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

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{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

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{ 209 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie January 4, 2013

I started my vegan journey back in April. I was doing research for a vegetarian character I was writing about, and I stumbled upon a PETA video about how dairy cows are treated. Over the next several months, I ended up watching Earthlings and Forks Over Knives and Vegucated, as well as reading a couple of cheap vegan books I found on Amazon. I tried to jump to vegan straight away, but I ended up slipping back to vegetarian for a while, with the occasional bit of chicken if a craving hit hard and there was nothing else around.

Right now, everything that I make is vegan, though I’ll eat dairy and eggs when I’m out and vegan options aren’t available. My ultimate goal is 100 percent vegan, but I’m trying to get there at a reasonable pace. I’ll occasionally have cheese if someone at home orders a pizza, but for the most part I’m sticking with a healthy, mostly unprocessed vegan diet. I still have slip-ups sometimes, but I’m excited about the new food that I’m trying. :)

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Jessi January 4, 2013

Love this! Oh She Glows was one of the things that introduced me to so many creative foods, that the transition to going vegan was a piece of (vegan, hehe) cake. I absolutely adore this series and hope you continue to inspire many more to come!

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Lindy January 4, 2013

Brand new vegan here! Went cold turkey about a week and a half ago. Cut out sugar, dairy, meat and diet soda. Watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Tired for inspiration as that is how I was feeling most of the time. I’m thin, but don’t exercise and have gained 20# in the last year or so at the start of menopause. I’m 48 years old. Also have been struggling with IBS symptoms ever since I had my gallbladder out five years ago.

Also started juicing. I’ll tell you what helped me the most…..My husband asked for a juicer for Christmas so I bought him one. I had absolutely NO intention of ever tasting the juice he made. Blech! Well, the first juice he made had celery, carrots and apples in it. OMG!! It was so freaking delicious, I never looked back and am juicing way more then my husband. Today, I watched Forks Over Knives that just reinforced my decision to eat a plant based diet. I’m hoping my husband will be as inspired as his blood pressure has been creeping up over the last year or so. He’s in excellent shape at 46 years old…bicycles around 90 miles on the weekends and uses our elliptical during the week, but I think he’s really benefit from a plant based diet.

Thank you, especially for the recipes and ideas. I’ve always been a “foodie” and a pretty good cook, so being creative and trying new things comes naturally!!

…..and now to enjoy a dessert of your oat bars w/ a bit of maple cinnamon almond butter!!

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Anne January 5, 2013

Dear Angela, i have been reading your posts and making your recipes for a couple of months now i can say that YOU are the strategy that worked for me. Just by reading your stories, you got me on track. I first heared about superfoods about 10 months ago and realised that a diet could never exist out of superfoods alone. I love you for teaching me great things about whole foods, the plant based diet, your creativity and the way you approach life. This dutchie is getting healthier every day!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 5, 2013

Thank you Anne, I appreciate it! All the best to you.

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Samantha January 5, 2013

Hi there!
Love your blog. After watching Vegucated, and then Forks Over Knives this winter, me and my boyfriend are making the move to a vegan diet. I do see it as a process, and one of the hardest parts for me is not the food, but the people! I find when I mention my new food preferences, people want to argue about it! Why can’t they just let me eat what I want? Some people on the other hand, are very accepting, or curious.
Thanks for your posts, I love your recipes! No one even knew my pumpkin pie was vegan this year ;)

P.s. As a fellow Canadian, any idea how to make a vegan caesar? Bloody Mary’s are so not the same thing!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 6, 2013

Hey Samantha! Lovely to meet you, thanks for your nice comment!
I do have a vegan cocktail like a bloody mary – does this help? http://ohsheglows.com/2012/02/20/homemade-vegan-caesar-cocktail/ now I want one!

