Vegan How To: Part 1 (How To Make The Transition)

209 comments

{Catching up? See the Introduction, Part 1: Making the transition (this post), Part 2: Replacing Dairy Milk, Part 3: Homemade Oat Milk, Part 4: Homemade Almond Milk, Part 5:  Ten Tips for eating out as a vegan}

After seeing your comments and emails pour in on Monday and Tuesday, I’m so thankful I took the plunge with my new Vegan How To series. What a great way to kick off 2013. We’re already starting conversations about important topics. While I can’t promise to have answers to all your questions, I can share my experiences with you and encourage you to do the same. There are many things we can learn from each other so let’s talk, share, and get inspired!

Today’s topic is about making the transition to a vegan diet. What I’ve written below is what has worked for me, so take this with a grain of salt – everyone’s experience will be different (and I’d love you to share yours below!). It’s also worth repeating that I’m not a nutrition/health professional and my opinions/experiences should not be substituted for medical advice. Always consult your doc before making any diet/lifestyle changes.

How I made the transition to a vegan diet (in a somewhat condensed nutshell, but not really because I’m chatty):

1. Slow and Steady

I’ve never been the type of person who rushes into anything. Eric and I dated for 8 years before we got hitched. I’m turning 30 this year and I don’t feel close to being ready for motherhood. It took me a year to finally start this how-to series. You get the point. It doesn’t help that Eric is the exact. same. way. We can barely decide what laundry detergent to buy let alone make major life decisions. On the bright side, the decisions I do make are often long-lasting and my transition to a vegan diet was no different. I was in recovery for an eating disorder and looking to make some positive changes to my diet. After all, I had lived off of processed, fat-free, artificially-sweetened diet foods for years and I knew it was taking a toll on my health. I suffered from IBS and other digestive issues, so per my doc’s suggestions I experimented with reducing my consumption of meat and dairy to see if it would make a difference. When I started to shift away from all that dairy I was eating, I felt better, my skin started to clear up, and many of my digestive issues decreased. I was never a huge meat eater to begin with, so that part wasn’t as difficult for me, although it was still a challenge. Overtime, I really had no reason to go back to my old diet, even though giving up certain foods like cheese proved to be very difficult (more on this in a future post). When I’m asked what worked for me, I always say baby steps. Yes, it’s a cliché, but small changes really add up over time!

This isn’t to say that going cold-turkey won’t work for you – many people go cold-turkey with diet/lifestyle changes and are successful with it.  That just wasn’t my approach. I think it comes down to your personality and what you think will work best for you.

2. Stock your pantry

A well-stocked pantry is one of the keys to success, especially in the beginning. We need options and fuel! And by options and fuel, I don’t mean the dry lettuce and tomato salads that restaurants often try to entice me with. How about fresh produce, legumes, herbs/spices, quinoa, rolled oats, edamame, and almond milk to name a few. I wrote a post a while ago called “My Vegan Pantry“, listing the most common foods I have stocked in my cupboards from dried beans to vinegar and everything in between. I do need to update the post, but I still hope it’s helpful for you. Keep in mind that some of the items are my baking ingredients and not what I would consider “necessities” by any means.

IMG 1981 thumb   Vegan How To: Part 1 (How To Make The Transition)

When I first made the transition I stocked my fridge with mock meat and dairy products like Tofurkey slices, vegan sour cream, and TVP crumbles. Yes, if you go back in time on my blog, you might come across the odd Tofurkey sandwich! The truth is, I had no idea how to eat a fulfilling, vibrant, and healthy diet on my own without these substitution foods. I wasn’t wrong for eating them, I just didn’t have all of the knowledge I needed at the time. I didn’t feel great eating these products, or at least, I didn’t feel as great as I did without them. Eventually, I discovered how to thrive on a vegan diet without relying on them, but I do recognize they were helpful for me in the early stages.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that a big bowl of lentils and tomato sauce was much more satisfying than mock deli meat from a box. Once I made this connection, it got easier and easier.

3. Be your own teacher

If you think that I grew up learning to cook and bake, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Four years ago, I had no idea how to cook dry lentils or so much as roast a batch of root vegetables. I could barely dice an onion for the life of me! This meant I had to teach myself how to prepare almost all of the foods I now enjoy. I did a lot of reading, Googling, watching cooking shows, devouring cookbooks, and searching You Tube for how-to videos. Little did I know, this girl who used to survive on diet foods would soon find a passion in food and cooking like never before. So can you.

