My Road To Health: Part VI

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Good morning!

It has been a long time since I did another post in my Road To Health series. Eleven months to be exact! I’m sure you were starting to wonder if I fell off the cliff? ;)

Start your engines folks!

My Road To Health: Part VI

Missed these?

One factor that helped me beat my eating disorder was that I learned how to channel my negative thoughts into something positive.

For example:

Eating Disordered Thought #1: “Food will make me fat; therefore, I should avoid it at all costs.”

—> Negative thought changed into positive thought —>

New Positive thought #1: “Food can be healthy and energizing; therefore I will learn about what foods will make me feel the best.”

So as you can see, part of my recovery involved looking at food, and myself, in a new light. It is not a surprise that we get into negative thinking patterns and can’t get out of them. After all, we are inside our heads all day long! For the longest time, I didn’t even recognize that my thoughts were problematic. I would estimate that 95% of my thoughts used to be negative. How draining and tiresome that got…

So I had to first recognize that this was not healthy and secondly decide that I was going to change. Then I took action.

The Goal: Negative thoughts about food were turned into positive thoughts. Negative thoughts about myself were turned into positive, or at least neutral, thoughts. A tall order but I was not willing to accept the alternative.

I was a walking-contradiction. I had a huge passion for health, but I neglected to treat myself in a healthy manner. Something was missing. I had to start practicing what I preached. I decided to learn about health and nutrition and apply it to myself. I was my own guinea pig in a sense. My ‘control group’ or ‘baseline measure’ was how I felt while starving- unhappy, depressed, and irritable. Surely it could only go up from there…!?

The question became: How would I feel when I started to eat wholesome and nutritious foods?

I took those nutrition courses in university and I rocked them. I started to buy nutrition books for pleasure reading when I wasn’t studying for my course work. I discovered many things along the way:

1) I soaked up health and nutrition information like a sponge.

2) I started to appreciate my body for everything that it does for me instead of loathing it.

As I learned more, I started to apply it to myself…very gradually. I realized that the iceburg lettuce I was eating, while low in calories, gave my body almost zero nutrients. Same with many of the foods I was eating. Instead of focusing on how much I could eat with the fewest amount of calories, I started to focus on what foods I could eat that would have the most amount of nutrients in them. I swapped the iceburg lettuce for romaine and spinach. I swapped microwave popcorn for veggie and cracker trays with hummus and avocado. While the calories really didn’t differ too greatly, my energy levels sure did.

During high school and also in my 1st year of university, I went vegetarian for several months at a time. It was extremely hard being a vegetarian while living off cafeteria food in university. I found that my options were limited because I didn’t have a kitchen to cook my own foods. So that didn’t last too long.

In 2008, Eric and I started to save money for our wedding. Prior to this, we hadn’t been paying much attention to our grocery bills. Once we examined them, we realized that we had been spending about $25-30 on meat a week. We both ate meat twice a day. We decided that we could easily cut back our meat consumption and swap a few dinners for lentils, beans, or grains. We discovered that lentils, grains, and beans were cheap. This made our wallets thicker, or should I say, the wallets of the wedding industry.

This is when something started to click inside me. I started to experiment with new foods (also thanks to many food blogs I was reading at the time!) and I realized that I didn’t need meat like I thought I did. There were all of these wonderful foods out there that I had not even given a chance because we were taught that a meal should consist of meat, potatoes, and veggies.

Gradually over 2008, meat lost its’ appeal in my life. Sometimes I would cook meat for Eric and then just have something else for myself because I found that I didn’t crave it anymore. I decided that I would eat a meat-free diet and I continued to consume dairy, eggs, fish, and other animal products. As I educated myself about the food industry, my love for animals and the environment swayed my choices in my diet. Watching Food Inc. really opened my eyes and I realized that I could never go back to eating animal products again. I asked myself, ‘Why eat an animal when I can obtain my diet from plants?’

In 2009, I continued to eat fish occasionally up until around the early summer when I decided to eat a vegan diet. I would have fish once a every two weeks or so. While some vegetarians would gasp at the idea of having fish occasionally, I just did what was best for me at the time. I listened to my body. For me, it was never about being ‘perfect’ according to a certain label or what people say I should eat.

Over 2009, I started to experiment with new products. I tried Tofurkey, soy yogurt, soy cheese, and non-dairy ice cream. Some of these products tasted good and some of them tasted horrible. The obvious downside with these products is the price and the processed mystery ingredients that they contain. I was a fan of neither. These imitation products are a big reason why many people think it is more expensive to eat a vegan diet. They are super expensive. Because we were cutting costs in our lives, I had to learn how to eat a vegan diet without the use of these products. And let me tell you, it was the best thing I ever did.

I think these vegan products are ok for that transition period when you are freaking out and wondering how in the world you are going to survive without your yogurt, but I have found that I can’t even be bothered with them anymore. I used them as a crutch at first because I thought that is what I was supposed to eat as a vegan. Now I would rather eat the unprocessed stuff because I find it tastes better and I feel better when I don’t eat them. However, on occasion I will have a vegan pizza or something to that effect when I want one.

