Help on going (and STAYING) vegan with medical issues, please?

Cody

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Hello everyone. My name is Cody, I'm 28 years old, and I'm new here. I'm not new to veganism, but currently my diet is omnivorous and I hate it.

I've been wanting to go vegetarian since I was a child, the first time I found out that meat comes from animals. Then, I found out about the dairy industry and egg industry later in life, and that veganism is a thing.

Since then, I've been trying (and failing) to go vegan permanently. I've been cycling between an omnivorous, vegetarian, and vegan diet for years, and the change hasn't stuck. (Note: I don't wear or use animal products already, and am learning more about what I should look for and avoid. It's just my diet that needs help.)

First, I have a moderate (not life threatening, but sucky enough) allergy to both dairy products and wheat. The dairy is obviously not an issue in going vegan, but wheat certainly is. It takes a lot of otherwise good options away from me. Wheat free alternatives for things like bread are more expensive than the wheat based varieties (EDIT to add: and all except one type of dense German bread have egg so not vegan), and almost ALL of the mock meats (for those "I miss the taste of meat" days) that I've seen have wheat. They're more expensive too. Plus, a lot of wheat free food isn't vegan, like corn based cereal that has Vitamin D3.

Secondly, I have gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying). High fiber and high fat is a problem for me, and I have to eat small and often to minimize pain and vomiting, especially to get my produce in. Eggs and soft lean meats are a rich protein source that I don't often vomit. Beans and nuts cause vomiting more often than eggs and lean meats. I do like tofu, and use that where I can, but I haven't found it as versatile as eggs thus far.

Finally, I'm autistic and have issues with texture, so some foods that other people love, I just cannot stand (even if they taste fine). This makes cooking difficult at times, because if things aren't JUST RIGHT, it's very hard for me to eat... And there's a lot of trial and error in vegan cooking for me, at least with fancier things. (I also have cerebral palsy, which affects my ability to cook.) I've thought about going raw vegan to combat the texture and cooking issues, but my gastroparesis won't have it. Most of my food needs to be cooked to minimize the pain and vomiting.

How can I go vegan - and STAY vegan - with these issues? I've asked my doctors and they're not COMPLETELY adverse, but not really approving of a vegan diet...and the dieticians that I've seen were completely useless in regards to my gastroparesis, let alone a vegan diet.

I really don't want to contribute to animal cruelty anymore, and I want to minimize my impact on the planet. Please help. Thank you so much.
 
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Cody

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Hi Cody,

It is great that you are interested in the vegan lifestyle.

I am no doctor, but the easiest diet on the system that I read about is the Kempner one: rice, fruits and sugar.

Details here: https://www.drmcdougall.com/2013/12/31/walter-kempner-md-founder-of-the-rice-diet/

Hope that it is of some help to you.

Gab
Hi Gab,

Thank you for your response. Are you suggesting that I follow the Kempner diet as a way to go and stay vegan?

If so, I'm a little bit confused, as this site states that you should eat meat at dinner, and also stop the diet after 3 weeks. My goal is to make the switch to veganism and be a vegan for the rest of my life, so I'm not understanding what it is this diet is supposed to do for me?
 

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Hi Cody,

Yes, that is what I was suggesting.

The website that I shared with you is promoted by a vegan medical doctor (Dr McDougall), so it has at least a bit of credibility. The specific information that is on the website I would suggest, nothing meat related.
 

Cody

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Hi Cody,

Yes, that is what I was suggesting.

The website that I shared with you is promoted by a vegan medical doctor (Dr McDougall), so it has at least a bit of credibility. The specific information that is on the website I would suggest, nothing meat related.

I see, thanks. :)

If I'm understanding things right, then, the Kempner diet is as you said - Rice, fruit, and sugar.

Whereas the McDougall diet is a little more expanded to include other whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Is that right? I just want to make sure I'm understanding before I go further.

(As a side note, all of my food was vegan today, all of it fruit and vegetables with a small amount of fat. My gastroparesis tolerated that well.)
 

gab

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The McDougall diet is a bit more encompassing, but for some cases he still promotes the Kempner diet that is how the article is on his website. Yes you understood right. Sugar sprinkled for taste if required only (optional), do not think sugar as an entire meal.
 
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Naturebound

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Hi Cody!

What about smoothies? There are a ton of vegan protein powders on the market these days, with everything from rice and quinoa based to pea based or soy based or a combination of proteins. Smoothies are incredibly versatile and you can add just about anything to one. A good blender will be able to break down fibrous cell walls in fruits and veggies and makes it easier to digest, though you would still get a lot of fiber. Lower fiber fruits like melon or cantaloupe or cucumbers (skinned first) would be good choices for a smoothie. I like to freeze my fresh fruits as it makes a creamier smoothie. I do have a high speed blender I invested in that has more than paid for itself over the years. I have a Blendtec. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, I have been in treatments with others who could not eat solid food and relied on smoothies and protein drinks to help. There is a commercial vegan version of Ensure called "Orgain" that has a high protein and nutrient profile also. You can order it online or buy it in a case of 12, but it is not cheap.

