Becoming vegan: Seeking advice - VeggieBoards

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#1 Old 08-03-2015, 05:43 AM
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Question Becoming vegan: Seeking advice

I am 17 and I have recently stumbled on a bunch of documentaries (Get Vegucated, Food Inc, Forks Over Knives) that have made me want to no longer contribute to the unethical harm of animals in order to feed myself, so I want to start eating a vegan diet! I have considered this before a few months earlier when I watched the food related documentary "Fed Up" but I did not really do much research, and due to lack of planning I was not able to feed myself in a way that was sustaining, so I did not continue eating vegan.

This time I have done the research and I am committed to veganism, but I would still (no doubt) benefit from the advice of long (or even short) time vegans!

Most importantly I was wondering this: Will it be easier if I give things up gradually? Like first meat, then dairy, then eggs and over time I am a full on vegan?

Other questions I have are:

What were some difficulties that you had while transitioning and how did you overcome them? How much meal planning do you do on a regular basis? Is eating out or eating with family difficult at times? Do you bring your own food? Have you noticed any changes in yourself since becoming vegan?

Any information or advice you have is extremely appreciated!!

I have also ordered the book "The Vegan's Daily Companion" to help me with meal ideas
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#2 Old 08-03-2015, 06:04 AM
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I've only been vegan for a few days, but already I've noticed that my meal require a little planning. I have to consider what I'm doing for the day and think "Do I need to go shopping today" or "should I bring my own food when I hang out with my brother (other family members too). It's not hard, but it is something to think about.

As for your question about transitioning gradually, I was vegetarian for 7 months prior to making the change to a vegan diet. I feel like this helped since at first I was always craving bacon and now the thought of it makes me cringe a little.
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#3 Old 08-03-2015, 06:28 AM
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Thank you for that advice!
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#4 Old 08-03-2015, 05:46 PM
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I think transitioning gradually will be a lot easier. Taking things one step at a time will allow you to sub one ingredient in a recipe, then when you already know how to sub that ingredient you can sub 2... and so on.
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#5 Old 08-03-2015, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jemappellebel View Post
I am 17 and I have recently stumbled on a bunch of documentaries (Get Vegucated, Food Inc, Forks Over Knives) that have made me want to no longer contribute to the unethical harm of animals in order to feed myself, so I want to start eating a vegan diet! I have considered this before a few months earlier when I watched the food related documentary "Fed Up" but I did not really do much research, and due to lack of planning I was not able to feed myself in a way that was sustaining, so I did not continue eating vegan.

This time I have done the research and I am committed to veganism, but I would still (no doubt) benefit from the advice of long (or even short) time vegans!

Most importantly I was wondering this: Will it be easier if I give things up gradually? Like first meat, then dairy, then eggs and over time I am a full on vegan?

Other questions I have are:

What were some difficulties that you had while transitioning and how did you overcome them? How much meal planning do you do on a regular basis? Is eating out or eating with family difficult at times? Do you bring your own food? Have you noticed any changes in yourself since becoming vegan?

Any information or advice you have is extremely appreciated!!

I have also ordered the book "The Vegan's Daily Companion" to help me with meal ideas
How quickly you transition is a very personal experience. Some people transition over a long period of time, and some do it overnight. I was the latter, but my transition was very easy for a number of reasons. 1. I was already intolerant to most dairy so I had been off that for years with the exception of Greek yogurt which I was easily able to wean off of. I think dairy is the hardest food for most people to get off of. I wasn't much of a meat eater before either and I have never missed it in the years since being vegan. 2. I already planned a weekly menu and daily meals long before becoming vegan, and I think it really helped me when transitioning. 3. I had begun to eat a lot of beans many years ago and far less meat as my body just didn't do well with heavy hard to digest meat. So I was very used to beans by the time I went vegan, and they are a huge staple for me. A lot of new vegans have a difficult time digesting beans if they are not used to them and end up with gas which can be quite distressing. Learning to soak dried beans and simmer them with a little baking soda or sea vegetables helps make them easier to digest, as well as rinsing canned beans very well.

