Transitioning from vegetarian to Vegan

Max Caulfield

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Hello, I've recently made a decision to make an attempt to become a vegan, with somewhat mixed results and quite a bit of issues as it basically looks like it's going to flip my life upside down, given my previous choice of food (very limited one I'm quite picky. one could say very picky) and a location.

My first issue with Vegan life-style seems to be expense, as well Vegan products (at least what I'm eating tend to more expensive, usually twice or even three times of a price of what product substitutes, at least in my country), In addition having to cover expenses of package (I sort of have to buy it online from another city, I have shop with healthy products nearby where many products are vegan, alas choice seems to be quite limited even for already heavily limited choices of vegan products and lacks some of types of products I find quite valuable). Nor granted, currently said expense won't ruin me but it will hurt money wise (I'm quite stingy) and impact my savings any advice in that regard?

Another issue, I can't really find some of substitutes from products that I've previously (still use today as I've learned very recently) that they may use animal products either still contain them or could be used during the production. For an I've read some of the juices, salts use animal products and I can't really verify which one do and which one don't, leaving my with choices available in Vegan shops that are heavily limited product wise in that regard when it comes to juices, it will be kinda hard to keep ordering them online (as juices tend to expire quickly, especially when opened) and delivery costs money), fortunately in my local shop with healthy stuff would save me as they have drinks and juices, alas it's only very small ones and I before bought 2-3 L juices on a regular basis (They are not the best juices I tasted as they are quite sour but I could live with it) but small size is an issue. I tried to buy other drinks that have bit larger versions available such as account water but I didn't like it. Then I tried with cream cheese (that was pretty much main product of every day) and damn it tastes fairly bad, I've couple of alternatives available but very few of them accessible in online shop and none that would be of type I've eaten previously, any ideas how to substitute it for sandwiches if other alternatives won't work out? Also I've problem with finding appropriate spices for tomato soup, I used to use single one "universal" but I've read on it surprised that "product may contain eggs" (along with list of other things) despite it seems said products actually contains them, any advice what should I use and what message "product may contain contain something means" . Also my favorite specific spinach seems to contain eggs (not leafs but frozen one mashed), what would be an issue even on my prior vegetarian diet, do you know of recipes or better ready product that is good vegan one within reasonable price range? I just want to note I'm hardly a cook I can simply cook few things for myself that In my opinion tasted good and I ate regularly (as I pointed out my previous choice of food was very limited).

Aside from that do you have any warnings about pitfalls concerning products (food wise and others?) that may seem vegan that either contain animal products or they used on a product at some point? Should I lose avoid bread rolls in grocery shops as they don't have ingredients written I'm not sure if they are vegan or not.

Another question from me, can I trust restaurants that deliver food to your house to not use animal products during delivery (alas non-vegan ones) or do they simply use pre-made food and request will be ignored and they will use them anyway? As now I'm not sure if I will have to give up an occasional order from a restaurant.
 

Lou

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Well, I'm pretty sure you are overthinking this whole transition process.

I also think that is it not just overthinking but perhaps you need a whole change in your thinking process. Maybe a paradigm shift. or perhaps a revelation.

You might be able to make this process easier with some formalized standardized and structured help. PCRM has a program called the 21-day vegan kickstart. Every day you get a little lesson (like 10 minutes) emailed to you. Plus they have lots of videos and other stuff too. They also have a forum for all the people who are doing it at the same time (the forum opens up on the first of each month - so you are right on time). They also will give you a weekly meal plan to follow. with shopping lists and recipes. It pretty much makes going vegan idiot-proof. Best of all - it's free!

Something like the kickstart program is Goudreau's 30 day Vegan Challenge. You can buy the book for like $10 used on Amazon. but the full program is like $40.

Or. you can just keep writing to us and getting advice piece-meal.

Your first concern you listed was expense. and this is definitely going to be a paradigm shift or a revelation. But a vegan diet is MUCH cheaper than a carnist diet. The thing is that you have to do more of your own cooking and not buy the prepared packaged processed food (which is more expensive and not very healthy). You won't see any Tofurkey on the meal plans from the 21-day or the 30-Day programs. But you will see plenty of homemade stews, soups, beans, stir fry, and smoothies.

If you need ideas you can always just buy or borrow a vegan cookbook. or just look at our What I ate today threads or recipe threads. Also preparing your own meals doesn't have to be too time consuming. You can pre-prepare a whole week of meals in like an hour once you've practiced.

Your second issue is like ten issues. I don't think i can cover them all. but one thing you brought up is the "may contain eggs" issue. When a product says "may contain" or this product was made in a facility that also made ____. Those are pretty much legal "cover their a$$" anti-liability phrases. More for allergies than anything else. All the vegans I know just ignore them.

