Community: Forum: Vegetarian Discussion

Vegan / Vegetarian Discussion - All Things Veg*n Forum

Hi all,

I am about a week-old here, and considering beginning a vegan lifestyle without having even been a vegetarian. Does anyone have any thoughts on how to start? With huge intolerances to cow's milk, yeast, and eggs, I don't know whether it would be better to become either a vegetarian or a vegan cold turkey, or just start slowly and gradually reducing animal products in my diet. Does anyone have any comments or thoughts on how to go about this? Also, any recommendations or substitutions for eggs in a diet?

Responses (8)

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    Posted by lmcc at 03/12/18 15:47:54

    Hi there,
    Any pace that works for you is okay, although I'd recommend changing over as soon as you can. There's tons of resources online with lots of tips and information about how to switch, what to eat, etc. I'd highly recommend YouTube. I switched nearly overnight (full omnivore, then vegetarian for a day, and then vegan the next), and this was because I didn't want to let all of my Omni food go to waste. It's possible to do either, although I think going vegan overnight either requires a little preparation, or just some time spent in limbo figuring out what to cook & eat. My suggestion would be to find some recipes you think you would enjoy for a week or two, and then go for it. Some breakfast foods you can do: oatmeal, smoothies, pancakes (vegan recipes), toast (just check the ingredients for milk/eggs), fruit. Lunch: rice bowls (I'm a fan of black beans, corn, salsa, guacamole, tomatoes & some lettuce for a nice Tex-Mex bowl), sandwiches, soup. Dinner: Stew, curry, pastas. There are tons of recipes online, and nearly everything can be veganized. There are lots of 'meat replacements' available as well, and those are definitely a viable route when first starting. I use them very occasionally now, as they're not the healthiest, and not sustainable in terms of my budget.

    In terms of eggs, it depends how you use them. In baking, they can easily be substituted with a flax egg (1 tbsp. ground flax seed + 2.5-3 tbsp. of water), or chia seeds (same kind of deal). There are also egg-replacers that are available at a lot of supermarkets and grocery stores (Bob's Red Mill brand, Ener-G brand). I personally haven't tried either. If you are looking to eat an 'egg-like' item, I would suggest tofu. You can make a tofu scramble by crumbling some firm or extra firm tofu, or you can use soft/silken tofu. Smoked tofu is amazing, I've made some very delicious no-eggs benedict with that. Again, lots of really great recipes online. My favourite recipe websites are Minimalist Baker, Oh She Glows; but I honestly usually just google what I'd like to eat with vegan in the search.

    Good luck!

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    Posted by ModerateCarnivore at 03/12/18 19:24:52

    Thank you so much for your help! I'm a college student at the moment and I'm really looking for some healthy vegetarian/vegan recipes for meal prepping for the week! I have certainly heard of flax egg, so I'll take a look into that. Could definitely work with tex-mex bowls too!

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    Posted by ForestNymph at 03/13/18 01:59:01

    Hi. I was vegetarian before I was vegan and I basically tried to be as plant-based as possible after a certain point, so it gave me time to learn recipes and nutrition (my main concern was nutrition as I knew a lot of people when I was younger who thought veganism was dangerous, including my mom, and I only knew one vegan in high school and he and I weren't close).

    It helped me to move to California, meet vegans in person, and also to learn all that I could on-line.

    If you have huge intolerances to cow's milk, eggs and yeast, does that mean that you mainly use goat's cheese (a lot of people do because it's more environmentally sustainable) or that you occasionally still eat eggs? Or do you mainly eat flesh and then plant-based foods besides flesh?

    Your current diet matters because it will shape your preferences, cravings, and concerns. Cheese was a big concern for me. The last non-vegan food I had was a slice of cheese pizza. Before that I pretty much ate dairy or eggs once every month or two. Mostly cheese though. I only ate eggs twice for breakfast after trying to transition to vegan. I stopped drinking milk entirely, though, and didn't keep dairy or eggs in my house.

    Some people do best going "cold Tofurky." It's what works for them. I've encountered a 5 year plus vegan who went from being a full on meat eater to being entirely vegan overnight.