I became interested in veganism when researching about world hunger in late 2010. I came across a book called "The Omnivore's Dilemma" where veganism was mentioned and everything about veganism just clicked with me. But I spent a good two months first reading and learning everything I could about it, and also researching nutrition. I bought the book "Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant Based Diet" which covers everything you could ever think of asking lol. I read a lot of vegan blogs and cookbooks and familiarized myself with kitchen staples and basics like replacing eggs in recipes etc. I LOVE to cook and bake and experiment with creative ways of making dishes so it was truly an awesome adventure for me to eat all plant based.

The hardest part of the transition for me wasn't food or replacing nonvegan clothing, toiletries, cleaning supplies. It was that my family and friends did not embrace my new lifestyle. It took them some time to come around, especially my husband, but eventually they did. I had to learn to be very patient with them and not preachy, and to know when to back off. But also when to stand my ground and stand up for what I believe in and not allow others to push me around. I waited for a few weeks after becoming vegan before I told anyone to give myself a chance to get used to it and make sure it was something I wanted to continue to do. I think this is a common strategy. It was a few months before I had the confidence to share about it with my wider circle of friends and coworkers.

Take your time, learn everything you can, and never forget the reasons you wanted to go vegan in the first place. There is no need to try to be pure and perfect on day one. It is a learning process, and a very rewarding one too!

Best wishes to you in your new adventure!
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#6 Old 08-03-2015, 06:13 PM
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the greatest difficulty is the social one.

i was a nicer and happier person when i was omni. being vegan, i expect better from people and i am continually disappointed/frustrated when i interact with them.

i do better in my own little vegan bubble.
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#7 Old 08-04-2015, 10:16 AM
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I would say also it is a personal timeline. Some people are more comfortable with the fast approach, and some people with the slow approach.

I would say, that in all my years of being a vegetarian (about 10) then transitioning to vegan, that CHEESE will be your hardest mountain to climb, and so I suggest getting rid of the cheese and dairy first. This seems strange. This also means no processed food with those items in them. This can be very hard. No cake, no pancakes, and learning how to cook without dairy.

Giving up meat is the easy part, it is the milk, cheese, eggs, gelatin, and other animal products hidden in your food, drinks, candy, processed food that is the hard part.

Since you are young and I assume do not have a household with your own furniture and so on, you will not need to change out anything like a leather couch. Boots and coats maybe. Since some poor animal gave his or her life to make those items, I'd treat them with respect and not just toss them on the curb.
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#8 Old 08-04-2015, 10:32 AM
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Will it be easier if I give things up gradually? Like first meat, then dairy, then eggs and over time I am a full on vegan?
Finish what's in your fridge, then your next shopping trip will be an experiment. Give yourself a couple hours (if your local supermarkets are big) to discover what is and isn't vegan, then bring a little bit of everything home (pay extra attention to the foreign foods section). From there, pick and choose what you like.

If you're planning on cooking everything from scratch though: It's a good thing you got those books.

Quote:
the greatest difficulty is the social one.

i was a nicer and happier person when i was omni. being vegan, i expect better from people and i am continually disappointed/frustrated when i interact with them.
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#9 Old 08-04-2015, 10:44 AM
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the greatest difficulty is the social one.

i was a nicer and happier person when i was omni. being vegan, i expect better from people and i am continually disappointed/frustrated when i interact with them.

