really screwed up though to be honest, I believed the protein myth as well as some other nonsense and ended up forcing myself to eat all sorts of horrible food because I thought it was essential in order to be healthy. It took about a year for me to finally settle into eating food that is both tasty and healthy.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    I transitioned literally overnight as well. I made the decision to go vegan on February 20th, 2011 (I had first learned about veganism in November of the previous year when exploring the food industry as part of eating disorder recovery and reading "The Omnivores Dilemna" and then did some serious research into veganism). I was easily able to plan and transition to eating all vegan food. Previously I had not been much of a meat eater at all and I could not stomach most dairy without terrible digestive problems. I did eat plain yogurt daily though and that was the one thing it took me a week to transition off of, so I became officially vegan February 27th, 2011. I already loved foods like lentils, rices, oats, nuts/seeds, and beans, lots of vegetables and fruits, and almond milk (due to some lactose intolerance) so it was not a hard transition. I rarely ate out before and still don't eat out much so that has not been too much of an issue for me. I replaced the creaminess and texture I liked from the yogurt I was used to with whole foods smoothies, puddings from scratch (such as banana avocado cacoa) and vegan coconut milk yogurts. I also bought (or checked out at the library) books like "Becoming Vegan" and guides to living vegan and I experimented with many new foods and vegan recipes from blogs and vegan websites. I read every ethical vegan book I could get my hands on, from "Animal Liberation" to "Vegan Freak" to "The Sexual Politics of Meat" to "Sistah Vegan" to "Animals as Persons" to "The Dominion of Love" and more. I also joined the American Vegan Society and get their quarterly journal. It only took me a few weeks to give away animal derived clothing I no longer felt comfortable wearing (such as wool socks, silk blouse, leather belts etc) and learn to start making my own laundry soap and homemade hair shampoo (I still use it today 20 months later). I was able to gather up all animal derived cleaning and toiletry and vitamin products and wax candles (I now have soy based ones) in the house and bring them to my local waste management facility to be recycled. It took a few months to replace my leather hiking shoes with an awesome pair of vegan made ones I ordered online. I was fortunate that at the time I had received a small inheritence so I had the money to make a quick transition. When you need to restock and change your kitchen and some wardrobe items etc it does take a little investment but once the change is complete it isn't more expensive at all.

    At the start when I first learned about ethical vegans I just felt such a powerful conviction that living vegan was the right thing to do and the best way for me to live my values...I related so much to it and everything suddenly made sense. Before then I didn't know anything about "vegan". I knew about vegetarians and was frankly confused that they were for not killing animals and for animal welfare yet consumed eggs and dairy. I had even tried going vegetarian for about a year many many years ago when I was in high school but I didn't know what I was doing at all and I slowly started eating meat again. Back then it was more of a fad.
    It took me a few weeks after my transition to come out and tell others because I was afraid of their reactions. Most have been accepting although not so much understanding, but a few have not been so accepting. I also made the mistake of not eating enough the first few months and dropped too much weight but I have been able to put the weight back on and I feel stronger now. From the start my energy level has improved immensely. The diet was the easy part to transition for me, but dealing with all the unexpected hostility from a few family members was the hardest part. I am shy and introverted and very private by nature but I have learned to stand up for my vegan convictions and I do not hide it anymore like I did at first because I was afraid of confrontation. I am fiercely independant and stubborn which helps too. I have also learned to speak up for my needs for the handful of times I have gone out to eat. I even got a local grocer to start carrying vegan yogurts!

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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    I jumped in feet first as well.
    I decided to go vegan after about 30 minutes of reading about it. I gave up meat/fish immediately and then phased out milk/eggs and all the other stuff over the following 2 weeks. There have been a few mistakes/slip-ups along the way but it is well worth it.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    Gradually, over a few months - I was already vegetarian and started cutting out other stuff not necessarily thinking I would go the whole way, but then one day someone offered me something un-negan when I was out and I found I just couldn't bear to eat it. I think I had already cut out leather etc as a vegetarian but I can't really remember now.

