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psychadelic kitten
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,
I'm Kitt, I'm 28 and from northern new york, a rural part of the state. I have a lot of interest in becoming vegan or at least vegetarian. My mom was an animal rights activist, and to a degree so am I. I love, honor, respect and appreciate all living things and believe in compassion for all.

I have some concerns though... I have a lot of allergies to things like nuts, peanuts, coconuts, some fruit. I go into anaphylactic shock with cashews. I also am diabetic and looking because of multiple life threatening concerns (long story) to have a gastric bypass soon - it is a risk/benefit surgery but all my doctors say it's the right thing for me to do right now with all my health concerns...

With my allergies, diabetes, surgery etc. Is this really the lifestyle for me and for my system?

I'd love to be vegan or vegetarian - from a moral stand point. I've always thought it was the right thing to do and a very healthy lifestyle, but I'm not sure if it's for everyone...


I'm worried, I might not go about it the right way, since I have like 0% knowledge about this stuff really (other than to know what a vegetarian/vegan is). We also have no dieticians in this area that know anything about vegetarianism / veganism.

There are not many health food stores and I can't access them (I'm in a wheelchair). And being in a wheelchair I have a very small budget for food related stuff and the sad fact of the matter is junk food is cheap (very cheap compared to actual good for you food, although I'd love to be able to buy that). I have a maybe 100 a week budget for both me and my fiance for food.

So I'd love to hear some ideas if this is a great lifestyle for me to try. I've always wanted to be a vegetarian or vegan... but I dont' know how to do it safely .... Thank you in advance for any help you can give me thanks :)
 

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Hi Kitt and welcome!

I just did a quick search for vegan dieticians in Upstate New York and came up with at least one:

https://nutritionists.healthprofs.com/cam/prof_results.php?&city=Albany&state=NY&spec=1684

I also thought it might be helpful to provide a list of vegan dieticians and doctors you could get in touch with and ask for advice due to your unique situation:

http://thevegantruth.blogspot.com/2012/12/plant-powered-professionals-vegan.html
http://vegetariannutrition.net/rd/

Below is a link explaining some basics on vegan nutrition.

http://www.vegancoach.com/vegan-nutrition.html

Even if you are allergic to nuts and peanuts, I assume you can eat beans/legumes? Vegetables? whole grains like brown rice, oats, bulgur etc? Many vegans base their meals on these. If you are going in for gastric bypass and would need to eat small soft meals and so on, foods like tofu, squashes, cooked carrots, pureed beans etc might be a good option. Vegan food is not expensive if you keep it mostly whole foods and not the designer meats and cheeses. Plant milks are only slightly more than dairy milk in cost, and you can drink ones like rice milk or soy milk if you are allergic to nuts. I have a terrible intolerance to cashews though not an allergy and I tend to avoid those too. What about ground up seeds like flaxseed? Would you be able to sprinkle this on food? it is a great source of ALA omega 3. Avocados, leafy greens etc are also good sources. Smoothies can even be made without too many fruits if you use foods like canned pumpkin (very cheap and nutritious if you buy the plain pure pumpkin), plant milk, a little sweetener and some ice. Even through in a little avocado for a creamy shake. I am thinking in terms of low roughage for someone having stomach surgery. Hot cereals like oatmeal or couscous or hot rice cereal etc is nice too.

Really, a dietician who specializes in the kind of care you need and is willing to be supportive and do some research for you regarding getting your needs met as a vegan is your best bet! I also found the book "Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Plant Based Diet" to be extremely helpful in my own transition and lifestyle. http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Vegan-Complete-Adopting-Plant-Based/dp/1570671036 The book goes into great detail and provides studies as well. It's a good basic start to learning about a plant based diet.

I believe we do have at least one member here who uses a wheelchair. Disabilities do not need to prevent one from becoming vegan. If nothing else, just do the best you can as you learn about what veganism is.

Good to have you here!
 

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I forgot to mention, I have severe osteoporosis (acquired as an omnivore many years before going vegan so don't be alarmed lol) and I too had to find some doctors who could help me find ways to meet my needs in the area of bone health as a vegan while going through some treatment for it that requires me to have a lot more calcium in my body than an average person would need. I did consult privately through email with a few doctors and with Ginny Messina, a well known registered dietician and public speaker etc. She is awesome and was very encouraging to me. I tried contacting a few famous vegan doctors and got no response, but keep trying!
 

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:hi: :hi: :hi: :hi: :hi: :hi: :hi:
:hi: W e l c o m e ! :hi:
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I'd love to be vegan or vegetarian - from a moral stand point.
Many Qs indeed.

