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Hi

I've been vegetarian for about 14 years and always found it really easy and never had any problems at all. For the last few months I have been attempting veganism. All for animal welfare and ethical reasons.

I'm finding it reasonably easy but I'm not doing it 100% yet - although I don't feel bad for this. I think it's going to be a gradual process for me. I don't eat eggs or dairy in their raw form, but am not overly careful about things that have minute amounts of them in. That will come with time I hope! I'm quite restrictive with what I eat anyway and have had food issues, so am trying to be careful and ease myself in slowly.

Anyway, that's me. These boards seem nice
 

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Congratulations on your transition! Veganism is a big step, and so a lot of people need to go into it gradually or else they'll find themselves terribly ill and/or frustrated.

You can achieve it just like I did [I went cold tofurky for the sake of argument ... but I was in a fight, lolz!].

We are all here to support you and help you in your journey.
 

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It's good to read these posts with people being good to each other. Good luck to you.

I made the switch a little less than a year ago. I had started to avoid eggs because of the whole chicken confinement issue, but didn't pay as much attention to trace ingredients. Then I started to wonder, what's the big deal with milk? Vegans seemed so extreme. Then I did a little research, and suddenly I got it.

A few tips (forgive me if these seem obvious)

Grocery Stores

A lot of stuff in the grocery store is vegan without trying to be-like Oreos, believe it or not.

A lot of stuff in the grocery store seems vegan but isn't: anything with mono-or di-glycerides that are not explicitly labed as vegetable-sourced. Lactic acid can come from milk or soybeans, check with the company.

If you like frozen/canned stuff, Amy's is a good brand, especially right now in your transition phase. They don't ever use eggs (they do use milk), and their ingredient list on their products state (vegan) when appropriate so you don't have to read the list.

I've found that the best thing to do is to shop as often as I can afford at my local co-op, where they're likely to know the products really well and have lots of veg options.

Dairy Substitutions:

Ener-G Egg Replacer is an investment, initially-it might seem expensive at $6 a box. However you will get the equivalent of literally dozens of eggs out of it, so it is a bargain. I have used it with great success both in vegan recipes and in veganizing family recipes-it works wonderfully.

I'm sure you know all about Soymilk-unfortunately Silk is now owned by Dean Foods, but I still buy it, it's a grey area. Of course there are many other brands. I'm not a fan of rice milk (except when cooking for my soy-allergic brother)-it's kinda watery. I think soy yogurt is nasty except when used in baking. Nayonaisse is great-they make soy mayo, soy ranch, etc. Soymilk will curdle just like regular milk when you add vinegar (to make buttermilk)

A lot of people swear by Earth Balance (margarine). I really like Smart Balance Buttery Spread Light-lots fewer calories.

Soy Delicious makes a great ice cream. I just had their mint chocolate chip last night-very "creamy". Watch out for their fruit-sweetened varieties, though, they're not as good. Tofutti Cuties ice-cream sandwiches are extremely addictive.

Tofutti brand sour cream is excellent!

Cheese is harder. In the past two weeks I have made two really good entrees with nutritional yeast (I buy it in bulk at the health food store; it is NOT the same as Brewer's Yeast)-Fettucine Alfreda and Mac n "cheese". If you have the time and inclination, a really good cheese can also be made from Cashews. Any prepared vegan cheese I've tried, with the exception of a powdered parmesan substitue, has been totally disgusting and a waste of money. I've heard Tofutti cream cheese is good, but I haven't tried it.

Crumbled, pressed firm tofu + lemon juice and spices makes an excellent feta or ricotta subsitute...

Some really great cookbooks that I can't recommend enough: Vegan with a Vengeance, Real Food Daily, and the Native Foods cookbook. Any of the Moosewood restaurant cookbooks would be a good place to start (they are vegetarian but have a lot of vegan as well)-they are a little more basic-if you are not already a big fan of cooking.

Whew! I'll stop blabbing now. I hope some if the above will be helpful to you. Good luck, and congratulations!
 
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