Starting the transition

hippyman

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I am starting to go vegan, after an eye-opening animal rights experience. I had been used to eating mainly meat, so I feel like I'm going to need a ton of support during this transition. I live in Texas, the beef capital of the US, so I already feel strange enough making this decisioin.
 
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Jamie in Chile

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We can help you out. I can see this would be a challenge in Texas. Where in Texas do you live?

Do you want help with nutrition advice, recipes, or just support in general. Let me know if you have any questions.
 
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hippyman

hippyman

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I live in the North Central part, about 15 miles from Oklahoma. I'm trying to get out of here, I just don't know where to yet. And I pretty much need help with all of the above. One thing in particular, I was wondering if there were any vegan enchilada recipes out there.
 

Naturebound

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Welcome hippyman!

I LOVE this enchilada recipe:

http://tofu-n-sproutz.blogspot.com/2011/04/potato-roasted-corn-and-black-bean.html

It does require vegan cheese, but if you can't find a vegan cheese anywhere, I highly recommend making this homemade vegan "cheese" (it is simple with easy to find whole ingredients, but will take longer to make the enchilada):
http://www.blendtec.com/recipes/amazing-vegan-cheese-sauce

Also, while Texas might seem very unvegan, there are a growing number of vegan friendly restaurants and stores in Texas. Houston is VERY vegan friendly. I traveled through their airport and found a number of vegan books, foods, and restaurants. Here are some links to vegan info in Texas:

http://www.lonestarplate.com/

http://www.texasvegfest.com/

http://www.texasveggiefair.com/

http://www.veganacious.com/2012/05/21/podcast-35-vegans-in-texas/

http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=7786&catId=1

And there is always this app:

https://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/texas/

There is hope for you! :) Get involved and find some connections if you can. I belong to a local vegan meetup group and have some invaluable vegan friends. When I went vegan I was quite alone with the whole thing also, but my desire and commitment to living a more ethical and healthy life kept me going strong for years. It is just icing on the cake that now we finally have a vegan group here that started last year, and grocery stores are slowing becoming better at including ever more plant based products. I used to order a lot of stuff online, including almost all my vegan shoes. The vegan movement is growing by leaps and bounds, no doubt. patience my friend...
 
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hippyman

hippyman

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I was wondering about the cheese on top. I wasn't sure if I should go ahead and buy vegan cheese at a health food store or not.
 

Naturebound

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I was wondering about the cheese on top. I wasn't sure if I should go ahead and buy vegan cheese at a health food store or not.

I have always made that dish with Daiya chedder shreds, and have not tried it with homemade vegan cheese, so I can't give an opinion comparing the two. I have used the homemade vegan cheese recipe for other dishes like baked potatoes or mac and cheese and it was awesome on those. I like Daiya though I only use it once every two months or so and don't rely on it as an everyday ingredient in my foods. It's sort of a special occasion type of deal. There are other commercial vegan cheeses you could try as well, such as Chao slices, or Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. I have not tried those.

If you can make a really good enchilada sauce, I'll bet you wouldn't even need the cheese. I've made many a vegan pizza without cheese. I will sometimes use hummus as a base, or a tahini sauce, or just a really good tomato paste/sauce and veggies. I was not a fan of dairy cheese back in the day and it made me so sick all the time I avoided it for many years, so naturally when I went vegan I didn't even try any commercial vegan cheeses for my first two years vegan. I would make a nutritional yeast homemade cheese sauce but truthfully it tastes nothing like dairy cheese. Or I would make homemade fermented almond or cashew based cheeses which are incredibly good but again are more like a dairy cream cheese than a straight cheese. I finally became more relaxed and started trying more processed vegan foods here and there a few years into being vegan because I was very underweight at the time and trying to gain, and also stop being so strict with so many rules about what to eat as a vegan. Long story. I still eat a largely whole plant food diet and very little processed, but I do keep vegan Just Mayo on hand, and occasionally splurge on some vegan "meat" or "cheese" products, maybe once a week or so. Some people love Daiya, some hate it, so it's one of those things you just have to play around with and see what you like and don't. I have still tried very few other vegan commercial cheeses to compare.

Another option would be vegan Tofutti Cream cheese or sour cream with that dish instead of vegan cheese. It seems to be much easier to find Tofutii products in larger chain regular grocery stores. Be warned though that the Tofutti cream cheese has hydrogenated oil in it, something I try to avoid, but they have a version of their sour cream that does not have that in it. Daiya also makes a vegan cream cheese that isn't too bad and is soy free for those who that is a concern with, but it is harder to find.
 
