Attempt #3 on becoming vegan. What's your experience - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 06-30-2015, 01:06 PM
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Attempt #3 on becoming vegan. What's your experience

In the last few months I've been trying really hard to become vegan however some dairy products (mostly cheese) and eggs (in packaged foods) are still holding its gripes on me.

It took me 3 tries to become fully vegetarian over about 5 years. It's now been over a year that I've been vegetarian (longest I've ever have been).

I know I will be able to eventually become vegan, it's just a matter of will, strentgh and comittement lining up like it did with my transition to vegetarianism.

So I'm curious to know about all of you: how many times did you fail and get back on that vegan horse? How did you deal with failing? Did you become vegan overnight? How long did it take you? Did you become vegetarian first?

Essentially what was your journey? How did you get from point a to z? (or maybe it's to point v? Haha)

I know people have shared their journeys in other post but I'm curious how others did it. Maybe something will stand out and help me make it to fully vegan.

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#2 Old 06-30-2015, 03:08 PM
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It's about conviction - how much do you really actually care about the fate - feelings of animals and/or the extent of your state of health?... which are the two main reasons. The more you care about the involved issue(s), the stricter that you will have the incentive to do what it takes to retain to your ideals within diet choices.
There is good reason to care quite seriously and sincerely about both of those issues, and being constantly conscious about the purpose and morality is the answer which only a minority of the population has (so be aware about bad influences in surroundings).
The extent in which you take life seriously - and what you make of yourself in regards to quality consumption is personal decision - individual inclination and what is life about (ultimately) if not to improve ones disposition through choices that determine what you make of yourself with these consumption choices... These choices become a part of you. They determine energy - whether or not it is good or bad.
What is detouring you from caring about what you make of yourself with choices concerning what you put into your-self?
Don't let anybody or anything detour you from caring about such issues of vital importance.
And that goes further than just being concerned with animal products but also overall (finest) quality of all consumption material (as possible).

Caring about our health is caring about our very state of being and future which is a very good thing to be seriously concerned about making the most of.



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#3 Old 06-30-2015, 04:12 PM
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for me this is my first try - i actually went straight from pescatarian to vegan, and yes it was pretty much an overnight thing. Currently on my 5th week so it hasn't been that long, but i haven't had cravings for anything non vegan. I put a fair amount of focus onto my cooking and usually bake something each week too. That way my food never gets boring, and i think it really helps with cravings. I think you start craving meat and dairy when you start getting bored with the things you're eating
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#4 Old 06-30-2015, 05:27 PM
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It took me twice as long as you, LeThieu, to become vegetarian- 10-years. I first tried going veggie in the early 1980s, but failed miserably. I ended up brooding about my lack of willpower for 5-years, then decided to try again, but it occurred to me I should try phasing out the meat, so I targeted just one- pork- and eliminated it from my diet. Even doing that was hard for me. It went against a lifetime of training and bad habits. But I began to notice small, but important changes, like an absence of pain in my stomach and a marked improvement in my ability to concentrate. All this was taking place, while I was trying to make a living driving trucks. After 5-years of no pork, I thought it was time to take the next step, to remove all the other meats. I spent a couple of months psyching myself up, because I thought it would be very difficult, but surprisingly, everything I had learned about giving up pork applied to the other meats too, and I had no difficulty at all.

So I was finally a vegetarian, but was relying heavily on eggs, and especially on cheese. I was a pizzaholic. I realized, after several years, I was clogging up my system with a lot of unwanted substances. My transition to veganism was 50% about my concern for the animals, and 50% about my own health. I've since learned about other benefits too, like its much lighter footprint on the environment. 5-years after going vegetarian, I became vegan, and the hardest part has been learning how to shop as a vegan. There are so many hidden animal products in foods that could easily- and by rights, ought to- be vegan. That was 1995. I've been vegan 20-years now, and I'm still learning; for example, I realized just this year that vitamin D-3, as a supplement, can be derived from either vegan or non-vegan sources. I had assumed all along D-3 was always vegan. Now I know better, and it's easy to find the vegan version, if you look for it. I also still use some of the mock meats and faux cheeses.

@lookforstars is right, about keeping your food interesting. Herbs and spices can have an astonishing effect on the deliciousness of food.

Anyway, I hope this helps. The very best of luck to you.
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#5 Old 06-30-2015, 06:15 PM
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I went from full omni to vegan in the middle of the afternoon one day. I guess I was just tired of not living my ethics.

