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Post Info TOPIC: The Vegan Transition


Mookish Deity Most High

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RE: The Vegan Transition


^ I think using the "recent posts" function is really the most useful, as you can see what threads have last been posted in. :)

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Regular Crew

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oh ok thanks some forums don't have a "recent posts" function (and i thought all sticky threads said "sticky:".

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Mookish Deity Most High

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They are. The chronology is based on that date it was last commented on, not the date it was created. :)

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Mookface (mod)

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NECROPOST!

Today I was in Nando's with Fry, Ruby and Mr Ruby, and I had a mini freakout about my steak roll. I've always said that I should ethically be vegan, and today it just sort of clicked... So I'm going to give it a go. It's going to be tough, as I adore the taste of meat and cheese, but I'm at a point in my life where I don't know if I can continue to ignore what I really believe in.

Difficulties:

Cheese is my favourite.
I'll have to check that beer doesn't use finings (or be slightly flexi about this, as it's my industry and I will be judging at beer fests)
Fry understands how I feel but is happy to keep eating normally. I have no problem with this at all, it just means we'll be cooking different meals.

Has anyone else gone vegan since this thread was last active? Experienced (lol) vegans, any further advice/delicious recipes?

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Aww, I started this topic forever ago! And am still vegan! That's quite nice!

 

Back on topic, nicely done, Ro! A big sanctimonious part of me does think people should question their eating habits more in relation to their removal from the process of food production, so I'm happy for you that you've come to a point where you feel you're able to try putting those thoughts into practice :)


My first piece of advice is something I think is really important - don't be upset if you slip up, or if there are certain things you find you just aren't able to phase out yet. When Mike and I had been vegan for about a week I found an old elbow of Cheddar in the back of the fridge, and we ended up having an incredibly emotional last round of cheese on toast (not a sentence I ever expected to type...) which nearly turned me off the whole vegan idea altogether. I was still working at the wool shop and he was (and is) working in the beer industry when we made the change, so we had to make some compromises from the off, some of which we're still making. If finings are going to be a problem (which I imagine they are) then be as flexible as you need to be. Being vegan isn't a competition or a reflection on your awesomeness as a person - every time you choose not to eat a product that contributes to an industry you aren't happy with, you're doing something positive, and slip-ups aren't going to undo that.


In terms of the transition, don't feel pressured to make all the changes at once - eating habits can take a while to change, you may have stuff in the fridge to use up, and it can feel a bit daunting to make so many changes to your cooking habits and so on. If it's easier to transition to vegetarian first and then gradually phase out dairy and eggs, then do that - many people find the transition easier if they gradually unlearn old habits rather than launching full-tilt into a new lifestyle and struggling to maintain it. That said, the other two vegans in my office both went vegan straight from being omnivores and they said they barely struggled, so it's definitely different for everyone. Only you will know what works best for you!

General observations, tips, advice etc.

* Being vegan is 100% easier if you're happy to cook for yourself from scratch most of the time. If you aren't, I'd definitely recommend getting five or six simple vegan recipes down straight away, and learning how to confidently make soups, stir fries and curries, so you always have a simple fallback for those times when you look in the fridge and just can't see a vegan meal in your ingredients. Where possible I'd definitely encourage Fry to share your food and give you feedback - it might not feel like there's such a gulf between your eating habits that way :)

* Fridge/freezer/cupboard staples: beans and lentils (for protein, bulk and deliciousness); Linda McCartney sausages; veggie mince; nutritional yeast (for savoury things and cheese sauces); tofu; soy milk and spread. Tons of the stuff you already have is probably totally SFV; it's just working out what to combine it with that can take a bit of planning.

* You'll be surprised how quickly you get used to certain things, even if you think they'll be a disappointment. I got used to soy milk in about a week after being convinced it was vile for years; similarly, I never even looked at tofu before I went vegan, until I learned a few different ways of cooking it - suddenly it became the most delicious thing ever.

* Using substitute foods as analogues for the things you miss is often a disappointment - try using them more to emulate certain qualities of meat/dairy foods than to replace them completely. To give an example: vegan cheese is almost universally vile, but I make a pretty tasty cheese-esque sauce containing nutritional yeast, lemon juice, Marmite etc. which ticks all the right boxes palate-wise. It's thick and creamy, tangy, salty and slightly sweet - not a lot like actual cheese, but serves a similar purpose in lasagne and on top of pizzas. Similarly, make your bolognese sauce extra tomatoey and smokey - you won't miss the richness of the meat that way.

* Regarding your feelings about cheese - well, you know how I feel about cheese, and somehow I've managed it two years without it, which is a thought I still find astonishing sometimes. I used to put it on pasta, baked potatoes etc. without really thinking about it, so something I found helped with phasing it out was to cook more things I wouldn't normally put cheese on (like stir fries, roasted veg dishes etc.) to remove the temptation. Intersperse those meals with things that you'd normally pile high with beautiful fromage (to get used to the taste of them without it) and you'll be surprised how quickly the need for it dies away.

* Some foods are just hard to replace, and sometimes it's odd things. Sandwiches, for example - when you've got past the usual hummus and roasted veg, how many other vegan sandwich fillings do you see in the shops? I've never come across good fake bacon, and desserts are always a minefield. There are some things that are just a struggle to get round!