i do better in my own little vegan bubble.
I'm starting to feel the same way already. I'm not sure when to get off my high horse and when to put my foot down.
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#10 Old 08-04-2015, 09:37 PM
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While everyone's transition is a personal one, I think trying to go from full omnivore to full vegan in one step, cold turkey, is setting yourself up for failure. Going vegan will basically completely rewrite your daily diet choices, and the more failure points you introduce at once, the harder it will be. But there are a lot of options for how to phase in a vegan diet. You could start by cutting out one thing at a time, getting used to it, and then moving on to the next thing. Or you could try picking some days each week to be "Vegan Days" where you try to eat vegan for that one day, and then other days eat as you have been. That way you don't have to come up with a whole new meal plan at once, but just three meals. Start with, say, two days a week, then step it up when you're ready. That's how I quit cheese; I decided on "no cheese weekends" first, then added Wednesday, then Thursday, and then I just jumped to the whole week dairy-free because at that point it was easier than remembering which days were which!
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#11 Old 08-04-2015, 09:44 PM
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I'm starting to feel the same way already. I'm not sure when to get off my high horse and when to put my foot down.
Hop on down off that horse and enjoy yourself! You can't change the world. Just make your corner of it a little nicer.
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#12 Old 08-04-2015, 11:11 PM
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Or you could try picking some days to be Vegan Days...
That sounds a lot more vulnerable to failure that outright quitting. Isn't that basically what on-again, off-again, vegetarians do?
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#13 Old 08-04-2015, 11:28 PM
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That sounds a lot more vulnerable to failure that outright quitting. Isn't that basically what on-again, off-again, vegetarians do?
So what? Whether or not there are other people who use that sort thing as an excuse to justify their ominvore diet has no bearing on anything at all. The goal here is to achieve a fully vegan diet at the end of the process, not to have the self-satisfaction of being better than those other people in the middle. The problem with the on-again, off-again vegetarian is that they don't commit to their decision and stick with it; that will be true for them regardless of the method by which they phase out animal products. It's the existence of the end goal of full veganism and the timetable of progression toward that goal that makes the difference.

If you look at that method and think, "That would be worse for me than just quitting," then don't do it. If you think it might be better, try it. Like I said, it worked for me for cheese, but for eggs, I just gave them up one day and never looked back. Whatever works.
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#14 Old 08-05-2015, 01:50 AM
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I suppose I just have a problem with the idea that if someone were eating me and my family, I should find it morally acceptable for them to slowly ween themselves off eating me and my family instead of... you know... NOT eating me and my family.
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#15 Old 08-05-2015, 02:03 AM
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Moral acceptability isn't the issue we're discussing. We all agree that it's not morally acceptable to eat animals. No one's asking you to personally condone the methodology being used by another person; if you want to look down on someone until they cross the finish line to full veganism, that's your right. That doesn't really help someone struggling with the transition, though.

For me, I don't care if every step along the way is perfectly ethically defensible as long as they're consistently moving in the right direction toward a position that is. What's important is that they get there eventually, and if a phase-out plan makes that more likely, then awesome! If it doesn't, then that's OK, too. I'm not promoting it as the be-all, end-all of plans, just one more tool to use if it helps.

Bottom line, it's better for someone to become a vegan slowly than to give up because it's too hard.
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#16 Old 08-05-2015, 04:51 AM
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Moral acceptability isn't the issue we're discussing. ...if you want to look down on someone until they cross the finish line to full veganism, that's your right. That doesn't really help someone struggling with the transition, though.
You missed my point. What I'm saying is anyone approaching veganism from moral grounds should be capable of understanding that their "struggle" to transition to veganism is insultingly trivial compared to the struggle of the animals they continue to eat. A gradual transition for the their own convenience is nothing shy of a gross misplacement of priorities.

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Bottom line, it's better for someone to become a vegan slowly than to give up because it's too hard.
That's... you... no. Just... no.

No one will argue with you that it's better for someone to be vegan eventually rather than never, but you're asserting that it not only may be too hard to quit outright, but the moral argument is SO UNTENABLE, that it can be easily swept aside by the likes of cravings or convenience.