Along the same lines, it’s good to research the nutritional aspects of a vegan diet. There are many books out there now with this information to help guide you. I also recommend checking out Forks Over Knives for an inspirational documentary on the benefits of a plant-based diet.

4. Focus on what you add, not take away

As I mentioned in my first post, I eventually learned that a vegan diet is really about what I add and not what I take away. The more I focused on all the new foods I was trying, I really didn’t feel like I was missing out at all. My diet used to be so limited and boring, lacking in colourful produce, and inspiration. I was pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of foods I can eat on a plant-based diet. If you are feeling stuck in a rut, challenge yourself to try one new food a week and pick a recipe to make with it. There are so many recipes and tutorials available online that make cooking new foods a breeze. Or better yet, start a food blog to document your new journey! Having accountability online is a great motivator and you get to meet other like-minded friends.

5. Don’t expect perfection

I have slipped up on my vegan diet just like many of you have. Guess what? We are human! My advice is to focus on all the amazing choices you’ve made to date instead of that time when you slipped up. No matter what kind of diet you eat, every time you chose plants over animals you are making a difference. For me, this journey has been easier and easier as the years go by. The cravings I once had are much, much less. Instead of craving the old foods, I now crave the new foods that I eat. It’s amazing how the taste buds can adapt when you give them a chance.

6. Get support

Find friends who want to take this journey with you. I didn’t know any vegans until I met many friends online through reading other blogs and going to meet ups. It’s important to have a support system. Join clubs, recipe groups, meet ups, and attend conferences. I’m going to my first vegan conference (Vida Vegan Con) in May and I’m so excited to meet new friends in this community.

7. Pack food

When I leave the house for long periods of time, I always pack snacks or meals with me. Whether it’s an afternoon out or a few days at the in laws, I plan ahead and bring food. You can always find a couple energy bars in the bottom of my purse on any given day! Most days I don’t need them, but I feel great knowing I have a healthy snack on me in case the hunger monster strikes.

Well, I could go on and on, but since this is already quite wordy I will pass it over to you!

What’s your approach when making a change – slow and steady or cold-turkey?

How did you make the transition to a vegan or vegetarian diet? What strategies worked for you?

Have you read any books or watched any movies that helped you with the transition?

Are you making changes to your diet right now? What are you doing to make the transition easier?

For Part 2, see Replacing Dairy Milk

Previous Posts

{ 209 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodi January 3, 2013

I went mostly cold turkey because I thought going vegan would only be a one-month challenge with my sister… and it turned out to be a 5 YEAR challenge (and counting)! I was looking for a change, but didn’t necessarily think I would stick with it for as long as I did! One of the key motivators for changing my diet and lifestyle is reading Skinny Bi*ch. It was a great book and very informative, with a sassy attitude, which is exactly what I needed to push me. Also, I’ve thumbed over The Kind Diet (Alicia Silverstone) and pulled some thoughts from there, too. And of course blogs like yours helps to reinforce all the amazing foods I have the option of cooking with, so I’m never alone in my quest for a plant-based diet! In the beginning, I found it SO beneficial to really spend one month at home cooking, no eating out and not too much dinners with friends. It sounds boring, but it worked for me. If I’d meet friends for dinner, I’d always eat before and get an appetizer when with them (so I wouldn’t be ravenous and order something non-vegan). Also it gave me the opportunity to get to learn how to cook vegan and what I liked to cook for myself, so I definitely recommend some alone time in the kitchen in the very beginning, if time allows.

Reply

Jo-Anna January 3, 2013

I said I was going to do it slow and steady, but I pretty much jumped in with both feet.

In a recent attempt follow my beliefs and become more true to myself, I told my husband that I had decided to go vegetarian, but I wasn’t going to do that whole crazy vegan thing. However as I was putting meals together I realized that I didn’t want to eat eggs, dairy, or fish either. So I WANTED to eat a vegan diet. Oh well. I guess I lied to him. This is a bit hard on my husband though as he is a classically french trained chef, and this is not his usual fare. :)

I have found it really easy to switch over as I am not really fighting my cravings. I don’t feel as if I am giving anything up. I just get to eat foods that I actually want to eat. The only difficulty I am finding is trying to get new pantry basics built up and into our weekly food budget, when I still feed my husband and kids their fairly normal diet. So that is slowing things down a bit. I already have dozens of recipes bookmarked and printed out (most from your site actually, right now I am CRAVING upside down apple pancake), and am just waiting for the ingredients to trickle in to try them.

