Going Vegan 1st Jan 2012, Any advice / tips?

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  • Hi lovely people,

    I've been vegetarian for 5 months now and am very seriously thinking about taking the plunge to going Vegan as of New Year. I feel drawn towards taking this step and have been convinced by the argument that a vegetarian diet still results in animal suffering (my motivation is 90% ethical, though there are also health and spiritual motivations that underpin it).

    I found going veggie surprisingly easy (considering I was a big carnivore previously), but am aware that going vegan will be much more difficult, especially in terms of eating out or buying quick ready-to-eat snacks if I'm out and about. I know I'll have to prepare much more fresh food myself and plan ahead (which is a good thing to do anyway). I think I will miss cheese and ice cream too, I have tried the alternatives and they just don't compare.

    That said, I'm pretty determined to do what I feel is the right thing ethically. After watching 'Forks Over Knives' also, I know it is the right thing for my physical health (my weight has been up and down my whole life, and from what I understand stabilising at a healthy weight is almost inevitable on a healthy vegan diet)

    I look forward to any advice more experienced Vegans can give me, or would love to connect with other veggies or omnivores also planning to go vegan!

    Wishing you health, peace and happiness,


  • Im a carnivore matey but very much jealous of your will power. good luck to you. Its a good step :) Wish I was strong enough to even stop eating meat. I did quit smoking and caffeine though :D I guess thats a very sm all start hehe.

    Good luck buddy

  • Quote

    vegetarian diet still results in animal suffering

    Yes I agree with this fact - for example Cage hens for their eggs - I used to work in this very envirnoment for a living for 2 years up to 2004, the treatment yes they may be "happy" in the controlled enviroment of the cage with water and food... but I feel at the time it was total torture !! (for 72 weeks of their short lives) - this is one of the reason why I've turned "green" and "hippy like". And its got worse ;)

    Also I dislike the treatment of calfs for their mothers milk I really do but I am a big milk user for Tea and cooking. On a personal front my milk use is dropping in the new year to as I will be stopping my tea with milk drinking (purly on the fact I am using up all of the sugar left in this house - and that was for another subject I raised in the past as I feel this is a factor of my weight issue). For cooking use.. I havn't explored milk subs if there is any? But in current state I only use Organic products so I am not sure what the animal (calfs and mother) are in terms of the Organic milk - something I should be looking at?

    But I will use the eggs my hens lay for me as nature intends to (not forced by un-natural sunlight). my hens are treated as spolit pets and I give them the best I can for the conditions that the weather chucks at me (at the moment its like Glastonbury down there!) When they are they are happy and in season they give me the treats :) A hell lot better than that Chicken Farm {factory} I used to work at.

    So I can't call myself vegen, just a Veggie from the new year (or when the cat finishes off the last tin of tuna in the house) who uses just dairy (Eggs, Milk, Cheese and Butter)

    I have 3 stone to lose.. I feel that ditching consuming meat, flour and sugar will result is finally shifting this weight off me, as like you its up and down at the moment. I could say I am doing this for health reasons but also I think in a way ethical as well, also thinking off the future when I move into the bus full time I will not be having a fridge in there so no need to lots of things that needs chillin all of the time.

    Will check out Forks Over Knives this week

    So will subscribed to this thread and read with interest :D

  • Hi there! I was vegan for 2 and a half years (went back to being just veggie when became pregnant) and I didn't find it anywhere near as hard as I expected or was led to expect (generally by meat-eaters :P).
    If you like cooking it's great; it certainly got me into cooking proper meals which was very good for me! As a veggie it's much easier and I'm mch more apt to buy ready meals etc. than I was. I can be lazy and buy a lasagne rather than make one, and it's full of preservatives etc. and no where near as healthy as a fresh one.
    So it *will* be more work but it will be better for you, as long as you don't just live off chips and bourbon biscuits!
    Most supermarkets have a freefrom range of sorts now, and will always mention egg or milk on food products because of allergies.
    Boots do some vegan sandwiches I believe, it depends where you live to the variety (i.e. there will be more options if you live in London) - I saw falafel wraps in Sainsbury's today too (though I don't know if they were totally vegan). Holland and Barrett is also a saviour with loads of options there. M&S also has lots of vegan options. (Greggs veggie pasties are *not* vegan, the tricksie bastards! They glaze them with milk :/)
    Subway is fine if you're happy to pay for a salad sandwich (I can't remember if veggie patty is vegan, I think it's changed a couple of times - like the Wetherspoons veggie burger used to be vegan but then it stopped :( )
    There is lots out there though, don't worry you will not starve! :D I used to find it exciting, and whenever I found a food I hadn't before (e.g. first time I found vegan cheesecake!) it felt great, it made food a more enjoyable experience because I couldn't eat anything I wanted whenever I wanted. So sweets etc. were a treat, like they ought to be!