I fail all the time to live my ethics, usually because of a lack of knowledge. All I can do is learn from my mistakes and then try to learn about more things and tell other people that might care. For example I found this video a week ago:

I know this this isn't exactly veganism, but I think it's similar. I've had more of a gradual journey with environmentalism. Slowly transitioning from car to bike/walking. Distances gradually seem more doable without a car. For garbage I've been finding more and more stuff that either has recyclable or no packaging. Over the years I have managed to cut down my garbage to probably one of those green garbage bags every 6-8 months. My goal is to have zero unrecyclable trash but styrofoam is my downfall. Still, I keep trying and improving.

I dunno, I think just try to remember any amount of effort counts. There was an article linked on here a bit ago saying that 400,000 fewer animals died in the US not because of a huge increase in the vegan population but because regular omnis were just eating less meat/dairy. A small change by a lot of people and 400,000 fewer deaths. That's great so remember every time you do better you are part of those 400,000 saved lives.
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#6 Old 06-30-2015, 06:25 PM
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I went vegan overnight from omnivore and that was 4.5 years ago and I am still going strong and loving it! I don't miss animal foods or other products at all.

Two years into being vegan in 2013 I was very very underweight and sick and I had a sudden strange intense craving for eggs (bizzare because I was not a huge fan of them before) and came close to buying some but could not bear the thought of doing that because of my ethical beliefs. I was able to abstain from them. It was around that time that I realized what I was doing to my body and began to work to get better, little by little. But I understand that sometimes cravings can overpower one's values and beliefs and desires.

What made going vegan so easy for me though is I came from a place of dairy making me very sick when I was an omnivore and could only tolerate a few dairy products like plain Greek yogurt or a tiny bit of mozerella for years. I had never been much of a meat eater and was grossed out by most of it. I used to eat fish just for the health benefits. I would hold my nose and down sardines for the calcium. Many years ago I had started eating healthier and I began to include far more beans in my diet, and plant milks and fruits/vegetables and whole grains (brown rice, oats, millet, quinoa), so I guess my journey to veganism started long before the beginning of 2011. My body took time to get used to these foods. I started eating them a lot more in 2007. I just didn't know about veganism then, or that I was moving in that direction.

When I was in a period of recovery from my eating disorder, I took an interest in world hunger and began to research this issue more. I read Michael Pollen's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and that is when I truly learned about veganism. I disagreed with Pollen on many points, but everything I learned about veganism form his book and beyond aligned with my beliefs, values, desires. I couldn't believe I hadn't discovered it before. I had vaguely heard about it and had only looked at it from a health perspective and thought it was too restrictive. But when I truly learned about it I realized I could do this. I spent three weeks or so learning everything I could, from ethical issues to health and what to eat to lifestyle and philosophy. I read books by Peter Singer, Carol Adams, Tom Regan, you name it. I made up my mind that I was going to go vegan and I set a date and gave myself one week to give up Greek yogurt lol. Before I went vegan I made a list of all the foods I enjoyed that I could think of that were vegan and I focused on those. I also set about reading cookbooks at the library to learn what staples to keep around and how to replace eggs in baking (I loved to bake). I was amazed at all the ways one can cook and bake without eggs. I learned what to do with tofu, and I discovered chickpea flour and nutritional yeast for "cheese". I discovered how to make sauces with cauliflower or with sweet potatoes (one of my ultimate favorite foods!). I discovered tempeh. I even made a list of restaurants and stores in my city with vegan friendly or potential vegan friendly products. Over the years when I come across another one I still write it down.

For me it was easier to just make the switch and deal with the issues as they arose. I was psychologically ready, and I knew exactly why I was doing this. I wrote out my reasons and explored what it was about veganism that made me tick. I was vegan a solid month before telling anyone because I needed to build up my confidence and make sure this is truly what I wanted and could handle it well. My husband is so clueless he didn't even notice I was making all vegan meals lol. He just eats what I put in front of him.

I learned to make thick creamy smoothies to satisfy my cravings for Greek yogurt, and only wish I had discovered sooner how blending tofu with cocoa powder and banana or strawberries makes a rich, thick, creamy awesome dish that rivals Greek yogurt, with as much calcium and more protein and little sugar. I also kept an open mind about vegan food and did not try to be too restrictive. I consumed soy, whole wheat, various brands of plant milks, vegan yogurts and other "processed" vegan foods. I didn't try to restrict myself only to whole foods or no fat etc, but I also did not try the fake meats and cheeses right away only because they did not appeal to me. I wanted to move away from that and be creative in the kitchen and vary my diet a lot. I was also rebelling against cultural standards...meat as center of the plate, dairy at every meal etc. I had so much fun my first few years experimenting with so many foods, making key lime raw pies with avocado, or cashew cheese slices, or homemade breads and hummus. I discovered cauliflower and almond alfredo sauce, using black beans or chickpeas in baking, homemade vegan almond mayo, agar as a thickener. I never ate a mango until I became vegan, and had not heard of jicama until I went vegan. I made it fun by discovering new cooking techniques. It was also the opportunity I had always looked for to get rid of all my heavy commercial cleaners and toiletries and be more natural. I haven't touched a bottle of hairspray or glass cleaner since 2011.