Reply

Anita January 3, 2013

You can add one more thank you to your list! My husband and I have begun the journey and could use all the help we can get. We started in September and we are taking it slow and steady. A friend had told be about a book called “The China Study”. I had only just started it, when I had an appointment with my cardiologist, and noticed it on his book shelf. When I asked him about it, he said to keep reading and add to it the book, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn, and then watch the movie you meantioned, Forks Over Knives. Well it was amazing, that when my husband started to read these books, he agreed with a switch in our diet. (He was a total junkaholic!)
I hadn’t seen the cardiologist for a year…and I have to say the change was incredible!! His weight was down (not that he was really OVER weight) but his colouring and complexion were amazing!!!! He said it was because of a diet change to becoming a vegan. He also said that if everyone were to follow what they are saying in the books…we wouldn’t need cardiologists anymore.
My one glitch is that I am a diabetic. So if anyone out there is in the same boat…I would love any comments about that!!
Thanks so much for this new series. Your blog has been an incredible help to me…as my husband and I have really enjoyed the recipes that you post!

Reply

Rhona January 3, 2013

Great tips Angela. When I was transitioning although I was reading blogs and books, it was very disorienting. I was the only person I knew who was becoming vegan and the lure to just cheat and eat like everyone else was very powerful. I fell down a few times and was really hard on myself but now I just do what is right for me. Being vegan or plant-based is very important and I make it a key in my life. I really like the tip of bringing food along. I live alone and the hardest times for me is when I visit my family and other friends on the weekends. It took me a while but I realize that eating before I go out somewhere there are little vegan options and packing foods for the weekend is a lifesaver.

Reply

LizAshlee January 3, 2013

I think the concept of ‘adding in’ rather than taking out is an essential one! It’s one that I largely focus on when working with health coaching clients who are looking to eat healthier…

Reply

Patti January 3, 2013

I made teh decision to try a plant-based diet this last summer when I was having trouble staying awake, and I decided that I would start while I was on a week’s vacation. I found it was a really good time to start. I had a whole week off to read, shop, and prepare food that I was totally unfamiliar with. I’ll never forget my first vegan meal; it was a veggie dog with diaya cheese. I was jonesing for cheese pretty badly in my first two weeks, but I haven’t really wanted it since September. Later that day I made a ceasar dressing, but I didn’t know what nutritional yeast flakes were, so I used regular yeast. Needless to say I didn’t feel very good after those two meals. But I stuck it out, and now I eat better, and I feel better, and I know about all kinds of delicious foods, it’s a total adventure

Reply

Jami E. January 3, 2013

Hi Angela,

I just wanted to let you know that I love the new series. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes and your tips for success with us. After being a vegetarian for 15 or so years, myself and a friend of mine decided to go vegan. We quit dairy and eggs cold turkey in a kind of “vegan challenge”. Needless to say our 30 day challenge has lasted 6 months now and I have no plans of stopping. Your blog and recipes have made it so much easier to make the transition. I am looking forward to learning more about a healthy plant based diet. For the new year I have decided to cut down on my processed foods. I have been relying on meat substitutes entirely too much. Your new series came at just the right time for me. It’s great to see how far you’ve come because your “be your own teacher” advice sounds just like my experience too.

Thanks so much!

Reply

Heather January 3, 2013

I began my journey by cutting out soda (oh, Dr Pepper how I miss you) and processed food. Then meat, which was pretty easy for me because I’ve never been a huge meat eater. Then milk and cheese. I have a daughter who is lactose intolerant and loves vanilla soy milk. I started stocking almond and coconut milk (my current favorite) too. Cheese is my biggest hang up. I go back and forth. I always cut it out because my cystic acne comes back and for digestive issues. I’ll do really good for months, then gradually slip back into eating cheese. My favorite thing to eat right now is quinoa with black beans, lime juice, herbs, and veggies (avacado, red bell pepper, sweet potato, corn, whatever I have in the fridge). And in all honesty, when I try to drink a Dr Pepper now, it grosses me out because it’s so syrupy (is that a real word?). Small changes really add up over time. You will start to see good changes in your body right away and will want to keep adding yummy clean food to your diet.

