Congratulations, I'm new to this as well, been doing it for 5 weeks now. I started doing it for health reasons, but now there is some satisfaction in knowing that there are ethical benefits as well.
For me I needed lots of info. I started by checking out books on amazon to read the editorial and customer reviews to get a feel for which ones I would be interested in and then checked them out from the library (love that place).
Then I found this forum so I could find answers to questions.
For me the biggest things starting off was to make sure I knew what would be a nutritious diet, and making sure I maintained adequate nutrition starting off. Then it was finding/developing good tasty meals so I would feel less tempted to sway from the diet. The internet and books were the places I found a lot of help in that area.
Well, maybe if you had specific questions or give more information about what you're sturggling with people would be happy to answer them? I mean, I could type out a book of advice on being vegan, but don't exactly have the time or inclination.
When i said advice, i basically meant vegans tell me about what they found out or went through when they turned to veganism? Nutrition? Vitamins? Do you feel i need to take any. At the moment i take two multivitamins a day x
As far as advice, I'd suggest applying basic, common-sense health to a vegan diet. Go with whole grains rather than white/refined ones. Eat lots of fruits and veggies on a daily basis, and a good variety of them. Eat foods of a variety of colours for variety in the nutrients (and flavours) you get. Choose from a variety of protein sources, rather than relying too heavily on one source. For example, I have to make an effort not to eat too much soy or seitan (wheat gluten).
Make use of walnuts, cashews, and whatever other nuts and seeds you like; mix them into foods to add texture, taste, and healthy fats.
Acquaint yourself (if you haven't already) with nutritional yeast. It's a great source of vitamin B-12 (one of the vitamins vegans should take care to include, though it's often added to products like soy or rice milks). It's also tasty, and is an ingredient in many homemade vegan cheese sauces.
There are loads of convenience foods like meat analogues (vegan stuff processed to taste like meat, like burgers and veggie nuggets) but they are often lower in fibre, and very high in sodium. They can be tasty, and are certainly not the dietary devil incarnate, but from a health standpoint, they are better off as the exception rather than the rule.
I recommend you check out www.vegweb.com if you haven't done so already. This is the best vegan recipe resource I've found in my 3+ years of being vegan; huge variety of recipes for sweets, savouries, and some truly unusual (but often tasty) creations.
I'm sure every vegan is different in terms of the 'need' to supplement one's diet. My principle is that supplements are expensive, and I'd rather spend that money buying quality ingredients (like the never-cheap maple syrup). I've felt no need to take vitamins of any sort since becoming vegan (aside from vitamin C with the odd cold), and am in excellent health. You're already taking 2 multivitamins a day, so that should amply cover you. Assuming you are in good health, if you use common sense and choose a wide variety of quality foods the majority of the time, you should have no problems!
Another slightly less pie-in-the-sky tip; more than likely you will occasionally find you've unintentionally eaten something nonvegan. Don't beat yourself up. If you're like me, your stomach will already be letting you know that it's not happy with the mistake. Accidents happen, and whatever your reasons for being vegan, the odd accidental animal product is unfortunate, but not a big deal in the wider scheme of things. The world will continue to revolve.
Search far and wide, and sign up for vegan recipe newsletters - even those that seem small-scale or bizarre, particularly if you are just starting out, and are looking for lots of culinary ideas. One of my best recipes came from an obscure listserv, the name of which I can't remember, that sends out one recipe every couple of months.
Good luck, and most importantly, have fun! It's the best way to maintain any lifestyle.
Thank you so much everyone, lately it seems like this is the only place i can go. People were pretty cool about me going veggie, but when i went vegan it seemed like no one was supportive at all. It suxs, i know who are my real friends are and its a small few.
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