Going Vegan

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Felipe
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Going Vegan

Postby Felipe » Mon Feb 20, 2017 3:34 am

I've started fasting again and while it hasn't been easy, I feel really good for having done it. I've been watching some documentaries, pondering on my dietary habits and I feel called to cut out meat, dairy, and eggs.

I was vegetarian for most of my childhood by choice, vegan for a few years as an adult. I stopped mainly due to social pressures each time. I have a vegan multivitamin that includes B12 and A so my potential deficiencies will be covered but I still feel nervous about making the jump. I know there are some far more skilled vegans/vegetarians here than I so I'm wondering what pointers you'd have-especially to replace the salty and sweet flavors-good vegan chocolates, cheeses, pizzas, burgers, yogurts, meat replacements (in the middle of a fast right now so these are what are coming to me.)

Some ideas I have for foods are: vegetable soups, fruits, stir fries, french fries, salads, pancakes, portobellos grilled in aioli and vinegar, avocados with grilled garlic, lemon with nuts/seeds, apples and peanut butter, lentils. I've also cut out most bread/gluten which makes this more difficult but potentially more rewarding on the health front.

sl-owl-orris
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby sl-owl-orris » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:00 am

Congratulations on becoming vegan again!

Few things that jump to my mind:

    It’s worth taking vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplements as it’s very hard to get sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 from vegan diet (even if you consume fortified plant milk etc.), and most people should supplement vitamin D for optimal health, as we don’t spend our whole lives under African sun anymore. However, taking other supplements is not necessary with a well-balanced vegan diet and can potentially be harmful. As long as you get your Omega 3 from food (flax seed, walnuts), and your iron and calcium from dark green leafy vegetables you should be fine.

    Other things worth taking for optimum nutritional health are 1 brazil nut a week to get selenium (not more, because too much can be toxic) and including seaweed in your diet for iodine (for example vegan sushi with nori or through miso soup). Alternatively use iodised salt.

    I highly recommend NutritionFacts.org for your… nutrition facts :D For example this quick summary on taking pills: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/supplements/

    Food-wise, there is a fantastic culinary blog by Cathy Fisher, called StraightUpFood. It’s a great source of tasty vegan recipes, which are also very healthy, because they have no added sugar, oil and salt. Most if not all baking recipes are also gluten free, so that should be something for you. You can start from there, and adjust recipes to your liking later on.

    There are many options for vegan replacements of cheeses, pizzas, burgers etc., however for me it was easier to look for new vegan flavours and dishes rather than to try and replace the non-vegan dishes that I liked with their vegan equivalents. They are not going to taste the same, so no point in feeling like you are depriving yourself of something. For example, I used to love chicken soup and I craved it, but then I tried miso soup and now it’s a staple in my home. I like it so much better than the chicken soup, that I stopped thinking about chicken soup at all. My cuisine used to be very European before, with many Polish, Italian and French influences, but now I look to Asia and South America for inspiration and I love it.

    Some of the staple ingredients in my home include:
      Nutritional yeast (for cheesy-nutty flavour)
      Silken tofu (mostly for my miso, but I also add it to so many other things)
      Miso paste
      Nori
      Purple cabbage
      Frozen berries
      Spinach
      Sweet potatoes
      Red onion
      Broccoli
      Millet (baking/desserts)
      Traditional rolled oats (oatmeal /baking /desserts)
      Dates (for sweet flavour)
      Nuts and seeds (especially flax seeds)
      Beans and lentils
      Red and brown rice (much more nutritious and tasty than white rice in my opinion).


    If you crave sweet things, you can bake all sort of stuff if you blend dates or raisins in plant milk for sweetness and if you use ground millet and oats for flour. If you are not bothered by adding oil or sugar there are tons of very tasty vegan dessert ideas in the internet. To cook without oil use non-stick pots and/or use a small amount of water with whatever veggies you are cooking and stir. You can also achieve caramelisation this way. For salty cravings I turn to miso, sauerkraut, Polish sour cucumbers. For crunchy/snacking I bake chickpeas or thinly sliced sweet potatoes (add spices such as dried garlic, paprika, cayenne etc for flavour). If you don’t want to add salt to your dishes (there is enough of it in your vegies) add other strong flavours, such as onion, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, sage, chilli, cayenne, cumin, lemon, etc.

    Most processed food in stores has very strong aggressive flavours and we get used to that and crave that. If you stop adding sugar and salt to your food your taste buds will adjust within few days or weeks and you won’t crave those things anymore.

