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Going vegan

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I have been researching and feeling lead to go vegan. After watching Forks over Knives, and Food Inc. I began reading lots of books and really believe this is what I need to do.

Would love some ideas to help me started and maybe some websites you have found helpful.

I have some joint pain beginning and need to lose 30 lbs. I have a couple of friends who have just began this lifestyle and I am amazed at how quickly they are getting healthy.

Any advice to help me get started?

Lora in NC

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Personally i wouldnt jump all the way in right away. You certainly could but it might be better to go slow. Especially if youve been a meat eater and there are other meat eaters in the house.


You could go vegetarian first then vegan. For vegetarian, I like Boca for their burgers and lentils for tacos, etc. Jungle Jims, Trader Joes and Whole foods are great stores to find Vegie foods (and vegan too). It doesnt have all the temptation as the normal grocery store.


I have never been vegan so i cant give advice on foods for that.

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Yea! My daughter read Skinny B!tch, which is oh, so offensive but very informative and fun and convinced my husband to go vegan. Lately fish has crept back in because we are all training for one thing or another and have evidently lost our minds. I think the danger of going back to the old, less healthy ways lies with not having an arsenal of recipes and quick foods. I love vegetarian times. We all get sick if we have ANY dairy now so I love taking recipes with dairy and making a vegan alternative. I make a crazy awesome veggie pot pie. :D a couple of things to remember: you are not a freak, although people will act like it. Don't be picky at people's houses, just be hungry or carry snacks in your purse like I do. No judging, you will look and feel awesome and no one will want you to judge them :D no white bread or flour, very little pasta, cut back or avoid sugar. It is super easy to get really fat eating vegan because the easy foods are those I just listed and they will make you fat. Eat a salad every day. It is good for you and crazy easy. Enjoy your food! Your world will get bigger because you will eat a bigger variety of foods from different cultures! Yea! Thanksgiving solved. I have a veggie strudel recipe for you. Will post later.

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I call us non-ethical vegans. We do it for our health and the cost. We have 4 weeks of meals planned (5 meals/wk), we eat out one day a week because... that's what we do for entertainment. One dinner a week is left open on Sundays for either "experimentation" or eating at the in-laws (who are also limiting their meat consumption). We decide on a meal we want that day, go out to the store, bring it home and cook it together. It's a hobby of some sort for us. We eat salads for lunch (ds eats a sandwich of some kind). For breakfast we eat fruit, a smoothie or oats. It varies.


If you don't buy processed or convenience food, it's cheap. I recommend the Happy Herbivore. Her meals are simple (read: convenient and cheap) and lowfat. Some aren't very good, some are really good, and the majority are alright. :001_smile: She has meal plans for $5/wk, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.


My husband lost 10 pounds over the two months we switched our diet. Me, not so much. I have a bad Starbucks soy mocha habit...


My advice is to do it slowly. Work on making breakfast vegan. Then add lunch. Experiment with vegan dinners to find what you like and add it to the list of go-to meals.


ETA: I have a few go-to vegan meals that we love. Let me know if you're interested.

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The successful vegans I've known are pretty conservative about their food: simple, rotating meals OR they're paying quite a bit for groceries to get the variation meat and dairy provided. They're also cheaters when the event requires it, or allergic and can't cheat. What I'm saying is be gentle with the change. Stick to it as you can but don't obsess because one thing has some cheese in it - unless it's a dietary necessity.


I'd be happy to recommend cookbooks, share recipes and help in any other way I can. It's a great endeavor and I do feel better when we eliminate certain things from our diet.


Uh yes, one more thing. Those first two/three months your body will hate you. BMs, cravings, headaches, and energy might be new things to deal with. My friends said it felt like the top of their mouth was blistered for quite a while. I didn't get that, but did experience KILLER headaches. Once your past that though, you're golden. And sorry to say, I did not lose weight. I gained because I was not eating enough. I had a thread about that a while ago. I was eating a salad with a few chickpeas sprinkled over it and a bowl of soup, fruit. I have to eat every couple hours when eating vegan.


Okay, I think of myself as a "successful vegan," and I guess we fall on the side of simple meals. One of the things my husband and kids and I bemoan frequently is this impression other people seem to have that "vegan" means "weird." We use almost no specialty items, besides soy milk and protein powders. Otherwise, we pretty much just eat food, that does happen to contain meat or dairy products.


A typical meal for us would be burritos with seasoned black beans, rice, salsa, bell peppers and corn niblets. Another night, we might eat an Indian-inspired meal of curried chickpeas (for which I don't buy anything more exotic than grocery store curry powder) with basmati, a couple of chutneys (really easy to make) and some flatbread on the side. We do a sloppy lentil thing that is like sloppy joes but with lentils, which I serve over hamburger buns (home-made when I have the time and energy) and alongside either mashed sweet potatoes or baked potato wedges. Spaghetti with marinara sauce is vegan, light on protein, but vegan. (Sometimes, I puree red lentils into the sauce. Other times, we make it up at another meal.) Falafel and hummus are vegan, tasty and healthy. Ditto on plain, old lentil soup.


Not one of those meals is difficult or damaging to your grocery budget.