I did a soy free gluten free vegan stint for a few months some time ago to try to regulate a thyroid that was out of control (I have hypothyroidism). I didn't find it particularly hard, but had been vegan a few years already at that point and love to cook and prepare all my food (I rarely ever eat out) so my experience helped me. My Mom also eats gluten free and I am the cook of the family so when I visit her for holidays and so on, I always cook gluten free vegan meals for everyone, though I no longer eat gluten free myself. I rarely ate the gluten free breads because as you said, most have egg in them. There is a Food For Life brand that makes gluten free vegan bread but it is hard to find their gluten free versions. I relied on stuff like rice cakes, or leafy wraps, or homemade cornflour tortillas as a vehicle for sandwich dips and so on. Cornflour (not cornmeal) is versatile and easy to work with. It requires only the flour and water to make a good dough and I use a tortilla press to flaten it. I heat it for a minute or two dry on a nonstick skillet and it makes a nice tortilla. It is somewhat low fiber. I relied mostly on the whole version of grains like millet, buckwheat groats (I would soak and blend these with berries for breakfast porridge), amaranth, teff, brown and wild rice, quinoa, and even chickpea flour (also called Besan flour). Chickpea flour is not really a grain obviously, but it has a high protein profile and has an "eggy" taste to it. I make chickpea flour omelets by mixing chickpea flour and water and a few spices like black pepper and cumin (optional), then make a sort of pancake on a nonstick skillet and add veggies/leafy greens/salsa and fold it over in half when it gets solid. 1/2 cup of chickpea flour is about 12 grams of protein and 220 calories. If you cook down some spinach and add that to the omelet you can get a few more grams of protein. Gluten free grains do tend to be slightly less fibrous than gluten ones, but not all. Soaking whole grains and sprouting them might make them more easily digestible. As mentioned in my post, I soak buckwheat groats overnight and then blend them with fresh or frozen berries and a little plant milk or water to get a thick creamy porridge. If berries are an issue (due to seeds), this works with bananas, or applesauce, or even oranges. Also, gluten free pastas (corn based or quinoa or brown rice based) tend to be lower in fiber than their wheat counterparts and might be easier to digest.

Tofu is really more versatile than people think. I make a tofu ricotta by crumbling tofu with steamed or baked sweet potato or squash, and stuff this mixture into large pasta shells (you can find a brown rice pasta that makes a large shell for stuffing). I also make tofu pudding by blending tofu, banana, and cocoa powder for a thick high protein not too sweet breakfast pudding. If cocoa powder is a problem, you can blend the tofu with banana and lemon juice, or with any other fruit, or even with soft steamed carrots and add some light coconut milk or low fat plant milk to it for a creamy pudding. Sometimes I simply scramble the tofu with celery, onion, and spices in a skillet for scrambled "eggs'.

Combining stuff like cooked spinach, sweet potato, brown rice etc will help yield a fair amount of protein without beans. Most grains and vegetables have some protein in them.

I believe there is a commercial plant "meat" called Beyond Meat that has some gluten free "meats". The texture may or may not be an issue. Soy milk also has a good bit of protein in each glass.
 
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Cody

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Hi Cody!

What about smoothies? There are a ton of vegan protein powders on the market these days, with everything from rice and quinoa based to pea based or soy based or a combination of proteins. Smoothies are incredibly versatile and you can add just about anything to one. A good blender will be able to break down fibrous cell walls in fruits and veggies and makes it easier to digest, though you would still get a lot of fiber. Lower fiber fruits like melon or cantaloupe or cucumbers (skinned first) would be good choices for a smoothie. I like to freeze my fresh fruits as it makes a creamier smoothie. I do have a high speed blender I invested in that has more than paid for itself over the years. I have a Blendtec. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder, I have been in treatments with others who could not eat solid food and relied on smoothies and protein drinks to help. There is a commercial vegan version of Ensure called "Orgain" that has a high protein and nutrient profile also. You can order it online or buy it in a case of 12, but it is not cheap.

I did a soy free gluten free vegan stint for a few months some time ago to try to regulate a thyroid that was out of control (I have hypothyroidism). I didn't find it particularly hard, but had been vegan a few years already at that point and love to cook and prepare all my food (I rarely ever eat out) so my experience helped me. My Mom also eats gluten free and I am the cook of the family so when I visit her for holidays and so on, I always cook gluten free vegan meals for everyone, though I no longer eat gluten free myself. I rarely ate the gluten free breads because as you said, most have egg in them. There is a Food For Life brand that makes gluten free vegan bread but it is hard to find their gluten free versions. I relied on stuff like rice cakes, or leafy wraps, or homemade cornflour tortillas as a vehicle for sandwich dips and so on. Cornflour (not cornmeal) is versatile and easy to work with. It requires only the flour and water to make a good dough and I use a tortilla press to flaten it. I heat it for a minute or two dry on a nonstick skillet and it makes a nice tortilla. It is somewhat low fiber. I relied mostly on the whole version of grains like millet, buckwheat groats (I would soak and blend these with berries for breakfast porridge), amaranth, teff, brown and wild rice, quinoa, and even chickpea flour (also called Besan flour). Chickpea flour is not really a grain obviously, but it has a high protein profile and has an "eggy" taste to it. I make chickpea flour omelets by mixing chickpea flour and water and a few spices like black pepper and cumin (optional), then make a sort of pancake on a nonstick skillet and add veggies/leafy greens/salsa and fold it over in half when it gets solid. 1/2 cup of chickpea flour is about 12 grams of protein and 220 calories. If you cook down some spinach and add that to the omelet you can get a few more grams of protein. Gluten free grains do tend to be slightly less fibrous than gluten ones, but not all. Soaking whole grains and sprouting them might make them more easily digestible. As mentioned in my post, I soak buckwheat groats overnight and then blend them with fresh or frozen berries and a little plant milk or water to get a thick creamy porridge. If berries are an issue (due to seeds), this works with bananas, or applesauce, or even oranges. Also, gluten free pastas (corn based or quinoa or brown rice based) tend to be lower in fiber than their wheat counterparts and might be easier to digest.

Tofu is really more versatile than people think. I make a tofu ricotta by crumbling tofu with steamed or baked sweet potato or squash, and stuff this mixture into large pasta shells (you can find a brown rice pasta that makes a large shell for stuffing). I also make tofu pudding by blending tofu, banana, and cocoa powder for a thick high protein not too sweet breakfast pudding. If cocoa powder is a problem, you can blend the tofu with banana and lemon juice, or with any other fruit, or even with soft steamed carrots and add some light coconut milk or low fat plant milk to it for a creamy pudding. Sometimes I simply scramble the tofu with celery, onion, and spices in a skillet for scrambled "eggs'.