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Samantha January 7, 2013

Ha! Amazing! You’ve already been there and done that! I will give this one a go. Thanks so much! Nice to meet you too :)

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Amber @ Slim Pickin's Kitchen January 5, 2013

I love this series, and I’m not vegan or vegetarian and I don’t plan on changing that any time soon. BUT I love your approach (and your recipes and your hilarious writing and your leopard looking kitty cat) and I think this series is beneficial for anyone who is trying to transition into any sort of healthier lifestyle. Whether it be vegan, vegetarian, clean eating, paleo, or anything in between, I truly believe this is great advice!

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Bridget@MrsGreenJeans January 6, 2013

Oh..going vegan. I’ve been wanting to make the change for awhile. Then I remind myself I won’t be able to eat those delicious cheesy mushroom tacos at my favorite Mexican restaurant or I won’t be able to eat my favorite chocolate chip cookies anymore. No Kit Kats or frozen pizzas. Mostly it’s my favorite junk foods that keep me from going vegan. Also eating out with friends, or sharing ice cream in the summer time. The thing is I know it’s bad for me, but it’s so good and I’ve eaten it all my life I just don’t care. :( I want to care! I want to eat healthy and treat my body as the temple that it is. I’m vegetarian now. I made the switch when I read the book skinny bitch. Something clicked in my head and from that day I never ate meat again. I then started watching forks over knives and following anyone and everyone vegan I could on facebook for inspiration and recipes. I’ll admit I’m afraid to try new things. I’m not sure why going vegetarian broke me out of my shell like loving black beans! I used to say I hated them. One day I just said you will eat them and like it. Why can’t I do that going vegan? I would definitely need to practice baby steps in the case. I just looove chocolate and their is this amazing chocolate shop by me I love to visit. I can do this. Anyone can. I guess I should try incorporating more vegan meals into my life slowly. Which a lot of the stuff I do prepare is vegan. Occasionally I’ll find something really yummy with cheese in it. Or again I love my sweets. One of my goals is to cut more sugar out of my life. I crave it when I’m stressed. Not good. So I think I just need to start slow and realize what I’m doing to my body and how healthy I will be. Now if only I can get my husband to eat better!

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Merle January 6, 2013

Due to food sensitivities found by bloodwork with a Naturopath – I am working on being vegan and gluten free – also can’t tolerate any beans or lentils and few nuts! Would
Love to see some recipes that I can try – I will work with adapting yours – thank you!

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Mary January 6, 2013

Perfect timing with this post. I’ve been vegetarian for almost 10 years and with the exception of the occassional processed food that contains dairy or my habit of topping some of my meals with cheese I don’t think I have far to go to transition to a vegan diet. But it can be overwhelming at times so I’m really looking forward to this series.

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Alexa January 6, 2013

Hi Angela! I just have been a long time reader of your blog and all of your recipes continue to look delicious. I have been contemplating going Vegan because of the health benefits. Recently I saw the documentary Vegucated (I have already seen Food Inc. and Forks Over Knives). It just broke my heart to the point where I cried at some points. Only now has it really hit me how horrible animals are treated and how the animal industry will continue to take a huge toll on our planet. I decided that there wasn’t really a good excuse to continue to eat in a manner that goes against what I had always believed in. So. Thank you for writing your blog. It makes Veganism seem like a normal thing and not too scary. And thank you for putting out a guide for those of us who have decided to take the plunge.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 6, 2013

Thanks for sharing Alexa! I’ve been wanting to check out that movie forever now. You just gave me the nudge to finally do it. As hard as they can be to watch, it’s a good reminder why to stay on this path. goodluck to you!

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Chelsea January 7, 2013

I just want to say thanks for this post! I went vegetarian cold-turkey when I was five years old, and I’ve been an on and off (mostly off) vegan since I was 13. I’ve been thinking of giving up lately and just remaining a vegetarian, but with the new year came a deluge of resolution-inspired information on going vegan. I’m moving out next month, and I will have my very own kitchen, the clean slate I need to push myself to be fully vegan. It’s great knowing I can count on wonderful bloggers like yourself to keep me motivated! So again, thank you for this series (and your vegan pantry post!)