Not to mention that you're saying that it's okay for anyone to drag their ass on their way to become vegan even if it takes YEARS. You're literally saying that someone is entirely justified in continuing to eat meat for the rest of their lives, just so long as they're vegan by the time they reach their deathbed. I cannot in good sense reconcile that.
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#17 Old 08-05-2015, 12:37 PM
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Who said anything about years? I'm talking 3-6 months, tops. A focused plan with a beginning, middle, and end:

Month 1: Give up red meat totally. Two days a week, no meat at all.
Month 2: Four days a week, no meat. Two days a week, no eggs.
Month 3: Give up meat totally. Four days a week, no eggs.
Month 4: Give up eggs totally. Two days a week, full vegan.
Month 5: Four days a week, full vegan
Month 6: Full vegan.

But you know what? If someone does struggle with being a vegan for the rest of their life, then at least they're trying. If they don't have the willpower or commitment to stick with it all of the time, then at least a few less animals are dying each week. I'm not going to look down my nose at that. I'll take less dead animals over idealogical purity any day of the week. I'm not going to sit here and tell people that they don't "count" toward reducing animal cruelty unless they can be absolutely perfect from Day One and never fail or backslide, because that's the sort of attitude that makes people go, "Screw it, it's too hard." Not because it actually is too hard, but because they get discouraged.

Maybe you went from omni to vegan in one day, but most people don't, and if they come to a message board like this one asking for help then obviously they're worried that it might be difficult for them. And saying, "But it's not as hard as being a farm animal!" doesn't actually accomplish anything. It's the rhetorical equivalent of, "Suck it up, loser. I did it, so you do it." If you feel that way, fine, whatever, but it's not helpful and makes veganism less welcoming to newcomers. Failing to acknowledge that reality is making the perfect the enemy of the good and will push people away who are on the fence.
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#18 Old 08-05-2015, 02:11 PM
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I think there's a multitude of ways to transition into veganism. Have you ever heard the quote "it doesn't matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop?" I think that's pretty applicable here. I do agree with Triceratops that as long as someone is honestly trying to transition into veganism, then that is okay. I went vegetarian overnight and recently went vegan overnight as well. This method certainly doesn't work with everyone. I personally think "vegan days" are a great idea if you are the type of person who has to transition. It allows the person the experience of being fully vegan whilst slowly reducing their animal product consumption. This can also help them to start learning how to meal plan, which is something I've been having to work on since I transitioned overnight.
Mostly though, I don't think this debate is necessary. We all have our own methods for transitioning, and sticking with a veg*n diet and some people taking longer than others isn't a big deal. While I greatly disagree with the animal industry, I also don't think it's fair to almost demonize someone who takes extra time cutting out animal products so long as they are giving an honest effort. Reducing animal product consumption at all has an impact.
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#19 Old 08-05-2015, 02:21 PM
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It is a personal journey. If you can stick to your six month plan you are on a good timeline. I mean, why not? Your life is about you.
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#20 Old 08-05-2015, 02:27 PM
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I think there's a multitude of ways to transition into veganism. Have you ever heard the quote "it doesn't matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop?" I think that's pretty applicable here. I do agree with Triceratops that as long as someone is honestly trying to transition into veganism, then that is okay. I went vegetarian overnight and recently went vegan overnight as well. This method certainly doesn't work with everyone. I personally think "vegan days" are a great idea if you are the type of person who has to transition. It allows the person the experience of being fully vegan whilst slowly reducing their animal product consumption. This can also help them to start learning how to meal plan, which is something I've been having to work on since I transitioned overnight.
Mostly though, I don't think this debate is necessary. We all have our own methods for transitioning, and sticking with a veg*n diet and some people taking longer than others isn't a big deal. While I greatly disagree with the animal industry, I also don't think it's fair to almost demonize someone who takes extra time cutting out animal products so long as they are giving an honest effort. Reducing animal product consumption at all has an impact.
I turned vegetarian over night and I've been moving towards vegan over the last 3 weeks or so and I'm nearly there. It's a great journey, if you convert over night great, if you convert over a year that's also great.
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#21 Old 08-05-2015, 05:54 PM
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Who said anything about years? I'm talking 3-6 months, tops.
So it's not okay if it takes them 7 months? You're just being arbitrary.

