Vegetarian to Vegan ... bit of a struggle - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-30-2012, 03:23 PM
 
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Hi everyone.

 

If I want to stop kidding myself, I need to go vegan. Badly.

I've been vegetarian for a year and a half and for the last 9 months approx, I haven't looked at chicken/tuna on friends'/siblings' plates and thought "man I really want some of that" and then had to look away to stop the craving in its tracks.

So I'm confident I'm "cured" of meat, though it was difficult at the start. I still find it appetizing but I'm completely in control now, which is awesome. If any of the craving thoughts come along, it's like a NO iron wall falls down and cuts it off.

 

I'm very dependant on food, I use it for emotional comfort, I tend to binge. Not in huge amounts, but it's not healthy anyway.

I'm not medically overweight, but not my society's ideal either. I've got curves, and where I live, it's not seen the same way as in the UK or the USA. The threshold is a lot higher as to what is considered attractive interms of weight by the majority. Just thought I'd put that out there. To give you a picture, I very rarely see any obese people, especially my age, and rarely people with my body type. So although I'm not supposed to be "fat", society says I am. I know, we all know about that. But just to say, the majority in France/Switz is very slim:

US sizes 2-4-6, UK sizes 6-8-10.

So yeah, I'm part of that vicious dependency-on-food-for-emotional-gratification-circle.

 

I really want to go vegan, for obvious ethical and also health reasons. I don't believe eggs or dairy are healthy.

 

But I'm finding it so hard. I don't binge on sweet snacks, I'm more of a savory kind of binger.

That means I head for the cheese.

 

I tried going 100% vegan for just over a week. *Cold turkey* you might say. Didn't go so well. I caved.

 

I've thought about it some more, and I've come to the conclusion that the easiest and most efficient way to go is step by step.

So I've decided to tackle the most difficult first : cheese.

If I can get over cheese like I got over chicken and tuna, the rest should follow suit, and with a lot less of a struggle.

 

But, whine, it's so hard.

Some of you might think "if you care about the animals, it's not hard."

Well, to tell you the truth, I can't connect with those emotions very well. If I did, I'd've been a vegan a long time ago. The best I can do is follow logic, MY logic, and think NO it's not fair, NO it's cruel, NO we aren't worth more than any other animal on Earth. Because I do feel that way, and have since I was a kid. It's when I realised I was being the biggest hypocrite that I became a vegetarian. I do believe it. But it's not like I get emotional over it. I don't know if you get the picture.

 

I've gone a week without cheese now. I'm allowing myself other dairy products for now, as well as eggs, because I don't think I've got the determination to let it go all at once. (I have major motivational problems, by the way. Or lack thereof, to be more appropriate).

 

Yeah this was a long post. Sorry.

I just needed to share that this is not easy. I want to do it. I hope I can.

It's hard when the rest of your family dangles pizza in your face. When there are Babybell staring at you from the fridge.

It's hard when you realise you'll never be able to have fondue or raclette again. (it's important to us Swiss folk!). Or have a gelato on the bank of Lake Léman, on a warm summer's evening.

 

Just looking for some support, advice. I realise the tone to this post isn't the most upbeat, sorry about that ^^'

 

Cheers guys

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#2 Old 09-30-2012, 04:57 PM
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Of course you can do it!  :)

 

Might help if you have other salty and fatty foods around, like hummus.

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#3 Old 09-30-2012, 05:26 PM
 
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lol salty and fatty foods

yeah, I've just eaten half a tub of hummus with crackers. :x

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#4 Old 09-30-2012, 07:26 PM
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I feel like one of the varieties of "gourmet" vegan cheese comes from Switzerland. Anyone know what I'm talking about? You can also make your own cheese sauces or even block cheese if you want to get really fancy. There are tons of variations, so hopefully you can find one that works with readily available ingredients. I just made macaroni and cheese with a cheesy sauce made with nutritional yeast, and it is delicious. I was a huge cheese lover, and vegan cheese substitutes have really helped me enormously.

Hummus is awesome, and can be made tons of different ways. My current favorite is edamame hummus with toasted sesame. Another favorite is Greek olive hummus--it almost tastes like feta cheese to me.

