Wanting to make to step to vegan

mtotheb

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Hi guys.. Don't really know where to start but I'm a moderate meat eater that is planning to turn completely Vegan over the next few months. I'm trying to slowly introduce changes in my families diet and educate myself in what to and what not to eat.

I'm trying to find out how to make sure my children can become vegan and my pregnant wife BUT there is so much conflicting evidence for pros and cons?

Many thanks
 

Jamie in Chile

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We can help you here. The book Becoming Vegan has a section on children and pregnancy.

Do you need help on basic nutrition advice or recipes, or on convincing other people. How many months pregnant is your wife?

We can help you out, give us a few pointers on where you need the most help and we can be more specific.

Generally speaking, veganism is healthy for all and a great way of life.
 
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mtotheb

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Thanks for getting back to me Jamie! Appreciate your help.

Well my wife is at the early stages of pregnancy so I'm really reluctant to risk changing her diet right now. My children are aged 7 and 6 and I have read it's difficult to make sure they get all the right things from a vegan diet and children need a variety of different foods?

I'm passionate about becoming a vegan. I want to make a change in the world and actually believe by becoming a vegan it will be a great way to make a stand to what I feel is wrong in the world. It's just harder because I have my family to consider as well.
 

Jamie in Chile

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I agree on slow changes during pregnancy.

In the beginning phase, you will find some difficulty and confusion about what vegan recipes to produce, how to do the best nutrition and so on, but after a short time (days, weeks or months) with some practice and research, you will most likely find it's not as hard as you thought (not true for everyone, but often).

Children mostly need the same food as adults, with only slight differences.

The greater difficulty with your children is going to be social factors like parties and the foods they get from other family members, but that's probably an issue for another day.

For now I would like to help you out with diet/nutrition/recipes and so on. I will try and come back later as I have a meeting now.
 

Jamie in Chile

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Is your wife in agreement with transition to veganism for herself and for the children?

Here are some initial thoughts. Just somes suggestions here, not everything will work for you, pick and choose!

1. Take the time to do some background reading on ethical and environmental reasons for veganism, books, articles, movies, but also reading about recipe ideas, the more you do this, the more confident you are about the right decision for your family. Involve your family, e.g. Bite Size Vegan has some videos for children. Share books/articles with your wife, watch movies together and discuss.

2. Try some vegan variations of meat foods - e.g. soy/lentil burger instead of beef burger. You can have some of the same meals as before, just replacing the meat part.

3. But also be more creative. Instead of a plate of meat/soy+potatoes/rice/+ salad/vegetables, try mixing together peppers and vegetables with noodles, rice or pasta in a single dish. Involve your kids in the cooking process.

4. Make sure you get B12 (take as a supplement) and a source of calcium (a supplement, or calcium rich foods like almonds, oranges), iodine (if you use table salt, it may be added: check the ingredients) and omega 3s (flax or chia seeds or walnuts). Those are the nutrients that are most likely to be low on a vegan diet and needing of specific attention. If you want to, you can read more about vegan nutrition at http://www.veganhealth.org/, a site with a good reputation.

5. Eat a general balanced diet including some legumes (beans, peas, lentils, soy), some filling carb foods (bread, rice, pasta), a variety of vegetables including some green vegetables, some fruit, a higher amount of whole plant foods, a smaller amount of junk and processed foods, and you are likely on a good path.

6. Vegan foods don't have to be unfilling like salad or just vegetables, so include legumes and/or grains at most meals, and remember some very simple foods like chips/fries or beans on toast can also be vegan.

https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/how-go-vegan
http://features.peta.org/how-to-go-vegan/
 

Jamie in Chile

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Feeding vegan kids: http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/kids.php

I suggest you pay extra attention to calcium for your children, as they are at an age of significant bone growth and teeth growth. Either give them a product with added calcium or a suplement, or take care to ensure they regularly get foods high in calcium. Also, I would suggest taking a bit of extra care on protein.

Protein is not a huge deal for vegans, but for children at that age it's something that needs a little more attention so make sure they get high protein foods e.g. mushroom, lettuce, peas, soy, beans. Just as examples as there are many others. Worrying about protein may be overkill, but it's better safe than sorry perhaps.

That's probably enough waffling from me for now.
 
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mtotheb

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Thanks so much for your message. I have taken your points into account.

My wife is in the early stages of pregnancy so it's important she gets what she needs. My kids are pretty receptive to The idea but we have brought them up on a pretty vegetarian diet so it's now just a case of subtle changes. The hardest thing I think will be replacing chocolate and ice cream!!