    Some of the staple dishes:
      Miso soup
      Vegetable curry
      Roman soup (veggies, lentils and grains)
      Enchilladas (I hope I don’t have to add that they are vegan)
      Lentil stew
      Falafels
      Veggie burgers

If you have any other or more specific questions, let me know.

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Ego
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby Ego » Mon Feb 20, 2017 5:03 pm

Our transition was unusual because we were in East Africa and unable to get our normal non-veg foods. The meat was not particularly palatable and the cheese was terrible. Before we knew it we were vegan by accident. At that point it was just a matter of not re-adding the meat/dairy/eggs to our lives.

One of the things I noticed is that people tend to come to veganism after having succeeded at eliminating other negative things from their lives. The positive spiral that comes with eliminating the crud can be exhilarating. Suddenly feeling X times better than before can be wonderful. But it is important to be mindful of the fact that the self-restraint can also be.... addictive. At the far end of the spectrum is anorexia which is largely about dysfunctional self-control.

So, along with eliminating certain foods I would suggest substituting and adding different options. For instance, you might make a meal with a new bean/grain/vegetable/fruit each week until you've tried all the beans/grains/vegetables/fruits you can get your hands on. Or you might go to your friends barbecue and bring along a few different fake burgers and ask those who are not repulsed to judge the best one. Or you might try to make your own fake burger and see how well it does on the grill. Or make a few recipes from each country (ie. Turkish vegan food and Indian vegan food). Try to think of it as expansion rather than contraction.

In many ways this is similar to Jacob's approach to ERE. ERE is about so much more than simply not spending. Eating healthy is so much more than not eating meat/eggs/dairy.

Also, 99% is better than 100%. The costs involved in that last 1% are far more than the benefits.

Scott 2
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby Scott 2 » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:02 pm

Ego wrote:Also, 99% is better than 100%. The costs involved in that last 1% are far more than the benefits.


This. Don't make it your identity, and it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Staying healthy with zero animal products is hard.

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BRUTE
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby BRUTE » Mon Feb 20, 2017 9:24 pm

<obligatory pro-animal-products post>

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Olaz
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby Olaz » Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:46 pm

Yeah, remember that you can be a relativist and not absolute. It's fine, really.90% is significantly better than 0%.

My exceptions are used animal-based clothing, animal products I hunt myself, healthful animal-based food offered to me by cultures unknown to me, and sometimes because I just feel like it. Oooo

Just remember that if this is activist related, our personal actions do not make an impact unless if they're taken at a collective scale. Even then it won't matter until capitalism collapses and is replaced by a more radically democratic system, where more than a tiny sub-percentage of the population is creating the system that drives everybody else since birth.

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BRUTE
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby BRUTE » Tue Feb 21, 2017 1:22 am

yea, eating bland food is totally going to bring down the system. lol.

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vexed87
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby vexed87 » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:18 am

I have found imitating old habit foods, i.e. store bought burgers, sausages, chicken etc, results in eating more junk/processed foods. If the focus is on eating healthy, rather than animal welfare at any cost, focus on practising new recipes that you love and leave behind the sausages, burgers etc. Some of the vegan alternatives, like cheese, mayo etc are also pale imitations of the real animal products and are a result of trying to force old square pegs (habits) into new round holes. Resist the urge to eat the real thing by avoiding eating the substandard imitations!

That said, if a home made lentil burger helps mix things up and help you eat less animal produce, great, but I've had better success eating well simply learning new recipes that don't require cheese/milk alternatives etc, and found as a result I'm less likely to crave those animal products when I'm eating out and there is no/not much vegan choice on the menu. Also, these imitations products tend to be $$$ and have loads of packaging, whereas dried beans and big bags of wholemeal flour and rice do not (better ecological footprint).

I had a brief stint, but I'm not 100% vegan any more, mainly because of the social limitations, but as a result of the experiment, I am way more comfortable eating an order of magnitude less meat, very little cheese or dairy.

A typical day of meals looks like;

Breakfast: Porridge for breakfast, topped with fruit or nuts, or toast and nut butter.
Lunch: Home made wholemeal bread with nut butter, avocados, or fruit jams etc, or last night's left overs.
Vegetables, brown rice or, potato (sweet or regular), or wholegrain pasta, noodles and assorted beans, or lentils.

Also, I hate mushrooms, east little oily fish, and don't buy supplemented fish and don't have vitamin D deficiency. Get out in the sun, and you will be ok. I do occasionally take a b12 tablet, but only if I think I haven't had enough via food sources. Because of the occasional indulgence in meat, I don't think this is necessary.