    The thing with alternatives is to not think of them as 'cheese replacement' etc., just think of them as a different food. Like veggie bacon, it is nothing like pig bacon, but it is nice and has its place. Same with cheese, and ice-cream etc. If your willpower to give them up is strong enough you will not miss them too much. And cheese is a vegetarian's bane anyway; it too often ends up filling every meal and then you end up with high cholesterol.

    Eating out *will* be a problem, you need to come to terms with this now :P My friends and family grew to hate me lol. But it means you spend less money.. many places still have difficulty with vegetarian food after-all. Chips. Beans and jacket potato. Wetherspoons used to do a vegan curry but I don't know if they still do. If you go to Chinese/Indian places you will find it easier. They eat lots of vegetables and don't add milk to everything unnecessarily! But forget eating out in pubs! Although I was in a pub in Cornwall once and they specially made me up a salad which was nice. But also the only time that ever happened lol.
    You may find you end up doing some of your shopping in Indian stores :).

    I expect I've waffled quite enough. Good luck! :)

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting

  • Hi
    I've been vegan for getting on for 30 years now, and once you've got into the swing of it it's really easy. A good starting point for resources is the Vegan Society where you'll find lots of information. Another good resource is Viva. If you're on Twitter follow @claireviva and @kylieviva as they'll be happy to help you get info from lots of other vegans on there.

  • the treatment yes they may be "happy" in the controlled enviroment of the cage with water and food... but I feel at the time it was total torture !!

    .... and the point you can never get around - the death of all the male chicks in the egg industry. So it doesn't matter if you find hens that are being treat well. Rescue chickens (and their eggs) are a great idea though!

    I've tried veganism twice and lasted almost a year the last time. I didn't find it that easy... not over time anyway. I would say, don't beat yourself up over the small stuff (e.g. honey, if you're going down that road). At least, not in the beginning. Everyone's different, and while some people prefer cold "turkey", others prefer to take it slowly. Do what's best for you and don't worry about labeling yourself.

  • Thanks for the advice guys, elfqueenofrohan especially, that was an amazing, thoughtful and thorough post which I found really helpful, so thanks!

    leo-saphira - snap, I have three stone to lose too :( While my primary motivation is ethical, losing some weight and becoming healthier will be the icing on the cake for me. Forks Over Knives is well worth a watch as it really outlines all the scientific evidence in favour of a plant-based diet (animal products are linked to obesity and health problems including cancer, diabetes and heart disease).

    elfqueenofrohan - I do like cooking, though lately I've fallen out of the habit! Hopefully going vegan will help with that too. I love cooking Indian and Caribbean food so will enjoy exploring vegan versions of my favourite dishes, some of wish are already vegan by accident! I agree, Indian cuisine is very veggie friendly - the only thing that worries me is things being cooked in Ghee -do you have to ask them to cook it in oil when you ate out? (when you were vegan).

    I love the veggie pattie at Subway but it isn't currently vegan (contains eggs a a binding agent). I'm gutted that the same is true for Quorn products and most Linda McCartney foods (which are delicious) contain either eggs or cheese
    :wall: I agree that Holland and Barrets is a life saver, though inexplicably, my closest branch has got rid of the chilled and frozen sections! Not a major issue, I just go to one in another town.