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Kelly B January 7, 2013

Hi Angela!

Very Cool post about your vegan journey! I was just curious as to whether your husband is vegan as well? If not is it hard making meals together?

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Dainey January 7, 2013

Angela,

I’ve been reading your blog for about six months and I read it like a book, from start to finish. I found it at a time when the stress of what I was putting into my children’s bodies was really taking a toll on me. I grew up in an overweight family and we ate fast food at least three times a week. When I had my first child I told myself that I wouldn’t allow my child to grow up without knowledge of good nutrition and the ability to enjoy unprocessed healthy foods. It is my belief that knowledge is power, if my child grows up enjoying wholesome food then it is my hope that it will be his lifestyle as an adult as well. We still ate meat but my kids have had a very healthy diet. When I came across your blog I had just found out about the pink slime they put in meat and I was so fed up! I couldn’t in good conscience put that poison in my kids bodies. Reading your blog changed my entire families lives. I’ve been vegetarian for six months now and I love it. Its not without its challenges as my family comes from cattle farmers and they all think I’m nutso! My daughter hates meat so it has been an easy transition and my son is getting there. My husband wants to go vegan in the next three months as well. I can’t thank you enough for your blog.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2013

Thank you so much for your comment Dainey! I am so happy to hear this news, congrats to all of you for the changes you are making!

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Erin January 7, 2013

Angela, love this posting! I went vegan cold-turkey 3 years ago, and relished in the new flavours, recipes, and most of all in how I felt! My transition started when I developed endometriosis, and after lots of research and consulting with my doctor, realized that eliminating meat and dairy could help my “attacks” I endured, which was affecting my daily life. I also had many IBS problems. It was unbelievable what a difference it made changing my diet! I have to say, however, that in the last year my diet has faltered a bit (new house, new job, new puppy, and engagement), but with the new year, I am back to my vegan habits again, and this posting is a great refresher to me in keeping with healthy eating. Thank you!

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Sabra January 7, 2013

Love your website and your journey- everyone i know has received your link from me in their emails at one time or another! We made the complete transition after reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer!!!!
Forks Over knives was very influential also. Your incredible recipes and gorgeous photographs have really taken the intellectual aspect and made it easy to now apply practically- and deliciously!!!
have 1 question that we were wondering if you might be incorporating with the new year- and that is the addition of acknowledging substitutions sometimes geared toward alkaline eating when making choices about alkaline versus acidic for healing as a lifestyle? Luv u-xoxoo

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Lauren marie January 7, 2013

Angela I am loving this new series! So great for info, inspiration and support! And along with some others, I can definitely understand the motherhood thing- my fiance and I are just a year younger than you and are in no rush at all either!
My sister introduced me to your blog over a year ago, and you were the first blogger/cook that I ever looked to for vegan recipes. Feb 2012 I thought I’d give up “land meat” (still ate some white fish) for lent to see how it went, and like you, I’ve never been a big meat eater. And to my surprise it’s been almost a year and I don’t miss meat at all. So that part was easy for me. Switching to almost milk was also easy. I started by using it in cereal, as it’s a little hard to tell the difference, and now I can drink a glass of milk and I think it tastes amazing. However, I also have a LOVE for cheese, and that is something I have just the hardest time giving up.
But my goals this year is to become officially vegetarian (no seafood) and work on the cheese part. I do know when I stay on the vegan diet, I feel amazing. My mood gets better, I have more energy, my skin looks great, and I just feel great on the inside as well. For me personally, its definitely been a transitional process for me, but bloggers like you and all your readers who comment are a great support, and thank you for being so open about your journey as well. Oh and Forks Over Knives is great to watch- every now and then I will watch it again just for support and to remind myself why I like this lifestyle. (Food Inc is also a favorite- it’s not plant-based or vegan, but it will definitely change your mind about eating meat and processed foods).