Reply

Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) January 3, 2013

I LOVE this new series, Angela and I hear you about taking a long time to make decisions. One of my favorite jewels of info from this article is that you’ll be attending Vida Vegan Con..YAY!!!! I am SO going to break out of my shy mold and say hi to you. :)

Reply

brit January 3, 2013

hi angela,
i love you blog and i am so proud of you for all the thoughtful and compassionate work you put in.
i transitioned to veganism in about august of this year – and was a vegetarian for one month before, although i toyed with this idea for a few years previous after loyally reading ohsheglows.com/peasandthankyou.com/and reading Eating Animals. from these blogs i had learned the basics of vegan cooking and especially vegan baking.
this summer i watched forks over knives and read the china study, and after that i became a vegan instantly, it wasn’t hard as this book gave me so many reasons to make the change – and make it quickly.
i felt, with the science behind the china study, i could definitely not justify eating any animal protein, and that became the reason why my transition was so easy. blogs like ohsheglows.com and the happy herbivore inspire me to keep on track and continually provide me with the support i need after making this choice.
my life have improved so much since i made the change, i really cannot say (type) enough. i have lost some weight, i no longer dwell on food whether i should eat, whether i shouldn’t (which was a huge problem for me, and really took up alot of headspace). it is just a night to day improvement. my biggest worry about the transition was the (dis)approvement of my family – the family thinking that i was doing something radical for the hell of it, which was one of the reasons why i began reading, reading, reading and reading (dr, joel fuhrman, john robbins, dr. esselstyn….). the books gave me ammunition to defend my choice (on a health/scientific level as well as an environmental level). so after subtly announcing my decision, i told my mom to shut-it and read the china study and then get back to me….
and she did – as a hard-core science loving microbiologist, she is always a skeptic about everything, even she has changed to a fish-only, non-dairy diet. i convinced her, maybe the only time in my life!
cooking/eating have been a bit tougher for her since she has grown up cooking in a very specific way, but she is thriving off the change as well, saying she becomes fuller faster, has much more energy, does not really ever reach a state of ‘hypoglycaemia’ she used to experience at times and has also lost some weight (really without trying).
exciting stuff! keep it up, and thank you for the invaluable work you are doing. i really enjoy hearing these stories about how others’ are motivated to switch to veganism.

Reply

Emily January 3, 2013

Such a great idea for a post that I know will be helpful to so many, no matter where they are on their vegan journey. For me, Oh She Glows has been an invaluable tool that I visit daily for comfort, amazing recipe ideas, laughs, support – and now this serious seems like it will broaden that support system even further. I actually have to give you credit and thanks – I was a long time vegetarian when I was introduced to your blog and after a month or two of reading and cooking delicious recipe after delicious recipe I thought – I can do this. I WANT to do this – for my health, the environment, mostly for the animals…..
Well it’s been one year on January 1st and one of the happiest I can remember…Oh She Glows is certainly still part of my daily routine and I am so thankful for having found your wonderful words and recipes to make this amazing journey just a little bit (well a lot) easier!

Reply

Marta January 3, 2013

Hi Angela! I think point #4 could be it’s own post it’s that important. Well, it was for me anyways! I spent a full year and a half “preparing” for veganism, and I didn’t even know it at the time. It started out by adding a green smoothie every day (that’s how I found your blog), then more salads and fruit, new legumes, new recipes. It was all so fun and enjoyable, but I happen to love cooking. Reading all the interesting posts and then finding more and more food blogs helped me with the building blocks for becoming veg. Once I realized that’s where I was headed I just kept doing what I was doing, finding healthy alternatives, improving my diet and relationship with food. And then once the decision came to me that I needed to switch (I watched Earthlings, I knew that would do it), it was almost seamless because I had so many of the good habits and knowledge in place. It didn’t feel like I was losing anything. It felt like I had entered this awesome world of culinary adventure, and I think that’s quite common for “successful” vegans.

Great series! Good luck finishing up the manuscript!!! I can’t wait to buy your book :)
Marta

Reply

Marta January 3, 2013

perhaps it’s a good time to thank you! You literally were the spark that inspired my veganism, and I count that as one the most awesome things that’s happened in my life. Soooo… THANKS ANGELA!