I cooked my first pure Vegan dinner last night. It was not the best BUT it had a positive impact and has encouraged us all to start experimenting with food ideas. We are going to try and replace the Chicken in our Sunday roast Dinners with something other than Nut roast!

Thanks again for your support Jamie! Best wishes
Mark
 

VeganFoodDaily

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As far as chocolate and ice cream goes, there are lots of great vegan alternatives as well as making homemade desserts. There are a lot of recipes out there that are absolutely fantastic for the occasional treat.

Experimenting with foods and involving your children in cooking will have a profoundly positive affect on them.
 
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mtotheb

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Thanks so much. I will definitely take your advice. Think cooking our own food is the way forward since buying products from the shop is so expensive!!
 

Jamie in Chile

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I would say chocolate and ice cream is less urgent. Just bring in the vegan alternatives steadily and see how you go.

More important to cut out intense cruelty of meat, fish and eggs and then milk, cheese.
 
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mtotheb

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Thanks so much for your help.. Sorry I have not replied earlier! It's been hectic!!!

Right so an update.... We have been introducing vegan alternatives but I would say my children are living a 80% vegetarian/vegan diet and still eating meat at school. It's work in progress.

My wife has really embraced the change and is pretty much been Vegan except the odd Hot chocolate and chocolate at work!

I have been experimenting with vegan recipes and using up all my the old vegetarian food and fish etc. My plan is to not buy any meat products from now on. We have also given away our Christmas turkey to a friend and are going to have a meat free Christmas dinner!! First time in my life! It's crazy but the ball is rolling..

Now the hurdles we have hit are my wife and I are feeling really tired and stuffing from headaches. We are both really active and work in manual jobs. I exercise regularly and have noticed a drop in power and stamina. I'm losing weight as well.

I know I need to improve our diet and my wives friend told us to use sweet potatoes since they are a slow release carb?

My wife has just been having Kale and cannelloni salad for lunch which I don't think is enough. Thinking I need to add some quinoa or brown pasta?

Sorry about the essay guys! Peace!
 

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Are you drinking enough? I have porridge every morning made with water and find that really keeps me hydrated and starts me off well. Do eat lots, big meals.
I have a big bowl of porridge, a sandwich or bread and spread and soup at lunchtime and a big meal in the evening. I lost a lot of weight when I gave up dairy, then it got stuck as I was eating hummous and having oat milk on my cereal, now I have cut back on the milk and hummous I'm losing again.
I have a big meal of spaghetti bolognese made with soya mince, or a tray of assorted roasted vegetables in olive oil and spices, or bean stews with brown rice, or stir fries. Always a big plateful as we need to eat more as so much protein is concentrated in meat, more than we need, but we need to get used to having a bit less I suppose. Along with this is I have lots of tea and coffee and, if you are in England, a bar of Fry's Chocolate Cream. I have a vitamin tablet on alternate days and crush up a calcium tablet and mix it into my porridge every morning.

My new migraine defence is salted peanuts. I find that if I have the odd handful on tired days or when we are out it keeps my energy levels up and I don't get a headache, also because of the salt I drink more too.
 
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mtotheb

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Wow thanks for the reply. Yes we are in the U.K.

Basically for breakfast I have 3 weetabix with two table spoons of flax seeds in almond milk plus a vegan multi vitamin.

Pre lunch I have a banana, apple, pear, plum and satsuma.

Lunch I eat a kale and cannelloni bean salad and I have a peanut butter sandwich.

Dinner can vary but I'm going to increase what I eat for example we have a lot of home made curry like pea and potatoes BUT I'm going to add some brown rice and quinoa into the mix plus we always have Roti with our curries.

I sometimes have Tesco vegi burgers with chips but might fry some Tofu and put that in the burger for extra protein.

My issue is my training since I train in the evening up to 6 days a week!! I need to work out a good pre and post workout fix.

I know your right about portion size and I'm going to bulk everything up as much as I need. What I'm seeing is if I cook fresh and buy my rice, flax etc in bulk it's actually cheaper than my previous shopping when I was eating meat! The most shocking thing is the cost of Almonds!!
 

Jamie in Chile

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Good to see the progress you are making. Eat more in total and try to increase the filling foods like potatoes, bread, pasta and rice and not relying too heavily on veg. Allow your body some time for transition.

I am no expert, this is just a guess, please judge carefully for yourself if this is useful advice or not.
 