Combining stuff like cooked spinach, sweet potato, brown rice etc will help yield a fair amount of protein without beans. Most grains and vegetables have some protein in them.

I believe there is a commercial plant "meat" called Beyond Meat that has some gluten free "meats". The texture may or may not be an issue. Soy milk also has a good bit of protein in each glass.
Hi, Naturebound!

Wow, thank you for your suggestions.

I do already do smoothies, yeah. My blender is a Kitchenaid and it works pretty well. I often do whatever fruit I fancy + almond or cashew milk + flaxseed in mine. I do know of vegan nutrition powders, but they're really expensive and I'm worried about the texture. I once got brown rice protein powder at my doctor's suggestion, and it made everything this horrid, Sandy texture.

Cornflour - are you talking about masa harina? (spelling?) We have that as we've tried to make our own homemade tortillas, but it made the fire alarm go off... Too high heat, maybe? We also don't have a tortilla press, is there something else we can use?

Chickpea omelets sound interesting! I'll have to try them, because I love the taste of eggs, just not the cruelty involved.

I've had tofu ricotta before, I wasn't a fan, unfortunately. The only vegan cheese replacement I've found that I've liked is the cream cheese from Toffuti. Usually I just go without cheesey dishes. Tofu scrambles are good, but I miss the richness of scrambled egg when I have it. Is there a way to mimic this?

Soaking grains is a good idea. I don't know why I've never thought of that before.

This has reminded me...Grits, what do you think of them? They're easy on my stomach and I love them. Usually they're made with dairy, but I've successfully used almond milk and also vegetable broth before.

One more thing that I forgot to ask in my original post:

I still have a LOT of meats and eggs left from our most recent shopping trip. My housemate will eat most of it, but there's still some things that only I like.

Further, I'm faced with an already planned Thanksgiving and Christmas. There will be a few vegan options due to my allergies, but there will also be soft lean meat that I'm expected to eat because I can.

What should I do in these situations? The harm is already done, the animals are already killed and purchased, I've already contributed to the cruelty (for the last time, mind you - I'm never buying animal products again.) Should I stay omnivorous (more like flexitarian really) until the holidays are over, and start out the new year cruelty free? I want to become vegan now, to be honest, but I can't waste what has already been bought, because then that's just disrespecting the animal even further, I feel.
 

Naturebound

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Hi, Naturebound!

Wow, thank you for your suggestions.

I do already do smoothies, yeah. My blender is a Kitchenaid and it works pretty well. I often do whatever fruit I fancy + almond or cashew milk + flaxseed in mine. I do know of vegan nutrition powders, but they're really expensive and I'm worried about the texture. I once got brown rice protein powder at my doctor's suggestion, and it made everything this horrid, Sandy texture.

I am not a fan of brown rice protein either! I like pea protein powder but I don't know offhand the fiber content. I very occasionally use Vega protein powder and I really like how easily it blends into smoothies and even pancakes. It also boosts a high calcium content which I am personally after. If you can handle flaxseeds, try some chia seeds also. They are VERY nutritious!

Cornflour - are you talking about masa harina? (spelling?) We have that as we've tried to make our own homemade tortillas, but it made the fire alarm go off... Too high heat, maybe? We also don't have a tortilla press, is there something else we can use?

Yup, masa harina! Yes, cook only for a minute each side and a low temp. A tortilla press is just a mechanical contraption, no electronics involved, and they are relatively cheap. I saw one once at a second hand store. But if you can't find one, here is what I did until I found one. Roll your dough into a golf size ball. Find two heavy books, moderate sized. Lay one flat with some parchment paper over it. Put your ball of dough down on top. Lay some parchment paper over the dough. Then lay the second book on top of the dough and parchment paper, and push down as hard as you can. I actually laid my books with parchment/dough in between on the floor and stood on the whole thing to flatten the dough into a round circle. It won't be perfectly round but it works. :)

Chickpea omelets sound interesting! I'll have to try them, because I love the taste of eggs, just not the cruelty involved.

I've had tofu ricotta before, I wasn't a fan, unfortunately. The only vegan cheese replacement I've found that I've liked is the cream cheese from Toffuti. Usually I just go without cheesey dishes. Tofu scrambles are good, but I miss the richness of scrambled egg when I have it. Is there a way to mimic this?

Personally I am more a fan of mashed and scrambled chickpeas than tofu, as I think chickpeas are far more flavorful, but you said beans cause you to vomit. The next best thing I can think of is to scramble your tofu with some chopped potatoes. Add seasonings and spices, and a little salt/pepper. The potatoes will add a layer of flavor and texture. it will take a little longer to scramble tofu with potatoes. To speed up the process I steam my potatoes in a steamer basket first, then add to the skillet with the tofu (or chickpeas). I don't even bother skinning the potatoes but if you struggle with gastroparesis you might want to skin them first. I like spices like turmeric and cumin, but also garlic powder and fresh basil leaves are nice. Fresh herbs really help dishes come to life! Even something as simple as curly parsley would be good added to the scramble.

Soaking grains is a good idea. I don't know why I've never thought of that before.

This has reminded me...Grits, what do you think of them? They're easy on my stomach and I love them. Usually they're made with dairy, but I've successfully used almond milk and also vegetable broth before.

You know, I have never tried grits (still meaning to), but I LOVE cornmeal mush, just plain with a little almond milk and a pinch of salt. I have also made a shephards pie using cornmeal/polenta in place of potatoes or flour. And I have made a vegan cornbread with just cornmeal. I'll see if I can find the recipe. Thing with making gluten free breads is that they require way more oil than wheat based due to the dryness factor, and with gastroparesis I would think you would want to keep fat intake lower. I am not a fan of using oil in cooking, but I have done it with gluten free breads on special occasions.

