Becoming Vegan

ivyonyx

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So, I’ve decided to join this forum because I want to become vegan and thought it would be good to get inspiration from others and being with likeminded individuals. The reason I want to transition into Veganism is mostly because of health reasons, I’m concerned about my health and of course for animal welfare. Any tips? Is it better to go gradually or cold turkey? What resources do you have, if any? And just any general things you think would help, lemme know. Thank you!
 

silva

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The vegan spectrum goes from wfpb (whole food plant based) with no processing that removes anything good or adds anything bad. No oil (removed from whole) or sugars that are removed from whole (uses fruit as sweetener).
.....and goes from there up to all the processed premade foods!

I strongly suggest looking at NutritionFacts.org | The Latest in Nutrition Related Research Dr Greger (How Not to Die) advocates a very strict wfpb diet, but whether you go all the way, or simply use it as reference, I trust his very well documented evidence based research to guide my choices. I don't follow it very well, but I have, and it is a fabulous way of eating. Look at the daily dozen food choices to get a good idea of a days nutrition.

things to keep in mind--many vitamins are preformulated when you consume meat, it's really like a pre-processed food. It's easy to get too much protein.
One thing you do need as a vegan is B12. I take 2000 mcg sublingual once a week. Again, look up on nutritionfacts for most info

We have so many threads on food! What we ate today, for supper, recipes, everywhere! Vegans as a rule love to talk food!
 

silva

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Some people make a clean transition, others pick things to quit at a slower pace. There's no one way for everyone, but do what is right for you. I think a lot depends on how close your thinking to eating without dairy or animal products is already. For me it meant keeping cheese topped pizza that kept me in line, until I found how to have pizza without.
Without eating processed foods you might find you're eating fewer calories as plants are more nutritionally dense and high volume so you feel full quicker.
 

Indian Summer

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Congratulations on your decision to go vegan!

You're off to a good start by joining the forum :)

Regarding cold tofurkey versus a more gradual approach, I think it depends a bit on your personality. Just remember that the diet you decide to follow (the kind of dishes you eat on a daily basis) is one that you are going to stay on forever. So your diet needs to be sustainable in the long term. You need to find vegan dishes that you truly like eating.
 
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Lou

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Personally I favor a slightly gradual approach. Going cold turkey can be hard in a few ways. For one thing what about all the stuff in your frig and pantry? So gradually stop buying non-vegan things and eventually your frig will be vegan - and then you will be too.

Also like most things, there is a learning curve. You can't expect to learn everything overnight. But you can learn almost everything you need to know in a few weeks.

And some of the nonvegan foods you eat have physically or emotionally addictive properties. So phase them out over a few weeks.

One good guide for going vegan is is the 21-day kickstart by PCRM. It has a social component that starts up every month so it might be a good idea to jump right into that. It's free.

Another good plan is the 30-day Vegan Challenge. It does cost a little money. It's the program that I did.




 

David3

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So, I’ve decided to join this forum because I want to become vegan and thought it would be good to get inspiration from others and being with likeminded individuals. The reason I want to transition into Veganism is mostly because of health reasons, I’m concerned about my health and of course for animal welfare. Any tips? Is it better to go gradually or cold turkey? What resources do you have, if any? And just any general things you think would help, lemme know. Thank you!

Hi Ivy,

Kaiser Permanente (one of the largest health insurance companies in the United States) has a nicely-illustrated Plant Based Eating guide: http://www.kphealthyme.com/documents/plant_based_diet_e.aspx
.
 

David3

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Hi Ivy,

Going vegan can be easier if you first find 5 or 6 vegan dishes that you really enjoy and that really satisfy you. These might be hearty, meatless versions of dishes that you already enjoy - whole wheat pasta with lentils, soup with sliced vegan sausage, whole wheat pita with hummus, rice dishes, etc. Once these vegan dishes become part of your regular eating, it won't be such a big deal to leave behind your old meat dishes.

Keeping it simple is also helpful. No need to make any 10 ingredient dishes (unless you enjoy doing so). Boil some pasta, add some mashed tofu (kind of looks like ricotta cheese), pour on jarred sauce, and serve with a dark green salad. Done! Oatmeal is good at any meal. Carrots, melons, and citrus fruits are nutritious snacks. Peanut or walnut butter on whole grain bread also very good.

No need to obsess over nutrients, either (unless you have an existing nutrient deficiency). Plant foods are healthy. There's nothing nutritionally magical about meat. A vegan daily multivitamin is a good idea, just to fill in any little nutritional "gaps". Amazon sells a variety of them - many are affordable: Amazon.com : vegan multivitamin. In particular, Deva multivitamins (available with or without iron) sell for about $12 for a 3 month supply.

Vitamin B12 supplementation is essential for all vegans - vegan daily multivitamins contain B12, or you can choose a once-weekly B12 supplement of 2000 micrograms. B12 supplements are very inexpensive (typically $2 to $3 per month).

For calcium, there are several different calcium-fortified plant "milks" at your supermarket - soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, hemp milk. Check the label for calcium content. Oat milk seems to have a similar taste to dairy milk. Your market likely also sells calcium-fortified orange juice.