I'd love to hear some ideas if this is a great lifestyle for me to try.
...I don't trust myself with this one.

I have a maybe 100 a week budget for both me and my fiance for food.
That should be plenty, I spend AT MOST $40 to eat vegan myself. And that's when I'm splurging. If you can't make $100 work for two people, you're probably either shopping at very expensive locations, or buying exorbitantly-priced products. Don't be afraid to buy off-brand or in bulk.
 

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Hi, MissKitt, from another Upstate New Yorker!

I second Naturebound's suggestion to consult a dietitian sympathetic to vegetarianism and veganism. The more restrictions you have, the more complicated it gets, and it becomes something that a non-professional might not be able to address adequately. If they're not local, your physician should be able to consult with one by email or phone and give them all the technical/medical details they would need.

Another thing: it really is a shame that, as you mentioned, healthy food can be more expensive than junk food (sometimes, anyway... my weakness is unsalted potato chips, and they are more expensive than some meats are per pound!) But vegetables and/or fruits really should be part of anyone's diet, whether or not they eat meat, etc. We all need them. You use a wheelchair, so a garden might not be an option for you specifically, but would your fiance be up to planting maybe at least a small vegetable garden?

Finally: once you have learned the ropes as to what foods are good for you, and you know you like them and how to prepare them, some of these things can be ordered in bulk. You could arrange for your local stores to special-order them, or it could be worthwhile for you and your fiance to go a bit out of your way to stock up- maybe as an aside to a sightseeing or visiting trip. It's both a time and money saver.

That's all for now. I wish you both well!
 
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psychadelic kitten
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
OK - I'm not sure where my reply went - but thank you for the suggestions NatureBound I appreciate it them being so detailed.... (newbie/N00b move I know but I'm learning k...?) :)
 

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psychadelic kitten
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for the helpful suggestions Tom - to clarify I live in a tiny apartment, with no land to garden but maybe a container garden or two... however I might be moving into an apartment building. Basically here is the worst of both worlds a city in a rural area.

So there aren't the resources close by on veganism etc. & there is no room to roam with gardening...

But I guess container gardening might be an option. I liked the options of buying in bulk...
I'm not sure we have the room in our 500 sq ft apartment but you never know...

Or having a side trip to say a neighboring city every few weeks, as an excuse to travel. That's a very cool suggestion.

I think the local co op might be great to see - but I can't access it in my wheelchair. I could have someone go in for me I guess after I order stuff from them.

.... Brainstorming lol - thank you for your input, it's much appreciated - thanks. :)
 

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Vegan since 1991
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Hi MissKitt,

Welcome aboard!

Important:

After having gastric bypass surgery, your digestive system will be radically different. A special diet will be required during your recovery from the surgery (your physician should give you the details of this diet): http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-pro...ery/in-depth/gastric-bypass-diet/art-20048472 .

Once you recover from the surgery, it may be possible for you to adopt a modified vegetarian diet, but you absolutely must discuss this with your physician and a Registered Dietitian.

There are definitely Registered Dietitians in upstate New York that specialize in vegetarian diets. In Albany alone, there are at least 18 such individuals. You can find a local dietitian, of nearly any specialty, through this website: http://www.eatright.org . Just click on the red "Find An Expert" button in the upper right part of the webpage. The webpage gives you options for selecting dietitians with your desired specialties, including vegetarian nutrition and diabetes.

It is also possible to lose the weight without surgery, by following a low-fat, whole foods, vegetarian or vegan diet. A Registered Dietitian can help you with this approach, also. One of the contributors here, "VeggieCat", lost 90 pounds on a vegan diet - you can contact her through her profile page: http://www.veggieboards.com/forum/members/67746-theveggiecat.html . Here are her before/after pictures after her first 80 pounds of weight loss: http://www.veggieboards.com/forum/60-vegan-support-forum/177873-11-month-vegaversary-w-pictures.html
 

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psychadelic kitten
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you David. That's a great resource for dietitians thank you.

I'd love to do it without surgery of course I think anyone would - it's not too fun, rerouting their entire digestive tract..... but because of my unique situation of being needing to lose way over 90 lbs to be healthy (actually, if I lost that 90, I'd still be considered super morbidly obese tbh).

I also because of my spinal surgery need to lose the weight quickly - basically the doctors aren't sure why I haven't had my back rods that run the length of my spine, well, why they haven't snapped yet not to put too fine a point on it, just being honest....And if that happens I die basically from a perforated organ or become very very sick for the rest of my life - basically the surgery is one of my only chances for survival, according to my back doctor....

