I'm starting a Vegan diet-help!

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Holley Calmes, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    I have a friend who lost a great deal of weight fairly quickly and painlessly (she says) by going on a vegan diet for a few months. So-I decided to take the plunge beginning after New Year's.

    I have been given some books, etc, by my cat sitter who is vegan. But-any tips, recipes, advice, etc, would be greatly appreciated! It's not the meat I'll miss most, it's the eggs and dairy.

    I can't eat soy because I had estrogen-driven breast cancer several years ago. I'm allergic to many raw vegetables such as green leafies....my throat closes up (it runs in the family. Weird, I know.)

    But I love grains, legumes, and most other veggies and all fruit, so I should be good! I'm also giving up wine for awhile.

    I'd love to hear from any of you with helpful info. Encouragement is also greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    If you can't have soy and you want dairy, almond milk is a good substitute. I use chocolate almond milk in my coffee all the time -- it's really good! I think Almond Breeze is the name of the brand I get.
     
  3. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    I highly recommend The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone (yes, the actress). It's an easy, inspiring read with recipes and tips and ideas. You don't have to take everything she says word for word, but it's a good starting point for going vegan.

    Another good place to start is Indian cuisine - there are many good books available, with tons of vegetarian and vegan recipe ideas.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Allen

    Allen Glad to be back!

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    I second everything Jenny says. As much of an asshat as she can be, Bethenny Frankel has some really good vegan desert recipes. I make her chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies pretty regularly.
     
  5. Bonita

    Bonita Active Member

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    I am a vegetarian, not a vegan, but I can't say either is a way to lose weight. You can end up eating a lot of carbs (like pasta), and beans, while truly healthy, have a lot of calories. I stopped eating meat due to animal cruelty - but, the flesh is weak, I still eat dairy. Going vegetarian is a huge lifestyle change, I can't imagine going vegan cold turkey.
     
  6. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    I'm another vegetarian-not-vegan (I love my dairy too much!), but doing vegan without soy will be an extra challenge for you. Soy is pretty much the only complete protein from vegetable sources; you can get protein from combining other sources (like rice + beans), but it takes more work. And if you don't have protein, you won't feel full ... and you'll binge.

    Seitan, made from wheat gluten, is another complete protein, but it's harder to find and not as versatile.

    Anyway, for a lot of detailed information, I highly recommend VegWeb. They have a gazillion recipes, plus great general advise, including a very active discussion forum.

    For books, I highly recommend How It All Vegan.

    BTW, if weight loss is your primary aim (rather than, you know, saving the planet), you might want to consider going raw. A raw food diet is pretty much guaranteed to help you lose weight. But it's a lot of work!

    Good luck!
     
  7. aster

    aster Member

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    Just remember that a vegan diet can be plenty unhealthy, and the only real outright benefit from a health perspective is that it is cholesterol free. It can be a very healthy diet, but you need to actually eat vegetables and not just processed carbs (oreos and potato chips, after all, are vegan).

    My favorite cookbooks are Veganomicon, Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan, Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, and VeganYumYum. Definitely not only healthy recipes, but there are a lot in there. I also really like a few vegetarian cookbooks with easily adaptable or mostly-vegan recipes: Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian and Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. Good baking books include any of Isa Chandra Moskowitz's books (she has a cupcake and a cookie one) and The Joy of Vegan Baking. That said, neither of those is going to help you lose weight, since a vegan cupcake has just as many calories as a regular one. They are delicious though!

    Blogs are also a great place for recipes. I love Happy Herbivore, though she's cut a lot of her recipes in preparation for a cookbook release. Fat Free Vegan is also great (click the recipe index for a list of all recipes -- there are hundreds, and they are all healthy, or at least moderately so). Vegan Dad is another good, mostly healthy one.

    There are substitutes (even soy-free) for every kind of dairy you could won't, but these aren't any healthier and aren't much lower in calories than the regular stuff, and they will probably taste weird to you if you're used to the normal kind. Since you doing this for health reasons, I'd recommend skipping those.

    Artemis, the complete protein thing was debunked many years ago. As long as you eat a balanced diet, you don't need to balance your proteins at each meal.
     
  8. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

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    The vegan grad student fully recommends seitan for protein, and says hemp milk is also a good substitute. But going vegan without soy is tough!
     
  9. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Thanks everybody! I appreciate your ideas very much! I'm trying to prepare myself mentally as well as have plenty of good recipes Im exciting about making....and you all have certainly given me a lot to work with.
     
  10. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    I use a lot of recipes from The PCRM Vegan Kickstart. It's all online.
     