My decision to eat a vegan diet was not sudden, just as eating a vegetarian diet was not. It was gradual. You probably saw the slow and gradual change in my diet over the past year. many vegetarians or vegans can tell me the exact date, but for me it was very gradual and something I did over time. While some vegetarians or vegans go cold-turkey, this was not my approach. I slowly transitioned to the diet I eat now. I found this much more manageable. My best advice for those of you who want to change is start slow. Many of us spent our entire lives eating certain foods and it may be unrealistic to just change everything in one day.

When I started to find that my energy increased, I stopped getting colds, and my skin started to really glow, I knew that I was on the right path and my body was finally happy.

To answer all of your questions on Twitter last night, Yes I craved meat, dairy, etc for several months. Occasionally, I will still crave eggs or cheese, but I don’t crave meat anymore. This is quite shocking to me because I used to love meat! It took about 4 months or so of not having these foods. I have always had a big sweet tooth, so for me, giving up cheese or eggs was probably not as hard as it is for others.

I find that I am craving all sorts of foods now like black bean burgers, couscous, hummus, green monsters, and almond butter. When I changed the foods I was eating, my palate also changed over time. I have also seen the same change in Eric. He used to hate all vegetables and now he loves them and craves a big salad for dinner. If you grow up eating meat and dairy, you will probably crave it. If you grow up eating other foods, you will likely crave those foods. It only makes sense to adapt to what you eat.

During the ‘transition’ when I was trying to go without dairy products, I got hooked on almond milk and hemp milk as a replacement for cow’s milk, so this wasn’t a hard sacrifice. I don’t really care for soy milk so I stay away from that mostly. It was really hard giving up cheese and yogurt. I used to have a huge yogurt addiction to the point where I would eat 3 mini yogurts a day. I used to wonder what the heck I would eat if I couldn’t have my morning snack of yogurt! I got creative and I learned about new foods and new recipes. I looked at what other vegans were eating and followed suit. Thank God for vegan food/recipe sites, that is all I can say!

I actually found this trial and error period very fun and liberating.

There are many negative associations with veganism, such as rigid, obsessed, overly-restrictive, etc. However, what I learned while on this journey is that being a vegan is not restrictive when you learn about all of the foods you can eat. As humans it is natural for us to focus on things we can’t have, but what about all the foods we can have? In just the past year or two, I probably eat over 200 new foods that I never ate before.

My diet used to consist of the same three meals every single day. Being a vegan has challenged me to break out of that rut and try new things. I get much more variety now than I ever did, so for me, this experience has been a great thing for my health and overall satisfaction with food.

There is no exact science to going vegetarian or vegan. I have said all along that I am not a perfect vegan, nor do I strive to be one. I will make mistakes and occasionally eat food with dairy in it that I don’t know about. I don’t let myself get bothered by things like that. I don’t believe the point of being a vegan is perfection. I wore the perfectionist mask for several years and I can tell you that it is a mask I will never wear again. I do the best I can each day and that is good enough for me.

And for those of you asking what Eric’s response was to me going vegan:

Here it is from the man himself…

Eric said, “It’s your choice and it doesn’t bother me. The only thing I don’t like is that it is hard  for us to find a restaurant where they have vegan options.”

I asked what about me not making meat for dinner?

“It was a drag not having you make meat for dinner, but after a while I got used to it. I have meat a couple times a week now so I don’t really feel like I am missing out. My meat consumption has gone down about 75% and I don’t mind having some vegetarian meals now whereas before I would never have considered it. I probably would never go fully vegetarian though. I’m happy with how things are now.”

It is definitely possible to be a vegan and not have your partner choose the same. It is more work, but it wasn’t a huge deal breaker for us.

The main thing I have learned is to have FUN with whatever your diet may be! For me, food was the enemy for so long. I have never been so excited about food in a long time. I feel like a part of me has woken up and come alive.