The bread rolls I can answer pretty simply. Almost all bread that comes from a bakery is probably not vegan. Eggs, milk, butter are common ingredients in bakery bread. However, there are two SAFE breads. French bread can only be called french bread if it only contains flour, salt, and yeast. And Sour Dough is always vegan. the other breads MAY be vegan. But you might have to chat up the baker to find out.

I still haven't answered all your questions. but I'll leave some of those for the rest of the forum. but I will close with this word of advice. It's pretty much impossible to be 100% vegan. In the vegan nomenclature, we call it Personal Purity. And many new vegans have driven themselves crazy making Personal Purity their goal. A better goal is to try to be as vegan as possible. And it will be better for everyone (including the animals) if you don't go crazy worrying about a little bit of egg or milk.




 

Max Caulfield

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Thanks for a replay.
Yeah, I hear this a lot in regard to my outlooks on things but I just like to stay consistent, once I decide to dedicate myself to do something (what is not all that often), hence I try to think things through, what I guess many can interpret as overthinking.

As for paid programs and books, well it's sort of off the table, unless crucial or absolutely necessary in regard to my objectives (as I said I'm fairly stingy) and as far I will try to rely on information accessible for free, I suppose, if it fails I would have to try paid sources to obtain necessary information.Borrowing isn't also an option as I don't even know any other vegan or even vegetarian. I will check recipes thread later on, maybe I will find something for me.

Vegan diet may be cheaper if perhaps well-planned or it may vary in my country, especially when you compare it against meat eaters, but I was vegetarian, so I wasn't eating meat anyway, even eggs except by accident as I was lacto vegetarian and to be honest my diet wasn't very healthy, not because I ate junk food (although I did from time to time) but I had tendency to skip meals (sometimes going so far as one 1 meal per day), lack of necessary diversity of food (although that one in a current year got better), so my daily meals were quite cheap. If my current "pattern" of eating is used using substitutes available to me it is quite more expensive due to substitutes to dairy products costing considerably more. Of course, I knew it's going to relatively hurt my wallet (In fact any healthy diet would) and I accepted this sacrifice, thinking it will still allow me to save reasonable amount of money in current situation. My point was simply if anyone had advice regarding saving money be it obtaining products or specific diet , I don't necessarily seek absolute minimization as I'm not much into planning and I'm more of spontaneous eater. what isn't the best money saving strategy.

Well, it is more of a single issue concerning multiple products that I've a problem with finding satisfactory vegan substitute. Anyway I appreciate for piece of useful info about information on the product, although If someone still has alternative for spices I would be interested in hearing it.

Can you elaborate what do you mean you can't be 100 % vegan? To my information veganism has 2 definitions first one concerns diet free of meat and animal products, where another concerns more of a lifestyle of avoiding any animal products or services that revolve around exploitation of animals. While it's true that 100 % veganism in term of diet is extremely unlikely (as you're going to eat some insect by an accident, probably without realizing it, unless you commit a suicide or go through means inaccessible for most of the people) , that's not my goal and I simply seek to do my best without compromising other values. So what I seek to achieve is possible if simply difficult and will require some effort on my part. Probably going to make mistakes, already did but I will seek to learn from them to do better. You could say definitely that my goal resolves around personal purity as I'm hardly an activist and I don't have aptitude to be one, so I guess what I can do is to live up to personal standard that will be beneficial even if marginally so.
 

Lou

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The Kick Start program IS free.

You can borrow books from the library

Yes, plant milk is more expensive than cow's milk. But that is really the only substitute that I buy each week. Maybe tofu which I guess is also a substitute. When I go to the grocery store I mostly get beans, rice, produce, and some seeds and nuts.

I think to save money you just will have to do some planning. And it has more benefits than just saving money. You will also eat healthier and save time too. The planning my be your biggest obstacle for now but it gets easier and eventually becomes second nature.

The official definition of vegan from the vegan society is
Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

One of the key phrases is "seeks to exclude" which in my mind makes it a process. the other key phrase is "possible and practical" which in my mind makes it imperfect. Those seeking personal purity seem to be looking for perfection - which is not attainable. Eating insects by accident does not make you Not a vegan. And neither does eating a meal that "may contain eggs".

Anyway, I'm curious about what specific products you are having trouble with.
 

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I advise just shopping the fruits and veggie sections... anything you are buying packaged can be made, with certainty of freshness and content; (and if it can't... lol well maybe that's food for thought).

I learned to cook because I loved to bake which leaked into cooking and here we are, I think most meals I serve are great.