    You're spot on about cheese becoming the bane of my life once I became vegetarian. I actually gained weight since going veggie because I ate far too much cheese!

    Lord Summerisle thanks for the links. I've already browsed the vegan society but Viva was new to me, so thanks!

    Thanks again people :) I'll post with how I get on, January 1st here we come!


  • Last year I did the same, as of the first of jan. I lasted 8 days. Here's what I wished I had researched first:

    Where to find 'replacements' and vegan food I actually liked
    Which sweeties were vegan
    There are practically tons of soya / rice milk varieties, I could have tried and tested each to find one I liked

    Things like that. I was 100% veggie at the time but decided that also for reasons of being lactose intolerant and being so unhealthy, I'd take the plunge. I wish I'd looked into everything before starting because I hadn't realised the sweets I was given for xmas weren't even veggie, never mind vegan, for example.

    Hope this helps in any way!

    I'm now mostly veggie but if I end up eating something that isn't veggie, I'm not going to say several Hail Hippys and whip my skin. I have chosen to eat white meat if I can't find something veggie and dairy free. And maybe one day I'll go vegan. I need to learn how to cook lentils!

  • hey dude. funnily enough i'm planning on doing the same thing for new year. been veggie for 30+ years and was vegan for a few years up until few years ago. it's undoubtedly much easier being veggie, but i've always felt that being vegan is the better ethical and indeed spiritual choice, for me at least. plus, i've become a fat pig since going back to being veggie, so there's that too. good luck and i'm sure plenty of us will be keen to know how you get on. :)

    The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you never know if they are genuine - Abraham Lincoln

  • re. ghee, you should always check. if you explain then hopefully they will be accomodating and tell you either it's not vegan or offer to cook with oil!

    I ended up eating a lot of stews and soups, it makes you play around with herbs and spices a lot more. you can get a whole different meal just from the different flavourings you use! you can also chuck in a couple of spoons of marmite which is full of good things and you won't taste it if you don't like it. You can also use Vecon - this is a stock that is fortified with loads of stuff inc. vitamin B12 which is hard to get in your diet when you are vegan. This is important so that you don't end up with a deficiency and it's a nicer way to make sure you get it than taking multivitamins(which are controversial as to how well they work).

    Although you'll miss most Linda McCartney products (i think sausages are okay though? these things change all the time - like when they decided to add milk to Salt and Vinegar walkers crisps :/) look out for Redwood in health food shops, this is completely vegan. Frys and realeat (cauldron do tofu but at the moment the v thought of tofu is making me want to throw up so i won't discuss that with you :P) are also very good for meat alternatives- there's a slicing sausage in H&B that's made by frys and was always vegan (i say was in case it's changed and you sue me :P). it was fantastic for sandwiches and brilliant on home-made pizzas :) mmm, i still eat it now.
    These products do tend to be more expensive than their supermarket brand counterparts but you shouldn't eat too much processed food anyway.

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting

  • the dj Thanks for the tips - I hope they'll help me last longer than 8 days!

    As for Christmas sweets / chocolate, I intend to eat all of those before the 1st Jan and go out with a bang! haha

    I'm going to strive to be completely animal-product free, but if I slip up and eat something with diary / egg in by mistake, I won't beat myself up, I'll just learn from it and make better choices next time.

    Haha Lentils are easy, and nutritious :) Look up some nice Indian Dahl dishes.

    Zee Hey - nice to hear someone else is taking the plunge! Maybe we could use this thread to up date on how we are getting on, share anything we learn, any obstacles, pit falls etc along the way.

    You're right, being veggie is loads easier, but for ethical (and spiritual reasons) veganism is the way forward, I agree. Whilst vegetarianism is a major positive step, the dairy and egg industries still very much contribute to the commodification and unnecessary suffering and death of animals. I've put on weight since being veggie too - it's all the cheese!