Don't listen to anyone who says you just need to care more. Eating habits can be really hard to change, and while compassion can strengthen our resolve, it doesn't solve the real problems in our day-to-day lives in and of itself. It took me a year from the time I decided to stop eating dairy and eggs to the time when I actually completely stopped. Cold turkey works for a lot of people, but I knew it would be too stressful for me to have to come up with new meals overnight.

Compassionate people come in all shapes and sizes. A plant-based diet can be very healthy, but it isn't a ticket to automatic weight loss. With the plethora of vegan treats available at stores and the fact that I love to cook, I did not lose any weight when I stopped eating dairy and eggs, although I was and still am slightly overweight. Exercise is key for me, as is eating a balanced diet with plenty of veggies, fruit, whole grains, and legumes.

As a final note, I hope you are making sure your vegan diet is nutritionally adequate, and that in particular you have a reliable source of B12. Good resources for nutrition information are veganhealth.org and theveganrd.com -- the Vegan RD has some good blog posts on weight control on a vegan diet, too.
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#5 Old 10-01-2012, 05:33 AM
 
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Thanks for that, that is quite encouraging.
I've been shopping in local supermarkets and they only have a small range of veg*an food.
I've been looking up actual vegan shops and have found one uptown, I'll check it out soon.
Having a replacement for cheese will help, as well as finding non-dairy milk products (and milk). I hope they have some.

Trouble is, I'm not *that* concerned about what I eat.
I don't have horrible habits, I tend to eat lots of veg, but it's true I don't pay particular attention to the fact of whether or not I'm eating a balanced diet

While eating a vegetarian diet I took a blood test, and all my levels were excellent, except iron, which is normal for a girl my age. I'm proscribed iron pills.
But everything else was spot on. Cholesterol, protein...

So it makes me wonder what I really need to change when I go completely vegan. Except for the B12, I'll have to watch the protein and calcium intake more closely, but apart from that?

I'm going to cut out eggs right now, I don't need it anyway.
So no cheese, no eggs. It's been 10days. Just keep swimming. Lol
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#6 Old 10-01-2012, 06:44 AM
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I'd suggest, just don't sweat it - try not to make it a 'struggle' or a willpower issue. I've found that the less attention I've paid to "quitting" cheese and eggs, and the more attention I've paid to exploring new recipes and alternative foods, the easier it's been.

 

I'm not 100% egg & dairy free yet, but by just buying much less of the stuff in (bf's not going vegan), swapping where it's super easy* and then cooking dinners (composing menus helps) which simply don't rely on eggs and cheese (so I'm just not cooking omelettes or macaroni cheese any more for example, but I'm still cooking red bean chili, spaghetti bolognese, veggie curries, bean burgers and more recently I'm doing a lot of brown rice pilafs, scrambled tofu and today I even bought some Tempeh for the first time so I'm really looking forward to trying that out!) I've virtually eliminated all the primary sources of eggs and dairy in my diet. 

 

I've found it easiest to simply not really pay it too much mind. If I simply MUST have a cracker with some cheese on it, there's a small block of my favourite goat cheese in the fridge. And while I don't ban myself a cracker with cheese on if I MUST have some, those odd moments of craving cheese are simply falling away - I think I had a couple of crackers about fortnight ago, but I'm simply not thinking about it being in there now. Plus I keep chili Tartex in the fridge too, which is just as yummy on crackers! 

 

Lesser sources, y'know like baked goods, pre-prepared veggie goods, pasta & noodles I'm not thinking about too much either right now, though because I already read all my food labels, if I have a clear option (like Fry's Chicken style Burgers over the Quorn ones say) then I'll pick the Fry's egg-free one, easy. Bit by bit I'll whittle out the non-vegan stuff. Though again, I'm not going to focus too much attention on "excluding" anything, I'll just let it happen as I get habituated to making slightly different choices.

 

The Vegan food logs make good reading too btw. I check them pretty much every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*dairy-free sunflower margarine for butter, soy yoghourt for cow milk yoghourt, soy milk for cow milk, oat cream for dairy cream and soy chocolate milk for chocolate cow milk are four examples of how easy it is to instantly cut out a large chunk of daily dairy (chocolate soy milk is one of my favourite things in the world!)


