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  Topic Review (Newest First)
09-25-2017 12:50 PM
soyboat_soyboat I feel all of this so hard. I just posted as "flexitegan" so I may be the wrong person to answer this, but I don't believe it has to be all-or-nothing. If you cook a vegan meal a couple times a month or buy veggie-based bologna substitutes, it's better than nothing. Your mental health comes first always.

Check out "The Lazy Vegan" on youtube; she's chockfull of budget-friendly and time-constraint-friendly advice. I'm a big fan of canned beans and frozen veggies, which take zero time to cook; the beans can basically just be eaten cold. Frozen fruits can be eaten cold too. Yeah I'm lazy. Yesterday I whipped up soy-honey(/honey substitute) seitan on a bed of microwaved kale (from frozen) mixed with some chia seeds and tahini; it was lazy af and took less than 10 minutes and like 2 dishes. I also make big batches of rice and beans and they're anything but boring! Start simple, just pour some salsa into black beans for example, eat it with canned corn, avocado, and rice in a tortilla, mmm... being a lazy cook comes easier with time! Eventually you'll get the hang of it.

Also I forget which documentary this is in but they interviewed a vegan chef in LA who was a really big guy; he clearly loved his food and took a lot of pride in cooking good things. I think the vegan community needs a broader range of representations because screw the bodyshamers! I eat lots of peanut butter, oreos, cereal with soy milk, oatmeal with chocolate and fruit... it doesn't have to be broccoli all the time and you don't have to lose weight to be a vegan. Check out the vlogger Edyn Jacks on youtube; she's a wonderful fat vegan and is really fun to follow.

All this being said, I really struggle with the health aspect. I've been vegetarian/vegan in the past and not stuck with it, so I'll see how it goes this time... but yeah I don't have any recommendations other than pay attention to supplements.
09-22-2017 11:53 AM
Anita Joyce We all go through ups and downs! Transitioning back can seem daunting at first but you did it before you so will do it again Sticking to a whole food plant based diet is probably best imo, less cravings when I do that. I suffer from them too when I am eating more processed plant food.
08-25-2017 03:05 AM
ruthwfortunato We're on the same boat. I went vegetarian for a year too and was not feeling very well, due to my imbalanced diet. And like you, I'm seeking ways to get back to the veg life too. However, having a healthy and tasty veg meal out is VERY expensive. I'm now learning how to cook. If you do cook, you're already at a great place to start! There are actually many blogs out there that offer easy, healthy vegan recipes. You'll be surprised how amazing they are!

Below are a few blogs that I'm following (can't post links but you can find them on google)

ohsheglows dot com
veganricha dot com
forkandbeans dot com

Hope it helps!
06-13-2017 08:45 AM
felpel91 I'm sorry about your depression. I struggled hard for about 2 years and could only eat take out, fast food, or salads because I didn't have the energy to cook. That was before going vegan.

My advice is to just type in 'easy vegan recipes' online and you can find stuff that takes at the most, 30 min to make. Make about 3 meals a week, making sure you make enough for leftovers, and you're basically set for dinners and most lunches with minimal effort. To make it taste good experiment with flavors and adding lots of different veggies together. That's the cool thing about this diet, you can make any dish different just be subbing out the veggies or adding new ones to the mix. It's kinda fun.

In the end, don't be too hard on yourself. Do what is right for you and your body.
05-20-2017 10:12 AM
Tom Welcome, @sawyer_lei !

Lots of folks in temperate climates are short on vitamin D. I take it during the winter; it's the only supplement I take besides B-12. I like to be outdoors in the warm months but it's very cloudy in my area. I also wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from the UV.
@silva mentioned what to do about iron, and I agree with @Ferncat that Taco Bell has lots of low-cost vegan fast food options. Their food, like most fast food, is high in salt- but you shouldn't be eating fast food every day.

