How did you transition?

How did you transition to veganism?

  • cold turkey

    Votes: 9 56.3%
  • gradually

    Votes: 7 43.8%

  • Total voters
    16

Sax

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I'm curious how you all transitioned. Did you go cold turkey or gradually cut out animal products? Did you try and fail in the past? What was different about your approach on earlier attempts? What approach would you recommend to those thinking about transitioning?

I transitioned gradually over a couple months. I had tried to go vegan when I was 15yo but I didn't know what to eat besides PBJs and my household was full of meat, dairy and processed food with very little produce or whole foods. My successful transition was after incorporating a lot of fresh produce into my diet and preparing most of my food myself rather than buying processed or eating out. Having lots of information online in terms of nutrition, recipes, long-term health benefits helped a lot...but it was knowing and seeing what happens on factory farms that made me stick to it.

I would definitely recommend cold turkey to anyone thinking about transitioning. Strike while the iron's hot. Some lifestyles will make cold turkey a lot harder than others, but waiting will probably lead to losing focus and motivation and never even making the attempt.
 
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Cold turkey.

Mama Chickpea and I both, so add a +1 for that option. We made the decision and our mind's were set, so any gradual transition would have been against what we were trying to accomplish and created the potential for backsliding.
 
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TofuRobot

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Overnight. (I dislike the expression "cold turkey")
Overnight to pescatarian when I was 25. Overnight to vegan 8/12/2016.
 
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Mbeth

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I did a 21 day juice fast and was planning to ease back into eating meat and dairy so it wouldn’t shock my system. Every day that passed I just felt like I wasn’t ready yet, so I kept putting it off to the next day. Finally I realized my body was telling me something, and I should listen to it.
So kinda cold turkey- though looking back I guess it was at least 15 years of transition. Most of my adult life meat was rarely a main dish. It was just something we added to tacos, soup, salad etc. That change was for health reasons. Also, we stopped buying factory farmed meat and only bought meat from people we knew, and knew how the animals were treated. That was for ethical reasons.
So a long transition, without eliminating meat and dairy as the end goal in mind...but that unexpectedly being what happened.
 
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Lou

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Very gradually. At least 10 years. Maybe longer. Maybe I'm still transitioning.
 
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chickendminus

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The first time I tried to go vegan I went cold turkey. This was a very dumb idea for me because I was trying to eat the same meals that I had with meat, just without it. (Allergic to dairy.) This resulted in rapid weight loss, which was bad because I was already thin.

At the beginning of this year I did it more gradually, and watched a LOT of recipe videos so I better knew what being vegan looked like.

I'm not sure which method is better, I think if I had done the proper research first, I could have went 'cold turkey' or rather cold tofurky (ha ha)... but doing it gradually eased some of my anxiety about it... Not sure if this is true or not, but I get the impression that those who go in gradually are more likely to stay vegan.
 
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Lou

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Collen Patrick Goudreaux actually explains a strategy in the book and also in the course, 30-Day Vegan Challenge.
It goes something like write down all the meals you eat in week one. Circle the ones that are already vegan and include them in week 2. and then look at the others and see which ones can be easily transformed into vegan meals by just removing the animal products (like meat -less spaghetti sauce). Then the next week try subbing vegan food for meat in other meals. Like using soy milk instead of cow's milk, or tofu instead of chicken. The last week you have to go to a recipe book and find a few new vegan recipes to make.
(I may have not gotten that exactly right but you get the idea).

It's pretty easy and pretty gradual but not too gradual. For some (like myself,) gradual can just be a form of procrastination.

It also seems like a 30-day transition allows a nice time period for your gut to gradually transform too. PCRM uses a 3 week time period. but I think they sort of jump right into it.
 
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mavrick45

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pretty much just overnight
 
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amberfunk

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FIrst time was gradual since I didn't want to waste what we already had. This time there was less of a transition. I failed the first time because of my iron levels. Ever since the last time I gave blood I've been anemic and have been trying to change that.
 
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Emma JC

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I have been sneaking up on it for years, gradually keeping some of the habits, backsliding then doing better the next time.

Dr McDougall on Coast to Coast AM in October of 2016 finally presented a plant-based lifestyle in a way that made sense, so clearly, that I have no desire to revert. Thank you Dr McDougall.

ps. he was on Coast to Coast again last night for the first time since 2016, I will listen to it later

Emma JC
 
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Hazelsqueak

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I tried to go vegan when I was 14. I actually made it a full year. But I grew up on a farm, surrounded by small towns and farms, and everyone made it extremely difficult, especially my family. I was picked on in school for it, and people enjoyed telling me stories about the animals they tortured just to get a rise out of me. On my family's farm, we never went out of our way to hurt animals for fun. I can't say the same for people on other farms. I could write a book on how shitty animal farmers in general are. And I'm not just talking about how they treat the livestock. I mean any animal that happens to be on that farm such as wildlife and stray cats. I could give examples, but I don't want to give anyone nightmares.