I needed to lose this weight like yesterday, and I can't really exercise to beneficial levels in a wheelchair, which is why 100% of my doctors recommend working to get the surgery. It's evident to them that the benefits of the surgery outweigh the risks for my condition/situation. Sorry but it's like I had to defend my choice to get the surgery to ... well, live... to almost everyone. I'm willing to do it if it will save my life.

Tbh totally honest eating correctly/ in a healthy manner is a totally foreign language to me. One that I'm really trying to learn, but it was never taught to me growing up. My mom and dad never cooked, just ordered out or reheated, so therefore I was never taught to cook... I really to this day can't, at all. It's necessary to learn of course, but how does one start at almost 30, with 0 cooking skills and in a wheelchair? I'd love to have a lifestyle that's healthy like veganism, but it's an uphill battle because it's something I just was never exposed to (point blank: at all) until now.

But when the going gets tough, the tough get going ... right? Trying to stay positive.... - So that's why I'm trying to find out as many resources as possible.

So I guess my plan is finding a registered dietician somewhere near here, I'm visiting a nutritionist Friday although I'm not sure if she's qualified, we shall see... I'm hoping this goes well, I'd love to do this, go vegan or vegetarian - but like you guys said I need a dietician to help me do it safely...
I appreciate any help here I can get - thank you.
 

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Since you have multiple medical problems and food allergies, I would definitely recommend getting your doctors involved from the start. Guidance from a registered dietitian or diabetes educator would be very helpful. Some good resources for vegan nutrition information are www.theveganrd.com and www.veganhealth.org, both written by vegan registered dietitians.

Becoming vegan on a limited budget is definitely possible. Beans, whole grains (such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta) and vegetables would be the basis of your diet, which is a very healthy way to eat anyway. There are lots of threads about eating vegan on a budget that you might find helpful - just try searching for "vegan budget," or here are a few links:
http://www.veggieboards.com/forum/1...m/138765-being-vegetarian-college-budget.html
http://www.veggieboards.com/forum/60-vegan-support-forum/132330-50-dollars-week.html
http://www.veggieboards.com/forum/5...vegetarian-maybe-vegan-diet-tight-budget.html

A vegan or vegetarian diet may be helpful in getting healthier down the road, but it may not necessarily be the right choice for now if you are considering surgery very soon. Adequate nutrition before and after surgery is vitally important, and it may be easier to do this if you are not also adjusting to cutting out meat/animal products. On the other hand, your healthcare providers may think a healthy veg diet would be a good change for you now. Remember that you can become veg anytime, and your health should come first.
 

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Thank you David. That's a great resource for dietitians thank you.

I'd love to do it without surgery of course I think anyone would - it's not too fun, rerouting their entire digestive tract..... but because of my unique situation of being needing to lose way over 90 lbs to be healthy (actually, if I lost that 90, I'd still be considered super morbidly obese tbh).

I also because of my spinal surgery need to lose the weight quickly - basically the doctors aren't sure why I haven't had my back rods that run the length of my spine, well, why they haven't snapped yet not to put too fine a point on it, just being honest....And if that happens I die basically from a perforated organ or become very very sick for the rest of my life - basically the surgery is one of my only chances for survival, according to my back doctor....

I needed to lose this weight like yesterday, and I can't really exercise to beneficial levels in a wheelchair, which is why 100% of my doctors recommend working to get the surgery. It's evident to them that the benefits of the surgery outweigh the risks for my condition/situation. Sorry but it's like I had to defend my choice to get the surgery to ... well, live... to almost everyone. I'm willing to do it if it will save my life.

Tbh totally honest eating correctly/ in a healthy manner is a totally foreign language to me. One that I'm really trying to learn, but it was never taught to me growing up. My mom and dad never cooked, just ordered out or reheated, so therefore I was never taught to cook... I really to this day can't, at all. It's necessary to learn of course, but how does one start at almost 30, with 0 cooking skills and in a wheelchair? I'd love to have a lifestyle that's healthy like veganism, but it's an uphill battle because it's something I just was never exposed to (point blank: at all) until now.

But when the going gets tough, the tough get going ... right? Trying to stay positive.... - So that's why I'm trying to find out as many resources as possible.