One more thing that I forgot to ask in my original post:

I still have a LOT of meats and eggs left from our most recent shopping trip. My housemate will eat most of it, but there's still some things that only I like.

Further, I'm faced with an already planned Thanksgiving and Christmas. There will be a few vegan options due to my allergies, but there will also be soft lean meat that I'm expected to eat because I can.

What should I do in these situations? The harm is already done, the animals are already killed and purchased, I've already contributed to the cruelty (for the last time, mind you - I'm never buying animal products again.) Should I stay omnivorous (more like flexitarian really) until the holidays are over, and start out the new year cruelty free? I want to become vegan now, to be honest, but I can't waste what has already been bought, because then that's just disrespecting the animal even further, I feel.
It's a personal decision that is up to you. There is no one right way to handle the situation. Personally I would give the meat to someone I know who has no interest in going vegan. I probably would not eat it, but my situation would be different than yours. It is not wrong or disrespectful towards the animal to waste the meat. The animal is dead and doesn't care. Eating the meat would be a form of exploiting the animal, but then I suppose giving it to someone else would be the same. It's probably not something to stress about since you know you will not buy more. It also gives you time to plan your transition so you will be ready when the time comes. However, you need to be able to make your intentions clear to yourself and to others so no one is confused about what to expect from you. Does that make sense?

I don't know the situation with the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for you, but could you bring your own dishes to share with others so that you have something vegan? I bring all my own food to the inlaws when I visit them and they have big holiday get togethers. I also bring dishes to share at potlucks and at my Moms. So I will always be assured of having something to eat and also contributing to the meal. I've also gone to work venues at restaurants where I inquired well ahead by calling the restaurant and arranging for something I can eat. Caterers are usually more flexible with this. I also bring energy bars or a small sandwich if that isn't going to be possible. It is important to be prepared ahead for what to do in situations where you have less than 100% control over the meal, because they will happen. Every vegan experiences this at some point. As a minority, it is just a given. The more you learn to navigate and roll with the punches, the easier it will become! I remember even when I was omni having to navigate the dairy issue because I could not have any dairy (terrible intolerance), and it seemed dairy was in everything. Even if it feels lonely and you feel like you are missing out at parties, remember that you can still partake in socializing, and gift giving, and sharing your own food. Focus on the positives and the other stuff just isn't that big of a deal. It gets easier, I promise!
 
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Cody

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I am not a fan of brown rice protein either! I like pea protein powder but I don't know offhand the fiber content. I very occasionally use Vega protein powder and I really like how easily it blends into smoothies and even pancakes. It also boosts a high calcium content which I am personally after. If you can handle flaxseeds, try some chia seeds also. They are VERY nutritious!

Yup, masa harina! Yes, cook only for a minute each side and a low temp. A tortilla press is just a mechanical contraption, no electronics involved, and they are relatively cheap. I saw one once at a second hand store. But if you can't find one, here is what I did until I found one. Roll your dough into a golf size ball. Find two heavy books, moderate sized. Lay one flat with some parchment paper over it. Put your ball of dough down on top. Lay some parchment paper over the dough. Then lay the second book on top of the dough and parchment paper, and push down as hard as you can. I actually laid my books with parchment/dough in between on the floor and stood on the whole thing to flatten the dough into a round circle. It won't be perfectly round but it works. :)

Personally I am more a fan of mashed and scrambled chickpeas than tofu, as I think chickpeas are far more flavorful, but you said beans cause you to vomit. The next best thing I can think of is to scramble your tofu with some chopped potatoes. Add seasonings and spices, and a little salt/pepper. The potatoes will add a layer of flavor and texture. it will take a little longer to scramble tofu with potatoes. To speed up the process I steam my potatoes in a steamer basket first, then add to the skillet with the tofu (or chickpeas). I don't even bother skinning the potatoes but if you struggle with gastroparesis you might want to skin them first. I like spices like turmeric and cumin, but also garlic powder and fresh basil leaves are nice. Fresh herbs really help dishes come to life! Even something as simple as curly parsley would be good added to the scramble.


You know, I have never tried grits (still meaning to), but I LOVE cornmeal mush, just plain with a little almond milk and a pinch of salt. I have also made a shephards pie using cornmeal/polenta in place of potatoes or flour. And I have made a vegan cornbread with just cornmeal. I'll see if I can find the recipe. Thing with making gluten free breads is that they require way more oil than wheat based due to the dryness factor, and with gastroparesis I would think you would want to keep fat intake lower. I am not a fan of using oil in cooking, but I have done it with gluten free breads on special occasions.


It's a personal decision that is up to you. There is no one right way to handle the situation. Personally I would give the meat to someone I know who has no interest in going vegan. I probably would not eat it, but my situation would be different than yours. It is not wrong or disrespectful towards the animal to waste the meat. The animal is dead and doesn't care. Eating the meat would be a form of exploiting the animal, but then I suppose giving it to someone else would be the same. It's probably not something to stress about since you know you will not buy more. It also gives you time to plan your transition so you will be ready when the time comes. However, you need to be able to make your intentions clear to yourself and to others so no one is confused about what to expect from you. Does that make sense?

I don't know the situation with the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for you, but could you bring your own dishes to share with others so that you have something vegan? I bring all my own food to the inlaws when I visit them and they have big holiday get togethers. I also bring dishes to share at potlucks and at my Moms. So I will always be assured of having something to eat and also contributing to the meal. I've also gone to work venues at restaurants where I inquired well ahead by calling the restaurant and arranging for something I can eat. Caterers are usually more flexible with this. I also bring energy bars or a small sandwich if that isn't going to be possible. It is important to be prepared ahead for what to do in situations where you have less than 100% control over the meal, because they will happen. Every vegan experiences this at some point. As a minority, it is just a given. The more you learn to navigate and roll with the punches, the easier it will become! I remember even when I was omni having to navigate the dairy issue because I could not have any dairy (terrible intolerance), and it seemed dairy was in everything. Even if it feels lonely and you feel like you are missing out at parties, remember that you can still partake in socializing, and gift giving, and sharing your own food. Focus on the positives and the other stuff just isn't that big of a deal. It gets easier, I promise!
I will look into Vega and pea protein powder. Also chia seeds - I've used them before, but I never knew that they're all that nutritious. Good to know! Also the masa...I guess they're like pancakes in that way, can't cook them on high heat.

