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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a recent convert to vegetarianism, and although I'm pleased that I've cut out meat, by-products, leather etc, I don't think I will always feel comfortable with continuing to eat dairy and eggs. In my head I have a vegan diet as my long term goal.<br><br>
What I'm wondering is, once you made the decision to go vegan, how did you find it? Is it hard trying to find things (mainly processed foods of course, which I'm already trying to cut back on) that are suitable?
 

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I became vegan back in September 1996, I was vegetarian for 3 years<br>
prior to becoming vegan. I did find it quite easy as I had been<br>
cutting down on dairy and eggs during that time, probably the biggest hurdle was<br>
reading food labels. There's plenty of help online regarding vegan diets.<br>
Have you got a copy of the Animal Free Shopper which is published by the Vegan<br>
Society in the UK? As you say you are not comfortable eating dairy and eggs, It<br>
sounds like you are well on the way to reaching your goal. Good luck.
 

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For me it was very easy. I was eating very little dairy but when I finally made the decision to go vegan, I never looked back. Not once. I find being vegan a bit inconvenient at times. But easy. And whatever little inconvenience there is it's well worth it.<br><br>
In all actuality though I did feel "what does it matter" a little bit recently. I was feeling down. But then I realized it does matter.
 

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I am in the process of making the switch now. So far, it is not as hard as I thought it would be. There are different challenges for everyone, mine tend to center around social situations and eating out... but I am finding these challenges are definitely surmountable, and it is so worth it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The idea of eating out and finding something vegan is also a bit daunting for me, if I'm honest. So I'm glad to hear I'm not alone. I think I'm going to try to cut down gradually, seeing as I'm still new to eating veg*n.<br><br>
"For me it was very easy. I was eating very little dairy but when I finally made the decision to go vegan, I never looked back." I think this is how I'm hoping it'll go.<br><br>
And Vincent, thanks for the heads up on the Animal Free Shopper, I'll go have a look for that now.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Smelly_Cat</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2834592"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
The idea of eating out and finding something vegan is also a bit daunting for me, if I'm honest.</div>
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It can be difficult when traveling or when you've first made "the switch." One thing I found helpful about eating out is calling ahead. Most places have their menus on-line anymore even small local establishments and so you can be looking at their menu on-line while you interrogate them, oh I mean, ask them questions about the menu items or if they can accommodate Vegan requests etc. This way you know ahead of time, you don't have to spend so much time going around and around with the wait staff while you're with non-Vegan friends waiting for you to order and so on. Eventually, you get a number of "safe and easy" places to go where it's not that big of a deal. After you're Vegan for a while and you get used to having interactions with wait staff that are deeper than "I'll have this or that" it's no big deal. I don't think twice about it. It's a business and they want your money so often they'll try and accommodate special requests.<br><br>
As far as my own experience, I went from vegetarian to Vegan overnight and haven't deviated. I'm lucky though in the sense that I live in a veg*n friendly city with great restaurant options and I'm about 20 blocks away from a street that has a Whole Foods with in eye-shot of a Trader Joes. It's pretty easy to be Vegan here.
 

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For me dairy has been the hardest. Giving up eggs was easy (especially since I was allergic to them as a child), but I still have times when I would just like a Snickers bar or a regular pizza. So far though 6 months with only minimal slip ups.
 

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Well, over thinking held me back 7 months I remained l/o but once I became annoyed and overwhelmed with slowly eliminating and just went for it, turns out it was no big deal.
 

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It was as easy as going vegetarian in the end. Almost the exact same process. When I went vegetarian, I thought about it for a few months. Tried to phase things out of my diet, which didn't go too well. Almost decided I couldn't do it, then made the switch suddenly. Never went back. Six years later, I started thinking about veganism. Tried to phase out, replaced cosmetics and the like, cut a few individual items out of my diet and thought I couldn't do any more and I would be vegetarian forever. Then just made the switch and dropped every animal product from my diet in one fell swoop. That a little more than two weeks ago, and so far, it's been really easy.
 

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i tried going vegan overnight a few years ago and it was too difficult for me to make the sudden switch. last year i spent the entire year transitioning and taking that time to learn made it easy for me
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>zirpkatze</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2834844"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
i tried going vegan overnight a few years ago and it was too difficult for me to make the sudden switch. last year i spent the entire year transitioning and taking that time to learn made it easy for me</div>
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I feel as though it may take significant time for me to transition as well. I took the 30-day vegan challenge for March, and am definitely working on it, but I am still not comfortable calling myself vegan yet. For now, I consider myself a vegetarian who's working on being vegan. I've only had one meal in the past 10 days that wasn't vegan, and I've stopped buying any animal-based clothing/toiletries/household products as well (and actually have been starting to replace the ones I have, where I can afford to.) But it's going to take me a long time to phase out all the non-vegan items I already own, potentially years. It's probably also going to take me a while to really get down pat how I'm going to deal with eating in restaurants and such. I'm still really not comfortable with quizzing restaurant servers about every trace ingredient, and until I am, I don't feel like I can really call myself a vegan.
 