In 2013 when I was sick but starting to fight to get better, I got involved with doing some activism to get outside of my own head and obsessions. I went to a Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals event and was introduced to leafleting and other vegans in my state. I later joined Vegan Outreach for a while and leafleted all over my city at high schools, colleges, street corners. I had to do more research and brush up on my skills in explaining some vegan issues so I could be more effective, and in the process it reaffirmed my beliefs and why I was and am vegan. Of course, I was a student and also working part time so it gave me the flexibility at the time to spend learning and reading vegan cookbooks and ethics etc and do stuff like leaflet. Now I work full time and am finished with school and if I had gone vegan doing what I do now it would have been harder and taken longer with less time to plan and soak up every aspect of veganism my hungry mind could grab at. I have been learning a new job since finishing school over the last nine months and it has taken a lot of my time. I tend to be all or nothing though. I used to try to be as pure as I could at first. I went through my entire house and gave away or got rid of anything nonvegan lol. Even my candles. Though I still have a very expensive canvas canoe pack with leather straps my husband would kill me for getting rid of. I still have some old hiking shoes made with leather and suede as "backups" in case my vegan hiking shoes fail and I can't find new ones, or I wear them in the woods on occasion when I know there will be a ton of mud involved. I think it is easy to lose sight of what it means to be vegan when you nit pick at every little detail. I have relaxed a bit in that regard. My husband feeds our dog food made with animals. She was six when I went vegan and has a VERY sensitive tummy, so I have not forced her to eat a vegan diet. However, I have slowly over time fed her tiny bits of beans and grains and veggies and she loves them! But only in tiny amounts.

Don't think of it as failing and trying again. Think of it as a journey, an exciting one! You aren't trying to pass an exam or get into the vegan club. It is not a requirement, its a desire for some reason right? What are your goals you want to achieve as a vegan? Why is it that you want to go vegan? Write those down and read them each day. Think about what is important to you and how your actions affect that. Sometimes it can be hard to make the connection. Like, what does a box of mac and cheese have to do with animal cruelty? And also, what can you do to replace that craving or need for that box of macaroni and cheese? Why do you feel you need it? It sounds silly but I have played out this scenario before when I had binge cravings during periods of bulimia.
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#7 Old 06-30-2015, 07:05 PM
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Everyone is different, but for me, what worked was incremental change. I didn't stop eating a food until I had a suitable vegan replacement. I gradually cut down on some things that I couldn't find replacements for, until I found that I didn't really need them anyway. For example, even though vegan "butter" exists, I wasn't happy about the environmental impact. I used oil whenever I could, and found that any remaining applications of butter I could easily live without. During that time, I didn't worry about eating strictly vegan at restaurants, but I did start scoping out options at places I eat frequently.

Overall, the process took me about a year. I've been vegan for about 4 years (vegetarian for a decade prior to that), and I don't feel tempted very much anymore. I have had slip-ups, but I wouldn't consider anything a failure as long as I don't go back to the full-on cheese-avore I once was...

It helps to remind myself that I can always come back to being vegan. If I really want that nonvegan thing, I can have it. There are no vegan police -- it's up to me. Somehow this helps me be rational about it and not think of certain things as "forbidden fruit." When I think rationally about it, I realize that the nonvegan thing probably wouldn't live up to my expectations of it, and I can hold out for a tasty vegan treat instead.
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#8 Old 06-30-2015, 07:09 PM
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I was vegetarian first, then vegan.

When I decided to become vegan I did it over night. For me it was not one of those things that I wanted to faff around with...
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#9 Old 06-30-2015, 07:43 PM
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OP I wouldn't think of it as failing when you fall back to animal-involved foods. What I mean by this is that when you are vegetarian/vegan do you actively say to yourself that you are 'winning'? I know I don't. The point I am making is that by being disproportionate in your praise/condemnation of your progress could make you so deflated and discouraged that you give up (at least in the immediate, short-term, future).

If the crushing sense of defeat only makes you more determined to succeed in the next go then power to you but just be aware that anything you do with regards to your goals is progress and slipping up once in a while doesn't undo that, it just puts further progress on hold.