You can grow herbs, buy dried, or just continue to use what you have and as things run out seek a new spices. Recipes are great for this if you're starting from basics.
 
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Max Caulfield

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I signed in, to Kickstart but when I saw grocery list for a first week. I won't be able to purchase even half of the stuff in my local grocery shop, maybe in further away big mall but even then at best probably I'll find 3/4 of them.

In my country, or at least city I don't think I ever saw anything concerning Veganism in the library. I checked up online. multiple ones and I've found 1 vegan book concerning specific drinks in a single one and that's about it.

Planning/routine (outside perhaps most basic ones) probably won't work for me, as I get knocked out of routine easily. unless I've to adhere to it. Even if I plan in regard to meal, I quite often change my mind in regard what I would like to eat very same day I'm about to prepare meal based on what I would like to eat. So I probably would save some time with planning, money not so much unless it would be well thought out planning but that would take time anyway, as I've first explore vegan cuisine.

That's not an official (dictionary) definition of veganism, as far I know. Even then I've little bit of issue with it, as you could argue according to that definition that a cannibal on a stranded island could be a vegan because it's closest thing to "practicable" veganism in this specific scenario. I prefer this dictionary definition of veganism "A way of life which strictly avoids use of any kind of animal products and services that are based on exploitation of animals." as it helps to avoid issue above and establishes what is veganism fairly well, rather being based upon external conditions, meaning if you fail meet criteria of this definition you're not vegan anymore even if forced by a circumstances. Even according to definition you used, it's very possible to adhere definition used by me above (as it's practicable and by that possible), as wealthier western countries (at least for people that meet certain financial threshold) do certainly provide options to do so, even as I pointed out it may be somewhat difficult and inconvenient. I realize that eating insects accidentally doesn't prevent you from being vegan, as for products that may contain animal products I suppose it would be up to debate, at least in terms of ethics of financially supporting producer that uses animal products while alternatives to that product exist.

Currently, as I initially mentioned cream cheese, juices, spices and I suppose mashed spinach that I'll have to probably do from a scratch now but I lack any vegan recipes and I doubt me experimenting would end well as I've way to little experience in the kitchen. If you're asking for specific brands I doubt you would even know most of them.

@Peaceful

Learning how to cook is definitively an option. especially I tend to opt for simple and cheap dishes that taste good to me and won't kill me. So I'm fairly minimalist when it comes to cooking. Currently, I'm seeking to substitute my previous meals and then I will work steadily on expanding my cook book within reason.



 

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welcome to the forum Max

I am going to address one part of this discussion and that is "juices". It seems to be a big and expensive part of your diet?

We rarely drink juices (and I have a juicer). They are overly processed, full of sugar and little in the way of fibre and nutriets by comparison to the real thing. I try to have a smoothie instead every day and if I don't make a banana/berry smoothie then I just combine the berries and the bananas in a bowl and eat them. I keep a huge bag of frozen berries in my freezer (it probably takes up 1/4 of the space) and therefore they are always ready to eat. A quick whiz in the bullet blender with some peanut butter, greens powder, ground flax and some almond milk and it is good to go.

I also buy grapefruit and/or oranges for those times when I miss 'juice' and I just cut the skin off and then slice up the fruit and eat it.

All the best with your transition and as @Lou says, don't overthink it and do your best.

Emma JC
 

ThaiVegan

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i went vegan over two decades ago, after a year or two vegetarian. i just went vegan, that meant I ditched the dairy and eggs. There were no "subtitutes" nor an overload of vegwebsites with the most diverse and specialised information, nor programmes that take your little transitioning hand and guide you all the way to vegan paradise. It was just ditch the whatever you dont want to eat anymore. Simple, clear, no confusion, no overload.
 

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When we transitioned to vegan from vegetarian, and to vegetarian from omnivore before that, we gave ourselves these very soft time periods where we said it was okay to mess up as we explored these new paths -- I think a month. The transitions took a fraction of the time we allotted ourselves. For the most part, this stuff is easier than you might expect.

You'll get just about all the nutrients (and the flavor) you need from the plants you might already eat. Just cutting out the animal products and eating more plant-stuff is an easy first step. Then start exploring some of those animal product alternatives. An early start for us was to replace animal products with ready-made veggie patties and meat-clones like Boca Burgers or the line of Gardein frozen foods and meals. We got tired of the processed foods and moved toward making our own meat-alternatives by using tofu, tempeh, seitan, and TVP.

Be aware, not all veggie patties are vegan. Brands like Qorn and Morning Star have a line of vegetarian-friendly foods, but many of their products contain non-vegan ingredients. I think Gardein and Tofurkey are always vegan. Many of Boca's products are vegan, but some are vegetarian.