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Once I decided, it wasn't that hard. I thought I would really have a problem not eating cheese. It was the one thing keeping me from going vegan, but once I decided it wasn't a food option, everything fell into place. I was a little daunted about eating out and asking questions at first, but now it's no problem. My friends and family have gotten used to me and my questions when we go out <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">. They've even started considering places that are more veg*n friendly when I'm invited. I'm going on three years vegan, and I so wish I'd done it sooner, but I finally got there and am beyond happy that I did.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ashlend</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2834954"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
...<br>
It's probably also going to take me a while to really get down pat how I'm going to deal with eating in restaurants and such. I'm still really not comfortable with quizzing restaurant servers about every trace ingredient, and until I am, I don't feel like I can really call myself a vegan.</div>
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it really helped me in the transition to be able to ask all the questions one week and choose a vegan meal but the next week just getting something vegetarian and having some restaurant experience stay question free
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ashlend</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2834954"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
It's probably also going to take me a while to really get down pat how I'm going to deal with eating in restaurants and such. I'm still really not comfortable with quizzing restaurant servers about every trace ingredient, and until I am, I don't feel like I can really call myself a vegan.</div>
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Tell them you're allergic to eggs and dairy :p<br><br>
You'll get used to the quizzing, though. And if you tend to frequent the same places, you'll get to know the menus and what can be done for you <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I actually took to eating out far more easily than I thought, and in the past couple of weeks I've had 6 or 7 vegan meals in omni restaurants with minimum hassle.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Smelly_Cat</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2834009"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
What I'm wondering is, once you made the decision to go vegan, how did you find it? Is it hard trying to find things (mainly processed foods of course, which I'm already trying to cut back on) that are suitable?</div>
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I found it relatively easy. At first, I didn't know what kind of foods to eat or make, so I made these very simple dishes myself. But over time, I learned about the variety of foods available.<br><br>
I've never really had to fight any kind of cravings. And as I've said in other threads, there are so many non-dairy alternatives now, made from soy or oatmeal or rice. If I wanted to buy vegan ice cream, I can get it in almost any ordinary supermarket, and I can even choose whether I want soy-based or oatmeal-based, and they both taste just like the dairy version. And with yoghurt, there are again many options to choose from. The same with creams: soy cream, oatmeal cream, fat or low-fat. I feel like it's not a big deal.<br><br>
I live in Scandinavia, but based on where you live (the UK) I think there are probably at least as great a diversity of vegan products.
 

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I didn't even realize it was happening. Then suddenly I was this person who didn't consume animal products. It just was a gradual extension of my vegetarianism.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>rabid_child</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2835285"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I didn't even realize it was happening. Then suddenly I was this person who didn't consume animal products. It just was a gradual extension of my vegetarianism.</div>
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This is what happened to me. One day I realized that I wasn't buying/eating milk products or consuming anything with eggs. The only think I was still consuming was trace ingredients. So I just make the switch. It wasn't hard since I was like 90% there already.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sevenseas</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2835278"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I live in Scandinavia, but based on where you live (the UK) I think there are probably at least as great a diversity of vegan products.</div>
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The UK is amazing for vegan products. We're quite lucky <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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I found it really easy, once you switch your mindset, everything is easy. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of gal, and as soon as I said "I'm going to be vegan" I just stopped considering non-vegan options as options, it was like I just blanked them out, if I walk into a supermarket I don't look at all the food I CAN'T eat, it doesn't cross my mind.<br><br>
I'm not in a position to make such a call, but if I was I'd say the UK is the most vegan friendly place you could be in. Sainsburys and tesco label a lot of their things vegan (although, not all their vegan things are labelled vegan, I'm not sure why but I assume it's some kind of updating-products lag, so if something doesn't say vegan DO still check the ingrediants because sometimes it actually is!), and SUPERDRUG is the best place in the world because it labels its relevent products (and I'm not sure I've actually found one yet that's NOT been vegan) as suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and states superdrug doesn't test on animals <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I often find cosmestics to be the most annoying - who knows what the ingrediants all mean, and emailing companies is not always convienient (although, they're almost always very helpful, so DO email companies if you want to know if things are vegan!).<br><br>
As for eating out, my main tips are<br>
a) Phone ahead and ask, you can arrange something vegan before hand in a place that isn't very vegan friendly and in my experience chefs have been not just willing but really happy to help and make something different that suits your needs <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br>
b) Don't be shy, ask waiters what's in different foods and if they don't know ask them to ask the chef, it's perfectly fine to do so - and then tip generously after to show your gratitute <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br>
c) Indian resturaunts with vegetarian options pretty much always have vegan options as they don't tend to use dairy that often. Plus, in my experience, waiters in indian resturaunts have always known exactly what's in all the food, and are very helpful (I don't know why such good waiting seems to be specific to indian resturaunts, but that's just my experience).<br>
d) If you're bashful and don't like asking waiters (and hey, a lot of people feel this way, even though it's a bit silly as they're there to help!) chain resturaunts usually have a customer email adress and I've always got great responses in emailing and asking for lists of vegan/veganisable options (wagamamas, las iguanas and aagrah have all been really helpful to me).<br><br>
So yes, other advice I'd give to make the process easier is DO try vegan alternatives (different milks, "meats", etc) they're something expensive/hard to find/not that healthy but there are some real gems that'll be fantastic life savers! (for me: bean burgers when I'm in a rush, dairy free "milk" chocolate for when I fancy a treat, rice milk for cereals, linda mcartney sausages for brunch!). Look in the free-from sections of supermarkets, but also look at their normal ranges - apple pies, strudles, fruit crumbles, hot cross buns, cereal bars, lots of biscuits, treacle tart, chocolate, sweets and much more can all be found in normal ranges of products, some brands just happen to be vegan and others aren't, so keep an eye out for them because they're usually pretty cheap and easy to find!<br><br>
Sorry bit of a mamoth post... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> but it took me a good couple of years to figure this stuff out, I spent about 6 months without eating much that wasn;'t cooked from scratch... then I found health food shops... then about a year later I realised LOADS of stuff was vegan I'd just assumed wouldn't be! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":rolleyes:"> silly me!
 
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