  11. RockTheTassel

    RockTheTassel Well-Known Member

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    Like Bonita said, vegan diets can be a good way to lose weight, but it's also very possible to gain the weight you lost back, especially if you're only planning to do the diet temporarily. My friend went vegan partly because of animal cruelty and partly to lose weight. She initially lost a lot of weight and looked fantastic. But after she'd been on the diet, she started to find more ways to eat unhealthy food while still being vegan, causing her to gain a lot of the weight back and be really unhealthy. Recenly she quit the vegan diet after two years and has gained even more weight, due to being able to eat foods she'd been restricted from for so long. I admire her for wanting to be vegan to avoid animal cruelty, but the diet has certainly failed when it comes to weight loss and was not a healthy lifestyle for her.

    I'd recommend only giving up meat, at least to start. It's not as difficult, so you're less likely to fail. Plus, there's a lot of beneficial dairy products. Eggs, for example. They're nutrious and filling, and having them as a regular part of my diet has helped me lose weight and feel more energetic. Having this and other dairy products also helps keep me from eating too many grains, which is a common problem with veganism.

    A few good vegetarian/vegan foods you might try:

    Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wa"). This is a healthy grain that a lot of vegans and vegetarians eat. It's very nutrious, and contains protein, something we're always looking for. It can be fixed many different ways, but is also good when just seasoned with salt and pepper.

    Lentils. Lentils are also highly nutrious and great for weight loss. I love making lentil soup. It's healthy, delicious, and gives me so much energy. Having a piece of whole grain bread with it makes it a really satisfying meal. Look up recipies online.

    Plain yogurt (not the ones full of sugar or sugar alternatives). Obviously not vegan, but I'd recommend it anyway. It's not the most tasty food, but I eat it because it's healthy and is good for a snack.

    Nuts of all kind, especially almonds and walnuts. Nuts are great because they're easy to take with you and help boost energy.

    Just a couple of ideas. Good luck with your diet in the new year!
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  12. Artemis@BC

    Artemis@BC Well-Known Member

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    From a nutritional standpoint, yes, that's true. But from a feeling-full-and-statisfied POV, especially for someone going full vegan all at once rather than gradually, having complete proteins at every meal is important for the transition. And since Holley is doing this to lose weight, feeling satisfied is pretty important.
     
  13. Angelskates

    Angelskates Well-Known Member

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    Holly, please seek your doctor's advice before you start. I've been vegetarian and vegan, and now eat meat, but transition between these diets is a challenge for the body and must be done carefully. I had severe side effects to all the changes I made (because I was stupid or too gung ho).

    In addition to almond milk, oat milk is also a good substitute for soy. FME, a dietician or doctor would advise against such a change happening all at once; it's much better to do it gradually.
     
  14. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

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    I have to say, I'm not a big fan of vegan diets as a quick weight loss tool. I wouldn't call a vegan diet "quick and painless." I've been vegan for a while, not for weight-loss reasons, and it's still a challenge to make sure I get everything I need in my diet. (I'm a terrible cook, so that's a big part of the problem!)

    VeganHealth is a great resource-- http://www.veganhealth.org/
    Also, read up about B12.
     
  15. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Wow-maybe I should rethink a bit. But I do love to cook, and I'm pretty good and creative at it. I am approaching this as a fun challenge. I already take a lot of vitamins and I'm in good health...

    I certainly will tell my doctor about it. My annual physican is right as I was going to start this. Also, I was considering doing the vegan diet until I lost some weight, then gradually add in dairy or a little meat (I hardly eat any red meat anyway) and then perhaps go one month vegan, one month non-vegan or a bit of a mix to maingtain the weight.

    Everyone is so helpful! I can't thank you enough!
     
  16. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

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    Holley, I would really rethink this. As others have said, being vegan isn't a weight loss diet. I think a lot of people lose weight at first when they give up dairy, but if you only plN on doing this for a while, it'll come backwith a vengeance. Not being able to eat soy would make this a challenging task, but I'm evenmore concerned you can't eat raw greens.

    I was vegetarian for years and at one point decided, not to go vegan but tocut out as much dairy as I could stand. During that 6 months, I was the sickest I'd been in a decade , a lot of my hair fell out, and I broke my foot. I know plenty of healthy vegans, but for me giving up milk was a disaster
     
  17. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much Genevieve! Maybe I will rethink all this....My daughter became a vegetarian while she was dancing and it affected her health as well, so I am aware of what can happen. Maybe I just cut out meat...I do want to make a significant change in my eating habits.
     