Calcium is also found in certain dark green leafy vegetables (kale, collard greens, turnip greens, and mustard greens). Their somewhat strong flavor is tamed by simmering them in soups and stews. Worldwide, several classic soups contain dark leafy vegetables - Vietnamese pho, Portuguese caldo verde, southern United States stewed greens, Italian wedding soup, Spanish lentil soup. You can even buy canned soup at the market (choose low-salt varieties) and just simmer in some dark leafy vegetables.

Trader Joe's market has very affordable vegan foods and products. Inexpensive whole grain pastas and cereals, canned vegan soups, dried and canned beans, unsalted nuts and nut butters, plant milks, hummus, dips, vegan ice cream, so many things.

If you are nursing, pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are addressing an existing health problem, it's a good idea to plan your vegan diet with the help of a Registered Dietitian. Your physician can refer you to one.

If you let us know what kind of dishes you enjoy now, we can probably suggest ways to "veganize" them.
.
 
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ivyonyx

ivyonyx

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Hi Ivy,

Going vegan can be easier if you first find 5 or 6 vegan dishes that you really enjoy and that really satisfy you. These might be hearty, meatless versions of dishes that you already enjoy - whole wheat pasta with lentils, soup with sliced vegan sausage, whole wheat pita with hummus, rice dishes, etc. Once these vegan dishes become part of your regular eating, it won't be such a big deal to leave behind your old meat dishes.

Keeping it simple is also helpful. No need to make any 10 ingredient dishes (unless you enjoy doing so). Boil some pasta, add some mashed tofu (kind of looks like ricotta cheese), pour on jarred sauce, and serve with a dark green salad. Done! Oatmeal is good at any meal. Carrots, melons, and citrus fruits are nutritious snacks. Peanut or walnut butter on whole grain bread also very good.

No need to obsess over nutrients, either (unless you have an existing nutrient deficiency). Plant foods are healthy. There's nothing nutritionally magical about meat. A vegan daily multivitamin is a good idea, just to fill in any little nutritional "gaps". Amazon sells a variety of them - many are affordable: Amazon.com : vegan multivitamin. In particular, Deva multivitamins (available with or without iron) sell for about $12 for a 3 month supply.

Vitamin B12 supplementation is essential for all vegans - vegan daily multivitamins contain B12, or you can choose a once-weekly B12 supplement of 2000 micrograms. B12 supplements are very inexpensive (typically $2 to $3 per month).

For calcium, there are several different calcium-fortified plant "milks" at your supermarket - soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, hemp milk. Check the label for calcium content. Oat milk seems to have a similar taste to dairy milk. Your market likely also sells calcium-fortified orange juice.

Calcium is also found in certain dark green leafy vegetables (kale, collard greens, turnip greens, and mustard greens). Their somewhat strong flavor is tamed by simmering them in soups and stews. Worldwide, several classic soups contain dark leafy vegetables - Vietnamese pho, Portuguese caldo verde, southern United States stewed greens, Italian wedding soup, Spanish lentil soup. You can even buy canned soup at the market (choose low-salt varieties) and just simmer in some dark leafy vegetables.

Trader Joe's market has very affordable vegan foods and products. Inexpensive whole grain pastas and cereals, canned vegan soups, dried and canned beans, unsalted nuts and nut butters, plant milks, hummus, dips, vegan ice cream, so many things.

If you are nursing, pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or are addressing an existing health problem, it's a good idea to plan your vegan diet with the help of a Registered Dietitian. Your physician can refer you to one.

If you let us know what kind of dishes you enjoy now, we can probably suggest ways to "veganize" them.
.
Personally I favor a slightly gradual approach. Going cold turkey can be hard in a few ways. For one thing what about all the stuff in your frig and pantry? So gradually stop buying non-vegan things and eventually your frig will be vegan - and then you will be too.

Also like most things, there is a learning curve. You can't expect to learn everything overnight. But you can learn almost everything you need to know in a few weeks.

And some of the nonvegan foods you eat have physically or emotionally addictive properties. So phase them out over a few weeks.

One good guide for going vegan is is the 21-day kickstart by PCRM. It has a social component that starts up every month so it might be a good idea to jump right into that. It's free.

Another good plan is the 30-day Vegan Challenge. It does cost a little money. It's the program that I did.





Thank you so much!!!! These are very helpful!
 
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Emma JC

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welcome to the forum @ivyonyx

You have been given a number of great suggestions and I would just reiterate the 'keep it simple' suggestion and add 'keep it whole'.

It is okay to use some vegan substitutes to help and yet it is more sustainable and much less expensive if you stick with potatoes, and rice and whole grain pastas and breads and then add in all the veggies you love, spiced the way you like them and put berries in smoothies or on your oatmeal or with "nice" cream. Canned beans and tomatoes help and if you can make your own beans from dry that is even cheaper and better.

If you have specific questions, don't hesitate to ask!

Emma JC
 

PTree15

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Hi ivyonyx, and welcome to the forum. I second finding meals you really want to eat. There are tons of meals that are already "accidentally vegan" as well. As to whether to go vegan cold tofurkey or gradually, it really depends on the person. Some people are fine going full-on vegan right away and others prefer a gradual approach. I started out vegetarian and stayed that way for years, but then I ditched eggs and dairy pretty much all at once. I just couldn't eat them anymore. Do what feels comfortable for you.