    I never really liked meat so for most of my childhood I was a flexitarian or actively fighting my family over eating meat - due to that, though, a lot of my meals became shaped around cheese or eggs, as does happen in vegetarians from traditional families where your alternatives include having a grilled cheese and tomato soup, or a plate of poached eggs and toast as an alternative to your parents' meal of dead animal. The meals I picked in restaurants usually were things like veggie pizza, eggplant parmesan, egg and cheese sandwiches, or broccoli cheese soup in a bread bowl because that was just "normal" to me and easy to find. When I did eat meat it was usually fish. I usually outright refused to eat mammals.

    I also had it beat into my head because of that to be worried about nutrition, like my grandparents thought I'd die without meat.

    We all have our own issues or challenges that come from childhood or culture. For me it was best to be vegetarian first and then transition to vegan. That doesn't mean overnight isn't the answer for you.

    If you are a flesh eater and mostly plant-based otherwise, I would suggest that you either go cold from flesh, or that you become a pescatarian and completely cut mammals and birds from your diet. If you still mostly eat goat cheese or eggs, maybe you can cut back to only cheese first.

    Egg substitutes include scrambled tofu, or breakfast burritos made with tofu and veggies and salsa; you can also get a product called VeganEgg that's a bit pricey and has to be cooked carefully, but it's absolutely delicious scrambled with vegan cheese and veggies, or with just herbs and salt and pepper, I've even fed it to lacto-ovo vegetarians and they liked them. Other ideas include eating avocado toast for breakfast, fried potatoes, vegan sausages, fried tempeh "bacon," or biscuits and vegan gravy if you simply crave savory things for breakfast instead of sweet. Sometimes for breakfast I make rice ramen, drained, with Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce), 2 tbsp of peanut butter, 1/2 a lemon or lime juice squeezed, and Sriracha. I can eat it day or night. Even with the peanut butter the recipe has a more savory taste due to the Braggs or soy sauce and Sriracha (also get unsweetened peanut butter) and it it's really filling, the PB gives you protein.

    Flax eggs, apple sauce, canned pumpkin, and whipped aquafaba are usually used in baking, not as outright substitutes for breakfast eggs.

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    Posted by ForestNymph at 03/13/18 02:32:54

    Also, allow me to clarify that the "pescatarian" suggestion is only really if all you eat right now is flesh and plant-based foods. If you don't really eat eggs or cheese, you may have no idea what to eat for dinner - beans, tofu, tempeh, etc - I didn't mean to suggest pescatarian as any sort of alternative to being vegetarian or vegan. I just think it's a transitional step away from your current lifestyle.

    In any event, from what I understand, it's best to remove ALL flesh as quickly as possible, because it blinds your views of things, it's really hard to make someone who still sees flesh as food why it's such a problem. Just to clarify.

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    Posted by ModerateCarnivore at 03/13/18 19:47:20

    Hi ForestNymph,

    Thank you so much for this -- I am specifically allergic to cow's milk so I have been attempting to stick to goat's cheese and almond milk (with the hope that I would eventually cut out all milk products, except almond milk). I try my very best to stay away from eggs, but I struggle in cases when I come across foods that are laced with eggs (pastries, brownies, etc.) I have seen myself quit certain foods "cold tofurkey" in the very beginning, and I could go for several weeks without them. However I notice that I tend to cut out certain foods, only to binge on them should they be re-introduced in my diet.

    I feel like the best way to transition for me personally would be a gradual one from a pescatarian, to a vegetarian, and then eventually to a vegan. Thank you for being super detailed and listing all these suggestions!

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    Posted by KerryElise at 03/15/18 18:09:27

    Hey there! I was in a situation similar to you. I had a list of food intolerances and was eating meat and other animal products. After I did about of month of research, finding recipes, options in my local stores/restaurants my husband and I made the switch cold turkey. I think if you find substitutions for everything you love you won’t feel like you’re missing out. If you are someone who worries about losing willpower in the beginning it might work best to make it more gradual. Good luck!

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    Posted by MehmetBabur at 03/15/18 21:28:08


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    Posted by ModerateCarnivore at 03/15/18 22:18:20

    Hi KerryElise,

    Thank you for your insight! I feel like this space is a good start to doing research and finding those substitutions.

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