Whether you are a Vegan, Vegetarian, Carnivore, Flexitarian or what have you- HAVE FUN with your diet! Experiment, try new foods, and enjoy the experience. :)

~~~~

More reading for those curious:

1) For specific information on how to make the vegetarian or vegan transition, please see this wonderful article on 20 tips! Love Zen Habits :)

2) For my vegan baking tips, please check out my guest post over at Silly Tater Tot!

3) Want go participate in vegan for a week? Thursday is the official vegan for a day challenge.

You want to take part?

On Thursday, November 19, we are asking that you devote one or all of your meals to being vegan. We just kindly ask if you could link back to either my blog or Michelle’s when you make your posts about Vegan Week. We will be compiling a list of all who participate throughout the day, on our blogs under the ‘VeganWeek’ tabs. If you could make sure to either send us the link and/or leave it in the comment section of the ‘Vegan 4-A- Day’ official post on Thursday then we can give you proper accolades.

If you know of any other friends, bloggers or not, who are up for the challenge…spread it around! Everyone who takes part will have a chance at a really cool prize — details of that to come soon!

THREE GLO BAR GIVEAWAYS:

3) Check out Katy’s Glo bar giveaway as a part of Vegan for a Week!

4) Check out Michelle’s Glo Bar giveaway as part of Vegan for a Week!

5) Check out Julie’s Glo Bar giveaway!

Charity Donations:

For all of November, Katie has something going called “Operation Chocolate Covered Kindness” where she’s going to donate all of her foodbuzz money to a really great charity called The Enough Project. Please visit her amazing website (she has great recipes too!) and contribute to the cause.

Goodluck!!!

Have a wonderful hump-day!

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 18, 2009

I am not only impressed by your gradual swap to veganism (which I totally agree with the GRADUAL part), but that your hubby has followed, too. My husband is such a meat and potatoes man. If meat was the main thing that was sucking up our grocery bill (which it is), he would cut back on anything else before giving up that meat! I’m actually a bit NERVOUS about trying vegan tomorrow. I may try some of your recipes tonight for tomorrow. They always look delicious. :)

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2 Eliana >^..^ November 18, 2009

I read your guest post on STT before you posted it here, and learned SO much. ;o) I am glad you posted the link here so others can get to it.

I indirectly suggested to Marc last night that one of the things I would love to get for Christmas would be a gift card from GloBakery, I hope he got the message. LOL hahaha

Have a lovely day

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3 Bec November 18, 2009

Great post Angie on how to transition to vegetarianism and vegan ism! I really appreciated that you stressed adding veggies and other proteins to your diet. So many of my friends have gone vegetarian or vegan and simply ate carbs all the time, NOT HEALTHY!!!! I am not vegetarian but I do eat a mostly vegetarian diet for environmental reasons, plus as a college student lentils are way easier on my wallet then chicken

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4 Fel November 18, 2009

What a wonderful blog you’ve made! I stumbled onto it by chance and was drawn-in. You have changed my whole way of thinking about food and about my relationship (battle) with it and it has made such a big difference in my life. I found a whole new sunny perspective at Oh She Glows. It’s funny because I consider myself a very smart savvy woman but yet the constant food-fight going on in my head was really putting a damper on everything else and robbing me of living fully. I never had a full-blown eating disorder but I was never at peace either. It somehow never occurred to me that this was not “the way it goes” and just part of being a woman. Reading your blog and following you on your journey has been a real eye-opener. I’m currently reading Making Peace with Food (picked it up at the library). Thank you for being so open and being a (glowing!) light in the dark.
Fel

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5 Natasha November 18, 2009

I’m definitely going to try going vegan for a day or few, but it’ll have to wait until I’m not being a guest in someone else’s house. I just don’t know how I’ll beat my after dinner chocolate cravings.

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6 LindsayH November 18, 2009

There is vegan chocolate!

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7 Niki (The Vintage Artist) November 18, 2009

Do you ever have chocolate Angie? What’s vegan chocolate like, is it anything like the real stuff? xxx

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8 Janessa November 19, 2009

Chocolate is naturally vegan! You can add milk to it, but in it’s natural dark form it’s vegan. :)

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9 Kristie Lynn November 18, 2009

Dark chocolate? :)

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10 Dalynn Dykstra November 18, 2009

Green & Blacks Organics offers several vegan chocolate bars… I’m a vegetarian who eats mainly vegan and I have found that generally speaking, the darker the chocolate, the more likely it is that it’s vegan! Just make sure to read the ingredients list thoroughly to make sure that you’re getting what you want.

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11 nicolene November 19, 2009

im going to do the vegan thing today…..got some red lentils at home will think of something creative to make for dinner
yum yum

thanks Ang~~~~!!!!

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12 Paige @ Running Around Normal November 18, 2009

Great story! At first I thought I’d read it over lunch because I saw it was kinda lengthy, but as soon as I started reading I was captivated! (that’s a compliment;))I love your emphasis on not being perfect, too!

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13 Katie November 18, 2009

Great story!

Vegan eating has opened up a whole new world of eating! I love experiementing and it’s forced me to try new food because otherwise I would subsist on chips and bars. It’s so liberating and exciting. I have ate better and tastier foods as a vegan than I ever did as an omnivore!

