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I'm having a hard time staying vegan

6160 Views 18 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Earthly Delight
This is really upsetting me and I need some non-judgemental advice. Please!

I was a vegan for a little over two years when I decided I want to try cheese and eggs again. I was having really nagging cravings and I was feeling really fed up with the "holier than thou" vegans on other forums and communities. I went back to lacto-ovo for a few months and then decided to go back to veganism. This was in the summer when I "quit" and I tried to go back to vegan in late Novemember.

But since then I'm finding it absolutely difficult to stay vegan. I've flip flopped a lot since November and I hate myself so much for it. I moved to a new province and live with my boyfriend's family now. Unlike living at home, living here really sucks for veganism. I thought Toronto would be a vegan heaven but where I live, there's barely any vegan goodies at local supermarkets (I need more than soy mik, I want cookies, waffles, soyurt, faux meats, etc). I have to travel for a while on the bus to get to an overpriced health food store. I'm really poor and even had to use spare change from around the house to by my necessary medication yesterday.
I can't afford hoity toity health food store prices. And no one in this house is supportive of veganism. They have no idea what it is, actually (they are from Sri Lanka originally and veganism is unheard of). I have not met any other true veg*ns since moving here, either. A lot of pescatarians and "sometimes" vegetarians or religious Hindu veggies (who really aren't that strict a lot of the time, tbh) but not anyone who is veg*n for animal rights.

I feel so bad and guilty. I really need advice. I really need to reaffirm my vegan beliefs. I just feel myself not feeling as gung-ho about it all anymore, like I how I used to feel. How can stick to veganism? My boyfriend thinks this is funny and encourages me to eat animal products. He'll make my favourite non-vegan foods and tempt me by shoving it in my face and saying silly things like, "Just once won't hurt."
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It's a shame your boyfriend is not supportive of you, that can be a real problem and can hurt you emotionally, knowing he's trying to sabotage you.

I think perhaps you need to re-evaluate why you went vegan in the first place. What was it that made you see the connection? Was it a gruesom video of slaughterhouses, was it a book? You should revisit that and perhaps it will help to re-affirm your choices. Visit Peta's homepage and watch some of the videos, watch earthlings and hopefully that will help to remind you of your beliefs.

As for the 'hoiti toiti' healthfood store, I agree, they're overpriced many times and I rarely visit there. I think what you may need to do is take up cooking. Find some great cookbooks/recipes for your favorite foods, and either veganize them yourself or try to find vegan versions. That way you don't have to go out in search of these fancy foods. That's what I've done myself. I love cooking, and perhaps by making some vegan dishes, you can show friends and family how tasty they are, and they may begin to be more supportive of you.

It is difficult but I think in your heart you know you want to stick with it. You're doing the right thing, for yourself, the planet and animals alike. Good luck!
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perhaps you should go strict vegetarian, for a while, and forget about minor ingredients.....

so you could have your waffle(what's in waffle?)

I've been having cravings for egg recently, and your post made me remember a dream I had last night where I was eating loads of egg mayo salad(which was one of my favourite), I felt a bit guilty in the dream.

you could go back to veganism, when you felt ready.
Some ideas/suggestions:

You should search around to see if you can find a discount health food shop. I've found these before and got great stuff. Then do a road trip and stock up on some things.

You could request items you might buy regularly at whatever grocery you shop at. Ok I did that before and it didn't work. Worth a try.

Do you have any wholesale places around you?. Sams' club has things like boca burgers and sorbet for reasonable prices. Limited selection, might work out if you can do other shopping there.

You could mail order some stuff. Then you'll have to pay shipping costs so maybe not so good.

Is your health shop a co- op?. If so, maybe you could work there and get member discounts. Depending on if you are ok with commuting there to do this. Getting there probably has costs too so also probably not a good idea.
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What the others said -- and if you're serious about this, you should have words with your boyfriend about his behaviour, because letting him carry on that way won't help.

I make my own cookies and cakes and general food all the time, so if you have the time to cook then that's a cheap option, since you can make lovely vegan food with ingredients found anywhere. It would make you less reliant on convenience food.
What is it you are having a struggle with specifically? Is it still cheese and egg, or the lack of prepared baked goods? Are you interested in doing your own cooking, or is that not a possibility?

I'm worried most about your living situation, though. If you can't get your boyfriend and his family to simply ignore the issue if they can't accept and respect it, its gonna be hard for you, especially without any vegans nearby in real life.
nidobunny, first I would say to stop beating yourself up over it.

It sounds like you're in a difficult situation and a difficult time. Living with non-supportive people only makes things worse.

I agree with the advice to re-evaluate your veganism as well as your situation (including the un-supportive nature there). Rather than focusing on expensive foods, what can you do about it? What is within your means? Can you cook more from scratch? Do you have the time? How is work and your money situation? Can that be improved? Etc.

Only you can really know what is within your abilities and what you want to do.

Good luck!
your boyfriend's behavior is terrible. that is soooo disrespectful!

when i went vegan the guy i was dating would take a bite of steak and try to kiss me and shove it in my mouth.

needless to say that relationship is over and now i am with someone who respects and encourages my beliefs!

good luck
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Maybe you need to focus on why you went vegan to begin with. I would assume it had nothing to do with joining a new social group that by your own admission was too holier-than-thou for you.

If you're like me and the other vegans I know, it had to do with the treatment of animals and your abhorrence for their suffering.

If this is the case, I'd just immerse myself in all the vegan videos, photographs, books and essays I could find until the thought of exploiting those poor animals just because I had a nagging hankering for cheese utterly repulsed me. That should compel you to jump back on the wagon.

Good luck! Remember that whatever effort you do make is better than nothing.