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#7 Old 10-01-2012, 09:35 AM
 
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Cold turkey is tough no matter what you're giving up. For food, I did it one piece at a time, cut red meat, butter, pork etc, now im going all out vegan. My best advice when u give up a food is find a substitute that healthy. For cheese, I personally do hummus to satisfy that craving. Only thing bad about hummus is once you introduce your friends to it, your whole package will be gone lol its kind of addicting. It sounds like ur kind of in the same boat as me, doing it mostly for health reasons. Before today I lost 12 lbs by just eating better, now that im vegan I think that number will go up. Go to the gym, get that heart rate up for at least a half hour a day, throw in some resistance training, and you will see a huge difference. (my suits don't fit right for work anymore) lol
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#8 Old 10-01-2012, 10:03 AM
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I can't really add to what's been written above, but I just want to say you're doing great!!! You'll get there. I've seen some people take the attitude: "If I can't achieve vegan perfection NOW... if I give in to my cravings even a few times... I might as well give up and start eating everything again." That's not you.


Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
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#9 Old 10-01-2012, 10:15 AM
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The psychology of human diet is as complex as life itself. You've taken on an enormous experiment in self-control. The journey is very much worth taking, perhaps more than words can express. You can do it!


"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
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#10 Old 10-01-2012, 10:25 AM
 
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Thanks everyone !!!

 

thatsright, it's actually more for ethical and logical than health reasons ! But the more I read on here, the more I realise it's a massive bonus :D

 

Seeing the thread with all the substitues gives me great courage :3

I just hope I'll be able to find it all where I am !

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#11 Old 10-01-2012, 12:07 PM
 
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I was originally going to do it for 45 days. I want to consult with a nutritionist and make it a lifestyle change
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#12 Old 10-02-2012, 03:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capstan View Post

The psychology of human diet is as complex as life itself. You've taken on an enormous experiment in self-control. The journey is very much worth taking, perhaps more than words can express. You can do it!

Well said! thumbsup.gif

"If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others... why wouldn't we?" - Edgars Mission
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#13 Old 10-02-2012, 11:41 AM
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Cutting out cheese is hard. I tried to go vegan (like really tried) about three times in my life over about 18 years. I failed every time due to liking melted cheese too much. I'm kind of lucky in that I hate uncooked cheese, which prob eliminates a ton of temptations, but the melted cheese (on eggs, tortillas, mac n cheese) is what killed me. 

 

This last time I tried to go vegan (2 mos ago) I did a lot better - here's why...  

 

  • VB vegans (new and experienced) were VERY helpful. I'd never been around a ton of vegans when trying to go vegan, so being a part of this forum helped a lot.

 

  • I did not try to trick myself with fake vegan cheese - something I did before and that didn't work, because I pretty much hate vegan cheese. This time I realized, "Hey, if you hate vegan cheese don't eat it." It only made me want real cheese. 

 

  • I focused on food I could have instead of saying, "Sob, I can't have cheese." This time around I had a very "I can have SO many foods - just not some cheese" attitude, which helped. 

 

  • I broadened my horizons. I'm a picky eater. I never try new foods. This time I made myself try some new stuff like green sauce on tortillas instead of cheese. 

 

  • I found a good food for dealing with cravings. With a better attitude, I haven't really had many cheese cravings, but once in a while I have, and when that happens, I eat one of those Amy's vegan mac n cheese. I was reluctant to try these (see above - I HATE vegan cheese) but I did, and it's awesome - way better than real mac n cheese actually. It's like they sprinkle magical fairy dust in this stuff it's so good. 

 

I think if you focus on the food you can have and find at least one decent food for dealing with cravings, you'll have an easier time. I did. It took me years to go vegan, but the above is what finally worked for me. 