We like juice and smoothies, but don't do them regularly. As mentioned in a previous post, juicing cuts out a lot of the good stuff in fruits and veggies like fiber and replaces with a concentration of sugar.

When ordering food from restaurants, get comfortable asking how foods are prepared, if they have vegan options, or can offer vegan alternatives. It not only makes your world more comfortable for you, it also lets these restaurants know there's interest in vegan options.

Similarly, get used to reading ingredients. Not every vegan-friendly food item is labeled as vegan. Past that, it'll be up to you if you're okay with essentially vegan products that are made in facilities that also process animal products. We've found that the PETA website offers a lot of guidance on vegan-friendly foods -- You can Google search things like PETA vegan friendly breakfast cereal and they'll provide a list for you.
 
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Nekodaiden

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Hello, I've recently made a decision to make an attempt to become a vegan, with somewhat mixed results and quite a bit of issues as it basically looks like it's going to flip my life upside down, given my previous choice of food (very limited one I'm quite picky. one could say very picky) and a location.

My first issue with Vegan life-style seems to be expense, as well Vegan products (at least what I'm eating tend to more expensive, usually twice or even three times of a price of what product substitutes, at least in my country), In addition having to cover expenses of package (I sort of have to buy it online from another city, I have shop with healthy products nearby where many products are vegan, alas choice seems to be quite limited even for already heavily limited choices of vegan products and lacks some of types of products I find quite valuable). Nor granted, currently said expense won't ruin me but it will hurt money wise (I'm quite stingy) and impact my savings any advice in that regard?
Vegan food can be expensive if one is relying on prepared products, rather than on home cooking, in which case makes it the cheapest diet around. Some areas are coming around offering more animal free products but there are still places where they are in limited supply and thus more expensive. I personally pay very little for food, as I prepare nearly everything myself using base ingredients (even my plant based milks) and grow some of what I eat.

Another issue, I can't really find some of substitutes from products that I've previously (still use today as I've learned very recently) that they may use animal products either still contain them or could be used during the production. For an I've read some of the juices, salts use animal products and I can't really verify which one do and which one don't, leaving my with choices available in Vegan shops that are heavily limited product wise in that regard when it comes to juices, it will be kinda hard to keep ordering them online (as juices tend to expire quickly, especially when opened) and delivery costs money), fortunately in my local shop with healthy stuff would save me as they have drinks and juices, alas it's only very small ones and I before bought 2-3 L juices on a regular basis (They are not the best juices I tasted as they are quite sour but I could live with it) but small size is an issue. I tried to buy other drinks that have bit larger versions available such as account water but I didn't like it. Then I tried with cream cheese (that was pretty much main product of every day) and damn it tastes fairly bad, I've couple of alternatives available but very few of them accessible in online shop and none that would be of type I've eaten previously, any ideas how to substitute it for sandwiches if other alternatives won't work out? Also I've problem with finding appropriate spices for tomato soup, I used to use single one "universal" but I've read on it surprised that "product may contain eggs" (along with list of other things) despite it seems said products actually contains them, any advice what should I use and what message "product may contain contain something means" . Also my favorite specific spinach seems to contain eggs (not leafs but frozen one mashed), what would be an issue even on my prior vegetarian diet, do you know of recipes or better ready product that is good vegan one within reasonable price range? I just want to note I'm hardly a cook I can simply cook few things for myself that In my opinion tasted good and I ate regularly (as I pointed out my previous choice of food was very limited).
I base my understanding of Veganism on Watson veganism, which centers around diet, with other considerations as secondary. Practically what this means is that anything that has an animal product in it (as in definitely contains meat, dairy, eggs or derivatives) I will not eat. If eating a natural diet that is low/absent processed foods this also generally exempts the concern for animal exploitation. I'm never worried, for instance that tomato juice, orange juice and other juices somehow exploit animals, so I'm a little lost on why this is a concern to you. Also, I cannot think of how legumes, whole grains, nuts/seeds, most vegetables and fruits exploit animals either. There's a possibility, of course, but I think you are making this too complicated. Stick with "does it definitely contain" animal products, and avoid as necessary. What's left is up to your knowledge and conscience, and constitutes what I term "veganism +", not base vegan.

Aside from that do you have any warnings about pitfalls concerning products (food wise and others?) that may seem vegan that either contain animal products or they used on a product at some point? Should I lose avoid bread rolls in grocery shops as they don't have ingredients written I'm not sure if they are vegan or not.
You could simply ask. I personally don't purchase prepared items like bread that don't list ingredients. I have a couple of favorites at my local grocery stores that are completely free of animal products.