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hippyman

hippyman

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Well, so far I think things are going pretty well. Thanks to discovering almond milk, I've managed to cut out animal products from at least 2 meals per day. On top of that, I've stopped drinking sodas, and I've never felt better:)
 

Jamie in Chile

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Good progress, well done.

Sorry I didn't reply a few weeks ago, I never saw the post. I don't go to the boards every day so I can miss things.

On nutrition here are a few things that are sometimes low on a poorly planned vegan diet with some possible sources

Vitamin B12 (take as tablet or in nutritional yeast)
Omega 3 (chia/flax seeds, walnuts)
Iodine (may be in salt, strawberries, cranberries also have)
Calcium (almonds/bread/oranges/soy/nuts/beans/rice)

Apart from making sure you have a specific sources of each of the above four things, just eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables of different colours including green, potatoes/rice/pasta and legumes (soy/beans/peas etc) and you should have a balanced and healthy diet that probably covers everything - assuming you don't have any specific allergies or needs.

You can work towards the above over time if needed. Let us know if it's not working out. No need to eat things you don't like, this is just suggestions.
 
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Jamie in Chile

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By cutting animal products from 2 meals a day, you have already made quite a positive difference to the planet, in terms of less pollution, global warming, and animal cruelty. Do you think you are ready to go a bit further? 2 meals a day vegan every day plus some fully vegan days? Or are you happy where you are for now?

Regarding animal cruelty, fish, meat and eggs causes the most suffering, so I'd start with reducing those and then look at things like cheese and butter after that and then later decide if you want to cut out or not things like cakes and chocolate which have some diary in. Eventually you have to decide where to draw the line personally. This is just purely a suggestion, so fair enough if it doesn't work for you.
 
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hippyman

hippyman

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I think I may be ready to go further into this thing. I eat plenty of almonds a day, so that should cover my calcium, and I've started looking into a lucein supplement. Plus, I've been looking at vegan shoes, clothing, etc. for the whole lifestyle. I did try Morning Star Farms sausage for breakfast the other day, and while it wasn't bad, I'm still on the fence about it.
 

Jamie in Chile

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Sounds like you are on top of your calcium. Almonds are one of the best sources. Almonds + green veg like broccoli and kale might have you covered. (I am not 100% sure if that's true as I haven't number crunched amounts in certain foods vs reccomended daily amounts.)

If you mean lysine, you don't need to supplement that usually if you eat legumes (beans, lentils soy, chick peas etc) however you might want to if you don't like any of the legumes.

If you mean leucine, I don't know much about that one, but it's not usually considered an issue for vegans.

I had a vegan burger that tasted just like meat and that's not ideal for me. I had to go and get the packet and double check. Personally I'd rather have something with a wierd and different taste so I can feel and taste for sure it isn't meat. Although I definately think the ones that taste like meat have a place.
 

Jamie in Chile

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I do like to do things like soy burgers and funny vegan sausages from time to time, just to make sure I'm covered on lysine and total protein, and more importantly for some variety and trying new things, although I could easily live without them if I had to.
 
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hippyman

hippyman

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Well, I just got thru my first day as an "almost" vegan. Last night, a little bit of fish was all the meat I had all day. I'm still wondering how I'll get leather-free shoes though.
 

RayP

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I am starting to go vegan, after an eye-opening animal rights experience. I had been used to eating mainly meat, so I feel like I'm going to need a ton of support during this transition. I live in Texas, the beef capital of the US, so I already feel strange enough making this decisioin.

What helped me the most was knowledge (coupled with being responsible as you are, your control will increase)...I strongly recommend reading "The China Study" and "The McDougall Program" for health related knowledge and then documentaries like "Cowspiracy" to keep you informed about your choices. "Bite Size Vegan" and "Mic the Vegan" are really helpful to me on YouTube...

;)
 

Vegan Princess

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I am starting to go vegan, after an eye-opening animal rights experience. I had been used to eating mainly meat, so I feel like I'm going to need a ton of support during this transition. I live in Texas, the beef capital of the US, so I already feel strange enough making this decisioin.

Hi

I have found a post that may be useful

Key items you may need on the transition journey
http://veganismguide.com/post-5/

Hope this helps, it's a lovely journey and you won't regret it :blush:
 
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