Reply

Mélanie January 3, 2013

I actually went cold turkey after having read The China Study (which I highly reccomend!). I just could not continue eating and feeding my children animal products after having learned what I had frim that book. That said, we were never big meat-eaters. 3 to 4 dinners a week were usually vegetarian to begin with (many of which included eggs and/or dairy). I never wanted to be vegetarian because I didn’t want to eat all that dairy and eggs. Of course, I also didn’t want to be vegan because I thought that was just way too weird :) Still, after learning more on the subject of nutrition I made the switch to a plant-based diet overnight. I still remember my last non-vegan meal. I sat there eating my chicken fajitas, thinking, “I could totally do without the chicken!”
Another great read was Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. He is such a wonderful and talented writer, it was a treat to read such a beautifully written book on such a profound and meaningful topic. Forks Over Knives is also very well made and informative.
What has helped me to stick with it is how great I feel! Within days of going vegan, my insides just felt so much better. No more stomach aches! (I used to think tose were just a normal part of life.) Within weeks I has lost a few pounds (I had some to lose). Within months, I noticed I was hardly ever sick. I had so much more energy! (No more 3 o’clock slump.) People started telling me I looked great. That made it easier to keep it up.
My tips for new vegans would inlcude always bringing food with you. This includes the nuts and energy bars in your purse like Angela mentionned as well as bringing vegan dishes to share when eating in someone else’s home.
Also, have an answer ready for when people ask you “WHY?!” I usually start by saying that I made the changes for health reasons. After that, most people either just nod and change the subject or start to talk about themselves and their eating habits. Sometimes they have questions which I’m happy to answer. If you remain non-confromtational and non-judgmental and have a sens of humor, social encounters usually go fairly well.

Reply

Courtney L January 3, 2013

Hi Angela! I was first introduced to your blog by a vegan friend. I have since made several of your recipes (and have loved them!) even though I was not vegan. I am on a weight loss journey right now and have already lost13lbs. I am making the transition over to vegan as we speak. For me, I already eat a variety of foods and so I have many of the ingredients for a vegan diet on hand already. It’s more of a mindset change rather than a huge diet change for me. I love your blog and your recipes!!!! Your pictures of the food make them look so good! Anyways, this series is really going to help me, so thank you!!

Reply

Ali @ WHOLEistically Fit January 3, 2013

Thanks so much for all of the insightful information. I mentioned in your intro. post that I’m not vegan and don’t aspire to be, however I do participate in Meatless Mondays and try to limit my meat consumption. Plus, I love trying new and delicious foods. I’m excited to hear more about how you do without all of the meat substitution products on your vegan diet. :D

Reply

Sonal January 3, 2013

This is such a helpful post Angela! I try to give up dairy but to be honest I slip up so much so this is right down my alley. Thank you! :)

Reply

eatingRD January 3, 2013

We made the transition to a plant-based lifestyle very slowly too. I feel it has been more sustained and doable because of it. I guess I am not completely vegan but I like to call it plant-based. I do not eat meat mostly because the conditions they are in and the ridiculous practices that our food supply employs just to make cheap food. If I had a quality source of organic, pastured meat then I would eat it very occassionally. I do not eat dairy, unless it is fermented at home. I do eat ghee and organic, pastured eggs for their health benefits. I’m not sure what this would be called but I’ll go with mostly plant-based! :)
The Veganomicon cookbook has been really great for us to get more ideas. We hardly like to eat out anymore now because we cook better things at home and actually know what we are eating. Thanks for the tips and lovely recipes!

Reply

eatingRD January 3, 2013

Oh and I have been eliminating gluten which has been fairly easy to do at home. Eating out is more of a challenge. Gluten free AND vegan can be a challenge. Any other gluten free recipes or ideas would be great! Are there any good books and/or magazines out there with all gluten free/vegan recipes?

Reply

Amanda January 3, 2013

I am so happy to writing in response to this series and grateful to feel connected with people who experience many of the same issues….
I have been vegetarian for at least 9 years and vegan for about 2-3 ish years. Every once and while though…. I can’t pass up on a home baked cookie or something along those lines (holidays are hard!) and I don’t beat myself up for it — but I can feel the difference in my body for sure! And I feel like THAT is what keeps me going with choosing vegan — that when i do adhere to my plant based diet – I feel my best.
Its just like you said though — its not about taking away, its about adding in amazing and wonderful food… fresh veggies and warm pots of beans?! YES PLEASE! People around me don’t always understand that – they may think that vegan food has to taste bad or is not filling — I get so frustrated about it and just continuously look at it as a learning opportunity to show others that vegan food is real food and is AMAZING!