    I'm interested - what are your spiritual reasons for veganism? I'm a Buddhist, so for me it's mainly the the idea of being conscious and mindful in all one's thoughts, words and actions and striving not to kill or harm any sentient being. I've also read some fascinating stuff online about how eating animal products lowers your consciousness...

    sensamelia Recipes on a budget? What sort of food do you like? A really simple vegan meal I enjoy is stir fried (or curried) veg served with rice and beans (kidney beans, gungo peas, black eyed peas, whichever really!). It's inexpensive, tasty and healthy. Even more so if the rice is brown rather than white.

    elfqueenofrohan As for the ghee - well, I'm going to my favourite Indian restuarant for my birthday, which is 20th January, so I'll have been Vegan for three weeks then. I'm going to book a private room upstairs and will ask them if they can cook my curry without ghee (my favourite curries don't have cream in luckily, or yoghurt, but anyone who likes Korma or Masala would have to mindful of that too).

    The marmite is a good idea, will have to try that!

    I've tried Redwood products, they are great! I've also tried Frys and Cauldron, but not realeat. Amy's stuff is good too. The supermarkets do decent own brand veggie burgers etc, I'll have to check how many of these are vegan next time I'm shopping.

    You're right about the processed food - I've read somewhere (a forum or something possibly, can't remember) that the longer you are veggie / vegan, the less you rely on meat substitues and processed food and you naturally migrate towards a more "genuine" plant-based diet. Talking of 'plant based', have you noticed that this term is becoming quite popular in some quarters as an alternative to "vegan", I assume its because Vegan often has negative connotations, epecially amongst meat-eaters. The word vegan can make you think of skinny, pale, self-righteous, middle class hippies, and the more extreme end of the animal rights campaign (petrol bombs, harassment and death threats!!). I still prefer "Vegan" as a term, because it, for me, sums up the desire to live a compassioante, non-violent, cruelty-free lifestyle.

  • I always thought of 'vegan' as a lifestyle whereas terms like strict vegetarian, plant-based diet is only about what you eat. So a vegan would also be someone who cuts out using wool/leather. And also things like condoms, the pill, aspirin etc. because these have milk derivatives in. Plenty of alcohol too. But weirdly, even the stricted vegans I've met, rarely obey the alcohol rule. I've met people who will throw food in the bin if it's been 'contaminated' O.o and then be happy to drink red wine/a pint of fosters etc. (ew regardless).
    I did have a list of vegan beers (Carlsberg, Bud, Becks.. def not carling or fosters) most wine won't be, but you're fine with neat vodka. (unless you go into Mad Territory and start thinking about field mice being killed when crops are harvested etc., but then you tend to Starve To Death. I did stray into this a bit at first; when I first began learning about the damage we are doing on a grand scale to every ecosystem on this planet, I tried to not doing anything that is detrimental. I quickly came to the conclusion that the best thing to do would be to commit suicide, preferably by letting a polar bear eat me. It was my misfortune that I never came across a polar bear, and I have continued to be detrimental and polluting.)
    Because I suppose veganism goes hand in hand with a more ethical lifestyle generally. I never made myself go back to being vegan because I thought I would make the most ethical choices based on products available instead. e.g. is buying soya milk, which has travelled a long way, and was grown on land that used to be a rainforest, better or worse than buying milk from a dairy, with its animal cruelty, pollution, etc.. I think if you find an organic nice dairy farm (ooh, every dairy farmer I've ever spoken to, granted only about 3, have got VERY pissed off with me when I have said 'I'm vegan because of cruelty'. For the record, ALL their cows are happy :P ) If I lived in USA however, I wouldn't go anywhere near anything from the dairy industry. (I did once read a very good argument for eating only 'raw' dairy, i.e. unpasteurised/processed but I think this is straying somewhat off-topic.) - I had a half-finished sentence back there didn't I? Lol. (And I also find something very hypocritical about vegans who smoke. But I suppose it depends on the reason for veganism; some people do it for health reasons. Altho they shouldn't be smoking either then but nm, lol!)
    I think I'm finding it nice to chat about this; you cannot discuss veganism with a lot of people I discovered. I do see your point with not saying 'vegan' though: I often found I stopped actually telling people because of the utterly retarded responses I would get. (But tomatoes are alive!!!!) And people often act very defensively as if you are attacking them by stating your diet. I never told anyone they shouldn't eat meat personally; if we had a discussion I would explain why I felt it was better etc. but people can be so unpleasant I tend to avoid these conversations now. I was once chatting to a man outside a pub in Cardiff, and he asked me if I knew where any good steak houses were. I said no, sorry, I don't eat meat. Hahaha, apparently it was so hilarious he had to tell his mates. They all then had to question me on WHAT did I eat, why I hadn't starved to death, didn't I think about the feelings of fruit etc.etc. Often these people don't want an actual intelligent response. When Neyni and I were in Hungary, in Pizza Hut, both of us eating veggie, the two Irish boys we'd met in our hostel and were with us, kept going on about our diet choice and then made a comment to suggest we were rubbing it in their faces/talking about it too much. Wtf. :/ Morons.
    I wrote another essay. I apologise. :P