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14 Karla November 18, 2009

I think your gradual approach is sort of interesting.

For me, I think an abrupt change works better to some extent. I decided to become a vegetarian and while I didn’t eat meat very often, making that solid commitment really made it more meaningful for me.

I guess it also depends on the situation, right? Going from carnivore to vegan probably wouldn’t be as easy as transitioning from flexetarian to vegetarian.

Thanks for the links! Great tips!

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15 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 18, 2009

I definitely think that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to changing one’s diet. I always get questions from people asking me how they can do it too, but in truth, it will vary for everyone. Some people will enjoy the cold turkey approach while others like myself preferred to make slow and gradual adjustments. :)

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16 Dalynn November 18, 2009

Hey Angela, I just wanted to let you know that I LOVE your blog. I have been following it each and every day for the last several months and you have helped me so much. So, thank you for that. I also wanted to tell you that my husband works for Mary’s Organic Crackers (or Mary’s Gone Crackers as they are known in the US) so he always laughs when you post your pictures of them on the blog! :) Thank you for everything you do!

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17 Estela @ Weekly Bite November 18, 2009

I’ve thought about going vegan, but my husband always talks me out of it…. He’s a HUGE meat eater!

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18 Tania @ Moment Anew November 18, 2009

GREAT post Angela! People’s dietary preferences are so individual and personal. No one should feel pressured into maintaining a label–“vegan” or “vegetarian”. I enjoy my meat but do at times also enjoy vegetarian and sometimes vegan meals. It’s whatever works for you and your body. :)

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19 Lauren @ Eater not a runner November 18, 2009

You are such an inspiration, I especially like that you mention that couples with different eating habits can make it work. My boyfriend and I eat completely differently but we have found a balance in our house!

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20 Mellissa November 18, 2009

Thank you for sharing! I am considering going vegan tomorrow to see what it is like. Being vegan is not something I am looking to do but doing it for a day would be interesting.

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21 Melanie November 18, 2009

What an excellent and timely post for me…I did a vegan week back over Halloween (with a couple of bobbles here and there). It wasn’t as tough as I imagined it would be, although I was pretty amazed to see how many food items have dairy/other animal products hidden. I don’t know that I could go fully vegan (I would still probably eat honey…I feel like I could ethically draw the line at insects), but I’m definitely trying to cut down/out the dairy. It really does make me feel like crap.

My husband doesn’t mind that I’m vegetarian, and he doesn’t mind that we don’t keep meat in the house. If we go out, he’ll get chicken or something, but he’s pretty content to eat what I eat at home:)

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22 Lynda November 18, 2009

I am definety transitioning from flexetarian to vegetarian, and it feels amazing. Angela, you are my inspiration. Thank you.

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23 Melinda November 18, 2009

Great post. My husband doesn’t mind that I don’t eat meat. I have been a vegetarian since I was 11 years old, and have liberalized more recently to include fish and seafood (which I eliminated when I was about 15). He eats what I prepare and when we go out to eat he gets meat/poultry. Speaking of vegetarian diets I need to be in the mindset since I am doing an hour long radio program tomorrow on vegetarian diets, which will be interesting because there are limited options here on the island. I am hoping after my interview that we can get more options at our commissary.

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24 Bree November 18, 2009

Amazing how this post is perfect timing for me. I have been eating a mostly vegetarian diet for a year and a half, but recently found out that my cholesterol is right at 200 (heart disease runs in the family). This freaked me out a bit and I just found out this weekend that my brother (at the age of 36 just went on cholesterol meds – he is also on BP meds). I lead a healthy lifestyle and am not overweight. This has all been the final push for me to transition to a vegan diet. I decided on the transition approach instead of cold turkey because I know I am going to make mistakes & I don’t want to beat myself up for it. I have been worrying about how this will work with my meat loving husband, so I was glad to see you talk about how it was for you & Eric.
Thanks for this very timely post!

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25 Marcia November 18, 2009

I really enjoyed reading your story. My diet (and my family’s) has gradually gone from the SAD to mostly vegetarian and vegan over the last several years. We aren’t perfect. And we don’t care to be.

We’re still omnivores. But, for example, about the only time I cook meat at home is when we have guests (we are cursed with friends who don’t consider it a meal without meat. And a friend who has to limit carbs due to borderline diabetes – hereditary). And we’ll eat meat when we are guests at someone else’s home. For Thanksgiving, I will be buying our meat at the farmer’s market from a humane farm. (I just watched Food Inc. Made me cry.)

But for the most part? 95% of the meals I cook are vegetarian. I would say 60-70% are vegan. My spouse and child could probably never give up cheese or yogurt. I consider them to be healthy in reasonable amounts. I think the last 8 cookbooks I’ve purchased are vegan.

I have to say that in the last two years we’ve been VERY healthy. I just recently suffered my first cold in a year and a half, and I can chalk that up to a toddler in preschool combined with 2 months of working 45+ hour weeks AND training for my first 1/2 marathon (2:17:06!)