Also, if its sweets you're missing, start baking. It's fun, cheaper than buying pre-made and tastes much better too.
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I am really sorry you are in such an unsupportive environment right now. I'm sure it makes it a LOT harder to stick to your values.

I agree with everyone else though. You need to remember why you went vegan in the first place, and ask yourself if those reasons still matter to you.

I live in the Toronto area (Brampton), and can assure you that the veg scene is pretty big here.

Here are a couple of links for vegan groups in Toronto. It's a great way to meet other like-minded people.

Just a great veg site in general:

Here are a list of some of the veg restaurants in Toronto. A Lot of them are pretty cheap:

As for vegan food for home, you should really try cooking from scratch if you can. It tastes better, and it's a great way to save money.

If you don't have a lot of money, I would avoid most health food stores, like The Big Carrot of Whole Foods. They CAN be a little pricey. Luckily, most grocery stores around here have a really good selection of vegan items. I can find almost everything I need at Real Canadian Superstore, and at pretty good prices.

I hope that your environment becomes more supportive. In the meantime, check out some of the links I gave you. And come here for support.
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what part of Toronto are you in? There are tons of vegan hotspots throughout toronto that really aren't that expensive. Paganveg has pointed out a good few, and I myself live near High Park station and spend more than half of my time around Spadina station, either at school, with my sorority, or just socializing in general. I used to live in the east end (danforth area) though I wasn't veg at the time, but I do have at least a vague idea of what's available.

Let me know what it is you're looking for, if there's anything in specific. In kensington market there are two stores; tutti frutti and essence of life--they're really well priced! For soy milk I buy from the health food stores in my area cus they have the best prices I've seen yet. (I get a box of 12 vitasoy cartons for 20 dollars! My almond breeze boxes are 23.) Foods for life, also in my area, tends to have pretty good prices on some other vegan stuff.

Avoid Noah's (bloor and spadina) like the plague. Sometimes I go in, thinking "well its ok that its expensive, I'll just buy a teensie bit to snack on for now." I leave empty handed cus I just can't part with the money. The cafe inside of Noahs (diff. owner) is really good though and 100% vegan...

If you ever need a fellow vegan to grab a coffee with you, just ask.

PS your bf sounds like a bum. Of course, I have very limited knowledge of him--in fact, nothing past he taunts you with animal products.
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you totally don't need a health food store to be vegan. Go bake!

Get some soymilk and applesauce and the usual flour, baking powder, etc, and make some delicious treats. Applesauce is cheaper than eggs anyway, a big ole jar is like a buck here. You can make a ridiculous amount then freeze them. Sure, its a bit more work, but you're guaranteed they're vegan, and you're going to save money. It's a win win.

Or freeze some chocolate soymilk, or fry some tofu and vegetables. Get cookin lady!
Thanks everyone. I DO cook but there isn't even a supermarket within walking distance. There's a tiny IGA store (grocery store not supermarket). I can get a lot of basic stuff but you know, sometimes I want a treat. Beans, rice, and veggies are boring every day! And I have health issues and I often don't have energy to cook meals for myself so I like the idea of having pre-made vegan stuff around. I'm getting my pay cheque soon and it will be tiny but I'm going to spend it all on stocking up my kitchen.

I live near the Don Mills area, right near Scarborough. I'm new and I'm too scared to go downtown to all the better shops.
My boyfriend works full time and is too busy to take me.
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nidobunny I totally get what you mean--I personally LOVE to cook and spend most of my time in the kitchen--my mom sometimes comments on it even.. but how do you make hummus without tahini? How do you get really creative with sushi or spring rolls without nori or rice paper? If you wanna make homemade seitan, good luck finding vital wheat gluten in a dingy IGA grocery!

Don Mills eh? PM coming your way.
Hummus without tahini is blasphemous! As an Arab, I do not approve of that!
I always have tahini in my cupboard and buy it from Arab shops, so it's cheaper than health food store tahini. Luckily!
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I get mine from No Frills actually hahaha.

What foods is it you need from health food stores, out of curiosity? I do a lot of shopping at my health food stores mostly cus its cheaper than at Loblaws, but my Loblaws is really well stocked so I donno what things you might be missing?
i hear you nido, about wanting to cook but not always having the energy. there are convienient snack foods out there that are vegan though. check out petas "accidentally vegan" list.... there are some duncan hines box cake mixes and brownie mixes that are fundamentally vegan (just sub out the egg, etc that it calls for), there is always oreos!

if you do have a time when you have energy... i find it helpful to make up extra batches of cookies so i can freeze them in little balls, then just bake em off when i have a craving. you can pre mix some dry ingredients for a cake mix, or brownie, etc and keep in a freezer bag, then just mix up the other half when you want it.

i agree too, that you should check to see if your store can carry any vegan products you might want. its worth a try.
Why not learn to make cookies/muffins? I think a lot of people forget that this convenience food is not the heart of vegan/vegetarian food. It is "real" food like beans, grain, vegetables, and other things that "poor people" generally can find in abundance. Vegetarianism is actually the most affordable food choices. Often it involves "stocking up" on basics.

I also kind of think it is strange that Toranto grocery stores do not have the makings for veg food. Are there any specialty markets for cultures that have large populations of vegetarians? Like Indian food, or Oriental markets? I find you can stock up on interesting and cost efficient grocery items there.

I'm also with those who think that you should just stay at the level that you are comfortable with (and can afford) if it is OL vegetarian, or strict vegetarian, you should stay there.
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Gita--Toronto has tons of vegan food options, cultural stores, etc. Her issue (from what I gather, correct me if I'm wrong nido) is she's just 'out' enough of Toronto that she'd either need a long busride or her boyfriend to drive her in, and when she does come in she goes to the health food stores that are overpriced.
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