Posted by KatAutumn at 04/06/09 21:33:09For starters, you are to be commended not only for trying to adopt a more eco-conscious lifestyle, but recovering from an eating disorder as well. Unfortunately, veganism among young people has received a lot of bad press in terms of being a way young people try and sneak quick weight loss past their parents and friends. The good news is that you're doing it for the right reasons, but not everyone may see it that way at first.
I can't dispense medical advice, as I'm neither a doctor or nutritionist, but you want to do lots of research to make sure you are able to obtain a sufficient amount of vital nutrients every day through other sources. Then explain to your parents that being a vegan is beyond what you eat and don't eat. It's a life style change. It's about the clothing and accessories you wear, the body products you use, how you see the world around you.
Most people assume vegans are all malnourished, pale and in frail health because all they eat are sticks and spinach. Nothing could be further from the truth! When people eat healthy and use products that contain natural ingredients and don't neglect what their body needs it shows outwardly. Most vegans I know maintain a healthy weight, have a good color about them, their skin glows, their hair is shiny.
Just be prepared for the criticism. I'm not saying it will happen, but people tend to ridicule that which they don't understand. Most people have been trained, from a very early age, some basic "life concepts":
1. Beef, pork, poultry or fish are the centerpiece of a balanced meal. Veggies and fruits are simply added for balance and color. Most meals prepared revolve around the meat.
2. You need milk, beef, chicken, fish, etc. in order to get the calcium, iron and protein your body needs.
3. Once a baby is weened from breast or bottle milk, it should go on cow's milk immediately to promote bone development (isn't it fascinating how most infants resist cow's milk after being weened? It's almost as if they instinctively know that we shouldn't drink the breastmilk from another species. Babies usually have to acquire a taste for cow's milk after months of parents trying to force them into drinking it, or sneaking it into various foods)
4. Some animals, such as dogs and cats, have earned the right to live with us as companion animals. Chickens, turkeys, cows, hogs and fish are dumb animals with no feelings, no concept of the fear of dying and God gave man dominion over them. Therefore, eating meat is morally justifiable.
5. Animals are going to die anyway, so what's the point of not enjoying their meat?
6. If we don't cull the animal population by killing them, we'll be overrun with animals and they'll take over the land.
Most people grow up raised on those tenets of how the world should work and how we should eat. I know that I was. It isn't until we begin to view the world through different eyes and see that the cow is just as worthy of respect as the family dog and that the laboratory rats are just as capable of feeling physical pain and fear as we are (maybe even more so, since animals have keener senses than humans) that those tenets begin to lose their validity.
My best advice is be patient with yourself and be patient with those around you who may express doubt, misunderstanding and concern. Perhaps, if you're met with a lot of opposition, you could let your parents look at this website and read the information on veganism. I wish you all the best! :)
Posted by VeganBeth at 04/08/09 10:37:33Hello Vegichick,
You can get plenty of foods being vegan to keep your weight up. Sweet and white potatoes is a great way. Dry beans and other starchy carbs will keep your weight in control. I have the opposite problem, I am a food addict, so have to keep my weight down. But for the both of us we should eat very clean, meaning really limiting your processed foods.
Then you don't have to worry about animal products being slipped into foods. An apple is an apple right, some with all fruits and veggies. Check the labels on breads, you don't want high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils either.
If you keep your foods as natural as possible you won't have to much to worry about, also with your commodities, stick to vegan products. Eating foosd as close to their natural state as possible is your best way to go, and it is the most healthy. If you need snacks, pop your own popcorn, eat tortilla chips and salsa, potato chips and bean dip.
I hope that helps :) Good luck!
Posted by Lisa Soo at 04/08/09 13:19:34I am also recently trying to convert to a vegan diet. The hardest part for me is knowing what is vegan when I'm at a restaurant. I mainly stick to salads, grilled veggies, hummus with veggies, etc. I'm uncertain about what common restaurant items such as breads, buns, rolls, certain salad dressings and spreads, vegetable sides (if they're prepared with butter), etc. are vegan. Are most of these items most likely not vegan? Are there any types of breads that are regularly vegan?