So I guess my plan is finding a registered dietitian somewhere near here, I'm visiting a nutritionist Friday although I'm not sure if she's qualified, we shall see... I'm hoping this goes well, I'd love to do this, go vegan or vegetarian - but like you guys said I need a dietitian to help me do it safely...
I appreciate any help here I can get - thank you.
Thank you for being so candid Kitt! My heart breaks for your struggle. I am awed that even in the midst of all your turmoil you still have such a desire to become vegan. I think that is so awesome! I can relate also to growing up without learning to cook. I was a latchkey kid. My parents divorced when I was very young and I didn't see my father much. My father has a profound mental illness but he did and does the best he can. My Mom went to school and earned her PhD and taught classes and she had to deal with my sister in and out of hospitals for paranoid schizophrenia. So there were not too many sit down meals together and I never learned how to cook either. I grew up on junk food...pop tarts, sugared cereal, ice cream, cheese sandwiches. Eating disorders also run in my family and most of the members of my family with them have binge eating disorder or bulimia. I ended up with anorexia nervosa but with periods of bingeing/purging. It was at least partly to blame for my own health woes such as the osteoporosis. In that regard I can relate, and each day is still a battle, though I have a much better grasp on it than I once did. I too learned to cook in my thirties. I love cooking now and rarely eat out. I have a talent for cooking that I never knew I had. It is never too late to learn to cook and/or prepare great food! It takes time and patience but is entirely possible. I was fortunate to have my husband help me in the beginning. I used to think everything had to be cooked on high on the burner lol. I didn't even know what a spatula was at first. I was THAT bad. Miracles do happen lol.

I wish you the very best with your surgery and I hope it gives you a better life. I'm really glad that you joined VB!
 

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Hi MissKit, I just wanted to briefly chime in about bulk buying and small spaces. I do buy in bulk online but I don't get in huge bags; though I know some people buy in 25kg of any given product at a time I would personally find that volume a bit overwhelming. As a newcomer to vegetarianism I would recommend you avoid huge quantities, at least until you feel confident cooking with grains and beans.

When I do an online shop I may get around six to eight 3kg bags of staples (eg: brown rice, red and/or brown lentils, some kind of white bean, one or two other kinds of bean, another kind of grain, chickpeas, and sunflower seeds).

I decant what I need into plastic tubs or glass jars that live in my kitchen cupboards along with all the other groceries and seal the bags (later replenishing as needed). Then I keep the bags stored in the same cardboard box/es (typically a couple of 12 inch square box/es) they came in, and stash those in a cupboard.

Because there is so little packaging, and grains and beans are not 'airy' products you might be surprised at the small amount of space they take up.
 

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Hi MissKit, I just wanted to briefly chime in about bulk buying and small spaces. I do buy in bulk online but I don't get in huge bags; though I know some people buy in 25kg of any given product at a time I would personally find that volume a bit overwhelming. As a newcomer to vegetarianism I would recommend you avoid huge quantities, at least until you feel confident cooking with grains and beans.
Oh yeah, I thought it went without saying, but my 'buy in bulk' comment was a general encouragement towards 'more for less' options even if they seem slightly more than you might think you need at the time. Don't go overboard.
 

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Hi MissKitt and welcome! So much good advice and good links given! :)

With the knowledge you gain from the dietician, you will be able to know what to eat, then you just need to know how to prepare it! No matter what your limitations are, vegetables will be a big part of your diet, learn to love them, they are delicious!!!!

The good news is, vegetarian cooking is easy and can be really fun! It is far quicker than meat based meals, no worries about defrosting, cross contamination, etc. Basically, learn how to use a knife, combine flavors and season, sometimes cook, the food.

I would sharpen my favorite knife and grab a good sized cutting board. (You can do this seated.) Look up youtube videos on kirchen knife skills and practice.

Buy veggies and fruits in season and grown locally if possible. Right now, for example, sweet corn is probably in season up in NYS, just shuck it, throw it in a big pot of boiling water for a few minutes, some seasoning like black pepper or Mrs Dash table blend and eat. My husband, son, and I have been vegan over a decade, and I don't need fancy tools or expensive machines to make healthy good food.

Roasting vegetables on hot heat in the oven or on a bbq grill is easy and the vegetables taste sweet and smoky at the same time. I like to chop large pieces of carrots, sweet and white potatoes, zucchini, big green beans, beets, winter squash, pumpkin, well just about anything. The harder- textured veggies take longer to cook, so the harder the veg, the smaller the pieces because smaller cooks faster.

Also, lentils! Learn to love them, they go with everything and are cheap, a breeze to cook, don't need presoaking, and are v healthy.

I'm glad you are here!!
 
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