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    Vegan Princess BellaTanie's Avatar
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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    I had seen the way the baby cows that were for veal were treated when I was a small child and made a vow never to eat veal. Then a couple of years ago I saw how the chickens were all cramed in those small wire cages ontop of one another, and just kept in terrible conditions so I decided I was only buying cage free eggs. Then I started doing research on where our food comes from and was just shocked at all of the horrible abuse.....I think Earthlings is what really put it over the top. The actual transition was a learning process for me. At first I had given up all animal products, or so I had thought.....I was still using bee products bc I had never really thought about the whole honey thing. Now I am educated and 100% vegan. It really just is part of me, if only I had someone to enlighten me before.......
    Tanya

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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    I jumped into it the minute I decided. I had to experiment with different "milks" until I found the ones I liked for different things , soya lite for tea/coffee , almond unsweetened for cocoa and "creamy" soups/dishes.

    I think perseverance was key for me to find things that suit my taste , for example I love plain soya yoghurt (but never really liked plain yoghurt made from milk) and both my husband and daughter hate it.

    Even if transition is taken slowly , the main thing is that in the end you will be giving animals their lives , stopping suffering , and you will also be choosing a healthier , longer life.

    Good luck

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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    overnight
    Veganism or Barbarism

  9. #9

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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    Hi, sorry to butt in

    I have no idea how to post a new question on this site yet.
    your question is my question.
    I have been transitioning for the last few days from an omni diet to vegan
    I was previously vegan for 6 months but found the food "replacements" so boring after a while...
    there is much more choice where I live now, and I will have to go with cooking from scratch more frequently for myself, once i have few bean recipe ingredients.

    at the same time, Im finding it difficult to buy foods always looking at the label when i get stuff for my husband at the same time...
    need to shop in different shops. the first cruelty free shop just opened in my city. I need to only get stuff there i think. mixed with fresh fruits and veg i probably don't even need to go elsewhere much

    I struggle with my weight. I also feel like i need the raw chocolate goji berries etc. but i hope i can control myself more with this diet as well as everything else

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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    My first day devoted to 100% vegan. I have tried before but let my hunger at the time give in to familiar comfort foods then after wish I didn't. I did not prepare and have alternatives ready and planning meals is key to not going back to eating a little cheese or butter. I will not go back at this point. I am going to focus on tasty vegan foods and I feel sooo sooo sooo good about this. I can do it this time.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    Quote NightOwl View Post
    My first day devoted to 100% vegan. I have tried before but let my hunger at the time give in to familiar comfort foods then after wish I didn't. I did not prepare and have alternatives ready and planning meals is key to not going back to eating a little cheese or butter. I will not go back at this point. I am going to focus on tasty vegan foods and I feel sooo sooo sooo good about this. I can do it this time.
    Welcome NightOwl! Good for you for making the switch and not giving up! It gets so much easier over time. In the beginning, meal planning can really be invaluable. Best wishes with everything!

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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    Thank you Robinwomb. I am feeling my stomach churn quite a bit now. I can imagine because it is used to getting heavier foods and needed to put out more to digest those foods. I am craving onion soup. I really need to make some soups tomorrow

  13. #13

    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    Quote NightOwl View Post
    Thank you Robinwomb. I am feeling my stomach churn quite a bit now. I can imagine because it is used to getting heavier foods and needed to put out more to digest those foods. I am craving onion soup. I really need to make some soups tomorrow
    You are welcome! It is very common to eat too little or light when people first go vegan. It can also be a challenge for people who have relied heavily on animal products to figure out just what to eat. When I first went vegan I focused on what foods I enjoyed that were already vegan (oats, lentils, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, almond milk, pumpkin, bananas, peanut butter, salads, etc) and made recipes with those while pouring over vegan blogs, recipe sites, and books to learn how to cook and prepare food vegan style. I used to go to VegWeb a lot because there is such a huge variety of vegan recipes there and they are categorized to make it easier to find stuff. I started with a three ring notebook and would print a recipe and add it. Now years later I have four or five of those notebooks filled to capacity and divided into breakfast, main dishes, desserts, sides, blender, raw etc. I still find new ways of doing things all the time and fresh new ideas. I would go to the library and find books on going vegan or vegan recipe books and read over those to learn that way too. Many vegan cookbooks have chapters devoted to building up a vegan kitchen with essentials which helps. I bought a book on vegan nutrition called "Becoming Vegan: the Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant Based Diet" by Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melino, RD. I would highly recommend this book! You can get it very cheap through Amazon.com if money is an issue. They provide extensive information about meeting nutritional needs as a vegan.