I definitely don’t strive for “perfection” in my diet. It’s funny the ideas that people get. Not only the hardcore vegans, but also the hardcore omnis. My 16 year old nephew was visiting and noted that he just didn’t understand how people could be vegetarian – they’d be so WEAK and TIRED. I looked at him and smiled and laughed and said “you know your uncle and I are 95% vegetarian, right? We eat meat maybe 2-4 times a month.” He said “really?” Planting my little seed…

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26 skinnyrunner November 18, 2009

great info about veganism for those of us who know very little about it really (me!) i love that you got eric’s opinion too. well said!

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27 Mo November 18, 2009

Your story is interesting; I am always fascinated to hear how people decide to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet. I was a “cold-turkey” gal having switched to a vegetarian diet on a specific day when I was 16 years old. Then 20 years later I switched to a vegan diet. As you said, dairy might occasionally sneak in to something that I eat and I will not freak out, I do not have to be a “perfect vegan”.

I was raised ina meat and potatoes family and then married someone with the same diet. For me it is not a problem. My food choices are as intrinsic to me as my fingerprint. I don’t even consider that anyone will have an issue with it, nor do I have an issue with what others eat.

I have wanted to ask you if you have read the book The China Study. Given your interest in nutrition and research, I think that you would really like it. This book is what made me decide to move to a vegan diet.

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28 Linda November 18, 2009

You put so much into your posts and we as your readers really appreciate it. You don’t put up a post because you feel like you have to ( at least it doesn’t feel that way ) you write about things you are passionate about and your honesty is so refreshing. In my twenties I consumed massive amounts of diet soda and diet foods. I never really thought I had disordered eating, but now I realize I did. Now I am in my thirties and thanks to you have a green monster every day and LOVE it. I have completely cut out artificial sweetners from my diet and am so proud of myself for doing so. It was a battle let me tell you. I feel so much better and cringe when I think what i did to my body, but I can only move forward. Thanks for your honesty and passion.

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29 Kris | iheartwellness.com November 18, 2009

Love, love, love that you were able to listen to your body and stick with it! In my post today I explain how I lived off bad for you foods and I thought this was normal! Now I can’t even touch a soda with a 10 foot pole!

You rock doll face.

It’s funny how much that movie food inc. changed my life. Anyone else seen this?!

XXOO

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30 Laura @ Backstage Pass to Health & Happiness November 18, 2009

Thanks for the great post, Ange!

I have been a pesco-ovo-lacto vegetarian (flexitarian?) for a good chunk of time and have thought about transitioning to vegan. I eat fish maybe 1-2 times per week, and really dairy is the only thing I still consume on a daily basis. As you were, I am currently a yogurt addict and have at least one serving per day! I live in Wisconsin, aka the Dairy State, and love my cheese. However I think I could transition so that I only enjoy it on a special occasion basis.
When I cut out cow’s milk, poultry and other meats, I did notice a huge ‘surge’ in my health and immunity. I used to get colds all of the time and that is no longer the case.

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31 Abby November 18, 2009

As someone in recovery herself (and someone who has never commented), I just want to thank you for your inspiration. While I always feel like these things can happen to “other” people and not me, you remind me that it may be possible.

And thanks for the Glo-Bar giveaway heads-up, as I’m always trying to get my hands on these famous bars we read so much about :)

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32 Maureen November 18, 2009

I cannot agree more! I have been gradually going Vegan over the last few months having gone vegetarian earlier this year. The only thing I have not given up is goats cheese and while I do not eat it very often I do occasionally indulge. I am experimenting with cashew and pine nut cheese this weekend so hopefully I will be able to substitute the cheese out shortly. Oh and as for variety in my diet I have never eaten so many different recipes in years. You do get stuck in a rut where you eat the same foods over and over and over. The cookbooks and websites for Vegan cooking are countless in fact I often google vegan… for a recipe I would like to make and normally find something. The only thing that concerned me at first and it still a stunbling block as many recipes call for it is tofu. I cannot digest it as it does not agree with me. Fortunately many vegan sites are now using less and less tofu in recipes. Speaking of which I cannot wait to try your pumpkin pie as it is my favourite next to lemon merangue maybe you can come up with a substitute for merangue next.
Love you blog have a great day

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33 Laura Georgina November 18, 2009

Thank you so much for this post! I too think it’s important to look beyond categories and eat what feels right, both for the body and the conscience, because there are so many different reasons and circumstances to explain why any of us eat how we do.

The food consumption in my house is a perfect example: my husband is a long-time cheese-and-egg loving vegetarian as a matter of principle, and though I am not vegetarian in that I still eat meat and fish occasionally, my daily diet is mostly vegan due to lactose intolerance (and like you, I find mystery fake meats creepy and replacement products waay too expenssive!) These “restrictions” have been liberation in disguise–they have forced us to look beyond meat replacement and “meat and two veg” models and eat delicious food from regional cuisines that don’t rely on meat. I can honestly say I’ve never eaten better!

BTW, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time (any blips in your stats from Trinidad may be me!) but never commented before–keep up the good work, chica!