Reply

Margo January 3, 2013

Thanks so much for this website. I am almost 59 years old and began experiencing health problems..lots of aches and pains! I had to give up running and started on Celebrex. I read “Eat to Live” and began making the transition. I was able to go off Celebrex and felt so good. Due to the craziness of moving AND the holidays I didn’t stick with it! Guess what? Back on Celebrex! So….my fridge is now overflowing with produce! I am ready to feel good again!! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and helping all of us gain better, more productive lives!

Reply

Anna @ The Guiltless Life January 3, 2013

I’m just vegetarian, not vegan, and have been for 5 years, but I totally agree with all of your tips – especially “focus on what you add, not take away” – that is what I tell EVERYONE who asks me how I did it. If you think of it as an elimination diet – you get to eat everything you once did, minus the meat, or minus the meat and dairy, people just feel deprived. But I eat way more varied foods now than I ever did as a meat eater! I discovered a whole new world – not only of individual foods but also whole cuisines, like Indian or Mexican, or Japanese – cuisines that have many options for vegetarians and aren’t just dull, meat-and-potatoes type meals. Love it!

Reply

Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} January 3, 2013

Thanks so much for doing this series, Angela! When I was first inspired by other food bloggers to eat healthier, I gradually began replacing my meat-focused dinners with plant-based ones. Then I read The China Study, which is when I cut out all animal products entirely. At first I had to constantly think about what I should be eating, but over time it became more and more natural to eat only plants. I would highly recommend The China Study to those who haven’t read it, even if you’re just curious about the way animal products affect your body.

Reply

Lindsay January 3, 2013

Almost 3 years ago, I decided to go cold turkey and try being a vegan for 30 days. After 2 days I felt like a whole new person, I had so much more energy, I slept better. I felt like I had walked out of a fog that I had been in for my entire life. I have to thank you for your blog because I found it about a week into my journey and have been a regular reader ever since.

One suggestion is to find a few good restaurants in your town that offer vegan options. In the beginning it was helpful to know that if I wanted a cupcake, a good bowl of soup or breakfast out, there was places I could go and enjoy them.

Thank you again for being honest and sharing your journey with us. I know that it has been a part of my vegan transformation.

Reply

Tracey January 3, 2013

Your recipes have inspired me to start a vegan way of life and then recently I have hemochromatosis which is too much iron and I am so glad that just months before I discovered your blog and recipes and was already making the change:) Now even my doctor, who is the high protein low carb diet is asking me how I have been eating and interested in the vegan way, go figure! Thank you so much for your recipes and dedication, they are actually a life-saving, healthy choice for me:)

Reply

kaity @ kaityscooking January 3, 2013

such a good series ! totally needed it back when i first became vegan.. mine was a cold turkey move but i also lived off of fake deli sandwiches, fake meatballs etc everyday too til i finally learned that i had to cook if i wanted to continue this journey the right way

Reply

Helene January 3, 2013

Wow love your tips and ideas. Thanks! Happy New Year!

Reply

Nicole January 3, 2013

I’m enjoying this series.
I went vegan cold-turkey in 2011 – I only lasted about 8 months. I stuck to it 100%.
It just wasn’t for me and I give a lot of credit to people who can follow a vegan lifestyle.

Reply

Julie January 3, 2013

Angela,
Love the series. I entered into the Vegan world when my doctor recommended “an elimination diet” due to my autoimmune problems. This however, also included Gluten free. (so I immensely appreciate your gluten free options). So, yes I did it cold turkey about 4 months ago. At first, I felt like I could not eat anything, and now my food choices seem to be expanding. It’s funny that at first it’s a focus on what you are NOT having…. then it progresses to all that you can have. I do intermittently have cheese or an egg, because Gluten is the most important product to eliminate. I don’t miss the meat, milk, egg, or gluten.. it’s the cheese that is my downfall~
Much appreciation for all your hard work!
Please keep the wonderful recipes coming-
Julie

Reply

Katie January 3, 2013

You do such a great job writing in a relatable way Angela! Thank you for this series!

I became vegetarian about 5 years ago… almost the opposite of cold turkey though. My husband and I decided to become vegetarian for environmental reasons, so for the two weeks after the decision, we ate all the meat we had in our house. Waste not, want not.

