5 day newbie- please be kind

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Hi, June was my third year anniversary of going vegetarian. I only started to be strictly vegan 5 days ago. I want to teach out to the community, but it worries me, because I have had bad experiences with some vegans. As a vegetarian, some told me it was good that I had made a change, and others scolded me strongly for not making a full commitment, and questioned my commitment and motives. I am almost an almost fifty, straight, white, American male, who grew up in a different time from how things are now. I graduated from a Southern Baptist Seminary, and didn't vote Democrat. I do now, and I am in a progressive, inclusive church which focuses on social justice. It had taken me a long time to get to were I am now, from where I was originally. I know scolding never worked on me at all. I can take criticism, or questions, but coming from a traditional religious background, seems having progressed away from it, I am not for black and white, cut and dry dogmas. My life is lived in shades of gray.

I work as a vet tech, and I know some vegans are against having pets. I have two cats, one dog, three teens and a wife, all of who aren't vegan or vegetarian, but have supported my changing lifestyle for the years, and learned to put up with veggie crumble. I still wear leather shoes, because I am not far above the poverty line, because they haven't worn out yet, and because I am worried that expensive vegan shoes won't cut the mustard.

I mostly eat a whole food diet, with cooked whole grains, beans, raw fruit and veggies and some nuts. I use salsa (fresh and jarred) in almost everything, seems I am happy with that. This has been my diet for three years, though I have still used a lot of cheese and some eggs. I used to go on cheese binges all the time. A week ago I ate an entire block of Monterey Jack at one sitting. That, plus my resting blood pressure being horrible, made me decide to just take the plunge.

In five days I went from 290 lbs, with a rating blood pressure in a dangerous range, to 281 lbs (water weight loss probably) and my blood pressure, at the doctor yesterday, was 110/94 (really normal). I was at a restaurant Thursday, and all I could order was a house salad without cheese or hard boiled egg, with Italian dressing, and a plain baked potato, with ketchup. The only oil the kitchen had was canola. I made myself do it, and am glad I did. The restaurant thing will be a struggle. This is Chicagoland, the land of processed meats, and we are struggling financially. 85% my food comes from Aldis.

Anyway, I am alone here. My brother and his wife and my cousin and his wife are vegan, but in California and Florida respectively. I am autistic and don't drive, so finding vegan met ups would be hard. My wife had taken me to Veggie Fest, a local festival we have hear, and it was like going home. (My wife is wonderful and has been very supportive, despite not wanting to be meat free herself.)

I guess I am hoping to connect, without getting attacked for my deficiencies. Thank you for listening.
 
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Oh, if my English isn't perfect, it is because I am not only Autistic, but also Dyslexic. Apologies.
 

Lou

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Welcome aboard.
 

Veganite

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Hello David M Wilcox, and welcome to the forum.

Congrats on your veggie to vegan transition!
 

Emma JC

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Welcome David and congrats on your decision! Be creative and do the best that you can, that is all any of us can do!

Emma JC
 
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Thank you both. Sorry if I rambled on a bit, but I had a lot to get out, and I can't really share it at home. I feel better.
 

Veganite

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You come to the right place to ramble. We all ramble here ;)
 

Nekodaiden

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Welcome to the forum, David.
 

amberfunk

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Welcome. There are a lot of vegan and vegan friendly restaurants in Chicago. A quick google search pops up a lot of them. Some are not expensive either. Vegan cheese is pretty good. A lot of stores have them now. Jewel, Mariano's, Trader Joe's and Whole foods has different options though they are expensive.
 
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Thanks Amberfunk. I only liked in a 20 mile radius and there was only 1. We both work 12 hours days regularly and have 3 busy teens. I will work around it. Yesterday, at a bbq place, I ordered baked beans (vegan prep), roasted veggies and a plain potato. I mashed them up and put bbq sauce on the whole mess. It was good. They had recipe books at the counter, which really helped. I can live without fake cheese. Most of our shopping has to be set Aldi, but they are getting more vegan foods all the time.
 

Kellyr

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Welcome - and remember the only person you have to answer to is you (and since you're religious, the God of your understanding.) There are plenty of self-appointed vegan police out there who will take you to task regardless your asking for compassion and understanding. So long and short of it, you need to be okay with yourself and trust your God enough to know that you're doing good.

We're all human, so none of us is perfect anyway, even those who claim to be otherwise.

Really glad you're here, and hopefully you find the support you're looking for.
 
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