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Lauren marie January 7, 2013

oops—*almond milk, not almost milk ;)

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Matt G. January 8, 2013

I highly recommend Jack Norris’s book (Vegan for Life) & websites for info on vegan nutrition.

http://jacknorrisrd.com/
http://www.veganhealth.org/

He goes into great detail on many, many topics.

I’m vegetarian going on 8 months with the occasional bout of veganism. I ate less and less meat over the years and after watching Forks over Knives I ate vegan for a month. It also coincided with making an effort to learn to cook for our family. Can’t let my wife have all the fun. I only cook from vegan cookbooks and find the food so interesting. You’re right, it’s all about what you’re adding. It’s not about subtraction!

On a serious note, I also read Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation to help solidify some of my convictions. On a much less serious note, part of becoming vegetarian was laziness – I always hated cooking meat….the cleanup….wondering if it’s done yet….

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Matt G. January 8, 2013
Kate Schade January 8, 2013

I’m so glad I found this. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was about 10 (15 years now) and the transition to that was super easy. My dad was a vegetarian, and he did most of the cooking, and food shopping so there was never meat in the house. For the past few years I’ve wanted to test out a vegan diet, even for just a month to see how I feel and if I can do it. I love pizza, and mac and cheese so much! A friend decided she wanted to do it this month, so I joined her. It hasn’t been terribly hard…but I’m finding out how many vegetarian things have egg products in them (Morningstar Farms!!) I also can’t cook or bake, and am very reliant on the imitation easy stuff, like Tofurky (just bought some more last night actually lol). And one more confession…I cheated last Saturday at a friends house for dinner (what can I say, I love dessert). Anyways…I can’t wait to keep reading this series and what you have to say and how you transitioned. I’ve used your recipes before and their great. I don’t know if sticking with vegan will be for me. But I do need to eat healthier…and would love to get used to cutting way back on dairy products. Thanks again!

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Janet January 8, 2013

I am so glad I found your blog. I went vegetarian a year ago after watching Forks over Knives, and this year have decided to go vegan after watching more documentaries, and to really start reading labels, even on “healthy” items. (thank you for the info on carrageenan) My two children are also willing participants in this journey to better health, but are having a hard time giving up cheese. Many recipes I am finding use nutritional yeast to provide a “cheese” flavor. But in researching other names for MSG I am finding conflicting information on whether or not nutritional yeast contains MSG. I would really appreciate your input or info your followers have discovered on this. Thanks!

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B McKenzie January 8, 2013

I am so thankful to have read your website. How refreshing to hear from someone who had real struggles and overcame them with success. Your site is bookmarked on my IPad and computer. Love it!

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Janna January 8, 2013

While I may never be a complete vegetarian I endeavor to be what I’ve dubbed a”weekday vegetarian”. I don’t deny myself a meat product if it’s presented to me but the meals I eat at home are almost vegan. It’s been slow and steady for me because I’m the cook for our two person family and he’s a Carnivore. Our record is him eating healthy vegetarian dinner for two weeks without noticing.

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Dori January 9, 2013

Great post, Angela. While I think the health benefits are certainly a huge reason to consider a vegan diet, I was equally motivated by the impact I can have on our environment and the food (meat/dairy) industry by choosing to be vegan. A couple books that I found extremely informative and fueled my passion for a vegan lifestyle are Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer (such an excellent writer, oh my gosh), and Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. The latter is a quicker read, so I’d recommend beginning with that.

And thank you from working vegan mom who loves to cook, but sometimes needs some inspiration (and time!). Chia seriously changed our lives around here (and VOO!). I am looking forward to following this series of posts!

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Marilyn Peterson January 9, 2013

Hello, I enjoyed looking at your blog. Wonderful that you are helping people transition to a vegan diet. If you check out my website you will see that I have written a book “Vegan Bite By Bite” about “how to” transition. I am a 47 year vegetarian and a 32 year vegan. I have been a vegan consultant and chef for 38 years.