I was never vegetarian and adored good home cooking and junk foods galore, I did however find that when cooking for myself the icky-factor involving meat that I always had once again reared it's head, perhaps irrationally I feared food poisoning or bacteria spread etc but none the less I would eat vegetarian mostly when cooking for myself. I then stumbled upon video's on youtube in which some people were making valid points I could relate with and found that both my concern for my spiraling health and animals welfare was enough to say "I'm going to go vegan". Just like that in one night I went vegan, I had a slip up for cheese yet it wasn't as nice as it was in my mind, beyond that I went 6 months. Not bad for someone who enjoys black-pudding, haggis etc. Christmas comes and I falter, it was just too much, too soon and I was deflated, so much so it took me 8 months before I picked myself up, I go another few months and Christmas comes again. This time I start back early January and bar an impromptu meal with my family I've went 6 and a half months this time around. Now clearly I can't say I'm an old hand at this game but considering where I was, my mentality prior to starting, my living arrangements, temptations etc etc I feel I'm reaching a point that while I'll never say never with regards to eating animal-based foods, I can say that at my last meal out I requested the chef to make something up and I just ran with it, even if it was a slightly odd combo. I don't think I'm at the point where I'd starve to death before eating a bacon-butty but I'm actively aiming to avoid all animal foods unless I deem the situation worth-it on my own scale. I am trying more than ever to cook from scratch, think ahead with regards to eating, making sure I cover the bases of nutrition, I supplement vit-b12, D3 (algae) and Omega-3 DHA/EPA (algae based). I've come along way and I think everyone does with regards to this - when I started I had no idea, NO IDEA what I was going to be able to eat. It's only through this lifestyle change I see just how poor some aspects of my diet and lifestyle were. Before I get side-tracked further I want to put it to you like this - If someone quitting smoking gives in and has a cigarette they shouldn't think of it as failure and in turn continue to smoke, they should go for as long as they can with the intention of not smoking again. They may falter again but the point is to keep going, all those periods of time where someone doesn't smoke greatly reduces the damage they are doing to themselves and gets them closer to being the non-smoker they want to be.

Where one falters they identify an area to become stronger and more prepared. It doesn't mean you're failing. Everyday you avoid unnecessary and poor quality animal based "foods" you are doing yourself good, an animal good and the planet good. A host of "failed" attempts has achieved more in these departments than giving-up or not even starting, ever has.

Fight on and power to you!
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#10 Old 07-01-2015, 07:45 AM
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I just go slowly. I phased out meat over the course of a year, and cheese/dairy afterwards over the course of a few months.

Now I eat no "overt" animal products, but if I am offered a cookie, I do not ask if it was made with butter or egg.

I am as vegan as I can be, and right now, that is what that looks like.
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#11 Old 07-01-2015, 07:52 AM
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as for vegan lifestyle stuff- I googled vegan dollar store products, and found things in my price range that are vegan to bathe with/do my laundry/do my makeup with.

I buy non-leather shoes and belts (i have for a long time) and my car has a cloth interior.

I also have 3 animals, all rescues from shelters/neglectful homes. "dont breed or buy when shelter pets die" amirite?
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#12 Old 07-01-2015, 09:29 AM
Not such a Beginner ;)
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You need to cook if you're vegan, you really do. It does not take long at all if you plan ahead. And it is fun, and mindfully chopping and preparing foods for yourself and others is good for your head.
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#13 Old 07-01-2015, 09:49 PM
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I went vegetarian first.

Then I cut out eggs after a year.

Then I cut dairy out the next year.

I think people who 'fall off the horse' are the ones with a lot more determination than me. I think if I'd had any major set backs as a vegetarian, I might have given up. I was so scared of giving up, that I didn't allow myself to knowingly fail.

I think being vegetarian really helped me when it came time to cut the egg and dairy.

Also, I was living in the right environment to cut those things. My partner doesn't eat eggs or most dairy products. So, when the only thing left is the cheese.....It's easier to cut dairy.

Willpower is a muscle, in my book. You need to strengthen it, build it, in order for it to be effective. But you also have to remove the obstacles to giving in, especially in the early days.

The way it worked for me was vegetarian, a year later no more eggs, a year later no more dairy.

Listening to podcasts, being involved on this forum, watching A.R related news items. They all helped to strengthen my resolve.

And Notzarella. Notzarella helped too :P
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#14 Old 07-01-2015, 10:07 PM
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I went vegetarian 6 years ago. After the first month of going vegetarian, I kept trying to transition. I don't know how many times I tried, but it ended up taking 3 years. I just didn't know what to eat, and I had bad cravings for dairy. So I would just switch back and forth for months at a time. When I caved, I felt guilty about it. Being able to eat guilt free is a good feeling.
I think being hungry and having cravings is one of the biggest reasons people fail as a vegan.

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