Once I left home, that was it. I was done cold turkey. My dad still hates the idea of me being vegan because "plants are not a complete protein" and I guess I should be dead by now or something.
 

Nekodaiden

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I had a transition month where I screwed up 3 times.

After that there was an intense learning period, and one of the things
I learned was that some of the things I ate typically with meat meals
were no longer suitable longer term: Like white rice and white noodles.
Sure, you can eat them occasionally, but they hardly feed the bacteria
in your gut that keeps you satisfied. Depending on them over time, I
found myself very hungry.

What approach would you recommend to those thinking about transitioning?
My suggestion to new vegans:

1) Try your best to go for 100% vegan. If your vision is 80 or 90%, meaning
you're still eating animal products here and there, you keep alive
certain gut bacteria that crave them. I mention this because I happen
to know someone who does this and of course they still crave animal
products.

2) High fiber and resistant starch from whole foods are your friends.
They will bloat you at first, but that passes after a while
(as long as you keep doing it and don't eat animal products).
They feed the good bacteria and help you feel satisfied. Low fiber
breads, noodles, rice etc and many processed vegan products don't
fit the bill. Eat enough nutrient dense fiber rich or resistant
starch rich whole food, and hunger will not be an issue.

3) Alcohol is a social lubricant and can be fun. Just remember it's
the king of anti-nutrients and depletes nearly every vitamin and mineral
as well as changes the good fat in your brain. If you drink it in
anything other than moderation, you need an exceptionally good diet.
A junk food vegan diet coupled with regular alcohol consumption is a disaster.
 
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betiPT

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When I make a decision, I stick with it :)
 

Forest Nymph

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Cold turkey only works for certain personality types. It's not a one size fits all. I was vegetarian for a long time first, then I tried going vegan and was only plant-based for two or three months before eating cheese again because I was not feeding myself properly. I bought a lot of frozen meals which were expensive, I don't think I was even taking B12 (this was in my early 20s).

When I actually went vegan I took time to research and figure out what I was doing and why. That was very important for me. It was also extremely helpful for me to replace cheese and eggs with "vegan products" even more than it is now. I like my vegan products, but back then I felt like I always had to have vegan cheese or Tofurky or Gardein, or something....even if that something was just putting guacamole on absolutely everything. It also helped me to eat veganized versions of Taco Bell items, and so forth. If someone had tried to make me an oil free WFPB vegan I would have laughed in their face, and I know a lot of people who are not vegan yet are very turned off by restrictive diets like that.

I think it helped that I lived in Los Angeles and had access to a lot of things, too. A friend of mine who is president of our campus Vegan Club said something very similar, she's younger than me so for her it was even more important, she said she literally thought everywhere was like LA until she saw that California has counties where you're lucky to just find blocks of tofu and Silk milks in the grocery store. She went vegan after being vegetarian, too.
 

Nunk

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Transitioned for a year. Then went 100% plant based. Still was ill for the first 3 weeks though. (not enough calories). I felt great after that.
 
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StrangeOtter

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What approach would you recommend to those thinking about transitioning?
These three tools, not in any specific order: recipes (learn how to cook efficiently delicious, satiating, and cheap vegan food so that it's sustainable and practicable in your everyday life), ethics (learn more about factory farming, then on the contrast, learn how animals COULD live, if given the change, then figure out how you can attribute to that), find vegans online or, if it's possible, where you live (when you see that other people are vegan too, it doesn't seem so impossible anymore).
Educate yourself, listen to your coinscience and take action. That's a good way to simplify going vegan.

My jorney was long... I started gaining interest when I was 18 years old, that's 11 years ago. But I went fully vegan just about a year ago, before that I had been backsliding and failing, and before that I had been vegan for three years, and before that I had been almost-vegan, or some sort of inconsistent vegetarian.
I think that even though I failed, it was a good learning experience, and I have no regrets. Giving up didn't make me loose my inspiration to become vegan. On the contrary, my will to some day be a vegan, only got stronger. And as I learned more, finally going vegan wasn't that difficult. Suddently it was crystal clear to me, how to go and stay vegan, so that's exactly what I did.

I'm lazy, so I'm going to quote my older posts here, if anyone is further interested of my embarrassing vegan journey. First, I'm going to try and find most of the typos and correct them... And maybe add something worth mentioning here and there.
I don't know why I'm doing this? Who cares about my stupid transitioning? No one... I should be working out right now, doing strength training, and I hate doing that... Maybe I'm just avoidant...? lol.

"So...When I was 18 years old, I got familiar with Animalia and Oikeutta Eläimille, but I don't know whether that was inspirational, or rather shock therapy. But it was a start.
That's when I first saw some pictures that Kristo Muurimaa had (most probably) taken (he's famous world wide, because of the monster foxes that he photographed) ...I didn't know what to do, and I was hesitant to make a change: "do I have to change, because some stupid people can't take care of their animals?".
So I asked about the pictures from my biology teacher, whom I admired, and she said that "the pictures were probably from some other country, don't worry: that doesn't happen in Finland. We care for our animals." I wasn't very convinced, the site said that the pictures were from Finland, why would they lie? That didn't make any sense... So in the end, I had no choice, and started my journey to become a vegan.