Posted by KatAutumn at 04/08/09 21:16:25Hi, Lisa Soo! Unfortunately in most mainstream restaurants it's hard to discern whether or not the breads are vegan. Sometimes there are sneaky ingredient culprits in there and many restaurant servers wouldn't know. Some wheat breads also contain honey as a sweetener. I think a lot of sourdough and rye breads are vegan, though.
When buying bread in the store, just check the label to see if there are any animal by-product ingredients. My personal favorite is Rudi's Organic Bakery. It's a bit on the pricey side and, being organic, it molds pretty quickly so I try and buy two loaves at a time and freeze one. But, all of their products are 100% vegan, with the exception of the products sweetened with honey (Honey Sweet Whole Wheat, European Multigrain, Spelt Tortillas and Whole Spelt Tortillas). My favorites are the whole wheat and Rocky Mountain Sourdough.
Posted by VegiChick at 04/10/09 07:47:42Hello everyone, thanks for your advice!
I've been managing to eat mainly vegan foods, and have been shopping with my Mum today and found some products that are vegan and that I feel comfortable with eating (not too high calorie etc). There are actually quite a lot of things that are vegan, you just have to scrutinize the ingredients to find them! I shop at Asda where luckily there is a 'free from' isle that has all of the dairy free products labelled, which is really helpful. The only problems I am having is that: number one: my family aren't even vegetarian, let alone vegan, and practically all of the food in our house has some form of animal product in it.
and number two: I'm unsure exactly as to what doesn't classify as vegan! I bought some Naan bread today and it said that it contains 'milk powder' in the ingredients, but I don't know whether or not this means that it is not vegan?! Also, as I said I am recovering from an eating disorder, I still find it difficult to eat foods which are higher in calorie than others, and I've found that quite a lot of vegan products, for example, some of Redwood's meat free meat style foods range are quite high calorie. Help please?!
Posted by Caroline9999 at 04/26/09 23:02:37I have just discovered green smoothies, after years of feeling I had to stay away from fruit. They are awesome, fresh and totally vegan. Blend fresh fruit and leafy greens with a glass of water. Bananas make a great base. Delicious and energizing!
Posted by Nicola at 05/19/09 07:18:42Hi Vegichick
I was the first vegi anyone in my family had ever met and they did make it a bit difficult for me at first but once they realised that it was something I truly believed in they were very supportive.now 15 years on and im totally vegan, my mum and sisters are some of the biggest fans of my cooking. To make yourself feel for comfortable in a non vegi kitchen have your own pots, plates etc that everyone agrees will not be used for meet and ask if it would be possible for you to have your own cupboard for storing dry foodstuffs and a shelf in the fridge to store your vegi alternatives away from meat and dairy products. Good luck, trust me it gets a lot easier!
Posted by lmzeigler at 05/25/09 17:09:41Hi Vegichick,
Congrats on your decision to lead a vegan life! I have found a few things that were very helpful to me when transitioning to vegan from vegetarian. At first going to the grocery store was admittedly overwhelming and I literally carried a binder of information with me to be sure that I wasn't buying anything that was "secretly" not vegan! I don't do that anymore (thank goodness) but there are a few resources that I still reference from time to time. First, on the PETA website there are lists called something like "Accidentally Vegan" and "I Can't Believe It's Vegan." These are lists of name-brand products that just happen to be vegan (e.g. pasta sauce, salsa, veggie burgers (since some contain egg). Second, another helpful thing is to email the store or brand and ask them to send you a list of their vegan products. Trader Joe's and Fresh and Easy have these lists. I've emailed companies like Campbell's and gotten their lists. And third, just cook as much as you can yourself. That way you know for sure what's going into it!
Best of luck!