Re: beans - I can eat some, it's just that they cause me to vomit more often than lean meats or eggs in the same quantity. Adding chickpeas to a scramble might be a good way to minimize this, though, as I do much better with pureed beans over whole. I like hummus a lot. Combining chickpeas and potatoes sounds REALLY interesting, like a vegan version of hashbrowns and eggs... Maybe I could even use mashed chickpeas and potatoes to make a vegan version of a frikadeller - something that I haven't been able to have since I was a child due to the fat content. Now I'm really excited! Oh, and I'd LOVE your cornbread recipe, if you could share! Please and thank you!

Regarding the meat... Yeah. I have no idea what I should do with it. I really don't want to eat it.

I understand that I need to make my intentions clear. That's the easy part. The hard part is navigating through the backlash, mostly the "you have enough restrictions already, why would you want to go VEGAN?" and the anger or insistence otherwise when I answer truthfully - I don't want to eat animals (or animal products) because of the suffering and death involved. "Oh, honey, it doesn't hurt the chickens to take their eggs! It doesn't hurt cows for milk, their utters get sore otherwise! They kill the (animal) humanely!" Sorry, but death is death, and slaughtering isn't humane. I don't deal with conflict well, because while I'm fine at conveying my thoughts in text, my autism makes it a lot harder to communicate verbally - and when I'm stressed, my speech goes away. It makes things even more difficult when my dietary needs are a big inconvenience or fuss...I do bring my own foods, I offer to share, AND I let people know that I don't need special accommodation when I have my own food - but that's not taken well either. I can't win, either I bring my own food and people feel bad, or I ask for my needs and it's this big deal (so then I feel bad). And this is just with my medical needs, let alone the response to something "stupid" like veganism (their words, NOT mine). All I want is to bring my own food, eat what I can eat out of what is available, and be left alone about my diet. I don't comment on anyone else's food unless they ask me to, so what's wrong with them dealing me the same courtesy?

Sorry, off on a tangent there.

I need to stand up to things right now, including the animal cruelty. As of now, I'm vegan again... Screw waiting until January to placate other people. They're going to make a big deal of things no matter when I switch over, so I may as well now, right? I need to do this and make the change for the rest of my life.
 

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Hi Cody,

I am in a hurry at the moment (off to work early so I can go vote and then got to an evening meeting), but the pure cornbread recipe I used was this one (be forewarned the recipe is not vegan but I will share the substitutes in just a sec):
https://www.plantoeat.com/blog/2012/06/100-cornmeal-cornbread-gluten-free/

It's been a while since I made this, so I don't remember the exact substitutes I used, and would have to dig through one of my many three ring binders full of vegan recipes to find the recipe I printed and my notes, but I can give you some ideas right now:

Here is an article that shows substitutes you could use in place of egg for cornbread:
http://chefinyou.com/faq/how-to-substitute-eggs-cornbread

I think the flax or chia seed and water mixture would be your best bet. However, I saw that people in the comments section mentioned buttermilk, and this is a technique I have used with success for getting cakes and muffins etc to rise and be more voluminous without eggs. I add a tablespoon of vinegar (can be rice, cider, or white) per one cup of plant milk (soy works best and will actually curdle like buttermilk). When I use "buttermilk" I also add a tiny bit of baking soda to the recipe, maybe 1/2 teaspoon. Also, you can use oil in place of the butter, or use a vegan butter/margarine. Oil will work fine but you might need slightly more oil than you would need butter. It does take a little playing around with. I made this successfully, I know I have, I just don't have my notes with me. I'll see if I can find them but I might not get back to you for a while. The next few days are going to be insanely busy for me.

Another radical idea is what is called aquafaba. it is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. This miracle liquid can make meringues. Someday when you are bored type in recipes with aquafaba and see what is possible. I have whipped it up like an egg white and made nice meringues, and I used it as an "egg" binder for a gluten free pizza crust once with great success. So it might be worth using in place of the egg. It is less sticky, so many the addition of a little bit of brown rice syrup, which is very sticky like honey, would work (and would be a nice sub in place of the honey which is not vegan...maple syrup would be the best flavor in terms of subbing for the honey).

Gotta run but I hope this helps!
 
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Cody

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Hi Cody,

I am in a hurry at the moment (off to work early so I can go vote and then got to an evening meeting), but the pure cornbread recipe I used was this one (be forewarned the recipe is not vegan but I will share the substitutes in just a sec):
https://www.plantoeat.com/blog/2012/06/100-cornmeal-cornbread-gluten-free/

It's been a while since I made this, so I don't remember the exact substitutes I used, and would have to dig through one of my many three ring binders full of vegan recipes to find the recipe I printed and my notes, but I can give you some ideas right now:

Here is an article that shows substitutes you could use in place of egg for cornbread:
http://chefinyou.com/faq/how-to-substitute-eggs-cornbread

I think the flax or chia seed and water mixture would be your best bet. However, I saw that people in the comments section mentioned buttermilk, and this is a technique I have used with success for getting cakes and muffins etc to rise and be more voluminous without eggs. I add a tablespoon of vinegar (can be rice, cider, or white) per one cup of plant milk (soy works best and will actually curdle like buttermilk). When I use "buttermilk" I also add a tiny bit of baking soda to the recipe, maybe 1/2 teaspoon. Also, you can use oil in place of the butter, or use a vegan butter/margarine. Oil will work fine but you might need slightly more oil than you would need butter. It does take a little playing around with. I made this successfully, I know I have, I just don't have my notes with me. I'll see if I can find them but I might not get back to you for a while. The next few days are going to be insanely busy for me.