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34 Allison November 18, 2009

Im glad you made a smooth transition and that Eric was totally supportive, that makes everything so much easier!

I am kind of vegetarian, mostly because meat kind of just turns me off and it usually makes me sick. My boyfriend is definately supportive of that choice so its made things easier on me, and he likes to help find alternatives and explore new recipes which is fun because then we cook together. its a blast!

have a great day.

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35 Alex November 18, 2009

Love this post and can’t get over ow similar we were with respect to negative food thoughts. It has been tricky and challenging for me to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. One huge struggle was identifying and adopting the food is fuel idea. I never had thought about what went into food or why calories were different coming from an apple versus a 100 calorie snack pack. That was a huge turning point for me that led to better eating.

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36 Elly November 18, 2009

Great post! I like your gradual change approach – that’s how I did it too. I too have noticed a big shift in my energy levels and have hardly been sick since I made the change.

My husband calls himself a “pseudo-vegetarian” – ie, he eats vegetarian at home with me and then meat if we go out or go to someone’s house for dinner. I’m not sure whether or not he’s noticed yet that I’ve cut dairy out from my own diet . . . ;-) We still eat the occasional eggs, but they are from chooks that we personally know who run around outside all day and have a great life living on my friend’s property, but that’s only occasionally, maybe once every 3-4 weeks.

We cook lots of yummy things at our place – last night we made up a recipe for black bean burgers from scratch with roasted cashews, spinach, lentils, black beans, carrots, zucchini, onions, garlic and some spices – delicious! :-)

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37 Cynthia (It All Changes) November 18, 2009

The gradual part is really important. The more I learn about food the more my attitude towards it changes. I don’t need the sugar and caffeine I was addicted to because now I know what it does to my body.

I also love that you veganism was gradual. For me I’m not entirely vegetarian but I can go several days without meat without even thinking about it. The thought never really croses my mind that I haven’t eaten meat in a day unless I think about it consciously. I eat what my body needs for fuel and tastes yummy at the same time.

Congrats on the big changes :-)

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38 Marsha November 18, 2009

Thanks for this post. I can relate to the negative thinking in avoiding all food and “eating is bad.” (although you said it better than I did)

I’m planning for 2010 to be my transition into veganism…or near-veganism.

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39 Jackie @ TriToLose November 18, 2009

Congratulations on your journey! You’ve found what so many of us are looking for – equilibrium. Thanks for the inspiration. I think I’ll jump on the vegan-for-a-day challenge. I’m going to be with my best friend most of the day (we’ll be the older girls waiting in line for “New Moon”) and she is vegan. We already planned on making a vegan cookie recipe. Sounds like a fun challenge. :)

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40 Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries November 18, 2009

Great post; so much of what you said resonated so strongly with me. Learning about the nutrients in the food I eat has made food so much fun–and has made eating so much more enjoyable.

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41 Bridget November 18, 2009

You never disappoint with the great posts Ange. You’ve taught me so much over the past year through all your insightful knowledge.

I currently eat meats such as chicken, turkey and fish, but I have been eating less lately. I may eventually become a vegetarian…or even a vegan…who knows?!?! But, as you said, it is a gradual process.

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42 Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion November 18, 2009

Great post, Angela!

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43 Chocolate-Covered Katie November 18, 2009

Hey Angela! I just saw that you mentioned the charity drive, and I cannot even begin to tell you how much that means to me. The fact that you would take the time to help warms my heart. Thank you so much; you’re a sweetheart! I hope you know that.

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44 Kristin November 18, 2009

I’m so glad you posted this! I just ended my 15 year relationship with Weight Watchers TODAY! Not that I think it’s a “bad” program I’m just tired of the mind games and “point” (calorie) counting. I’m ready for a different approach and your blog inspires me in that direction!

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45 Annabananabomb November 18, 2009

This post was so timely Angela, I just finished reading your other Road to Health posts yesterday!

I’m on my own “road to health” and finding things slow and meandering. I’m letting go of the negative thoughts and feelings I have about myself and that awful feeling of desperation to be slim.

I’ve spent the past year exercising like a demon and learning that while exercise makes you feel AH-MA-ZING it does not make you slim if you still eat junk. I’ve re-evaluated why I exercise, and know now that it keeps me mentally sane, and that’s the most important thing.

I’ve also cancelled my gym membership and actually do the things I LOVE now, instead of sweating it out in the weights room I’m doing yoga classes and cycling and running and hiking (plus saving money)!

Lately I’ve come to realise that my relationship with food and with my body is crap and I’ve started the slow slow journey to healing. Replacing negative thoughts with neutral or positive ones isn’t as easy as it sounds! But once you start doing it enough it begins to happen naturally.

Phew, I’m writing an essay here! What I really wanted to say is thank you for sharing your story. It’s so similar to mine (although I know I’m still a few steps behind you!) it has given me hope that I can and will continue to become the healthiest me I can be. And also the inspiration to keep fighting that nasty little voice inside of me that rears it’s ugly head from time to time.