I'm not a very good cook, so I get cookbooks out of the library for ideas, and use the recipe forums here too. I often make large batches of things I make and know I like, and freeze portions for later- it saves a lot of time!
05-19-2017 02:34 AM
silva Dollar Tree--Frozen spring rolls. Super good just in the microwave! You get like 5 or 6 decent sized ones. tasty and not even greasy
I find a few shampoo, and lotions that may not be entirely vegan but are listed as not animal tested and made in Canada. Probably a regional thing
05-18-2017 09:10 PM
Lauren Ashley Sparks Hey! I follow a lot of vegans on twitter and I learned about some vegan products found at the dollar tree!
besides the ramen mentioned above, heres a link to an article with pictures of the vegan food from dollar tree:
chef ernesto veggie burgers
chef ernesto veggie samosas
veggie broth
chef ernesto battered mushrooms
mrs freshley's oatmeal creme pies
harvest hill classic yellow cake mix
red beans and rice new orleans style mix
soy milk
fudge graham cookies
strawberry bars (similar to fig newtons) that are vegan as well
05-17-2017 09:54 AM
Thalassa Your vitamin D deficiency likely came from lack of sunlight, it's common even in omnis in the winter especially or in sedentary people all year long, which is why dairy milk in the US is artificially fortified with vitamin, on this issue it's just about using fortified plant milk instead of fortified dairy milk, or taking a vitamin supplement. As a college student, especially with your current diet which sounds terrible, you should probably just take an affordable multi-vitamin to cover your bases.

If you lacked iron, it may have been in your distaste for beans. Do you like tofu, or spinach or kale? Toast with hummus, topped with sautéed garlic and spinach, some salt n pepper and crushed red pepper (the cheap kind you put on pizza) is really delicious and easy to make. You could also look into buying Yves veggie meats, which are high iron, usually fortified with B12, and slap that on a sandwich instead of bologna.

I also love toast with avacado, tomato slices, a generous topping of nutritional yeast, and some salt. You could make this quickly in your dorm room, and make sure you use a fortified nutritional yeast (order online if you cant buy it locally) so you are getting the max nutrition for your money and calories.

Nissan Top Ramen in Oriental flavor is accidentally vegan, if you love ramen, and I am sure you know that the one thing ramen has besides carbs and salt, is iron!

Also try nuts, or peanut butter sandwiches.
05-16-2017 02:54 PM
jessandreia It's not for me, but if you are the kind of person that doesn't mind eating the same thing for 2-3 meals in a row, a crockpot/ slowcooker may be a good investment. You just have to chop stuff once and get a few meals out of it.
There are vegan frozen meals (Amy's Kitchen does some), but they are not cheap. I've heard the Oriental flavour of ramen noodles is vegan.
05-16-2017 12:56 PM
silva Oh yeah, their Benton chocolate chip cookies are vegan and darn good.
I think the peanut butter and mint type cookies are too
05-16-2017 12:55 PM
silva I hope your Aldi is as good as mine. We have
quinoa- $2.99 a pound
all kinds of pasta, whole grain, gluten free, and lots of plain white shapes!
salad dressing- balsamic vinegrette and Italian are my faves and no corn syrup and vegan
hummus is good and they get different varieties
they have 4 packs of strawberry and orange fruit jels - jels, no gelatin! Locust bean gum- plant
almond milk- unsweetened, sweetened original and vanilla- i get original. sometimes chocolate
Soymilk organic- no unsweetened, but I like original and vanilla,
They have chipolte black bean veggie burgers. The original is meh. Now they have soyburgers vegan or cheese. The vegan ones strangely taste more like a grilled hot dog than any vegan hot dog to me
They have quacamole, and all kinds of salsa. I like the tall jars that are cheap, that one doesn't have cilantro
Fat free refried beans
Cereals do have D3 mostly but are good
they have olives
they have whole wheat tortillas and buns
tortilla chips are good, as well as their selection of crackers
Should be coming soon--their steakhouse canned baked beans. I loved those, but they're seasonal. Most if not all are vegan
05-16-2017 11:53 AM
sawyer_lei Thanks both of you for the replies! It really is helpful for me.