    we reenact Noah's ancient drama, but in reverse, like a film running backwards, the animals exiting

    The post was edited 1 time, last by elfqueenofrohan ().

  • I agree that Vegan is very much a lifestyle, with a a set of values attached, whereas the other descriptions merely describe diet.

    Yeah the alcohol thing is funny isn't it? I think alcohol plays such a huge part in our culture that it feels very scary to think of not drinking. There are probably quite a few Vegans who turn a blind eye to how Vegan friendly their tipple of choice is!

    As a Buddhist, ideally I wouldn't drink at all, however, for the reason mention above, all I've managed to do is cut down the frequency and quantity of my drinking. Just special occasions now really. Perhaps one day I'll give it up all together. For now I'm pleased to see there are lists of which beers are vegan-friendly online and there are plenty of readily available ones which are.

    I know what you are saying about field mice etc - I suppose the way to look at it is that it is impossible to live a completely harm free life. We kill bugs throughout the day just by breathing, walking and cleaning. The animal suffering caused by harvesting vegetables is minimal when compared to animal agriculture. Large-scale factory farming of all sorts is ecologically damaging though isn't it? Small scale, local, organic farming is a much more ethical choice.

    Good point on Soya milk, though for that reason, I would always buy Provamel products. They are produced sustainably and are Carbon Neutral. The more popular / common Alpro brand isn't nearly as ethical, though I think it has improved recently.

    I suppose I'd take issue with the idea of a "nice dairy farm"! I'm sure their cows would be happier if they weren't kept constantly pregnant, separated from their calfs (which are sold at auction for Veal, usually kept in constant darkness to produce the 'preferred' pale meat) and then unnecessarily slaughtered when they no longer produce enough milk to be 'economically viable'. These same cruel truths are as true of the 'nice' local organic diary farmer as any other. It's just that the large factory farms take the cruelty to even greater depths. I've come to believe that there is no such thing as a "humane" animal product. All diary is produced at the cost of unnecessary animal suffering.

    Please don't feel I'm judging you if you do eat dairy. That isn't my intention at all, I'm just expressing the thinking that has led me to choose to make the change to Veganism as of well... in two days! Scared!

    I find the smoking thing a bit hypocritical too!

    I'm enjoying talking about this too. It's good to hear other people's views and get such great advice :)

    I think people are so unpleasant and defensive because as vegans / vegetarians we remind meat eaters of the cruelty and suffering that led to the meat on their plates. Most people are aware of this in the back of their minds but function by not allowing themselves to think about it and follow it to its natural conclusions. Before we even open our mouths, just by our choices, they feel guilty and threatened and go on the attack!