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46 Julie @savvyeats November 18, 2009

Love this post, Ange. I’ve been cutting out a little dairy by drinking mostly soy and almond milk, just because I feel better that way. I’m toying with the idea of slowly transitioning to a vegan diet to see how I feel… my main worry is finding restaurants where I can eat!

I love that you took the gradual approach. That’s what I did when I went vegetarian, and what I would do if I went vegan too!

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47 Lindsey @ Sound Eats November 18, 2009

I feel like you and Eric are totally like Ross and I. Going vegan was a very long and gradual process for me too, and so much of what you said could have been as if I had written it myself. Ross is the same as Eric – there are many foods he used to hate that he now loves (even as recently as last week telling me he hates pumpkin and yesterday he was chowing down on my vegan pumpkin pie). He eats all the vegan dinners I make, all vegan baked goods, and will occasionally just doctor his dinner with some added meat.

Anyway, yes – we’re similar. :)

Also – saw on twitter you may come to FL in March? If so, MEET UP!!! First international blogger meet up? ;)

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48 Jolene November 18, 2009

I experimented by making 10 new vegetarian recipes in the month of October … I found that I stared craving veggie meals, and had no cravings for meat. I was surprised by this! I think I could go veggie – but probably not vegan. Me and cheese are BFFs.

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49 Sally November 18, 2009

You are always so inspiring, Angela. I have been reading your blog from the beginning! Since laughter is a part of being healthy…I thought I would share this video that a friend sent to me since you’re my favorite Canadian (ok you’re the only Canadian I know of, but still…!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWQf13B8epw

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50 Jessica J November 18, 2009

Wonderfully expressed! I am finding the same thing as I transition to vegan with a good percentage raw.

Another thing I notice is that, going gradually, I’m able to blow away stereotypes and misconceptions in my head and break through barriors I never thought I could break through. For example, the first time I decided to do a 100% raw lunch, I was thinking, I’ll be hungry, I’ll need something salty, it won’t satisfy me, I’ll need something cooked to fill me up, etc. etc. etc. But I just tried it (ONE LUNCH – it wasn’t going to kill me, was it?). And guess what! I was totally surprised!! I liked it, it was satisfying, it made me happy, it made me feel good! THAT was enough motivation to keep exploring in baby steps, at THAT POINT I KNEW I was moving in the right direction and could do it! Yay!

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51 Pure2Raw Twins November 18, 2009

I agree with having fun with your diet and that tastebuds do change! Mine sure have… I am always astonished when I think of how my food choices of changed and how much better I feel now. My boyfriend is not sold on the whole vegan thing though since I do all the cooking he has no choice but to eat vegan and gluten free. :) He doesn’t mind… he actually loves it all. He gets his meat when he eats out and that is fine with him. It is not a deal breaker… I agree. You just have to find balance and it will all work out. But having fun is the most important in your diet. I mean there are so many great food choices out there nowadays to create new and exciting meals everyday!! :)

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52 Janessa November 19, 2009

What a sweet and wonderful post!

Our diets are a very personal choice, and you’re right to say that changes don’t happen the same for everyone. I’ve been vegetarian all my life and eating a vegan diet for the last 10 years, but it’s only in the last year that I’ve been living the vegan lifestyle.

I couldn’t be happier with how I came to where I am now. Everyone has their own path.

You’re awesome.

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53 Brooke November 19, 2009

Thank you for this post. It was so helpful. I am enjoying the vegan lifestyle and my transition was slow as well. I have not missed dairy or eggs yet. being vegan has helped me feel more peace in my day to day food choices. I love making healthy vegan treats because I have a huge sweet tooth but they truly feel guilt free and I enjoy them more than my previous sugar/fat laden treats that put me on a sugar roller coaster. Thanks again for sharing your story.

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54 Tiffanie November 19, 2009

I can SOOOOO relate to everything you wrote about here! I suffered from disordered eating for so long (still fight it in the back of my mind on occasion but getting WAYYYY better thanks to a transition over to veganism)

Its only been about 6 weeks for me, what started as just majorly increasing my veggie consumption caused me to NOT crave any types of meats whatsoever. I gave up meat easily and decided I would also give up cheeses, dairy, eggs, etc… Just like you now my body CRAVES large amounts of vegetables. My sweet tooth went away too. However, now when I get the hankering for something sweet it’s usually almond butter and banana, or a vegan dessert I’ll sample.

The weight is melting off of me and I’m SOOOO enjoying the creativeness I’m experiencing in the kitchen with this new lifestyle. Like you, I was stuck in this rut in the kitchen when we were eating the SAD diet. Now I’m experimenting with lots of new recipes, eating a wide variety of foods I never even gave the time of day before. It’s awesome!

My skin glows too now! :)

I love reading your blog…check mine out sometime!

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55 Kate November 19, 2009

Angela, thank you so much for pointing out that you don’t have to be a perfect vegan. I toyed with veganism a year or so ago and would not eat anything made with animal products. This was very hard and frustrating for myself and others around me. I thought if I ate something with dairy in it, I was a hypocrite and not a true vegan.

