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  1. #1

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    I'm starting a Vegan diet-help!

    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!

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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.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

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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. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenny View Post
    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!
    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.
    Logic is in the eye of the logician --Gloria Steinem

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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. #10
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    I use a lot of recipes from The PCRM Vegan Kickstart. It's all online.
    I feel like I'm in a dream. But it can't be a dream because there are no boy dancers!

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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 by RockTheTassel; 12-18-2010 at 10:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aster View Post
    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.
    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. #13

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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.

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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.

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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. #16
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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
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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. #18

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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. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockTheTassel View Post
    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.
    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.


    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.
    This is my favourite quinoa recipe - http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/s...e-quinoa-salad

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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.

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