Silva, trying to donate blood was actually how I found out I had low iron! I went to my GP and got some blood tests afterwards to confirm and yep, anemic. We don't have any ethnic markets here. There is actually one grocery store in town and then one discount store that sells food. I usually drive about 30 minutes to get groceries from Kroger or Aldi. I am actually moving right now into a house so my kitchen will be much better but right now I live in a small apartment with half a stove and one countertop. I hate it.

Ferncat, I have the Thug Kitchen cookbook in one of my boxes somewhere! I should get it out. I thought it was very funny. I currently already eat a lot of Taco Bell so veganizing it shouldn't be a problem We don't have Chipotle or ethnic stores here unfortunately. Thanks for the link to that blogger! It is helpful for me to cope with social situations. I'm so sorry you have depression too. It really kicks your ass I used to cook all the time but went through a really awful bout of depression and now I can't seem to do anything like I used to. It's frustrating.
05-16-2017 07:40 AM
Ferncat Your lazy as f*ck comment reminded me of the cookbook Thug Kitchen. Have you looked into this? It is a good basic cookbook that has pretty simple fresh recipes. It helped me to find stuff to cook that was healthy and similar to what I was wanting to eat.

You mentioned fast food as well. Strangely enough, Taco Bell has options for vegan foods. You sort of have to customize it but they can be really vegan friendly. Maybe not the best thing to eat overall but it can be an option when you go out with friends who want fast food.

Do you have Chipotle where you are? Some of their things are vegan.

I live in Sacramento and there is a blogger who is vegan and her husband isn't. She likes to blog about where she goes and what places can accommodate her. I know you are not in the area but it might give you some ideas about what and how to customize foods for when you are out with friends.

Some Ethnic foods are or can be made vegan pretty easily. Look for Thai, Indian and Ethiopian restaurants and ask if they can make your food vegan. Not sure if any of these are where you are but maybe?

I second the idea to look for Indian / Asian grocery stores. They usually have better produce for cheaper.

I also have depression and have found that cooking helps with it. I love to search out recipes, shop and prepare foods. I didn't really realize how much it has come to mean to me. It is purposeful, helps keep my hands busy, engages my mind and is very satisfying. When I don't feel like cooking, that is when I should cook the most. My depression can be sort of crippling and it can help to have something to do to get out of it.
05-16-2017 05:43 AM
silva Your story really seems to bring to light how different geographical differences can be, which is a hinderence to everyone, veg or not.
Have you been tested as low iron, or going on how you feel? You really need blood work if you haven't, but iron can be overcome veg'n . I was low as a meat eater and often supplemented- took precautions and have been fine eating vegan. I think a cast iron for every think helped a lot which I assume isn't practical, but with dark greens, fortified cereals, beans, whole grains, and eating them with vitamin C (tomato, citrus, brocolli...), and not having caffeine with iron meals. Like curries-a can of garbanzos or kidney beans, brown rice or other grains, can of tomatoes, maybe some coconut milk, spices, heated with fresh spinach thrown in

Vegan "community". This is about you. What you're talking about is a stereotype-any time there is a minority that the majority doesn't like the loud, the offensive, the insulting people are the ones that make up the stereotypes. You know being vegan doesn't have to mean any of those things! This forum is a veg'n "community" and the majority here aren't any of those things! We're just aware we have no need for animals to suffer when we can eat and feel better eating foods that are only plants. No sacrifice, just getting over what we've been fed our whole lives.