Another question from me, can I trust restaurants that deliver food to your house to not use animal products during delivery (alas non-vegan ones) or do they simply use pre-made food and request will be ignored and they will use them anyway? As now I'm not sure if I will have to give up an occasional order from a restaurant.
Again, this falls into "veganism +". There is such a thing as making it so complicated that it becomes frustrating and nearly impossible. Go to question #1 "Does the food item itself contain any animal products or derivatives?" Yes? It's not vegan, stop. No? It's vegan, all other considerations are secondary and up to you and your conscience on such matters.
 

Max Caulfield

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Vegan food can be expensive if one is relying on prepared products, rather than on home cooking, in which case makes it the cheapest diet around. Some areas are coming around offering more animal free products but there are still places where they are in limited supply and thus more expensive. I personally pay very little for food, as I prepare nearly everything myself using base ingredients (even my plant based milks) and grow some of what I eat.



I base my understanding of Veganism on Watson veganism, which centers around diet, with other considerations as secondary. Practically what this means is that anything that has an animal product in it (as in definitely contains meat, dairy, eggs or derivatives) I will not eat. If eating a natural diet that is low/absent processed foods this also generally exempts the concern for animal exploitation. I'm never worried, for instance that tomato juice, orange juice and other juices somehow exploit animals, so I'm a little lost on why this is a concern to you. Also, I cannot think of how legumes, whole grains, nuts/seeds, most vegetables and fruits exploit animals either. There's a possibility, of course, but I think you are making this too complicated. Stick with "does it definitely contain" animal products, and avoid as necessary. What's left is up to your knowledge and conscience, and constitutes what I term "veganism +", not base vegan.


You could simply ask. I personally don't purchase prepared items like bread that don't list ingredients. I have a couple of favorites at my local grocery stores that are completely free of animal products.

Again, this falls into "veganism +". There is such a thing as making it so complicated that it becomes frustrating and nearly impossible. Go to question #1 "Does the food item itself contain any animal products or derivatives?" Yes? It's not vegan, stop. No? It's vegan, all other considerations are secondary and up to you and your conscience on such matters.
1.Depends on what do you mean by prepared, many cooking ingredients are already prepared products of vegetables, fruits, grains etc. It would be quite tedious and time consuming task (not to mention some raw products may not be available to me to prepare on my own) to me to prepare every single cooking ingredient from a basic component. Generally. I've some ingredients ready and some I prepare myself when it comes to cooking.In addition sometimes having to use electricity when preparing food on your own adds to the cost.

2.That would simply defeat a point of vegan diet in my case. If I a was purely a vegan for health reasons, then I suppose lack of animal ingredients in the product would suffice, as I wouldn't be consuming them.However, in case of ethics using a product that contains animal ingredient or a product in which animal product is used in a process of making a product latter isn't really a better than former.I mean, what difference does it make whether I consume animal product, if animal is still consistently, intentionally and unnecessarily killed to make a product I would be consuming. Problem with juices I've, is that depending on type of juice or producer of it may use gelatin in process of clarification of juice and producers don't provide that information on the product.Hence, I avoid juices that aren't labeled as vegan, occasionally doing additional research online about product.

3.Heh, I doubt that employee in a small grocery shop will have knowledge of ingredients. In a supermarkets, there are list of ingredients for products they bake, although how well it's organized varies.

4. I don't think I'm making things nearly impossible or frustrating, I'm simply investigating and trying to weed out producers or service providers that are untrustworthy or generally have low reliability due to practices in their fields. If I'm going commit to something, I intent to do it well, otherwise why bother?
 
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TofuRobot

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Very short answer to 2 of your questions:
1. Scrambled tofu & spinach, &
2. No - you can not trust restaurants.

The simplest thing you can do is minimize the amount of pre-packaged food you buy. Stick to shopping in the produce department. You know what you're getting, it's all vegan, and you'll have the added bonus of it be healthier for you. (Obviously you can wander off for rice & beans 'n' stuff like hot sauce.)

As for the cream cheese, if you can find Kit Hill, or Myokos, give those a try. Kite Hill cream cheese is really very good. Where I am, the stores seem to be saturated with Daiya, which is just really gross to me. IMO, it takes awful, and it's all oil.

Another comment on restaurants. You will learn what items at which restaurants you can trust and you'll tend to stick to those. But seriously, if expense (or your health) is even the slightest concern, you'll want to minimize eating restaurant food as much as possible anyway.

Eating vegan really isn't rocket science, and as has already been said, don't overthink it. Just eat plants (and as @Lou says, "and not too much"). :)