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#14 Old 10-02-2012, 06:32 PM
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Vegusto is the Swiss vegan cheese company I was thinking of, BTW.
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#15 Old 10-03-2012, 08:53 PM
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My advice is to take dishes you already love and Veganize them. Keep it simple. For example, I love pizza. It's my go to comfort food. When I get a craving I make myself a vegan bagel pizza. Daiya is always in my freezer and I just use as needed. The key is not to feel deprived. It's so much easier if you are enjoying your food.
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#16 Old 10-04-2012, 02:27 AM
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OK here's my experience. It's quite a long rambling post but I hope some of it might be of help to you. It took me years to take the plunge to go fully vegan- I had been vegetarian for 25 years and didn't honestly think I could give up dairy. I found that I could. I tried just for six weeks during Lent in 2011, and have stayed vegan since. I wasn't planning ahead; I just aimed just to get through those six weeks. When it came down to it I found I wasn't missing dairy enough to want to switch back. Like others here, it helped me to focus on what I could have rather than what I could not. I relied on hummous, guacamole and other creamy dips, pestos and pates to satisfy cravings for creamy dairy type dishes. I used creamed coconut and silken tofu and soy cream in dishes as well. I also ate rather too much Swedish Glace ice cream; not having been a particular fan of ice cream before, I did get rather a taste for it. I believe that this is because if you tend towards binge or "emotional" eating, then no matter how restricted your diet, your mind will find a "treat" foodstuff to focus on. It may be rice or chips or chocolate but it will find something. If only I could develop a craving for celery all would be well ; ) My taste for cheese pretty much disappeared quite quickly - I have used sub cheeses from time to time, and now tend towards the Tofutti cream cheese which I stir into risottos sometimes , and Vegusto cheese which is, in my opinion, the best tasting of the vegan hard cheeses. I no longer think about cheese as a food in its own right- more as an item that gets added to dishes. Milk was OK once I discovered rice milk for tea and coffee, although I drink both black now if I am out and about and can't be bothered taking a supply with me. I did not get on with soya milk in hot drinks although am happy to cook savoury sauces etc with it. Yoghurt has been no problem whatsoever - there is such a range out there and I have discovered Provamel for sweet and Sojade for savoury to make things like raitas. Butter and spreads - I rarely ate butter and I have settled on one vegan spread ( Vitalite) with a couple of others for back up. Eggs were the one area that I felt just could not be replicated satisfactorily - I used to make a lot of frittatas and kedgerees and I just adored hard boiled egg curry. I told myself that if I could find a 100% cruelty free outlet for eggs ie no culling, no selling of eggs for commercial purposes, all hens and cockerels allowed to live out their lives naturally, then I would buy some. So a few weeks ago I drove a couple of hours to a hen sanctuary for ex battery hen.I bought the eggs and took them home and cooked two of them They were totally freshly laid and cruelty free and I was supporting a very worthwhile cause and , guess what? I tried them and just didn't enjoy them. So, in my experience, it is possible to lose one's taste for all dairy. The trick is to replace the dairy with stuff that is nutritionally sound, with the odd treat thrown in. So, to sum up Focus on what you can eat, substituting creamy vegan alternatives to replace the cheese. Avoid sub cheese until your taste for cheese has pretty much gone, then resume the sub if you wish. Take a good all round vegan multi vitamin and mineral supplement as a safety net. Set yourself a short term goal say a week or two weeks or make three out of seven days a week vegan to start with. It may suit you better to work towards being vegan in this way. Good luck!
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#17 Old 10-04-2012, 08:51 AM
 
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Thank you all so much for your experiences and opinions, it really helps keep me motivated !

I am yet again eating hummous and crackers as we speak, it was already something I loved, now I have to watch it lol, musn't eat too much.

 

i am looking forward to trying the cheese subs and having them in dishes I love such as pizza, pasta, risotto... Eating pasta with just sauce makes me sad and it feels so wrong lol

I hope that'll improve with the subs.

 

Still haven't gone to the vegan shop downtown because it's a little out of my way, but I'm getting there !

 

Thanks for the support guys smiley.gif

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#18 Old 10-07-2012, 12:22 PM
 
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lol today my 11-year-old sister offered me her last slice of pizza, and I said "I can't eat that". And she said "Why not?"

My 9-year-old sister got angry and said "Cat, she's given up cheese, remember ??"

