This is a discussion on Ask a Vegan within the Health and Fitness forums, part of the Topics of Interest category; Originally Posted by MsBossyPants I use a lot of 3 x 5 index cards in my work so I had ...
@MsBossyPants - I have 3 questions for you. :)
1 - (Unless you were raised in a vegan family...) When and why did you decide to become a vegan?
2 - (If the first question applies...) What did you find to be the most initially challenging when you first became a vegan, and what where some things that helped make the transition easier?
3 - What is your favorite vegan dessert recipe?
I get asked that a lot ;)
Here is the answer:
Eating vegan isn't really all that difficult once you understand the basics. Difficulty in transitioning really depends on from where you start. So, the further away from (non junk food) veganism your current diet is, the more difficult. Someone who is eating a healthy vegetarian diet will obviously have a much easier time than someone who is eating a diet that not only includes animal products, but also includes what are generally considered unhealthful foods like sodas, or processed products that have a high sugar content and not much nutritional value. By way of analogy, think of it this way:
If you were a smoker and wanted to quit smoking, the least stressful way would be to smoke one cigarette less every few days. Over the course of a few months, you may be able to gradually wean yourself off. (or use a patch system - same idea). Moving to veganism if you are starting from the opposite extreme is most easily accomplished the same way. Wean yourself off one thing at a time. For example, first give up soda, then sugary junk food, next make sure you are eating the recommended amounts of fruits, whole grains and vegetables, then stop eating one animal at a time until you progress to vegetarianism, then give up dairy and eggs. Do this over the course of a few months at whatever pace seems comfortable. In my case, I was already mostly vegetarian before I took the final step, so my transition was pretty easy, except that I did miss cheese for a while.
Everyone is different, some can do it "cold turkey" (cold tofurky... lol) But, I think most of the people I've talked with who've had the greatest success are the ones who eased into it.
Desserts? I don't eat desserts very often. Every once in a while I might have a slice of vegan carrot cake in a vegan restaurant, but I don't make them at home. If they aren't here, I can't eat them ;)
If you want the basics on what's involved eating a vegan diet, find them here:
Do most vegans find it important to drink milk substitutes such as soy milk or almond milk? If so, how do they determine which kind is best? I'm only aware of the Silk brand I currently buy (I hate regular cow milk), and last time I checked it had soy, almond, and coconut options. It seemed like the soy milk was the most nutritious, but there are mixed scientific findings about the effects of compounds naturally occurring in soy. Or do more vegans tend to rely on other sources of calcium and vitamins?
In the same way that there are lots of variables with meat eaters (types of animal flesh preferred, organically fed, free range, some only eat light meat, some only dark, some don't eat wild game, etc), there are lots of variables with vegans as well. Some vegans do not consume any soy. Some eat edamame (soy beans) and tofu, but not processed soy meats. Some (like me) try to limit intake. It's a matter of personal preference.
In milk substitutes, I've found that taste varies from brand to brand. You just have to try several and find the one you like. I use the Kirkland (house brand) at Costco. I prefer the vanilla soy. It comes in a case of 12 - 32 oz cartons. It has long shelf life, but an open carton should be consumed in a few days. It costs much less to buy it this way than in individual cartons at the grocery store ;) My husband, who is not vegan, also uses it instead of cow's milk.
I use almond milk in my cereal and oatmeal, coconut milk to thin my smoothies a bit. I do put soy milk in my coffee. I drink latte (volumewise, large portion of "milk" with proportionately small amount of coffee)The preference here is due to viscosity. Soy milk is the most like cow's milk in terms of "thickness" and mouthfeel. It makes for a richer tasting drink. I've tried with it other milks and didn't like it at all. For things like cereal, where the idea isn't so much about texture, but rather just to wet down the cereal, I prefer almond milk. This is just my preference.
Are far as vitamins and calcium sources - Most non-vegans get their calcium from dairy products which are high in calcium content. Vegan milks are fortified with calcium and B-12 because they are generally used as a substitute for cow's milk which contains these naturally. For people who are used to drinking cow's milk for their calcium, this becomes an easy substitute when switching to a vegan diet. They are also used by people who are lactose intolerant.
Dark leafy greens (but not spinach-its calcium isn't absorbed well) which are a staple in the vegan diet are also a good source of calcium as are broccoli, oranges, figs, chickpeas (garbanzo beans) almonds ... it's possible to meet your calcium needs eating a varied vegan diet without supplements or milk substitutes if you eat properly.
Another vegan?! I love you!
what are cheap fake ham substitutes?
But, fake ham is a bit harder to make due to the texture - it usually comes in loaf form. I've come across several ham roll substitutes, but the ones I've seen are vegetarian, not vegan. (they contain egg which is used as a binding agent)
There are vegan recipes (usually involving tofu) I've come across on the internet, but I've never tried any.
Does anyone else have any suggestions?
Randomly crossed on easy and very delicious looking hazelnut butter recipe, might wanna try out this one. I've never tried making it on my own as it's not part of my normal die, just a rare treat. ^^
Hazelnut Butter meets Dark Cocoa Powder | The Healthy Foodie