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I'm not going to sit here and tell people that they don't "count" toward reducing animal cruelty unless they can be absolutely perfect from Day One and never fail or backslide,
I never said that.

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I'm not going to look down my nose at that.
That's the second time you've said that. You seem pretty convinced that I'm trying to be condescending as if I'm alighting from on high to deliver the grand irrefutable gospel that is my advice!




I'm simply saying that this...

Quote:
And saying, "But it's not as hard as being a farm animal!" doesn't actually accomplish anything.
...can accomplish something. It's a reminder that the importance of our interests are far less significant than those we are trying to help. On the rare occasion that I pick up something I know isn't vegan off the grocery shelf and think about it, that's the thought that always compels me to put it back, no matter how good it looks. It helps me... so it can help Jemappellebel.
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#22 Old 08-05-2015, 07:27 PM
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There are many reasons why a person takes more time to transition than others. Not everyone has a lot of money and privilege. Not everyone has access to Whole Foods Coops or large chain grocery stores where vegan foods and supplements are more commonly available, nor does everyone have the money to order everything online. Heck, I visited a town in south Texas once where the one grocery store there had a produce section the size of a walk in closet. Fresh food was simply not available unless you had transportation to a nearby larger city. I couldn't even find plain canned or dried beans or oatmeal there. I was temporarily dependent on my in-laws to drive me to the next town (since I flew by plane to visit) to find some groceries to get me through a week.

Others have health problems that means they have special needs that make it a challenge to go vegan (ie diverticulitis, celiac disease, allergies etc). I'm not saying it is impossible for them, but it might take more time and planning to make it work. Some people don't have the skills to cook or do food prep and literally have no idea how to provide decent vegan meals for themselves. I didn't learn to cook until I was in my early thirties. I grew up a latchkey kid eating cereal for dinner many nights. I was never taught how to cook and didn't experience a whole lot of sit down family meals in my lifetime.

My husband's parents have lived 81 years eating meat and dairy at almost every single meal. Can you imagine the change for them if they were to suddenly decide to go vegan? Like where would they even begin? I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a little time to experiment and ask around and research while stilll consuming a meal here and there that isn't totally vegan while you learn how to feed and sustain yourself on a plant based diet, let alone all the other parts of veganism (replacing toiletries, cleaning supplies, clothes etc). It can be overwhelming for some people. That's the reality. Most of us weren't born vegan. It took us all some time to become vegan, to even learn that it existed and to realize we could live...thrive...without exploiting animals.

Also, veganism isn't necessarily an end, a final step. Vegans continually learn throughout life how to be more compassionate, how to communicate and be more effective advocates and activists, ways to cause less harm and to contribute less and less to exploitation. Veganism embraces the rights of all sentient beings, not just nonhuman animals.
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#23 Old 08-06-2015, 07:05 AM
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There are many reasons why a person takes more time to transition than others. Not everyone has a lot of money and privilege.
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Heck, I visited a town in south Texas once where the one grocery store there had a produce section the size of a walk in closet.
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I was temporarily dependent on my in-laws to drive me to the next town (since I flew by plane to visit) to find some groceries to get me through a week.
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Others have health problems that means they have special needs that make it a challenge to go vegan
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consuming a meal here and there that isn't totally vegan while you learn how to feed and sustain yourself on a plant based diet, let alone all the other parts of veganism (replacing toiletries, cleaning supplies, clothes etc). It can be overwhelming for some people.
Assuming this post is directed at me: I know that. My response was tailored to the details as described in the opening post which suggested that Jemappellebel had already done some research and supposedly already knows what to avoid. Without additional contextual details such as... "I live on a farm", or "I share a home with 7 omnis", or "I'm sick with soy-will-instantly-kill-me disease" it's rather difficult to recommend a specific path tailored to their circumstances.