  18. *Jen*

    *Jen* Well-Known Member

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    I've been vegetarian since I was 12, and it most definitely isn't a weight loss program. I wouldn't go vegan for the same reasons as the others, but when I want to lose weight, I join Weight Waters or Sparkpeople and reduce my calories.

    It's possible to make an incredible change in your diet without going vegan or vegetarian. It still takes a lot of work and a big change in habits to have a balanced diet, with the correct amount of protein, carbs, fruit and veg etc. I would do that rather than going vegan. You'll be able to maintain weightloss better if you do a calorie controlled diet rather than vegan.
     
  19. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Agree with this advice - a step at a time, see what your body can handle, while still getting the full nutritional spectrum.

    Also, I would be very wary of "fake" foods - the ones that try to simulate meat or dairy, or sugar for that matter, with chemical equivalents. If you can cut out all processed foods and those with unpronounceable ingredients, you'll go a long way toward better health. In particular, I've found that sugar substitutes are hard on the body, especially if you are otherwise changing your diet - steer clear if you can.


    This is my favourite quinoa recipe - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/santa-fe-quinoa-salad
     
  20. Bonita

    Bonita Active Member

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    ITA re: calorie controlled diet is the key. I bought a diet scale last year, and OMG I can't believe what I thought a proper "serving" was for mashed potatoes. I used to serve 800 calories per person. And don't get me started on the pasta servings.

    I have never joined Weight Watchers, but I follow their philosophy and it does work. My sister-in-law is in WW (she also a vegetarian), and she has made great strides, losing over 30 pounds.
     
    Jodi and (deleted member) like this.
  21. emason

    emason Well-Known Member

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    I echo a lot of what other posters have said up thread, but I just want to add that "fairly quickly" is not the right approach to take. Slow and sustained is much better for you. 2-2.5 lbs. per week should be the maximum you lose. Anything more than that is not healthy for your body.
     
  22. snoopysnake

    snoopysnake Well-Known Member

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    You could make a gradual transition into a vegan diet, and see how your body takes to it. If you don't already have any favorite health food stores, go to some and see all the variety of veggie and vegan foods are there. A lot of food packages now have soy and other allergens like wheat, milk, and eggs, highlighted at the end of ingredients lists (I am allergic to eggs, and really appreciate this!) so it's now a little easier to find the foods that are non-allergenic for you.

    I don't think anyone mentioned rice milk yet. Some of those are pretty good.
     
  23. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    If I were you I would read this article and give what the author has to say about being vegan some serious thought before making your decision, whether you are doing this for health reasons or for ethical reasons.
     
  24. reese

    reese Well-Known Member

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    Ah Tasha, the now famous ex-vegan! I loved her Voracious Vegan blog (now renamed Voracious Eats) and this article has received massive amounts of attention over the last few weeks in vegan circles.
     
  25. Karina1974

    Karina1974 Well-Known Member

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    I can imagine, given the comments she made in the article, and the intro written by Mike Geary, whose emails I receive on a regular basis: she had even received death threats against her and her family for admitting her story and "speaking out against veganism" so to speak. That's not surprising since some vegans (not all) treat veganism as almost like an extremist cult or religion that nobody can speak against. The truth hurts for these people.
     
  26. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    skinny bitch was a good read with some good recipes for beginners (and advise on buying vegan cheese that will actually melt)
     
  27. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    I have the Skinny Bitch cookbook as well. Good stuff. I love the "tuna" salad made with parsnips. I'd never bought parsnips before. And who knew Veganaise tasted so damn good? Now I use it all the time.

    Even in egg salad. Which seems....wrong. ;)
     
  28. my little pony

    my little pony snarking for AZE

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    i never liked mayonnaise but i find myself using veganaise all the time
     
  29. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    That's the thing - as reese said, above in this quote, a vegan diet is fine, but you need to know what you're doing. You need to know how to combine foods to get complete proteins, for example. It's important to find out how to do such a diet nutritionally. If you do it correctly, it's fine. But it's too easy *not* to do it correctly. IMO, this is not the type of diet you can go into blindly. Study up first.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010
  30. GarrAarghHrumph

    GarrAarghHrumph I can kill you with my brain

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    Why not just have vegetarian days, steadily, every single week? IMO, you and your body will be healthier if you set a basic diet and stick to it (maybe you only have meat 3x per week, the rest is vegetarian, etc.), rather than yo-yo from month to month. Still, you need to know what you're doing re: proteins, various vitamins, etc.

    I'd want you to talk to a nutritionist before you do anything.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2010