Veg foods are just as versitile as those with animals, I am sorry about places where they keep it from you. Easy foods would be fat free refried beans, whole wheat torillas, salsa, hummus, canned beans, Top Ramen brand oriental and chili flavor ramen. Do you have any kind of ethnic stores? I buy baked ramen noodles by themselves (Roland brand) and they're just as quick cooking and I throw in veggies and beans.
Here's a quick recipe that's really much tastier than it sounds- you need to spice it like you like-
boil 2 cups water, add
1 cup red lentils
cook for about 15 minutes (check that they're soft)
Stir in 1/2 cup bulgar wheat (cracked wheat) and turn off heat. Cover and let sit
You can add minced or dehrydrated onions, celery, garlic, cumin, red pepper from those packets you ask for at pizza places. This is like a pate, and I have it cold on wrap sandwiches, or I'll make patties and saute. You can stir into veg broth. I mention this particulary because it is so cheap and easy- it helped me pay bills!
A blender or something like the nutribullet is truly helpful. Adding oats to smoothies is filling

Wise brand snacks have vegan things like their onion rings, and garlic onion pototo chips
If you feel too overwhelmed to be fully vegan, do as much as you can.
DO supplement vitamin D! I can't seem to absorb it well naturally or the D2. there is vegan D3 from lichens, but it is pricier. I haven't even switched from the regular D3.
You can donate blood to keep a check on your iron. If you need to supplement, do. Some cream of wheat cereals are as high as 70% RDA- check labels. I used to eat that for breakfast a few times a week. You can also add it to soups as well as the lentil kofta recipe I added above instead of bulgar if you can't get bulgar, and it has more iron.
Sorry for the rambling post! I'm getting sidetracked...

Pizza hut hand tossed crust is vegan and they often have deals on any toppings. I get the cherry peppers, red onions, xtra mushrooms and olives

I think the best advice is don't obsess and keep your eyes open to whats around you- like are there Indian/Asian groceries? Veg events on campus? Don't lump the vegan community around you completely- try and get past the ones who are irritating

What are your facilities like there? In a dorm? have a small freezer? hot plate?
05-16-2017 01:06 AM
Ex-Vegan Here...

When I was 16 I went vegan cold turkey and was strictly vegan for about six months. I felt really good living my values which I have always had. It felt right. I remember how easy it was the first couple months when I still lived with my parents. Ugh, I dream about that time when everything went well. Anyways, long story short, I switched back and forth between vegan and vegetarian for about another year. Then I tried pescetarian for another six months. Then I finally ate my first bite of meat in two years. I was craving meat for a very long time before I ate it and as hypocritical and dumb as it sounds, I honestly did try to source my meat as ethically as I could because animals are still important to me. I just didn't know what to do.

Which leads me here. It's not even been a year since I abandoned the veg life. I want to go back. I need help though. I think I isolated the issues which led to me not being veg anymore and would like some kind advice on how to work through them so I can get on my happy way with veganism.

1. Health problems
Of course a well-planned plant based diet can be healthy and meet all nutritional needs but I do not plan well. I developed anemia, vitamin D deficiency, and generally felt like crap a lot towards the end of being veg. This is the main reason I said au revoir to veg life. Still not sure how to eat vegan while being lazy as f*ck without developing health problems.

2. Vegan "community"
I hate the vegan "community." I'm scared of them. I don't know what it is about the word vegan but I'm afraid to tell people about it because of how embarrassing vegans on the internet are. Plus I'm a fat chick and I don't like being told I should stop eating all fat ever and only eat bananas and corn pasta. You know who I'm talking about...

3. Convenience and money
Dry beans and rice are cheap, everyone knows that. I don't want to eat that. It's boring and takes too much time to cook. I mostly eat crap like ramen noodles, frozen pizza, and bologna sandwiches. I need stuff that can fit in my tiny college budget that I can actually find in a rural midwestern area that can replace those things. I'm not a bad cook but my kitchen is tiny and very uncomfortable to cook in. I also have depression so sometimes I literally cannot cook my own meals and have to rely on my family and frozen meals. I'd love suggestions for that too!

4. Social events
Going to fast food places sucks when you're veg. French fries are great but not when your friends get food you used to love and you can't eat anymore. I need help with mostly finding alternatives but also some advice with how you deal with these situations would be great too.

TLDR; Ex-vegan here wanting to be vegan but life is hard so help me. Give me some advice you wish you would hear when you were just starting to be vegan.

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