I really admire vegans. Meat-eaters often say to me “I would love to be vegetarian, but I just couldn’t give up _________________ (insert steak, bacon, sausage, etc.)” I can’t blame them! The truth is that I would love to be vegan, but I just couldn’t give up cheese. I look forward to your blog about this Angela.

To very very slowly shift toward a vegan diet, I have committed to “vegan Mondays” for 2013. This website is such a great resource for me. I much enjoyed the butternut squash mac and “cheeze” last night, and will be making my 3rd batch of veggie burgers tomorrow.

Thank you!

Reply

Jamie January 3, 2013

I love what you say about focusing on what you can add. As a gluten intolerant vegetarian, people frequently comment on all of the foods that I cannot eat. In reality, some of my favorite foods–polenta, oat flour pancakes, millet, roasted chickpeas–I never would have tried otherwise!

Reply

Julie January 4, 2013

Oat Flour Pancakes?
I would love this recipe?
Thanks Julie

Reply

christine January 3, 2013

As I said in my last post we went cold turkey, but I know that is not what works for everyone. We still eat some fake meat, but as part of our diet not the majority of what we eat. I agree we- eat a much more varied and interesting diet now. In fact cooking and meal planning is much more time consuming as a vegan. How much work and time does it take to throw some steak or chicken on the grill with some potatoes? With the WWW there are so many resources,info and recipes to help with the transition.

Reply

Monique January 3, 2013

I became a vegetarian when I was 7, and have been vegan for four years. I’ve seen many friends and family members experiment with veganism, sometimes successfully, other times not so much. In watching and aiding them, the number one thing that’s stuck out is this: unless you realize WHY you’re doing it, it doesn’t really stick. Is it for your health? Ethical? For animals rights? Environmental issues? You don’t need to answer this immediately, but there are just SO many wonderful reasons to go vegan. Find one that resonates the most with you and let it drive you. Otherwise, I’ve seen veganism be treated like any other “diet”: easy come, easy go. I’m not one to judge anyone’s decisions, but if you want to successfully go vegan, figure out WHY and be proud.

I’m looking forward to this series, Angela! Love your blog.

Reply

Keri @ Blue-Eyed Runner January 4, 2013

So excited about this series! Thank you so much. I have been pretty good about going vegan until dinner time and then I fall apart. The funny thing is that I haven’t actually given up meat or dairy. Just making better choices I guess. My question is- I bought a couple of coconut milk / almond milk yogurts at the store. Is that comparable to doing the fake soy thing or is that okay??

Reply

Suzanne January 4, 2013

Great post Angela. I am a gradual change person as well. I have never liked meat so only ate a few bites at dinner (lathered in ketchup!) when I was growing up. As soon as I could choose my own foods, meat was not in my diet. (my husband/bf at the time and I, went cross country after college – visited many relatives who would ask if I was vegetarian – I would respond “I’m not vegetarian, I just don’t eat/like meat” – b/c I did not have a big value thing about animals etc. My husband said – ‘keep it simple and just say you’re a vegetarian’ – I have since developed more of a feeling about being kinder to the planet and to animals) I also had an ED so health was not a priority – and I was protein deficient for many years. I have a much broader palate now – though I am still not one who will eat anything (so I cannot blame anyone but myself for my picky children ;-)
I have been dairy free for a year and egg free (felt no great loss there!) for 8 months or so. I do find I rely on dairy substitutes some (mostly almond milk, soy yogurt – I do not miss cheese). I would like to wean these out of my diet more this year. I used to have ice cream every night so the soy yogurt has been my substitute for that – will miss the creamy comfort! We watched Forks Over Knives and one of my sons decided to go vegan for a bit – he has since added some eggs and dairy back (Holidays were a bit tough for him!) – but my boys are all vegetarian and have no desire to try meat at this point. I also read :”The China Project” – similar to FOK – very good. Thanks for this series – so nice to read about others journeys

Reply

allison January 4, 2013

For us we went vegetarian in the begining of 2012…but really weren’t eating red meat at all, just chicken and turkey before that….not big meat eaters to begin with. We had already eliminated milk from our diet but were still eating milk products. Then we watched Forks Over Knives in May of 2012…by June we went to Vegan. :-) It wasn’t that hard really. The key for me was that my partner is on board. He’s the healthiest eater I know :-). He will eat anything I cook. If it’s good for us…he’s there. We’re both very athletic and into sports and a plant based diet just makes sense to us. I still offer meat and animal products to my kids, but I don’t make two dinners. I am not a restaurant ;-) and really children can benefit from vegetables haha…it’s not child abuse contrary to some opinions of my friends. We travel alot. We prepare. We hit grocery stores not restaurants. We have at family dinners done the vegetarian thing. If we go somewhere and it’s made, we either bring something to share or just eat the veggie side dishes and not worry about it.