    I did lose quite a bit of weight unintentionally when I first went vegan. I was already underweight so I needed to find a way to stop losing more. I would add whole almonds to my diet for snacks, and learned to make homemade bread and add stuff like sesame seeds, molasses, and flaxmeal. I still often make homemade bread, usually a few loaves on my day off work and freeze one of them for later. I have done it so many times it is second nature. Bean dips in sandwiches, wraps, or with veggies or over pasta are great too! There are tons of recipes for homemade bean dips, including hummus, on the web. Avocado basil pesto is another great dip/spread to add for sustenance and satiety. Often it is just a matter of eating larger portions of food. It is easy to get full faster on plants due to the fiber and water content. It is great to eat whole fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains but also sometimes incorporate more dense foods like the bean dips, dried fruits, nut butters, nuts, breads etc to help with satiety.

    I looked at a few of your other posts and it seems to me that the foods you are eating are extremely low calorie and light. Soup is great but make sure you are getting filled up and getting enough calories! Adding foods like brown rice or quinoa to soups, or potatoes and beans can make them more filling and satisfying. I like to add bulgur wheat grain to chili or spaghetti sauce to give it a "meaty" texture. Cooked bulgur wheat grain has a similar texture and color as ground beef and absorbs the flavors of sauces and spices very well so it makes a great filling for tacos, sauces, soups, sloppy joes etc. I add red lentils to it with whatever I use it in to boost protein and other nutrition. Another favorite soup of mine is split pea. I just simmer split peas, carrots, onion, minced garlic, and add water and vegetable broth and a touch of lemon juice and let it cook for about 25 minutes, then add it to my blender to make it creamy.

    You don't have to rely much on imitation or designer vegan foods either! I went my first two years without even trying any fake vegan cheeses or meats. I learned about nutritional yeast and how to make "cheesy" sauces with that. It has a nutty flavor and doesn't taste like cheese much but it is one of those foods that grows on you and is very enjoyable. I mix some with sweet potato or pumpkin and spices and cook or blend it with a little almond milk for a sauce I pour over baked potatoes and broccoli or add to macaroni for mac and cheese. Sometimes I add silken tofu or firm tofu to the mix for a rich creamy sauce. There are also nut based "cheeses" you can learn to make. Nutritional yeast is one of the few "designer" foods I probably eat and is one of the few I can only find at my local Whole Foods Coop or I order it online. But I can live without that too. I have made mac and cheese with just the tofu and sweet potato blended and add mustard powder and other spices for a "cheese sauce" or have made an almond alfredo sauce. Homemade sauces have really helped me with livening up recipes. I even make my own vegan mayonnaise with blanched almonds (I buy them already blanched in the baking section of the grocery), lite coconut milk, a touch of oil, turmeric, a touch of salt and maple syrup, cider vinegar, maybe some dijon if I make potato salad. It makes a rich creamy mayo that tastes surprisingly like regular mayo. No need to spend a fortune on commercial mayo.

    Some breakfast ideas for you: scrambled chickpeas, cubed potato, bell pepper, onion, celery with spices like garlic powder, basil, or turmeric. Another is to scramble tofu in place of the chickpeas. Google chickpea flour omelets or tofu omelet to get loads of recipes for those too. I make chickpea flour omelets all the time for breakfast and tuck leafy greens and tomatoes or salsa into them. Beans on toast is another. I like to add kidney beans and a dollop of salsa over my toast, or white beans and blackstrap molasses mashed with banana over my toast. Blackstrap molasses and white beans both have a lot of calcium and iron in them. I might have an orange on the side to help absorb all that iron and calcium. There are tons of different grains to make hot cereal such as millet, quinoa, oats, oat bran, farina, buckwheat groats, brown or wild rice. I add seeds and berries to mine.

    For snacks, I like things like tortillas with a nut/seed/peanut butter wrapped in them, or whole almonds, or celery with nut butter/raisins, or just plain dates and figs. I always keep fresh fruits around, whatever is in season, to snack on. I also like jicama, snap peas, and carrots and broccoli to snack on. Those all keep well even when out camping for days without refrigeration.

    Here's one more I will share. I make a crockpot soup with white cabbage, red potatoes, sauerkraut, tomatoes, red lentils, veggie bouillion or broth (optional), and whatever you favorite spices are. I like to add caraway seed and sage and a bay leaf. I let it simmer all day in the crockpot and have a very filling meal. I make enough for my husband and I to have this soup for several nights or I have enough for a weeks worth of lunches I bring in my thermos.