Another radical idea is what is called aquafaba. it is the liquid from a can of chickpeas. This miracle liquid can make meringues. Someday when you are bored type in recipes with aquafaba and see what is possible. I have whipped it up like an egg white and made nice meringues, and I used it as an "egg" binder for a gluten free pizza crust once with great success. So it might be worth using in place of the egg. It is less sticky, so many the addition of a little bit of brown rice syrup, which is very sticky like honey, would work (and would be a nice sub in place of the honey which is not vegan...maple syrup would be the best flavor in terms of subbing for the honey).

Gotta run but I hope this helps!
Thank you so much!
 

Naturebound

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Ok, I am looking at my notes for that cornbread recipe, and this is what I did to veganize it. For some reason I used more cornmeal than the recipe called for. I used 2 cups instead of 1 3/4 cup. In place of the eggs, I used Ener G commercial egg replacer (enough for two eggs). In place of the honey I used maple syrup, and I used 2 tablespoons of it (I think maple syrup is very buttery like and adds a really nice flavor to baked goods). I had used coconut oil in place of the butter. I'm not sure about this one, but I had scribbled out the 2 cups of milk and wrote in 1 1/4 cup almond milk. I am guessing the reason I used less liquid was because I also wrote 1 cup frozen thawed and blended corn kernals. So I must have added the corn as a sort of thickener/binder also, and for texture. If I remember I think I read in the comments that the ratio of liquid to flour was too liquidy of a batter for some people, hence my use of less plant milk and replacing some of that liquid with the frozen blended corn kernals. Finally, I used an 8x8" pan to bake it in. I had made this for a gluten free vegan Thanksgiving at my Mom's and I remember it was a big hit. I may just have to make it again soon!

As far as others reactions to your veganism, boy do I hear you there! Though I tend to go on forever in my posts lol, in real life I am very quiet, shy, and have suffered with social anxiety disorder and avoidant personality disorder for years. In fact it is only in the last six years since I have been vegan that my life has finally taken off and I have acccomplished a lot. I quit college in 1993 and did not go back until 2011 due to my anxiety and depression issues. Thankfully they now have online school, and that's what helped me FINALLY earn a degree and two certifications, and finally after years of working **** jobs I am a professional medical coder for a large organization. Sometimes it is all still very overwhelming. Suddenly I am communicating with big shot surgeons and doctors. I have days I want to hide in my room. When I went vegan, I was very quiet about it for the first month or so. I went vegan overnight, but I spent a lot of time before hand and then during, reading anything and everything I could get my hands on about veganism. I read books like "Animal Liberation" and "The Sexual Politics of Meat" and "Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach" and "The Lucky Ones" and "Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health". I even studied religious approaches to veganism. I wanted to know every aspect, from a feminist point of view, to how animal agriculture affects the environment, to the ethics of exploiting sentient beings. I read about the dairy and egg industry and "humane" farming and backyard chickens. I wanted not only to be educated but to be able to articulate myself to others. I journaled a lot, really thought about why veganism moved me so much, why it is so important to me, what it means to me. I also journaled about struggles with grey areas such as pets or medicine. I spent a lot of time happily experimenting with vegan cooking in my kitchen, and poured over vegan recipe books at the library, as well as online blogs. I also read front to back "Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant Based Diet" by Brenda Davis, RD, and Vesanto Melina, RD. I found it very very helpful in terms of meeting my nutritional needs. All of this helped me overcome the concerned, ignorant, or just plain biased comments from others. My family was right to be concerned for my health because I had just semi recovered from a long bout of anorexia nervosa. I was not even fully weight restored at the time I went vegan. I lost a good bit of weight unintentionally at first until I learned a different way of eating that worked for me as a vegan. I did well for a while but relapsed into anorexia for a year in 2013 to 2014, and finally was able to fight my way back from that and get to a normal weight, all while still vegan. It took a long time for my family to come around and accept my veganism. I did put my foot down and refused to argue with them. Because I was naturally a very good cook before going vegan, it carried over into being vegan and my family tried many of my recipes. They were surprised continually about the variety and quality of vegan food, and the creativity! I also showed my partner some videos about vegan UFC fighters (he is really into that stuff, I am NOT). When my Mom saw the documentary "Forks Over Knives" she decided to try veganism herself she was so inspired. My sister also tried, and lasted two years before returning to being just vegetarian. My Mom is on again off again vegan but sometimes includes fish in her diet. She is unable to eat nuts/seeds due to diverticulitis and is also gluten free so she finds it hard to get enough omega 3s. I tried to get her to take Flax oil and a vegan DHA supplement, and showed her how to blend nuts to a flour so she could still consume them, but she still thinks she needs fish. :/ I was hard on her at first, but have since let it go and am just happy she is doing as much as she is. At any rate, my friends, coworkers, and family have seen how successful I have been for almost six years as a vegan. I did three years of college and graduated with a 4.0 gpa. I nailed two coding exams and earned two coding certifications. I finally achieved a normal healthy weight from anorexic for the first time in over six years, and did it as a vegan (I had been anorexic for years as an omni). I mountain bike, lift weights, dance (ballet and modern), snowshoe, do long distance canoe camping trips. I am in better shape now in my 40s as a vegan than many years before. I still get stupid comments from people at work who haven't known me that long and have preconceived ideas about veganism. I try to be polite and educate as best I can, but if they aren't willing to be open minded and learn, then I just let them go and ignore their comments. I did once have to stand up to a coworker harassing me about how cows and chickens are treated well and eggs and dairy shouldn't be a problem. She was rude and in my face (something I really dislike as an introvert) and all because at a potluck I asked if a casserole she made had eggs and when she said yes I politely declined to have any. I told her I do not discuss political issues like that in the workplace, but would be happy to talk about it with her elsewhere. She had nothing to say so I let it go. Though I am an activist in the community at times (I used to leaflet and table at local colleges for Vegan Outreach, and I worked with the Nutrition Services Director at my place of work to get vegan items on the menu), I tend to be more quiet about my veganism at work or home. I do however, stick to my convictions and bring my own food and adapt to whatever the situation calls for. I will not be pressured by others to eat or use animal products for any reason. I am a passive and quiet person, but I have very strong convictions and total faith in what I am doing as a vegan. It's not to dismiss the stress of dealing with people who want to give me a hard time or disagree. And as someone who is still self conscious about eating in front of others, I have had several occasions at work where we had a long conference shut up in a conference room for hours and then lunch was "provided" and 36 employees all had pizza and pop while I brought my own food in and ate my vegan sandwich and other stuff. I stood out like a sore thumb and it was hard, but i tried to focus on the social conversation, and happily shared about what I eat when people asked about my veganism.