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Hey!
Well done for going for it! By going vegan you and your family will make such an impact!
Hopefully I can help. Although i'm travelling at the moment, I am a very active person and would normally train in muay thai (thai kickboxing) three times a week and never have such issues with energy. In fact it's quite the opposite! To me it sounds like you aren't consuming enough carbohydrates and maybe you need to simply eat more. I would recommend using grains or similar starchy, carbohydrate-rich foods as a large portion of each meal. For example rice (preferably brown), quinoa, pasta, spelt or buckwheat (we generally just stick with brown rice, quinoa and pasta). It's worth noting that our body's primary source of fuel is glucose from carbohydrates so without an adequate amount, you will no doubt feel tired and weak. As an example, your kale and cannelloni salad would be almost perfect with some rice or something similar (beans are fairly low in carbs). I know Jamie Oliver does some really good packets of pre-cooked rice/spelt/buckwheat/beans combination which I use. They're fairly expensive but taste good and will give you that carb-hit that you need! There are different mixtures but here is one of them: http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/jamie-oliver-mustard-pearl-barley-250g
For breakfast I would recommend porridge/oatmeal with unsweetened almond milk (or similar), flaxseed, cinnamon, blueberries, a mashed banana and maybe a bit of maple syrup. Then with lunch and dinner I try my best to make sure I get a main source of starchy carbohydrates (rice, pasta etc), a source of protein (normally black beans), plenty of vegetables and some herbs and spices (HUGE amounts of cancer-fighting antioxidants). It sounds like you eat quite a lot of fruit which is good but I would try to spread it out through the day so that you are snacking on them every few hours (include nuts as well).
Like you said, portion size is very important. Natural, healthy plant foods are very low in calories so you need to eat lots! But that's no bad thing!! The main reason people may fail is because they simply don't eat enough. Because animal products are so calorie dense and packed with all the bad stuff, anyone eating these products naturally has to watch how much they eat, but eating plant-based means you can eat as much as you like!
A great book I have read is How Not To Die by Dr Michael Greger - the second section talks about the right foods to eat and how to implement them into your diet. Here is the book if you're interested: http://amzn.to/2faiZox
Dr Michael Greger also has a great YouTube channel called NutritionFacts.org that is a fantastic resource for all things nutritional. I think he has some good videos on pregnancy as well: https://www.youtube.com/user/NutritionFactsOrg
Good luck with it all!
 
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mtotheb

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Thanks for your input! I train Martial Arts as well including Muay Thai! Small world hey! I will definitely try the black beans and buckwheat and will bulk up my portion sizes. Do you take protein shakes or any post training protein to help muscle repair?
 

Rory

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Hi no worries! Yeh definitely a small world. But i guess muay thai is growing so it's no surprise!
I dont bother taking any protein supplements to be honest. I would normally eat a handful of almonds or nuts after the session but this is because i would train in the evening so a full meal wasn't ideal soon before bed. To be honest, something like (natural) peanut butter and banana on toast would be a good post workout snack. I would maybe use vegan protein supplements if i was looking to build muscle but I'm happy just being athletic/lean. Having said that, you should be able to build a good amount of muscle by strength training whilst simply eating lots of plant foods (especially beans, quinoa etc) without the need for protein. Most vegans report having much quicker recovery between exercise sessions, just by eating the basic plant foods but if you want some protein shakes for post workout there are plenty of vegan ones available. I'd probably go with pea and hemp protein powders. I dont think you'll be doing yourself any harm by taking these plant based proteins but it's obviously a different story with the animal-based whey proteins! Maybe it's best for you to just experiment with it to see if it helps. Let me know if you need anything else
 
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mtotheb

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Excellent stuff thanks again and really good advice! It's been amazing the amount of support I have received on this forum!

My issue now is I have not drunk alcohol in almost 1 year BUT since I'm not indulging in turkey at Christmas I'm feeling so tempted to drink some Vegan friendly beer! Trying to fight the temptation since I personally feel alcohol is bad but it's tough! I would love to do a whole year without drinking!!
 

Rory

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My pleasure.
Yeh i very rarely drink alcohol. only really a few times a year. I would say go for it. Having a vegan beer or two over christmas will not be doing you (nor the animals) any harm (or at least none that your body can't deal with). The most important thing is that you are cutting out the animal products so i think you should give yourself a pat on the back and treat yourself (without bingeing). You need to let your hair down every once in a while!
 
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I have been vegetarian my whole life, and vegan since I was a child, so don't have any fears about veganism for children. It is the healthiest way to be.

There are some really great books for vegan children which you can read for free online at Violet's Vegan Comics, and they also have paperback books, a great one is Why are you a vegan? and other wacky verse for kids, which is a collection of rhymes and stories which help children to understand and explain to their friends why they are vegan. On the website there are loads of great comics and fun poems and activites, and it's really brilliant, I highly recommend it.