    Hope this helps. Just be patient and keep at it little by little and it will get so much easier. It took about six months or so for it to start to come naturally for me. Now I sometimes forget that the whole world isn't vegan and am suprised when I hear someone mention cheese or meat in a recipe at work lol.

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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    Thanks so much for those suggestions. I have to say I do have to lose 150 pounds and get back to where I was a few years ago at 150 pounds. I am allergic to wheat and soy and possibly other grains. I may have a problem with gluten and I am not sure since I don't have health insurance at the moment and can not get tested. But being allergic to wheat I am better off staying away from it. some of the foods I loved to eat or snack on had cheese so it is a challenge also the veg substitutions have soy and wheat so that is out. So I need to find other favs to go to.

    One more thing is I noticed my fasting blood sugar staying up around 115 rather than what it was before at 90. I think maybe this will go back to normal as my weight returns to normal or when I start adding exercise back into my day again. I worry that it is going high during the day when I am eating. I only check it at work when I am running around so I wonder what it is when I am sedentary and eating at home. don't have an accucheck maching at home. Have a tredmill so maybe I will hop on that a couple times a day for a half hour to use up some carbs.

    I do know about blackstrap molasses and plan on getting some in the house again. Back in the 70s when I was 16 my mom took me to a chiropractor who tested my hair and suggested some supplements and that was one thing he wanted me to start using.
    Last edited by NightOwl; Oct 15th, 2014 at 11:27 PM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    Quote NightOwl View Post
    Thanks so much for those suggestions. I have to say I do have to lose 150 pounds and get back to where I was a few years ago at 150 pounds. I am allergic to wheat and soy and possibly other grains. I may have a problem with gluten and I am not sure since I don't have health insurance at the moment and can not get tested. But being allergic to wheat I am better off staying away from it. some of the foods I loved to eat or snack on had cheese so it is a challenge also the veg substitutions have soy and wheat so that is out. So I need to find other favs to go to.

    One more thing is I noticed my fasting blood sugar staying up around 115 rather than what it was before at 90. I think maybe this will go back to normal as my weight returns to normal or when I start adding exercise back into my day again. I worry that it is going high during the day when I am eating. I only check it at work when I am running around so I wonder what it is when I am sedentary and eating at home. don't have an accucheck maching at home. Have a tredmill so maybe I will hop on that a couple times a day for a half hour to use up some carbs.

    I do know about blackstrap molasses and plan on getting some in the house again. Back in the 70s when I was 16 my mom took me to a chiropractor who tested my hair and suggested some supplements and that was one thing he wanted me to start using.
    Wow, I am sorry to hear you are allergic to soy and wheat. Although that can make things more challenging, it is not impossible. I did the soy free gluten free vegan stuff for a while just to see if I would feel better since I have thyroid issues and it was recommended by a doctor. It really didn't make much of a difference for me. But it forced me to become more creative with food. Unfortunately many gluten free grains like quinoa, buckwheat groats, or millet are either more expensive or hard to find. Millet is cheap and filling but surprisingly hard to find. I get it at my local whole foods coop. It makes a great breakfast cereal with berries and nuts. If you want more of a cold cereal, buckwheat groats soaked for a half hour makes a crunchy cereal and you can add fruit and nuts to it. Also, have you heard of Daiya cheese? It is soy free and gluten and wheat free and probably the best vegan cheese on the market. It melts and tastes similar to dairy cheese. Downfall is it is expensive and devoid of much nutrition. But for transitioning or as a condiment it would be ok. Sometimes you can substitute things like hummus in place of cheese on pizzas or in wraps. I have used chard, cabbage, and collard green leaves for wraps in place of bread. Or try rice tortillas. I have even made my own cornflour tortillas. There is a special cornflour (most groceries carry it) that all you do is add water and make a ball and then flatten it into a tortilla and heat it in a nonstick skillet for a few minutes. Totally gluten free.