Anyway, I have blabbed on long enough. You DO have a lot of challenges in regards to your necessary restrictions and the people around you being less than supportive, as well as your autism, but you also have a strong desire to do the right thing by what you have shared, and I have faith that you can make it work! Just do the very best you can, keep learning and asking questions, and take it one challenge at a time. You don't have to be perfect day one. I think it is amazing even with your challenges, you are finding ways to make this work. That's way more than most people would do. I wish you the best and hope to see you posting some more on these boards!
 
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Connie

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Cody, I can't help but read this and think you are being way too hard on yourself (I will apologise now for not reading the post above mine, but it is solid text with no line breaks and I'm dyslexic and simply can not read content like that. I can't follow it across the page and return to the correct line, thus nothing making sense and ... well it does not happen. three or four lines is the most I can do, so I am sorry if I am repeating things or missing them completely.)

  • I'm allergic (protein anaphylactic shock allergic not lactose intolerant) to dairy. This means that I can not risk a lot of things. I have often seen bread where the ingredients looked fine and the result wasn't.
  • I also have a number of other major medical conditions, one of which includes not being able to digest food properly. I don't produce cortisol, a natural steroid in the body. If you look it up, you will see how much it controls. It is a major 'player' in the body keeping a lot of things in check.
  • In addition, there are hormone related issues due to a pituitary adenoma, major breathing issue (severe asthmatic - but which I am talking some 8 meds to control it;
  • bronchiectasis (hardening of the airways due to constant coughing in my case - I have to nebulise everyday to stop myself getting very frequent life threatening infections;
  • tracheomalacia, again caused in my case by my asthma and constant coughing (this last one affect what I can eat as does to some extent my asthma if it is playing up because I will cough until I am physically sick and/or pass out. Neither are pleasant for me or those around me).
  • I'm partially paralysed to add to the fun and games and 2 years ago found out the hard way that the base of my spine has not formed correctly and now find myself wheelchair bound when we are out and about and I need to get more than a couple of hundred meters from a to b. Otherwise it is crutches. A recent fall has left me with 4 broken ribs and I am currently housebound.
  • I also have something called a permanent chronic geographic tongue, which at first looks does not really appear problematic until you actually try understanding what I live with. If you were to bite your tongue and then drink say lemon juice for an example - imagine how much that would hurt. Eating and drinking is like that for me every day. I get very frequent blisters in my mouth, effectively burns from eating normal food. When they burst, the inside of my tongue is exposed to anything and everything and even water hurts. The standard and only treatment is lidocaine gel on the tongue which appart from tasting awful, sets my asthma off. I find drinking food through a straw works better until my tongue has healed enough to eat food again.
  • Periodically my body just refuses all solid food.
  • I'm hypersensitive to sodium and am always borderline hypokalemic (low potassium).
  • ... those are just a few of the issues...
So I understand where you are coming from and I still think you are being too hard on yourself. If you make a mistake, have a bad day, or just find full on dietry vegan is too much, don't beat yourself up. You are trying which is a lot more than the vast majority and so what if today you are not perfect. If you try harder tomorrow, you are trying and getting there. It does not have to be 100% every single day if you are finding it too much which from everything you have said you are finding to it too much.

I can not imagine what adding being wheat intolerant (you say gluten but concentrate on wheat - I'm not certain which you are. I know it is possible to be wheat intolerant but be fine with other gluten sources, I have a friend who is, and her husband is completely gluten intolerant (along with worse complications than both you and I put together!)).

The chickpea pancake is La Socca - it is a French thing. Look it up. It will give you ideas. It has been around for decades and decades. It is actually very nice and I often add a little cumin to it.

The aquafaba is nothing new, just the latest 'in thing' after someone ‘found’ it but is exceptionally good for you and does contain a good source of protein. Which canned bean or pea you obtain it from is up to you and what bean/pea you are best with. But I never through away any bean/pea liquid from tins (always check for added sugar or salt content though) especially if the recipe then asks for water or stock. Just use that liquid. You can also use it in place of any egg white and to some extent whole eggs if they are acting as a binding agent in the recipe. Roughly 1tbsp of this liquid replaces 1 medium egg, roughly that is.

How are you with mashed or pureed beans? You can easily add them, changing their texture completely to smoothies and any soups adding valuable protein to a meal. You can also obtain it from the cooking liquid of cooking dried beans – not the soaking liquid though – that must be discarded.

How are you with nuts? – cashew nuts (almonds do as well) make a fantastic cream when soaked overnight (or boiled for 2 hours til they soften), then pureed with a as small amount of water as possible?