Also, learning to cook with various seasonings, herbs and spices can take what might seem like a limited range of ingredients and produce a great variety of tastes from cultures all over the world. I get complements on my cooking from DW, that were few and far between when simple meat and two veg was dishes used to be plated up.

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Dragline
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby Dragline » Tue Feb 21, 2017 6:56 am

BRUTE wrote:<obligatory pro-animal-products post>


Now, now, leave the vegans be with their own thread. Just think of the nascent opportunities to clean up/stock up in the pork belly market when it bottoms out. ;)

Felipe
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby Felipe » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:02 am

Thanks for all the pointers.

I loved the straightupfood blog, I've made the baked potatoes, bean/rice burgers, and a few other recipes. I'm wondering if you know of anything that's easier/quicker to make. Most of the recipes I tried took some heavy prep time.

I found it refreshing to know that the health aficionados here urged me to not go 100%. I've cut out meat and have gone from dairy with almost every meal to once a day, progress is progress. Technically eating vegetarian but I'm letting go of the label and keeping the focus to moving towards less animal products.

I notice a struggle as black/white thinking is what worked for me in the past with going vegan, 100% felt easier than 99% in some way. On the contrary, I see the value in not obsessing that crackers have some butter as an ingredient or that I want some melted cheese with my spiced avocado and bread, it feels nearly impossible to reach 100%.

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BRUTE
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby BRUTE » Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:25 pm

if Felipe doesn't mind brute asking, what's the reason for going vegan? (or vegetarian, for that matter)

Earlybath
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby Earlybath » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:54 am

Cooking from scratch takes 40 - 60 mins whatever you do.

Try cooking stuff that freezes well like curries tagines ragus at the weekend and use it during the week.

Or try simple one pot recipes like
http://www.peta.org/living/food/vegan-one-pot-recipes-to-save-you-from-all-those-dishes/

Or buy some processed stuff like sausages that cook in 20 minutes and cook up a plate full of fresh veg. to pack it out.

jacob
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby jacob » Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:32 am

@EarlyBath - That was great link. Just my style of cooking. A picture of the result and a bunch of ingredients (<5 not counting spices), all in one pot.

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CECTPA
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby CECTPA » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:45 pm

We've been eating plant-based starch-based for 3 years, it's cheap, efficient, great health results, got off blood pressure meds. I have an instagram for my minimalism-stoicism inspired meals (far_north_starchivore), if you want ideas.

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Ego
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby Ego » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:07 pm

CECTPA wrote:(far_north_starchivore)


Wow! ^^^

Every last recipe looks delicious. Such a wide variety of foods. Incredible. I love the photo of the giant salad in front of the computer while watching Dr. McDougall.

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CECTPA
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby CECTPA » Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:29 pm

Ego wrote:Every last recipe looks delicious. Such a wide variety of foods. Incredible. I love the photo of the giant salad in front of the computer while watching Dr. McDougall.


Thanks, I'm glad you're finding them looking delicious, my idea is that plant-based doesn't need to be elitist or hipster-like :ugeek:
And you know McDougall, wow :D Anyway, McDougall doesn't really promote the idea of eating big salads, at least on their own. It's not enough calories and not sustainable. Starches are the key, and they are consistent with minimalism-stoicism-ERE lifestyle.

KevinW
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Re: Going Vegan

Postby KevinW » Wed Mar 15, 2017 5:15 pm

vexed87 wrote:Resist the urge to eat the real thing by avoiding eating the substandard imitations!


+1

I'm not vegan myself but I do try to be mostly plant-based. Trying to replicate the SAD in plant form doesn't work well. It involves a lot of highly processed, expensive, meat "alternatives" that are ultimately unsatisfying. A vegan burger is just never going to replicate the experience of a medium-rare hamburger with cheese and bacon, sorry.

Instead, explore cuisines that were actually designed to be satisfying using plant sources. E.g. the cultures influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism have been perfecting recipes for thousands of years and have learned a thing or two. Check out: chana masala, dal, red curry, green curry, yellow curry, congee, miso soup with noodles, banh mi with tofu or seitan.

Olaz wrote:Yeah, remember that you can be a relativist and not absolute. It's fine, really.90% is significantly better than 0%.


Consider a diet that is vegan with an exception for frequent sardines. Sardines are high in protein, B12, calcium, and omega-3, which are vegan trouble spots. And they're cheap, relatively sustainable, and relatively low-cruelty.


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