The animals need all the help we can give to them!
Wishing you a healthy New Year!

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Umapuma January 16, 2013

YES – help the animals!! Exactly my reason for the vegan change :)

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Vegan Radhika Sarohia January 10, 2013

I really love animals so being vegan for me is just to try and help animals. Full stop.
I was omni for most of my life, didn’t think about anything and I was kinda clueless. Then I was vegetarian for some years and then finally (after finding out about factory farming and the horrific conditions) I transitioned to being vegan over a series of months
I wish I’d done it sooner!
I can’t believe how ignorant and in-the-dark I was about consuming animal products for most of my life–I really regret it so much.
I try to make up for lost time now, cooking up a vegan storm, making stuff that’s vegan for friends and family
I’m also on a low-carb diet though, so sometimes it’s a bit challenging. Finding foods that are both vegan and low-carb is crazy hard some days!
But so far, I’m doing all right I think
P.S. I love this blog and the recipes here:D

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Dona January 10, 2013

Hi! I am new to your site :) Love it! I have been on a VEGAN journey for about 5 months. I am super pleased with it and do not see myself going back! However, I look forward to your post on cheese. That is is my one weakness! I have never had a huge love for yogurt or meats…but I love cheese! At first I was slow at switching my milk over but now I love soy..all sorts, chocolate, vanilla, plain :) They work great in my latte addiction! So I hope you post your dealings with the cheese world and I love your suggestions on packing. Perhaps a post on that sometime!

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Jenn January 11, 2013

Hello! I just have to say I LOVE your website. I always use your recipes they are awesome! I am a vegetarian and I would have to say that my story is almost exactly identical to yours. I struggled with an eating disorder and thought that eating healthy was if the package said fat-free, sugar-free, etc… and like I said package! A lot of my food would be processed! I had major stomach problems and was told to do the same to try to avoid meat and dairy. It wasn’t a problem for me either since I was never a big meat eater in the first place. I would say that my transition to be a vegetarian was a gradual shift. Due to my eating disorder I developed Lupus a autoimmune disease. I’ve had Lupus for 12 years now. I just recently launched my website called http://www.lovelifeandlupus.com. I want to advocate for myself and others. I hope to inspire people to live a healthy lifestyle! Thank you for all you do and thanks for listening to me!

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Marina January 13, 2013

What a great post! I’d love to hear more about how you transitioned “socially” – going out with friends, telling family and in-laws about your decision, and how you made it work when most places are not vegan-friendly. Thanks!! :)

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Mary January 26, 2013

This has been the most difficult part for me! So far I’ve asked hosts if I can bring a dish or two and they’ve been grateful because they weren’t sure how to accommodate other veg guests. Sometimes I don’t tell them what I’ve made is vegan and they haven’t been able to tell (shhh!). I have vegan food handy in my bag and car. You can call ahead to restaurants and see if they have a vegan dish or if they will make something for you – I haven’t done this yet but will soon. Going out vegan is easy if you go Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, etc. Watch out for fish stock in soups and fish sauce in dipping sauces.

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Megan January 13, 2013

I tried scanning through the comments but didn’t see the resource that inspired me to transition from being vegetarian to vegan and supported me throughout the process: Colleen Patrick-Goudreau! http://www.compassionatecook.com/

She offers an honest and compassionate perspective that helped me open my eyes to the various impacts of consuming things that result from the exploitation of animals. Her podcast (Vegetarian Food for Thought: http://www.compassionatecook.com/publications/vegetarian-food-for-thought-podcast) was what gave me the information, insight and tools to live a more compassionate life.

I have to say that this is the other main resource I’ve used in my transition (and pre-transition). The butternut squash mac’n'cheeze is a recipe I’ve made for others many times and I’m always sharing that recipe – it’s a fave in our household (with the omnivores too)!

I’ve also found this documentary useful and inspiring: Forks Over Knives: http://www.forksoverknives.com/ (and the related Engine 2 Diet: http://engine2diet.com/)

Thank you for your lovely website, beautiful photos and delicious recipes, Angela!