(part 1 of 2 - there is apparently a maximum number of characters allowed in a reply!
 

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Part 2 of 2)

It is also possible and very easy to make your own cashew nut cheese –
you just need some probiotic capsules that you like, soak 2 cups of cashew nuts for a minimum of overnight, drain well, now puree/blend til smooth using as small amount of water as possible. It is possible to use rejuvelac instead of probiotics and you would add it at this stage instead of the water (with it basically being water and probiotics in one).
The less water, the thicker the pureed cashew nuts and the thicker the cheese. Once it is a smooth as you can get (this can take a while and it can get quite warm), add the probiotics from the capsules (I use around 6 for 2 cups because we like it tangy) and then you have a couple of choices.
The easiest is just to add everything to a glass bowl, cover it with a tea-towel and leave it somewhere warm for a couple of days. The longer you leave it and the more capsules you add the tangier the end product.
We then add lemon juice (think that stops the bacteria from continuing to multiply), nutritional yeast and some herbs or spices depending on what flavour we are after.
I then divide it into portions (usually a small ramakin unlined) and freeze it. It seems to improve with freezing as well as thicken which I don’t understand, but at least 24 hours in the fridge will also thicken it. Now just use it as a spread or pate.
If you want a cream cheese replacement, it works well as that, as well as replacing herby cheese, if you did a garlic and herbs flavour one, which works really well in recipes. Don’t expect it to melt, but it does dissolve in soups and other liquids.​

Cashew nuts or other nuts are also very good in soups and stews, just add them in 10 minutes before the end and boil them with other things. I make my own dumplings and flatbreads, corn bread is a great idea here – cornmeal dumplings.

I also make my own tofu from chickpea flour – not all countries actually use soya beans to make tofu, I think it is Burma that uses chickpea flour for their tofu. Look up www.veganricha.com if you have not yet come across her. She has some fantastic recipes which are great in flavour and wonderfully diverse and a couple of cookbooks as well. I can’t recommend the highly enough.

Coconut milk (not that tinned stuff) is exceptionally easy to make as well. Just grate the flesh finely, add 1 cup of milk to 2 cups packed flesh (I think it was that way around, 1 coconut yielded me 1L of coconut milk) and use that instead of milk in various meals.

However coconut cream can be used to make a much cheaper live coconut yoghurt if you like coconuts? It is very mild and exceptionally easy to make – no special equipment needed. (http://www.naughtynaturopathmum.com.au/homemade-coconut-yoghurt/)

You stated you like oats? Or was it grits, you mentioned soaked in milk – have you tried soaking them in a mixture of milk and yogurt overnight? I ask because this is what I do with porridge oats, (homemade yoghurt is very easy to make) and a 50/50 mixture by weight of milk to yoghurt. Then I eat them raw, no cooking needed. I haven’t tried grits, but I do make both a sweet and a savoury polenta with milk as well. You can make it as thick or thin as you want.

Rice flour and milk, vanilla and a sweetener of some form makes for a custard replacement.

There are a few vegan gluten free blogs that I follow and I will try to dig them out over the next few days if you are intested? I will have to track them down again. I often Pin interesting recipes from them, but not being gluten free, I don’t necessarily follow their blogs, but use recipes I like of theirs.

I will state this now for the record, I am not full on vegan. I am veggan. (It is vegan+eggs.) I am lucky enough to have my own chickens and they are completely free range. They are heritage varieties that do not (apparently they do not) lay everyday (but mine are, so I guess they are happy). They are all rescue birds, I get 2 more at the weekend. One is 7 years old and is now laying eggs everyday. She has never lain everyday apparently and was due for slaughter because she had stopped laying (and is also crippled) and her breed should not lay everyday, but she does. She is a good indicator to me that they are happy. The rescue rooster and the 6 hens he has have around 5 acres if they wanted it. They stick around me constantly instead if I am outside and live under the house following me from room to room letting me know where they are all the time!

I also still have leather footwear that I purchased before I was even vegetarian (decades ago) and I knit with wool and artificial yarn. My wool is recycled wool, second hand. I unpick it and re-use. I also wear wool, but don’t purchase new wool (or anything not in keeping with a vegan lifestyle) or woollen items – what I am wearing is well over 25 years old and to me, getting rid of it just because it does not fit a vegan lifestyle is actually unethical.

I believe more strongly in recycling than in artificial yarns made from the oil industry which to me are more problematic to what I believe in than wearing such clothing and footwear and recycling second hand goods. I don’t wear makeup, I make my own hand soap, I buy only vegan shampoo and conditioner… but I eat eggs. They are a very valuable source of protein to me after beans, tofu and soya protein. And yes, the hens do get to eat some of their own eggs. It helps give back to them some of what is lost when they lay them.

But I will get discredited for having hens of my own and eating eggs, using recycled wool (only wool, not silk or leather, just wool) etc and no-one take into account that I grow my own veg, and am living off grid for most resources (including some electricity).

But 'city vegans' will not see that or see it that way. I'm not proactive enough and don't try hard enough to some, etc. I hhave heard it all many times before.

Hence why I think you are being very hard on yourself for tripping up, making mistakes etc. You need to learn to take smaller steps and slow down your approach. Take each 'level' or goal one at a time, and make sure you can live that way first, that you are getting what you need in your diet and that your health is not suffering because you can't live a vegan (or veggan/vegetarian or just more environmentally friendly) life with less impact on natural resources and other creatures if you are not here to do so.

Right that has taken me well over an hour to write, nearly two, so I will have to leave it at that for today. I need to get on with other things.
Take care of yourself.
Connie
 

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(part 1 of 2 - there is apparently a maximum number of characters allowed in a reply!
Didn't think anyone would surpass the 10k character limit, wow. Disabled the character limit :)
 
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Naturebound

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Yeah, someone outdid me! That's impressive! From now on I will try to break up my posts more. Sorry.