And I've never heard of a person's body needing or experiencing the kind of adjustment period mentioned above. I've known lots of vegans over the years and have never heard anyone complain of those kinds of symptoms. That said, it is probably easier to transition more slowly. I was a vegetarian (dairy, no eggs) for over a decade before I went vegan. But it was a matter of working up my will power, rather than any kind of physical thing.

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Guest inoubliable

I'd look at healthfulpursuit.com . She's got some very lovely recipes there and even a pantry list and refrigerator list that you can take a look at. Some of her stuff isn't vegan, and some of the ingredients are harder to find in some areas of the country. Having said that, I've recommended her site to several friends recently and it really helped them to see that being vegan doesn't mean that you're only eating meatless chili and salads all year long.


Jenny in Florida's meal plan is similar to ours. We use Amazon a lot to order different flours and some things that are just harder to find in our area. For example, red lentils. They're fantastic in a million different things and we're even using some to make a trail mix right now! Gotta order them from Amazon, though. That's the only drawback that I can think of. If you're living in an urban area, I'd guess that it's much easier to find what you need.


I'd stay away from processed vegan food, too. Processed food is processed food.


I second the body adjustment thing being odd, too. None of us ever went through an adjustment period when we went full-on vegan and I don't know anyone who ever has. I guess if you had a lot to detox, you could experience some uncomfortable bodily issues - like if you were cutting out caffeine or sugar from your diet, kwim?

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My first piece of advice is to try and get into a support group. You'll hear a lot of negativity from non-vegans (not all) about being a vegan. PM me if you want a list of groups I'd suggest. Or just PM my anytime. :) I know how it feels to be different and I know how it feels to hear all the "bad" stuff about being vegan from people who have no idea.


Secondly, I'd also suggest transitioning slowly. Not because your body will react badly, but because mentally it will make it easier. If you're eating animal foods and then all of a sudden you're trying new foods and a new way of eating it will all seem too difficult and you'll give up. It's not hard. Honestly. There wouldn't be so many of us if it was. :) Though I wouldn't rely on the processed foods (faux meats, etc) they're a good transition food. They're also good to eat at gatherings when you want to "fit in." Going to a BBQ? Take a veggie burger. It won't make you stand out as much if you're eating a quinoa dish, you know?


Eating vegan is actually quite cheap if you don't buy all the "replacement" foods. You can get just about anything in a vegan version now. It's wonderful, but it does take a chunk out of your bank account if you go crazy with it. Use these items sparingly and as a treat once you're used to your new way of eating.


There's such a plethora of vegan books and websites out there that you just have to start doing some research and find out what works best for you. There are vegans that want to eat the way they're used to and you can get some really great recipes if that's what you'd like. Or, there are vegans that follow a more healthy way of eating (like Eat To Live or Engine 2) and if that's what you want, you can get some great recipes there as well. One thing I like to do is Google vegan restaurants and look at their menus. I get a lot of ideas that way as well.


Just know there are people out there to support you. Reach out because you'll need it! :) Good luck!

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I read Eat to Live a little over a year ago and it helped me to change my eating habits. I've lost 30# in the process. I have more energy and less dis-ease as well.


I'm not 100% vegan - more like 90% vegan. Every time I've tried to go 100% vegan (2x now), I go anemic as well. :tongue_smilie:


Here are some things that helped me:

  • eat a super-sized salad first at lunch and dinner. I fix a salad in the salad spinner in the morning so that it's ready at lunch and dinner.
  • cut out sugar, white flour, white rice (I only eat whole grain at home, so I stopped eating white bread/white rice at restaurants)
  • make a big pot of soup or chili once a week so that there is always something easy to heat

I use different dinner "themes":

  • Mexican - taco salad, lentil tacos, vege tacos, vege burritos, stuffed peppers
  • Indian - channa masala (chickpeas), bhindi masala (okra), Aloo Gobi (cauliflower & potato) - I'm trying to work more Indian dishes into my rotation
  • Ethiopian - Berbere Stew, Green Beans & Potatoes, Chickpea & Sweet Potato Wat - these are out of this world yummy, imo
  • Chinese - stir fry
  • Burgers - black bean burgers, chickpea burgers, portobello burgers (if dh would eat them)
  • Sloppy things - unsloppy joes, sloppy lentils, pinto bean joes
  • Hummus - chickpea, red pepper, black bean, white bean


I just checked out a bunch of books from the library and tried recipes that looked good. For every 10 recipes I tried, I probably kept 1-2 for my repertoire. Dh is a fairly good sport and much prefers my cooking to having to cook himself. Ds16 will not touch any meal I make. So, I have it easier in a sense because I don't have to bother too much with what others like.


I will mention here that I went through "withdrawal" when cutting out the sugar, mostly cravings.


Totally agree with others to avoid processed food.


Happy to share recipes. Just PM me.

Edited by Sue in St Pete
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  • 2 weeks later...

Make a list of vegan foods you love and go from there.


I find vegan a tab bit more difficult than vegetarian. However, my vegan list would include:


Avocado (can't get enough!)

Beans, rice, quiona, millet, lentils etc.

Salsa with blue chips, and avocado

Tofu pups (I have great guilt that I love these. lol You really can't get much more processed! )




Extra Firm Tofu

My fav veggies

My fav fruits




Nut butters


Pasta with chopped tomatoes, olive oil, and/or veggies

Amy's American or Texas Burgers (frozen food section, but super yum!)

Edited by LibraryLover
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