I grew up not eating a lot of meat and never really had a taste for it. However, that said, I do occassionally crave beef (usually during that time of the month for some reason). I ate meat a lot when I was doing no carbs (stupid stupid stupid) and felt it weighed me down a lot. Now I eat beef maybe once every two months and I find when I do, I really enjoy its taste. I never buy meat, nor do I cook it at home. (One meat I will not ever eat even if its cooked in something is pork).

Thank you for showing me that I can still consider myself 90% vegan and not feel the pressure to be perfect. :)

Slow and steady wins the race!

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56 Leanne January 18, 2010

I just found your blog a while ago and am very interested in what you write. I am a 37 year old woman who still struggles daily with obsessing about what I eat (counting calories, exercising etc…). I figure that if I eat low cal foods, that is good. But, like you’ve written, I find that I get bored or hungry and then will binge. I consider myself pretty healthy though. I have run a few half marathons. But, I’d like to learn more about vegan foods. Have you ever done something on your blog where you do a week long menu to introduce people to veganism (is that a word?) where you would also include what to buy for the weeks food. I think this would be a great tool to help me (and others) realize that it is not that hard to create yummy food that is super nutritious.
Thanks!

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57 Carla January 31, 2010

I found your blog via a friend’s facebook post. I find it very interesting how you’ve progressed into vegetarian eating over the course of your journey. I have a similar history as you in respects to your eating disorders and weight issues but I’ve progressed into a whole foods, healthy eating approach that includes meats from sustainable local farms. Have you read the book “the Vegetarian Myth”? It was written by an ex-vegan. It’s a very good book and I highly recommend this to you as you seem open minded and interested in furthering your nutritional knowledge. Thanks for a great blog!

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58 Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete April 26, 2010

Thanks for the comment about this link. I don’t know how I missed it since I was reading your blog during vegan week. ;) I told me husband about my want to become vegan (animal rights, stomach problems), and he kinda freaked out. I’ve been slowly transitioning to ovo-lacto vegetarian for the past 4 months. I wanted to try to go vegan starting today for a month, so I made myself a little beef tenderloin that had been in our freezer for months yesterday as my “last” meat anytime soon (my hubby is deployed so he hasn’t been here to eat any meat). I couldn’t even finish half of it. It just wasn’t as good as it would have tasted 5 months ago. I think my tastes are changing as you said. I ordered Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, and I can’t wait to try those recipes out for my husband when he finally gets home in two weeks. I might cook some meat for him 2-3 times a week, but I hope he ends up being as patient as your husband has been with you. Thanks for being an inspiration!

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59 Megs July 19, 2010

I was wondering if you had any knowledge or experience with “different body types need different foods?” I have been GRADUALLY changing my lifestyle (I agree with you that gradual changes are best in order to form life long habits). Anyway I am well on my way to a new lifestyle now (have quit smoking, drinking caffeine, back to exercising and have a whole new perspective on eating healthy). I have been considering going vegetarian for the last couple months. I spoke with my chiropractor (holistic/natural chiropractor whom is vegan herself) about different bodies needing different foods. She sent me to a website that you answer questions and it gives you an idea of where your body type fits in. My end result, “mixed type”. I now know that it takes your body 3 days to digest meat (yuck), leaving your body weighed down. I own a horse rescue farm and have a passion for animals, hence another reason to go vegetarian. This leaves me swaying back and forth……….if you have any information or links regarding different body types needing different foods it would be greatly appreciated!

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60 Ann May 2, 2012

Hey Angela,

What books on nutrition that you read for pleasure do you suggest? We’ve pretty much switched to Vegan at home, but I’d like to better understand nutrition issues so I can make more balanced meals and informed decisions for the day.
Thanks!

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61 Lauren May 8, 2012

I have recently made a personal decision to gradually become a vegan. I recently read Thrive, and although I love it, it started to make me a perfectionist, and I was stuck thinking what the heck can I eat. I am so happy I found your blog, and I have to say I just love everything about it! I can’t wait for your cookbook to come out. Again, thank you!!

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62 Angela (Oh She Glows) May 8, 2012

Thanks Lauren, goodluck with everything!

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63 Valerie July 30, 2012

Hi Angela! My husband and I have been vegan now for 4 months (spurred by the fact that my husband is very allergic to MSG and a lot of other food additives & by products from processing. We eat what I consider to be a cry good balance of whole grains, legumes, beans and vegetables with almost no processed ingredients ever. I was hoping that going vegan would make me feel good/healthy/slim… But to be honest I have never felt pudgier! I think it is due to the increase in carbohydrates. Do you have any thoughts or experience with this? I don’t want to give up on veganism (because otherwise I’m a huge fan and it isn’t as hard as I thought it would be!)… But I’m thinking of reintegrating org. chicken & org. eggs just to have some low carb, non-processed protein sources. Thoughts? (sorry for the rant! I just value your opinion!)

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64 Valerie July 31, 2012

*pretty good balance (lol – autocorrect!)

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