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Adam January 14, 2013

I’ve visited this site infrequently for years – this is my first post however!

I think the easiest way, or at least it works for me, to transition in to a new diet is to take it one meal at a time.

Changing to a vegan breakfast is relatively easy. I tend to opt for porridge (oatmeal!) made with almond/hazlenut milk with a seed mix (sesame, flax, sunflower, pumpkin) and berries. This is by far the nicest breakfast I can think of :)

I haven’t completely transitioned to a vegan/vegetarian diet. Although 80% of my food consumption is.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 14, 2013

Thanks for the great tips Adam! One meal at a time is a great way to look at it.

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Lori January 14, 2013

Thanks so much for writing this article. I would not say I am transitioning to vegan or vegetarian in particular. I am trying to find more plant based recipes to incoporate into my diet. I do notice now that I eat more vegetables and consume less diary I feel much better and lighter. At this point I’m trying to keep my animal protein at once per day. This blog as well as others constantly help my find more tastey things to eat in this journey. I’m actually enjoying the vegetables and new things even more than some of my old favorites. I agree with you. So many of the recipes makeovers I find are outstanding. These changes have occurred for me slowly but surely. They are really sticking for me too. I may look up one day and find that I am a vegan before I know it.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 14, 2013

Thank you Lori, I appreciate it so much! Congrats on all your changes :) They really add up, eh?

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Louise January 15, 2013

Hi Angela
Thankyou so very much for sharing this. I have been in the process of going vegan for a while now, cutting out meat and dairy gradually, and I used the PETA website to commit to a 30 day vegan challenge. I am finding the process challenging and inspiring. I was vegetarian for 14 years but a very unhealthy vegetarian, mostly existing on milkshakes and chocolate bars. Now I’m trying to educate myself about healthy food and your blog is just amazing. Like you said expecting perfection and being hard on yourself when you slip up is not the way to go… without thinking I ate a biscuit today with dairy in it and was mentally berating myself – must be kind to myself!!
Thanks again, Louise

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Umapuma January 16, 2013

Wonderful to find your blog today – I was googling for vegan breakfast ideas. I went pesca-vegan about three weeks ago – the fish element is there as a way to compromise w/ my hubby for now – I have gone cold tofurkey but noticed an surge in fake meats/cheeses this past few weeks too (salt city!). I am excited about the homemade recipes you have decided to share, and just excited about your blog in general, hooray!!!

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Mary January 26, 2013

Love your blog! My college-aged daughter has been a vegan for over a year and a vegetarian for the past 10 years, so I had some experience grocery shopping for her and trying to dine out in regular restaurants. I watched Forks Over Knives and then Vegucation, which finally did it for me. I’m doing a 30 day vegan challenge, about 2 weeks in. I haven’t told most people about it because I didn’t think I would make it past the first day. To my surprise, it has been really easy! Things I didn’t expect: my pre-menopausal acne has cleared up, my chronic bowel issues are gone, I have tons more energy, I sleep much better, I’ve dropped 10# (much needed), food tastes so much better, and on and on. I’m pretty sure I’ll continue eating vegan, although I miss yogurt. I appreciate everyone’s comments, it’s good to know others are having the same challenges like people not understanding our choices. Here’s my latest invention vegan salad dressing: 1/3 c white wine vinegar, 2/3 c olive oil, about 1/4 c Earth Balance vegan mayonnaise, 5-6 or more cloves garlic, salt and pepper, 1 T dijon mustard. All whirred in the blender. Yum. I don’t miss meat. Big indulgence was a mock chicken patty sandwich with lettuce and vegan mayonnaise with tofu ice cream with crushed oreos. Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 27, 2013

Hey Mary, Thanks for sharing your experiences! Congrats on all the changes you’ve made to date. So glad you are feeling good!