Reply

Finn January 4, 2013

Hi Angela,
I’m a relatively new reader to your blog, but I love all of your vibrant photos and your chatty self. I have been vegetarian for two years, but have been slipping these past few months, so this kind of post is exactly what I need – Motivation for sticking to it, making healthier choices and cutting away some of the dairy that is causing my IBS to act up occasionally!!
I have just started treatment for binge eating disorder and need inspirational and good food that help keeps me full, tastes amazing and makes me realize the joys of being healthy – I can honestly say that your blog and recipes are just what the doctor ordered! :)

Reply

Silvia January 4, 2013

I am what you would call the “accidental vegan.” I have been an omnivore all my life. In the spring of this past year, I had made and eaten an organic beef burger. The meat was purchased from a local trusted supplier. Soon after my meal, i started to feel sick. Not seriously sick but I felt that burger inside me for 3 days. Not sure if the meat was contaminated or if it wasn’t cooked thoroughly but the whole experience pushed me towards a vegetarian cleanse for the next few days. Looking for recipes, I picked up Alicia’s Silverstone’s ” The Kind Diet” and it literally changed my life. Everything made sense. My body had been rejecting dairy for years but I didn’t feel I was strong enough to give it up. As I moved towards a vegan diet, my body rejoiced. I have been a practicing vegan now for almost a year and love it. I recommend it as often as I can. My husband and my 2 young children are also on this journey with me.

Reply

Miche January 4, 2013

Hi Angela!

I know that I have said it before, but I absolutely love reading your blog :) I can relate to so many of the things that you talk about in each post, and I usually always find myself giggling at some point! Lately I have been reading these in private because all of the giggling gets me strange looks from my boyfriend, hehehe. I have that same problem of being quite indecisive, but I agree that I usually make the best possible decision because of it.

I’m so happy to see that you mentioned Forks Over Knives in this post! That documentary is actually what lead me to beginning a completely plant-based diet — which is how I stumbled along your blog :) It was an easy transition for me because I also didn’t eat a lot of meat. I was pretty much eating a vegetarian ovo/lacto diet 5 days a week with minimal meat/fish that usually came from sharing meals with my boyfriend. It has been a gradual transition for me simply because I was easing my boyfriend into eating this way. He loves fast food of any sort, and looked at me like I had 3 heads when I told him I was going to be cooking vegan from now on. Since January 1st our household has turned 100% vegan! I have convinced him to try it out for the 28 days of the Engine 2 diet plan to see if we can naturally regulate his blood sugar levels (we discovered he had type 2 diabetes last year).

I have been following this new plant-based diet since Thanksgiving, and I feel great. I expected it be a lot tougher seeing all of the foods I get excited about annually during the holidays, but it wasn’t bad at all. I brought many of your dishes to holiday parties so that I would have something to eat, and many of the guests ended up enjoying them as well :) I challenged myself by turning all of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes vegan this year, and they turned out delicious. I lost my mother a few years ago, and holidays are sometimes tough for me. This was the first year in a long time that I had something else new and exciting to keep myself focused on that made it truly enjoyable. Thanks so much for being a part of that with all of your delicious recipes and cute stories to brighten my days!

Reply

Marla B January 4, 2013

For my new years resolution this year I decided to go vegan. I am lactose intolerant and had high cholesterol. I often had stomach aches after eating almost every meal. I had kidney stones last year. And I’m only twenty! My body is clearly trying to tell me something. When I told my family I was going vegan, they all kind of laughed at me. But I’ve been doing pretty well so far. I don’t miss meat or dairy very much… yet. Although it has only been a week. I’m still struggling to find the balance between eating healthy food and staying full after a meal. I’m so excited to start trying some of these fabulous recipes! This is a great blog. keep up the good work!

Reply

Missy Meyers January 4, 2013

I have been following a vegan lifestyle for over 5 years now. I think it’s important to take supplements for iron and vitamin B-12. I’m a huge fan of spirulina. Thanks for the great post Angela!

Reply

Page 3 of 5«12345»

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: