Flexitarian transitioning to Vegitarian

How long did it take you to transition to a vegan lifestyle?

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Jazzyheather

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Good Morning Everyone,

I am in the midst of trying to transition to Vegan. At the moment I can honestly say that I am a Flexitarian. I eat a lot of vegan, raw vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian meals. I do eat meat, but my whole body and spirit wants to transition to Vegan.

My family is totally carnivorous and I live in the south, Louisiana specifically, where gumbo, potato salad, seafood, boudin, griades, and everything else is a daily staple. I am trying my best to turn to a healthy and vegan lifestyle, it's taking time and effort, but i'm excited and willing to take the journey.

What are some ways that have helped you transition into your vegan lifestyle? At the moment....I'm taking it meal by meal. I'm putting a lot of thought on how each meal I can make vegan for me and not necessarily for my other family members who are not interested in the Vegan lifestyle.

Thanks,
Jazzyheather
 
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Jazzyheather

Jazzyheather

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I would also like to add a question.....I had Gastric Bypass 8 years ago, so protein is very important to me and I've lost 130 pounds, but I'm using this to also help lose some more weight and to become more healthy. I have a calcium deficiency, so calcium is a very big concern of mine.

Has anyone encountered this? I feel alone in this endeavor!
 

Jamie in Chile

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Hi JazzyHeather,

What helped me was reading books about animal ethics and the environment and thinking it through logically. For me, that was pretty much enough, well also reading on nutrition to make sure to find the most effective way to go about it. That was the main reason though.

I took it in stages. At the end of last year I started to eat meat only very occasionally. Then I eliminated all meat and eggs to start this January, and a month later eliminated fish and cheese and butter. In the next several months I started to reduce foods like chocolate, mayo, cakes and so on that are often not vegan, while also starting to replace toiletries with vegan alternatives.

What is the reason you still eat meat, do you think? Do you think you are ready to make a definite commitment to cut it out 100%, or perhaps you could try a 100% cut out for a week or a month and see how you feel after that? Do you need to know about how to do this from a nutrition stand point, or do you already know?

Another option could be to eat meat a maximum of once or twice a month, and then later assess whether to go 100% vegan. You could also try vegan before 6 as a transitionary thing and later go full vegan. Although ideally just get rid of it straight away. It's really not that hard. You can be meat free by this time next week if you really want.
 
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Jamie in Chile

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You are probably right to be concerned about calcium.

As quoted at http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/bones

The Dietitian's Guide to Vegetarian Diets (2004) lists 45 studies that have surveyed vegetarians' calcium intakes in Appendix G. The daily calcium intakes in these studies are about:
  • Vegans: 500 - 600 mg
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians: 800 - 900 mg
  • Non-vegetarians: 1,000 mg
In the US, the recommended daily amount is 1000 mcg for under 50 and 1200 for over 50, according to http://www.veganhealth.org/articles/bones (UK's recommended intake is only 700 mcg).

If you already deficient, I guess you need to go on the high side of 1000, or speak to a doctor about whether your daily intake should be higher.

While calcium is contained in a variety of fruits and vegetables, it is not always in huge quantities and calcium does not have a killer, "go to" natural, whole food with an extremely high percentage of calcium (although is reported to be quite high in almonds).

The guy at vegan RD recommends taking a 250-300mg supplement. If you are already deficient, you might go higher (??). Taking a calcium supplement is probably to be recommended in your case of existing deficiency. You could also drink fortified soy milks, eat fortified foods (cereals maybe) eat almonds, and other calcium foods like orange and broccoli.

If anyone else has got any calcium thoughts, I was thinking about this week, after I found out that a simple blood test cannot be done for calcium because calcium is pulled out of bones to make the blood's level up if necessary. So, I think I'm going to make a little more effort on calcium at some point myself.
 
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Sally

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I transitioned from vegetarian to vegan in one day, it will be a year ago on 5th September. I have calcium tablets and I crush one with the back of a spoon and then put it on cereal and add 'milk' and you don't even notice it. Because I don't have butter and cheese anymore I thought I'd better have a supplement.
I use Holland and Barrett Calcium with Vitamin D3 tablets. It says have one to two tablets a day, I just have one a day. These are 600mg each. I am 60 so I, apparently, have different needs to those who are younger.
 
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gab

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Hi Jazzy,

A comment about this:

"I had Gastric Bypass 8 years ago, so protein is very important to me".

I am assuming that you have been led to believe that eating a lot of protein will help you lose weight ... Let's do a bit of reasoning: bodybuilders consume protein to increase their size ... and you consume protein to lose size. For you to consider: is protein the universal treatment whether you want to go big or skinny ?

The fact that you lost significant weight only reinforces the misunderstanding. There is one way to lose weight, and that is to consume less calories than you burn. I recently read this study about a protein based diet where the subjects could eat as much as they wanted, turns out the participants unknowingly actually ate about 1400 calories a day on that diet, which was in fact the reason for the weight loss, rather than protein per se. You could have achieved the same on low fat high carb, like eating potatoes, beans, corn, rice.

Eating a lot of protein, whether animal or plant based, in the long run will make you bigger rather than smaller.

My experience: I have been on the Atkins diet for 6 years, lost some weight, put it back on. Since going vegan, I got to my ideal weight (lost much more than on Atkins). So I understand: there was a time when I thought protein and fat have magical properties.

Gab
 
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