* Asian supermarkets are brilliant places to buy vast quantities of tofu in millions of forms. Tofu knots are brilliant - add them to soups and curries and they soften up to become lovely chewy morsels. The cans of seitan 'mock duck' are brilliant too - easily the most convincing fake meat I've ever tried, just don't buy the stuff in gravy because it isn't very nice.

* Substitute foods what are great: Linda McCartney sausages, Suma sunflower spread, Alpro UHT soy milk (it doesn't split in coffee, unlike the fresh stuff), Vego milk chocolate, Mozzarisella (the only vegan cheese I've ever enjoyed!), VegiDeli vegan chorizo (!!!) - basically, just go down to Eighth Day and raid the shelves!

* Recipes: Isa Chandra Moskowitz is a total goddess. She's written a few vegan cookery books, but Isa Does It is by far the best - it's full of really simple, quick recipes which use ingredients you're likely to have in the cupboard already. I bought it in January, have probably cooked half the book already and haven't had a single dud yet - Charlie can also attest to its brilliance! I can't recommend it highly enough. Her website, The Post-Punk Kitchen, also has lots of good stuff on it, and I'd also recommend Mouth Watering Vegan (the blog and the book) for hearty, satisfying dinners.

 

I cook a lot, so if you'd like any tips, recipe suggestions, ideas for easy meals and so on, just ask - I can pop them in here or send them over in a PM :)



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Mookface (mod)

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Ahh thank you so much for your help! With this post and a bit of research, I now have a list of delicious food to eat :D I must say, you guys are one of the factors that made me feel like I can do this, as you are always eating such delicious, inspiring things.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I 1000% swear by Isa Does It! Amazing cookbook, even for people who aren't vegan and maybe want to eat more vegan food- we went to visit Annis and Mike and ended up ordering our own copy before we even got home, it's that good. Fucking fantastic. Also recommend the Vegi Deli range of fake meats (found in Holland and Barrett, although this is likely less convincing if you more remember what meat is like), and joining the Vegan Supermarket finds group on facebook- very useful, but full of really odd overly political people, so likely not best if you're feeling fragile.

Brilliant to hear you're thinking of making positive changes, Rowan! It's a bit weird looking back through this thread, because now we've been vegetarian for 2 more years, and I'm still not ready to take the plunge (although Jack probably is). We don't really buy milk or eggs unless baking, buy dairy spread perhaps monthly, and cheese fortnightly though, so we've definitely brought our consumption down. I guess that's something? I feel in so many ways veganism is right for me, but at the moment my heart isn't in it.

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High Mookish Shaman

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I forgot you're in Manchester, check out Unicorn grocery in Chorlton!
It has a much bigger range than Eighth Day and is a lot cheaper!

Although the cafe at Eighth Day is fab, and does really good coffee.



-- Edited by marthamagic on Sunday 17th of May 2015 10:27:40 PM

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Mookface (mod)

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Loving the Vegan Supermarket Finds group! Just did a shop at Tesco and picked up some fun bits and bobs to play with. At uni I ate a lot of fake mince, grains etc, and I've always preferred almond/rice/oat milk to actual milk, so some of the changes are kind of second nature anyway. When I'm feeling a little more financially flush I'm definitely going to mosey on down to Eighth Day and Unicorn.

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Mookface (mod)

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Update - It's been going well so far! I stocked up on easy to bung in the oven 'kiddie food' like vegan sausages, veggie grills, hash browns, etc, to make the initial transition as easy as possible so I wouldn't get put off by cooking when I didn't feel like it. My lunches have been chickpeas with harissa, spinach, onions and garlic, jacket potatoes with veggie chilli, and today I braved Violife cheese... Melted it on pitta with tomato puree, and it was surprisingly good! Melted well, tasted kind of like strong Dairylea (in a good way). Fry's mostly been eating the same dinners as me because at the moment I'm doing most of the cooking - we've had Linda McCartney sausages with hash browns and beans, burritos (veggie mince chilli, refried beans and guacamole), salt 'n' pepper chips, and he's tried my cheapie Tesco oven veggie grills (as a starter before his rack of ribs finished cooking, hah!) and he's given fairly positive feedback so far. I've been smothering everything in Sriracha, as usual. Will cook up some curry soon, and freeze it in portions.

I had a dream last night about going to a family do with Fry's folks, trying to explain that I'm eating a vegan diet and coming up against some resistance, haha. I'm a bit worried about what my dad will say, practically all he eats is meat and cheese, but he'll probably just mildly take the piss in a good natured way.



-- Edited by Antonym on Saturday 23rd of May 2015 01:44:57 PM

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Regular Crew

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Oh no, I'm interested! 

I've been vegan for 3 years but I make exceptions for croissants. 

I went from omnivorous to vegan very quickly... Almost cold-turkey... At first I let myself eat non-vegan when I was at friends' houses or a restaurant and ate vegan at home, then I just stopped doing that because my body didn't like it. 



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I went vegan again about 2 weeks ago after a few years break. But I'm always changing my dietary requirements so I think my body never really knows what is going on. At the moment though I am working on not being a fat vegan, as I am thriving with not much money, living hand to mouth and I'm finding a lot of really cheap but unhealthy things are vegan. Like carbs. But I'm glad I'm back to veganism all the same. ANy tips on being vegan as a pauper? I'm terrible at planning, tend to graze a lot and any time I buy a weekly shop I tend to eat it really quickly so have to go on smaller shops every few days. My mums reaction was not very good for me returning to veganism, having had an ed in the past 'that's very worrying' she said.

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