The Reluctant Vegan: An Attempt to Switch
Posted by ksp725 at 12/19/2013
I am extremely new to the vegan side of the spectrum, and I was hoping for some advice from anyone who has anything to contribute!
I have been a vegetarian for around a decade, but I recently saw a Functional Medicine Specialist who determined that I actually have intolerance to both dairy products and eggs (and that's why I've been feeling so awful all the time). So, I'm no longer eating dairy, eggs, or meat. Not really out of choice for the two former. I'm a little wary about how this will go.
I have several friends who are at varying levels of flexibility with their veganism, and I've been asking about their experiences and suggestions, but honestly, ANY advice or wisdom would be helpful.
So, I pose the question to you, whether you're a "Reluctant Vegan" like myself or not: Is there any way in which I can make this transition go more smoothly?
Thank you for your help!!
I've mixed soy bacon bits with apple juice, liquid smoke, and rice flour to make a dough. Since rice flour has glutinous (sticky) properties, I've rolled out the dough, cut it into strips, and steamed it to make "raw" bacon. I have then pan fried this product to make it crispy and have used this vegan bacon as a side for pancakes or French toast or for BLT sandwiches.
There are all sorts of vegan cheese products you can buy. You can even make your own cheese products. I've used my own recipes to create a lasagna (using "cream cheese" and "mozzarella"). I've made mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, enchiladas, yogurt, and cream cheese pies. With yogurt I've even made vegan friendly smoothies.
I've published five cookbooks (ebooks) through Amazon.com under the Unintentional Vegan series. If you don't have a kindle, no worries. You may download free software from Amazon that will allow you to read any ebook you purchase.
P.S. I maintain a blog at unintentionalvegan.com
There are literally thousands of varieties of plants to choose from and countless spices to season them. Use your imagination and try new things!
Stephanie Relfe12/29/2013 09:21:26
It summarizes 50 books and takes you step-by-step through all the things you need to do. Even healthy vegans can benefit from this book because they can learn about the pitfalls hidden in our food supply - eg GMOs. Please see the 5-star reviews at Amazon. This book was written to save lives , as well as animals, and I trust it will help you.
My own limited experience (of others) shows me that eating plant-based can be an ongoing chore for those that do it mainly for reasons of health. Essentially your diet and your mindset are at odds and that's a combo that's always a struggle.
OTOH, those that eat vegan because they are convinced that living vegan is the right way to live (ie: ethical vegans) often find it much easier. When one deplores the mistreatment of our cohabitors so much then the importance of *any* food/product/activity pales in comparison to the call to remain true to harmlessness.
So a possible suggestion would be to attack the issue the other way. Rather than think about the food issues inform yourself well on the ethical positions regarding animal use. If and when your core is transformed by a need to remain harmless then you will find almost any "problem" in maintaining that stance fully surmountable, and usually very easy.
Not to diminish real issues but it truly is mostly "in the mind" and how you go about it.
My point is, you don't have to snap your fingers and proclaim that you're going to be a vegan for the rest of your life. I would never commit to anything for the rest of your life. My approach is to decide what I'm going to eat, according to my values, every day, with every meal. I stick to meals that are vegan, but I reject identifying myself as a vegan. Make sense?
I was kicked out-- banned-- from another forum for insinuating this. Their loss as far as I'm concerned. And if I'm kicked off of here, so be it. Vegans aren't winning any converts by preaching purity and inflexibility. My approach, eat however makes you comfortable with your own values and call yourself whatever makes the most sense to you. So far, that's been working pretty well for me.
There's nothing wrong with choosing to be a vegan for life, or identifying yourself as a vegan. You're not ashamed of your choice, are you?
Perhaps your reasons for being vegan aren't strong enough to be proud of your choice.