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Aniko Brittingham January 28, 2013

Thank you for all your tips. You are so inspiring. I have been changing my diet for only 6 months. My boss and very good friend just passed away from cancer. She has changed my ways forever. I like to keep to a 5 percent animal product like in the “China study” book. I’m lucky to live by the beach and buy fresh fish straight off the boats….. It’s great. My other guilty pleasure is cheese. Thank you for this site and all your wonderful recepies. I use your site constantly.

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Alishia February 4, 2013

I am vegan now for only 5 days, I went cold Tofurky :)
What made me take the plunge?? I watched a documentary called Vegucated ((http://www.getvegucated.com/) and this changed me forever. I knew how saturated the web is with blogs about how to be a success at just about anything in the world, so I got to Google-ing and fell in love with your blog. So you are a great piece of my success (day 5 and counting!) Thanks for all the variety of dishes, I don’t feel deprived or like I’m cutting meat out, I feel more like I’m adding in a world of food. Thank you!!

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Katherine Bell February 14, 2013

(Late to the party as always!)

I started my trip to becoming vegan after being diagnosed in summer 2011 with GERD, IBS, and a small host of other digestive issues. For me, it’s been about reducing the amount of medication I have to take every day… and it has gone down (from about 9 to 3)!

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Dephny February 19, 2013

My concern with being vegan is to ensure enough protein intake. Because I’m used to eating fishes all my life. I’m not sure I can take that away from my diet. I guess that it is something I need to work on..

By the way, this is an interesting article and teaches me a great deal..

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Britt Avery February 20, 2013

Angela! Firstly, I have to say that I obsessively check your blog daily. I have cooked nearly 100 of your recipes, and you are an awesome, funny, and captivating writer:) That said, the more my husband and I are outloud living vegan (him 75% me about 90%) People are feeling the need to argue with me about my decisions “where do you get yoru protein, they say no dairy and meat is bad for you, it’s gross and too expensive”. Yada yada. Some of these comments are coming from people I care about and respect. How did you handle that when you started? And tips would be greatly appreciated, because I dont plan on stoppin!

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Lilian February 24, 2013

Reading everyone’s comments on how they enjoy going vegan has been very inspiring! I have many food sensitivities ( soy, dairy, eggs, gluten, sesame, seeds, certain nuts, and some grains such as chia, and quinoa, and for a while oats) and since I don’t like meat very much I’ve decided to try veganism. My only worry is about my athletics. I’m a runner who had a severe crash at the end of my last cross country season due to lack of iron and protein. My family blames this on the fact that I wasn’t eating enough meat. But I don’t like meat very much and feel gross after eating it. My family, for a while, was basically vegan (without calling it that– we just forgot to add meat to our meals!). I’m looking for ways to get adequate protein and iron without eating nuts and seeds (and meat) but am having a difficult time finding high-protein meals (and snacks, but breakfast has been the most difficult) without a form of soy (such as tofu) or nuts. I don’t know if anyone has similar allergies but suggestions would be great!

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tz March 11, 2013

Thank you for a stimulating, honest and enjoyable blog! Our family has a range of appetites; we have strict vegans, “vegetari-ams” (no meat for breakfast! – hey, it’s a start!), full vegetarians, and onmivores. We all know the value of eating better, and our nutritional journeys pull us forward in constant (if painfully slow) improvement. This is where you come in to inspire- YAY!
I would like to set forth a challenge to you with the intent of keeping it real for the sincerely interested wannabes who just can’t find a way to start the process. You’ve posted great things: how to stock your pantry, fantastic recipes, gorgeously inspiring pictures… how about one week’s recipes complete with a Walmart grocery list? It doesn’t get more real than that. Those with limited access to grocery selections who are locked into hectic schedules need to get a “cheatsheet” to see the possibilities… Just a jumpstart list of one week’s menu with recipes, paired with a grocery list that can be taken to the grocery aisles of Walmart or Target… and …. oooh think of the empowerment!
My friendly gauntlet has been flung. :)

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