Later, I met this vegetarian at my school. After seeing the disturbing pictures, I had tried to become a vegan, but I had a lot going on in my life and I simply couldn't organize what I ate and when... Don't ask, it's too complicated and a long story. But after meeting her and recognizing myself in her, I got more serious about trying.

In my dreams Elves, from Tolkiens universe, were vegan and I wanted to be one of them. They aren't vegan. But what can I do about my dreams. I suppose I thought that being vegan is going to make me perfect, and maybe even beautiful. But nah, I'm still me. Being vegan isn't glorious, it's infact very habitual. Understanding this was a disappontment, haha! :joy:

Then, in 2013, I read about Sini Saarela (vegan), from Greenpeace. She was with the group that fought against oil drilling at the Arctic. She and Marco Weber got aboard Prirazlomnaja, the Russian oil platform and were shot at with water hoses. Multiple activist were arrested and Sini Saarela was one of those who was charged of piracy, but the charges were later changed into huliganism.
When reading about Greenpeace and Saarela, I thought that when I "grow up", I want to fight for something meaningful. Thus, I had to re-think what I was doing in my everyday life, and how to be an activist, in a small way at first, before doing something more, or otherwise it would be only hypocritical.

Then there were, and are, these YouTubers, who furter inspired me: The Fairly Local Vegan, Bite Size Vegan and Unnatural Vegan.

Now-a-days, I'd definitely say Earthling Ed, Gary Yourofsky, Kristo Muurimaa and all the vegans I meet online or in real life, inspires me."

Aside from inspiration, learning how to cook foods that I want to eat and gaining knowledge on different ingredients, spices and what to do with beans, have been a life saver. If I wouldn't have learned how to cook, I probably couldn't be vegan.
Finding ways to balance eating, workout and rest has also been important. Balanced diet and taking my vitamins are essential.

I also read about animals, watch documentaries, learn about factory farming and how it limitates the natural behavior of animals. Understanding that veganism disapproves animal slavery, neglect and abuse, helps me stay vegan.
If animals could live free and happy, why obstruct them from doing this? Instead we should stop factory farming completely.

Also, becoming animal rights activist motivates me further. I can speak with like-minded people... And as I'm doing something that I find meaningful, "vegan world" and animal rights doesn't seem so far-fetched. And I owe this forum, alot. At first, I came here in seek of support, but didn't want to talk about myself (hard to belive, I know) so I started educating other newbies, that way I also learned. I might have been too strict to dem newbies, as I projected the rigour that I had towards myself, on to them.

I'm sorry about the typos.
 
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I went vegan gradually over 2 months. I had the desire to go vegan but tried to convince myself that vegetarian was "good enough". After a couple of months, I had to listen to my body and go vegan.
 
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Hi, I decided to go vegan after watching a few documentaries on how big food industries treat farm animals. Frankly, I was discusted and want no part of it. It has been 7 days going cold Turkey and I feel great!!! I have to admit the first two days sucked a bit, but I'm fine know. I dont even miss meat or dairy products. It definitely takes more of a conscious effort to shop now though.
I have already gotten a push back from some family members. I think they think I have lost my mind, but it's not about them it's about me...? my husband was just diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis and now has to be on a no fiber diet, which does make this transition a bit harder when it comes to food prep. I will figure it out I guess. My husband was a big meat and milk drinker so the transition for him has been much more of a challenge.
 
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Ger

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Twenty years ago, or so, I was able to transition into a vegetarian lifestyle almost immediately. It happened on a Tuesday night when I went out intending to have a few beers with friends at a local pub. This particular pub advertised cheap chicken wings on Tuesday nights. I used to love eating chicken wings back then. Before I left though, my wife, who was already a vegetarian at the time, suggested that I have a falafel sandwich at a nearby restaurant before meeting my friends for beers. I loved to eat falafel sandwiches back then too (and still do), so I did just that. Anyway, after munching down a falafel sandwich and washing it down with mango nectar (a beverage), my stomach was sated and I felt happy. It was then that it hit me that animals need not be killed in order for me to enjoy a delicious meal. It took me about ten years to kick my habit of eating dairy products and eggs though. After I was finally able to kick dairy and eggs, I then lived a vegan lifestyle for about tens years. Recently though, after finding out that I'm anemic and that my body has low levels of vitamin B-12, I now eat eggs and fish occasionally. I've been eating like that since the beginning of the year. I guess now it could be considered that I'm living sort of a flexitarian lifestyle.
 
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Lou

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Recently though, after finding out that I'm anemic and that my body has low levels of vitamin B-12, I now eat eggs and fish occasionally; about once or twice a month. I've been eating like that since beginning of the year. I guess I'm now a flexitarian of a sort.
Why not just take a multivitamin?
 
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