    As far as snacks, have you ever tried jicama? it is a root vegetable and you can cut it into sticks and eat it. It has a starchy sweet taste and takes on flavors very well so it works with dips. I cut up jicama, carrots, broccoli, and other veggies and bring them to work to munch on. I also munch on almonds, dates, figs, pumpkin and sunflower seeds (with shell on), or rice cakes with nut butter on it. Sometimes I cook a huge batch of sweet potato (I just skin it and chop into chunks and throw in my steamer basket for ten minutes) and portion it into five tupperware containers. I sprinkle with cinnamon and bring it to work for a morning snack. Another is to make your own energy bars. Here is a generic recipe base for doing that:
    http://www.nomeatathlete.com/homemad...gy-bar-recipe/

    I make a bunch of them, then wrap and store them in my freezer and take one out each day for work or hiking or whatever. It takes an hour tops to totally make them start to finish and then you can have twelve in your freezer for snacks for all week, even two or more weeks. I didn't know about using beans in baking until I went vegan. I love using white or black beans for this. Again, totally soy and gluten/wheat free. There is even a gluten free soy free vegan website:

    http://glutenfreesoyfreevegan.wordpress.com/

    I believe larabars are gluten free soy free vegan as well.

    That sounds scary about your blood sugar! I hope you can get that under control! I am fortunate to have excellent blood sugar, cholesterol levels, vitamin D levels, and B12 (I supplement) but do struggle with long standing osteoporosis for a number of reasons. I am trying very hard to eat more bone building vegan foods like low oxalate leafy greens, white beans, blackstrap molasses, plant milks, sesame seeds and so on. As far as blood sugar, complex carbs will help. If you can find it, try the millet, quinoa, buckwheat and so on. And dried beans. They provide a good bit of fiber and protein and will not rush through your body so fast.

    Finally, as far as the hair thing, omega 3s are probably what you are thinking of. Flaxseed is going to be your best friend as a vegan. it is rich in omega 3 (ALA) that can convert to DHA/EPA in the body. Ground flaxseed can be added to a number of soups, salads, cereals etc. Walnuts are another good source. And avocado. Eat lots of leafy greens too. I do occasionally supplement with a vegan DHA made by DEVA brand. I order it online. I don't supplement regularly with it though. It is derived from seaweed, where fish get their DHA. Might be worth looking into if that is a concern.

    Exercise will do wonders for you. It gets your endorphins going, helps you think more clearly, increases stamina and energy, regulates metabolism. For sure make it a habit! I love to exercise. I am a former dancer. Walking is good if you walk at a good pace and try hills outside sometimes. Even an exercise DVD would be good. I realize it is probably hard if one is very overweight. Walking is a great start though!

    I think it is awesome that you are making these changes despite the challenges that are presented to you! good for you! Even with my osteoporosis, I will never go back to dairy. My osteoporosis was actually acquired when I was still an omnivore so obviously dairy didn't help much anyway.

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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    I am not sure how bad the blood sugar problem is but I haven't seen it go really high yet. Thanks for the great advice. I am going to try some of the crunchy things for snacks at work. I seem to like to munch on something crunchy while I do my charting and paper work. I think it keeps me from getting sleepy during the night.

    I am pretty fit for someone who is this overweight. I was always into fitness and walked for miles sometimes because I didn't have a car for most of my adult life. I found a nice park down the street from me. It borders on our St Lucie River. It has a path with tables and places to eat and this is covered by trees. It leads down to a board walk that is along the river. I am going to go and start walking there. I used to do five miles every night and body weight exercises after. My job is stressful and I am going to be working my nights off for a couple months while I save to go back to school to get my RN. Going to be rough for a few months but sticking to my healthy vegan diet and making time to exercise will help. Just a lot of stress with family issues also. I guess we all have that from time to time. I appreciate you sharing your ideas. Helps me a lot .

  17. #17

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    Default Re: How did you transition to a vegan lifestyle?

    I went from vegetarian for a short time (4-5 months) to vegan. My sisters and niece were similar to me, so it was no problem. I talked with someone who worked at a health food store who told me that when she went vegetarian, it took about a year to feel like she wasn't missing something. That was a good description of how I felt as well, although I didn't crave meat or cheese or anything like that, I wasn't tired or run down, actually the opposite. It took awhile to figure out what to eat, I used to live in drive-thrus, so any change was going to be that way. I eventually found things that I love that are convenient and healthy. You can eat vegan by focusing on potato chips and granola bars, but you'll feel like garbage pretty fast. Find good whole foods that you like and make things out of the box with them. I always have some good plant based protein powered in the house, so a green smoothie is always in order.

    My favorite is a burrito. I make my own beans (kidney, black, pinto, chickpeas, onions, chile peppers), make a good tempah with chorizo style flavoring, roasted sweet potato, some good taco style veggies, peppers, lettuce, kale with lemon or lime juice and sea salt, tomatoes… and you've got a killer meal! [now I'm hungry, roasted sweet potato burritos!]

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