Cat looks at me, almost horrified : "You're giving up cheese too ?? You're giving up everything!!"

That made me laugh grin.gif

I explained to them again why, without going into too many details, but basically how it wasn't fair to use the mummy cow that way.

They both looked thoughtful.

I don't want to push them to change their eating habits now, they're my sisters, not my kids. It wouldn't go down well with my parents.

In a few years though, they're bound to follow suit wink3.gif

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#19 Old 10-07-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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I walked through the grocery store today to get my lunch, everything was meat lol. Looking through new eyes its pretty crazy how much meat and animal products are in an American diet....gross lol
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#20 Old 10-07-2012, 01:53 PM
 
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I've been veggie for a year and a half, but yeah, it's hitting twice as hard now I'm going vegan !

Want a sandwich ? Yeah, you can't have one :P I haven't tried Delifrance yet, but they'd probably make me a vegan sandwich if I asked !

I used to have them make me a veggie one (olive oil + tomato + mozzarella + all their veg), I suppose I could ask them to hold the mozzarella grin.gif

Prolly be a bit dry though lol

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#21 Old 10-07-2012, 03:51 PM
 
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Lol. Well stick with it its great! Its nice to know im not the only one doing vegan
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#22 Old 10-08-2012, 05:58 AM
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I too struggle going vegan after being a vegetarian for 23 years.

 

My family owned a dairy processing plant (They bottled the milk) in my youth. I use to go with my grandfather to the farms to pick up the milk. Back in those days, farms WERE idyllic country settings and the animals were well taken care of. However, today...this is not the case with factory farming the norm.

 

I am about 90% vegan, but I too want it to be 100%.

 

I bought myself 2 small rings from etsy. One says vegan and the other says compassion. By wearing them on my right hand index finger, they are a daily reminder of my cause.

 

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#23 Old 10-08-2012, 11:14 AM
 
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That's cool Veganesque =)

 

Went to the vegan shop downtown today.

 

Bought myself a liter of Rice Milk, that I'm drinking in my tea right now and love just as much as dairy milk!, and I also bought some Cheezly, which I like as well ! tongue3.gif I'm not all that difficult to be honest which is definitely an advantage !
 

The saleslady suggested I try the algae, but the PRICES ! shocked.gif for such a little tub... might try some in the future lol

 

There's a bio shop with falafel balls which are SO YUMMY "next door" in France, I can get there easily enough, and there's a bioshop midway from my country home to the city. So I've currently got 3 to choose from =)

 

Thatsright : definitely way easier when you can talk to people going through the same thing !! I love this forum tongue3.gif

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#24 Old 10-08-2012, 11:45 AM
 
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Yeah, I had a friend give up vegan in me.....i was disappointed lol. But I have found foods I love!! I love tofu, tempeh, quinoa, and when im really craving meat I do mushrooms. I lost so much weight so fast :-) for milk I've been doing the almond milk, the vanilla is like a treat :-)
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#25 Old 10-11-2012, 11:59 AM
 
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Transitioning to a vegan or vegetarian diet can be challenging to say the least. I recently began cutting back on animal products and focused on fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat substitutes.  I do not want to label myself as a "vegan" since I feel that if you must define it, it simply is not there.  I will say that I have significantly altered my diet through vegan practices.  90 percent of my food intake is meatless aside from the occasional chicken breast or tuna.  A documentary that really put me over the edge on what I should be consuming was "Forks Over Knives."  I recommend this film to anyone who is struggling with binging on food and other unhealthy practices.  The documentary is extremely invasive and that is what makes it most effective. Showing heart disease and the problems that arise through binging on meat and processed foods is really an eye opener. Throughout my journey of creating a healthy lifestyle, I have come to the conclusion that you cannot conquer it all in one day.  Making subtle changes each and everyday until they become habitual in your lifestyle is what is needed for long term success.  Also, I never look at the scale.  It is not about vanity, it is about how one feels.  Micromanaging your weight will only exhaust your will power and eventually you will fall off the wagon.   To avoid being tempted, simply do not purchase foods that you know will be calling your name at night.. This way, when you go out with friends and family, you can choose to indulge guilt free and leave the unhealthy foods at the restaurant.  Creating a temple at home where toxins are not permitted has always helped me.  A list of foods that I enjoy include; Quinoa, Couscous, Almonds, Peanut Butter, Artichoke Hearts, Almond Milk, Barley, Broccoli, Hummus, Avocados, Bananas, Textured Vegetable Protein, as well as a wide variation of coffee and tea. The lifestyle is a challenge, however if you commit to it, you will feel better and more alive then ever before.    

