What has been your biggest challenge in transitioning to a vegan diet?

elusiveshadow

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I made the transition to a more plant based diet around February of this year. Initially, my transition was 'cold turkey'. I bought Dr. Greger's book "How Not To Die" and then found the Forks Over Knives website, and the next week, I was vegan.

Or I thought I was. Of course, I was still eating things like milk chocolate, my great nemesis which I am still battling. But beyond that I was and still am eating too much junk food. At first, I didn't think about junk food as much as getting the meat out of my diet but eliminating junk food is the next evolution for me.

I'm addicted to soda and sugar in general. Intellectually, I know how bad it is for me, but I get very anxious and restless if I don't have at least one soda throughout the day. I used to drink about 5 a day so I have cut it down but cutting it out feels impossible.

What have your biggest challenges been in making the transition and please share any useful strategies for overcoming them. Thanks!
 
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Clareh13

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I'm sorry, I don't want to preach but I have to say something about the soda! I used to be totally addicted to it too, but in the last 6 months I have lost two teeth and had 4 fillings in other teeth entirely as a result of drinking too much of it. Even the diet/sugar free stuff (which is what I drank) is no good because its the acid that dissolves your tooth enamel. I don't want anybody else to go through the agony of toothache I have recently, please please ditch the soda! You'll feel so much better for it too, I promise!
 
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Forest Nymph

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I used to drink a lot of soda in my teens and early twenties. I cut way back in my mid-twenties because I lived in the desert SouthWest and learned to drink water more, and this was reinforced by yoga. A regular yoga practice was what eventually also led me to become fully vegan instead of "trying it for a while" ....my anger at large corporations and corporate capitalism has gotten me almost entirely off of drinks like diet coke or pepsi. I drink water, coffee, tea and wine usually.

Health is a great motivator because HFCS is AWFUL and the artificial sweeteners in diet drinks are almost as bad (maybe worse in a different way). It helped me that I was living in L.A. and so would only drink Mexican Cokes with real sugar and they were more difficult to obtain, even in L.A. Learning about political affiliations with the Coca-Cola company (Coke couldn't even be sold at Bernie Sanders rally and I was a Berner) and about Pepsi's water theft made it a whole lot easier.

Now I'm really glad I'm not ingesting chemicals all of the time. You could try drinking carbonated flavored water instead. Le Croix is fairly inexpensive and comes in different fruity flavors. There are also "natural" sodas, which are usually more pricey so could be seen as a treat you don't drink all day long.
 
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Nicky

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It never would have occurred to me that I would be CAPABLE of giving up chocolate, fizzy drinks (or cheese, for that matter). I think my biggest surprise in going vegan was how easy it was to turn away from things I had previously seen as non-optional. Although the motivation for going vegan has far stronger (ethical) foundations, I think knowing that you have the ability to abstain can be powerful in other areas of your life. If you can stop eating meat and dairy for the animals, then you are also capable of being kind to your own body by avoiding food that's bad for you.

I've recently read a book called "Better than before" which is largely about habit control. One of the (many) points in it that resonated with me was that a treat should be "anticipated, enjoyed, and not looked back on with regret". Yesterday I went out for lunch and had my first soda in a month, and I'm happy about that, while I would not look back fondly on chugging 2l of coke zero on my sofa. Think how good your first soda of the week would feel on a Friday after a week without? I think you'd get more satisfaction from that than all the other cans combined!
 
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hopeful

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I know it's no where near the same taste, but I like flavored seltzers! Even when mixed 50%/50% with fruit juice, maybe it could help you transition to healthier drinks?
 

Lux

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I used to think, before I went vegan, that giving up cheese would be difficult but by the time I did go vegan I was surprised by how easy it was. I think I always thought of it as a flavour enhancer, but when you cook from scratch, using herbs and vegetables you really don't need it. What did turn out to be a difficult one for me was ice cream. I have tried some non dairy ones of course and some are better than others but nothing really compares to a good Häagen Dazs so just like I don't buy cheese replacements I don't bother with non dairy ice cream either most of the time. Instead I just treat myself to other things that are vegan by nature, like fruit and berries.

Chocolate is great, but I don't find it that hard to find vegan chocolate that tastes good so that's never held me back in any way and I genuinely thing sparkling water (carbonated water) is better than any other kind of fizzy drink like coke or fanta anyway, most likely because we never had fizzy drinks in the house when I grew up. I had to literally teach myself to like coke as an adult.
 

hopeful

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As a note about vegan ice creams - I completely agree that they are usually not as good as dairy, BUT, I just discovered Ben and Jerry's Non-Dairy ice creams. One of the flavors (out of the two I tried) is amazing. My wife prefers it to dairy ice cream, and she is not vegan. I recommend it! :)
 

Lux

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As a note about vegan ice creams - I completely agree that they are usually not as good as dairy, BUT, I just discovered Ben and Jerry's Non-Dairy ice creams. One of the flavors (out of the two I tried) is amazing. My wife prefers it to dairy ice cream, and she is not vegan. I recommend it! :)
Thanks, I have been meaning to give those a go (and as it's my birthday today I might have to get one flavour tonight to celebrate). The thing that's kept me from trying them so far has been the fact that they were only very recently launched in the country I'm in at the moment and to begin with they had an exclusive deal with 7-eleven I think it was, and they're stupidly expensive when you can't get them in a proper supermarket. I'll treat myself tonight! :yum
 
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ben and jerry's definitely seems easier to get - up until 2 weeks ago onlt Tesco in uk seemed to have it and only the bigger ones'. This week I noticed Sainsbury seem to have on mass. I'm not that impressed I must confess but wife is big fan.

I always thought Scandinavian countries were better stocked than here in Scotland. Certainly we were in Iceland (appreciate not quite Stockholm) and the selection was amazing
 

Lux

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ben and jerry's definitely seems easier to get - up until 2 weeks ago onlt Tesco in uk seemed to have it and only the bigger ones'. This week I noticed Sainsbury seem to have on mass. I'm not that impressed I must confess but wife is big fan.

I always thought Scandinavian countries were better stocked than here in Scotland. Certainly we were in Iceland (appreciate not quite Stockholm) and the selection was amazing
For anything but specifically Ben & Jerry's I would say we are very well off. We have a lot of Swedish vegan brands when it comes to most things (Oatly for example is of course Swedish) but when we're talking specifically about B&J their ice cream is very expensive here and we only have 4 vegan flavours available.
 

VeganOtaku

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I'e found that the choice of what we eat is more of a choice governed on what is socially and culturally acceptable in our enviroment.
 

Damo

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Giving up cheese was hard, pizza's a favourite food so you can see why?

I buy cheese replacements for sandwiches, don't buy pizza that often anymore though because it's mostly always without cheese but I believe Tesco are releasing their own pizza along with other things, expensive though! :O

Everything else was pretty smooth sailing though. :)
 

Nicky

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As a note about vegan ice creams - I completely agree that they are usually not as good as dairy, BUT, I just discovered Ben and Jerry's Non-Dairy ice creams. One of the flavors (out of the two I tried) is amazing. My wife prefers it to dairy ice cream, and she is not vegan. I recommend it! :)

Second to that - I bought the non dairy peanut butter Ben and Jerry's yesterday and it is so expensive but totally amazing!