Unless I missed a post somewhere, as far I should know, Jemappellebel isn't restricted in such ways and was merely asking which would be easier: "Will it be easier if I give things up gradually? Like first meat, then dairy, then eggs and over time I am a full on vegan?"

If so, I stand by my original statement: The issues present in moral veganism preclude the question of ease.

If the opening post were to, for example, describe a conflict in which Jemappellebel's parents prepare all their food and refuse to acquiesce to their veganism, OR state that they had already gone vegan, but their options were so uniquely limited that they were beginning to experience significant health problems, then I would have said something different.
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#24 Old 08-10-2015, 02:41 PM
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Those same documentaries changed me too. I'm also transitioning as well.

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#25 Old 08-10-2015, 06:02 PM
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Most importantly I was wondering this: Will it be easier if I give things up gradually? Like first meat, then dairy, then eggs and over time I am a full on vegan?

Other questions I have are:

What were some difficulties that you had while transitioning and how did you overcome them? How much meal planning do you do on a regular basis? Is eating out or eating with family difficult at times? Do you bring your own food? Have you noticed any changes in yourself since becoming vegan?
I gave it up gradually. I was vegetarian for 2 years before I went vegan, so not eating meat wasn't always at the back of my mind. It becomes so normal after a while. I never really ate eggs or honey and I gave up dairy and oil within a couple weeks. You don't have to give up oil, I had to. Once the normal-ness sets in, it doesn't really phase you. Whatever you're comfortable with is what you should do.

My difficulties were when I didn't have a vegan option available to me or food wasn't prepared when I was hungry. That's when I would go to the dairy, but once you get used to a rhythm and have food prepared, it shouldn't be an issue.

I would dedicate one day to cooking for the week. That way you're not starving and rushing around for something to eat.

Eating out is difficult because some people don't know what vegan really means, so you can call ahead to restaurants and ask. I find it difficult because I don't eat oil and everything has oil in it when you're eating out. Eating with family is kind of normal, but can be irritating when they make the stupid comments, which I normally only get from my little brother.

I normally bring food if I know I'll need it. Sometimes I'll check ahead to make sure there will be something to eat, or I eat beforehand.

I get way more emotional about things! I tend to be very unemotional about things. You could give me the coolest thing ever and I really will be excited about it, but I don't show that I'm excited. I tend to be more sensitive about things now, which I guess is a good thing. I feel better, more energy, no joint pains. Since I no longer eat oil, I don't get acne or an oily face anymore, and my hair is never greasy either.
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#26 Old 01-22-2016, 09:12 AM
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Hello jemappellebel,

I have been practicing veganism for almost a year now and I'd love to help you out!

I found that yes, it was easier to make a gradual transition! I gave myself about a month to do so. This allows you to listen to your body, both emotionally and physically. Making drastic changes to a diet can be detrimental to our health if we don't get educated! Try this helpful blog post which provides some tips and tricks for making the transition MUCH easier!

http://myfitlittlefoodie.com/2016/01...d-of-veganism/

Good luck!
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#27 Old 01-22-2016, 09:20 AM
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Welcome and congrats on the decision to go vegan. My recommendation for your first trip to the store is to do a little bit of meal planning beforehand. Have at least one new recipe that you are ready to make.

Also, snacks! Vegan food is generally less calorie-dense than animal-based food, so you may find that you are hungrier. Sometimes people get headaches or feel tired and attribute that to lacking some vital nutrient, and they give up on veganism. However, what's usually happening is they just aren't eating enough calories. Have vegan snacks available to eat. I made these really chunky peanut butter cookies, and that worked really well for me.
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new vegan , new vegetarian , transitioning , veg , Vegan

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