 

Here is the trailer for Forks Over Knives.

 

http://youtu.be/O7ijukNzlUg

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#26 Old 10-11-2012, 02:37 PM
 
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I'm actually getting on really well !

Cheese cravings have been easily avoided for the minute

and I can't say I'm eating unhealthily.

 

Don't really need to consume your typical milk products i.e yoghurts ...

 

So I'm down cheese, eggs, fridge-dwelling desserts, dairy milk in my tea...

Left to go is butter on my toast, icecream and chocolate.

This is incredible lol it kinda sorted itself out !

 

Need to find something to replace butter on toast cos I don't think I could eat toast without SOMETHING between the bread and the jam...

 

As for the chocolate... ah, well. Will probably have to resort to cutting that out completely too. Same goes for icecream.

 

I know they aren't heathly foods lol but they're pleasure foods *_*

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#27 Old 03-18-2013, 03:11 PM
 
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Hi everyone, 

 

I've been away for a long time, I'm just back to look up recipes, and just give a general update

I've made the transition progressively, it started really working around November - December, now I have no trouble staying away from my old non vegan habits.
I did a blood test last month and the results were the picture of health. B12 had depleted, but not to an alarming level, he said to keep an eye on it, some more blood tests planned for August.

Otherwise everything great - protein, vitamins, cholesterol, iron ... last year as a vegetarian I was pre-anemic, (not necessarily due to diet) but now my iron count's doubled ! :)

All that should be high, is, and all that should be low, is. I think the doctor was even a bit shocked, he looked at me funny and said "Well, what do you eat?" when I told him he said "Well whatever it is, it's working for you, so keep it up!"

 

So that's good news for me, and I think vegans all round. Proves a handful of people wrong. You just need a balanced diet !

Tonight I had an awesomely yummy dinner, wholemeal spaghetti with multiple-veg stew and tofu (fried in herbs, spices and... marmite). Yum yum yum.

(I eat tofu every day now, can't get enough)

Now I'm eating a late dessert (naughty!) pears with vegan custard, all heated up and yummy !

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#28 Old 03-18-2013, 08:17 PM
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Sounds awesome. Are you taking a B12 supplement then? Maybe a different form would bump up your levels? Just a thought.

Dready, Christian, Homeschooling Mom
to 4 kids ages 13-1
One more arriving in March 2011
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#29 Old 03-19-2013, 06:11 AM
 
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: FL wishing it was OR
Posts: 73

This reminded me to take my B12, thanks. As the only vegan in my family I don't have anyone here to remind me.

 

I'm glad you balanced your diet, you sound like you're on your way to good health and proving people wrong.

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#30 Old 03-27-2013, 06:15 AM
 
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 65

I am not taking any supplements at the moment, I did read they were necessary; right now I'm drinking B12 enriched fruit juices (which I water down - the total intake of fluids is 2l a day). I don't know whether it will suffice, but my (omni) doctor said if my levels drop more over the next few months, he'll hook me up with some injections (absorbed a lot better than pills/capsules).


For the long term I'm not really up for taking regular needles in my arm so it'd have to be in capsule/pill form. Just haven't really found a good brand yet that serves Switzerland, there's only the supermarket stuff and I doubt its efficiency.

I'm curious as to how the juice will act, since the quantity I'm drinking thoughout the day should apparently be covering my daily recommended intake, so just for experimental purposes I won't take any supplements till my next blood test in August.
I don't really doubt I'll probably end up taking supplements the way all vegan forums suggest, I guess I'll have confirmation soon !

 

Just to clarify, my B12 levels are still normal/healthy, they've just dropped quite a bit since I was vegetarian.

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