    I'm reading an excellent book right now, "Vegan Freak: Being Vegan in a non-Vegan world" I'd really recommend it to anyone thinking of making the change, really helpful, informative, practical and inspirational :)

  • Wishing you well with this endeavour Alan and Zee xx

    We come with justice and fire. We come with honour and ideas. We come with decency and desire. We come now and we come as unstoppable as the rain

  • Wishing you well with this endeavour Alan and Zee xx

    thanks. i've gone vegan again as of today. it's not new to me, i was vegan for a few years but i lapsed. in a way, that makes it harder the second time round, knowing you're trying to do something you already failed at. but i fail at most things, i should be used to it. :p

    The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you never know if they are genuine - Abraham Lincoln

  • Thanks pooka :thumbup:

    Hows the first day going Zee? I've had a successful first day! Had a lie in after New Year's Eve so didn't have breakfast. Lunch was a stir fry (Peppers, Onions, Green Beans and Kidney Beans with ginger, garlic and chilli) served with rice. Evening meal was leftovers from lunch with added peas and this time with the rice mixed in with the veg to make a paella type dish. Easy peasy so far! How has your day gone? Have you watched Forks Over Knives yet?

    Some positive re-framing in terms of the past 'failure' - it takes a lot of people more than one attempt to make a significant change i.e. giving up smoking, losing weight, going veggie or vegan. This time you know what you're getting yourself in to, you have a few years experience - perhaps this time you're ready! Good luck!

  • good luck,and don't kick yourself if you eat something non vegan,we all make .mistakes.:thumbup:

  • Hows the first day going Zee?

    well it's been couple of days now... damn work taking up all my internet time. :rolleyes:

    it's going ok though, am on a bit of a health drive at the moment too so have been eating plenty of fruit and yesterday and today i've had tofu and veg stir fry for my main meal.

    i don't have any concerns about it really. being vegan just needs a bit more thought, a bit more planning, especially when you're getting used to it.

    have had to remind myself a couple of times, like going to make a cup of coffee with milk at work and then stopping myself and having it black.

    hope you're getting on ok.

    The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you never know if they are genuine - Abraham Lincoln

  • I'm on a health drive too. Combining the two is working quite well. Masterplan: go Vegan for ethical reasons and lose a few stone in the process as a rather welcome side benefit!

    Day 2, another lie in before starting back at work tomorrow so no breakfast again (not good I know) Lunch: Hummus on toast (two pieces), Lunch: home made Vegan Hotpot.

    I'm cooking a Vegan Morrocon Tagine now (Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash, Onion, Peppers, Chickpeas, Lentils, Chillies, Garlic and Morrocan Spice Mix with tinned tomato and vegetable stock) with a Tagine pot I got for Christmas. Trying to be organised so I can have something healthy and vegan for lunch tomorrow - looks yummy, but will have to try not to to scoff half of it when it's done at 10pm tonight!!

    I must say, I'm feeling quite a bit better, even just at the end of day two. Been making sure I get 2 litres of water per day, drinking a glass of innocent smoothie plus making sure I take my Vegan multivitamin / multi-mineral tablet. I was eating so much junk leading up to Christmas and then New Year (chocolate, lazy 'shove it in oven for half an hour' frozen food, pizzas, chips etc). It feels much better to be eating this well, I just hope I can keep it up! Going to add in Aloe Vera Juice and a tablespoon or two of flaxseed each day too... gonna turn in to a male Gillian McKeith!

  • Day 3, still going well, though I made my first boo boo. Was offered a cup of coffee (don't drink it very often but was half asleep on my first day back at work so thought I could do with the caffeine!). The person just made me my coffee with milk without asking and I'd drank half of it before I realised (with some horror initially!) that I'd drank diary. Once I got over the horror, I convinced myself it was an understandable one-off slip up because I was tired and still getting used to what I do and don't eat and drink. Not to be stressed over, right? :o

    Ate vegan (and healthy) the whole day apart from that.

  • ... gonna turn in to a male Gillian McKeith!

    When you start looking as shite as she does you know you'll have fucked up. I've been vegan for over 20 years and luckily I've not turned into a rodent yet - and don't bother with vitamin pills - just eat healthily! Flaxseed or even better hempseed is way to go!

  • I don't think I'll ever go that far! (the poo!). Though I did have a glass of hot water and lemon first thing this morning!

    Will keep up with the flaxseeds then :)

    Big Test tonight - in the house alone because the wife is at college. These are the nights I normally pig out / break any diet I'm on etc. There are left over Christmas chocolates in the vicinity so if I get through day 4 and am still a) Vegan and b) eating healthily I may have cracked it... for now!