I'm not getting in a debate over this. I'm just letting the OP know that I too am a reluctant vegan, and actually not vegan at all. More of a strict, or true vegetarian, which is less binding. And in fact, not I'm not sure I even like vegetarian... I have a primarily plant-based diet. Primarily in the sense that it also includes algae and fungi, not that it necessarily includes meat. But I wouldn't discount the possibility that I'd eat animal foods under certain circumstances. So, hence, not vegan according to its strictest definition. Nothing against vegans, it's just not me, and it seems unrealistic for the rest of my life. I don't look at eating animal foods being equal to rape. Not at all. But knowingly buying and eating factory-farmed animal food, that is not something that I'd be willing to do. Anyway, a plant-based diet, whether or not it includes animal foods, is healthier.
But actually, if you look closely at how most dairy cows are inseminated, - by a human hand being forced into their vagina - one could certainly call this "rape".
Factory farms are of course, the worst...but no matter how a cow or pig or a chicken is raised, to kill them for food when a vegan diet is best for your health, the environment, and the animals seems illogical and foolish.
In his classic text, "Ecological Integrity: Integrating Environment, Conservation and Human Health", David Pimentel goes into great detail illustrating the inefficiency of animal agriculture, including the profound implications regarding feeding 7-8 billion humans...
But to your point, veganism is typically sold, at least by groups like Vegan Outreach, as a practical response to factory farming. But as far as considering whether or not it's ethical for someone to use animals, in whatever way they as individuals think is appropriate, is up to the individual. As long as, I would say, the animals aren't tortured, as most currently are, and as long as they are given a good life. Asking everyone in the world to stop eating animals or animal products based on the argument that it's just wrong to eat sentient beings is asking them to develop a system of morals that mirrors your own. It's a futile and self-defeating goal.
I got into veganism as a response to factory farming, and it seems every other vegan I talk to tells me my reasons aren't good enough. And that attitude ends up putting a lot of people off, steering them away from veganism, even ostracizing them from the vegan community, and that in turn ends up hurting more animals.
You're reading some things into my statement that aren't there.
I gave numerous reasons for being vegan beyond the idea that "it's just wrong to eat sentient beings".
By your reasoning that it's OK to kill other animals as long as we treat them pretty well before slaughter, it would be OK to eat dogs, cats, horses, and I suppose humans as well, just so we treat them decently before the kill.
Factory farming is just one issue involved in vegan philosophy. I don't expect anyone to agree due to a paragraph or two here...that's why I suggest books and that's why I write them.
You will get a better understanding for ethical veganism and hopefully see not consuming eggs and dairy any more as something very positive.
The Hammer02/09/2014 21:05:29
very interesting, maybe you should post this as a separate topic.
Simply put, you are dumping the silly label and just go for the values (eg against factory farming)
I think most vegans are against abusing animals and against cruelty. If chickens and cows and pigs truly were raised very good (and not factory farmed) i bet ten dollars that most of us wouldn't have become vegans.
It is because we saw factory farm cruelty that we were shocked and became vegans. If we would have seen videos of chickens in the grass, pigs in the mud happily, we would not be shocked into veganism.
So i think you have a very valid point.
Or better yet, look online for vegan recipes! There are thousands online, and tons of vegan recipe blogs.
Commit to learning one new recipe each week. (If you don't like a recipe you can either scrap it or try adjusting it to suit your taste.) Within a few months you'll know several recipes you think are delicious.
I also recommend the website iherb.com which sells vitamin supplements for cheap. Get B12 spray or liquid drops or sublingual pills, 250 mcg per day or 2500 mcg per week (doesn't add up due to absorption efficiency). Also the Deva multivitamin for vegans. Eat a source of omega-3 (ground flax seed or ground chia seeds kept in the freezer so omega-3 stays fresh, or flax or chia oil). Or you can buy supplements - I recommend an algae based supplement.
So cold turkey - just go vegan. Plan ahead a bit, buy some good recipe books, join Pintrest, and adapt your favourite recipes to vegan.
Or wean yourself off, week by week. Next week no more eggs etc.
I started off vegetarian for animal reasons, and went vegan for health reasons too. I've never looked back. I'm not a big fan of fake meat or soy cheese, I prefer whole foods and unprocessed food. Once you find out more about farming practices it's barbaric, and knowledge is always good.
Good luck. There are no right or wrong reasons for being vegan. We need to move away from the "I'm more vegan than you" attitude and be supportive of all vegans.