I continue to be baffled by a comment I see and hear so often. "I have been vegetarian for [such and such] number of years, (usually many) but I can't seem to let go of dairy. I am interested in going vegan, but have trouble without cheese, etc". Dropping meat, to me, seems to me far more difficult in this society than dropping dairy. As of 24 days ago being a full carnivore I always envisioned being a vegetarian as requiring the will power of Gandhi, and being vegan was just down right impossible (for me). But after reading TKD- I saw how easy being vegan could be and said "what the hell, Im in". Now, on the reverse side of the equation having given up everything cold turkey (and it being SUPER easy-- with the one exception of MASSIVE headaches from caffeine withdrawal for the 1st 14 days) I can't figure out why veteran-vegetarians view being vegan as that much more difficult or out of the range of will power. To me these people that have been veggies for years are my hero! Kind of like "being country before country was cool" (horrible analogy- sorry)... But I have ALWAYS & still do have the utmost respect for devoted vegetarians. So I keep wondering if the consumption of dairy in their diets is leading to large cravings of these items- causing them to believe that the switch from Veggie to vegan is too much deprivation they care to endure? As I see it- becoming veggie is the hardest part! I wonder if since I happened to quit both meat and dairy at the same time if there is a blood sugar issue or some other catalyst that is making the cravings close to non-existent and very manageable?? Does that make any sense or anyone else have insight that could educate me further? I am fascinated by the possibilities.
For me going vegetarian was easy and I did not have any cravings. What was also easy about being vegetarian is that if I went out to dinner, or went to a friends house, it was easy to find a veggie option. Giving up dairy was easy for me in my own life and cooking, however eating out is a great challenge. I was able to go cold turkey to becoming vegetarian, but going vegan took more time just because I had to learn how to eat out ect. I still really struggle with what to do when I go the people's houses for dinner.
That makes sense. I have been trying to smuggle in my food secretly. I really don't want the host to feel they have to make some special for me, and the last thing I want to just not get invited anymore b/c my food choices are high maintenance. But- Im guessing my "smuggling" option wont work forever- as each host learns that I am vegan they will either offer to make something for me or just not invite us. I guess true friends can't be pushed away over food. ;)
I think I'm one of those former vegetarians you are posting about. I fully gave up red meat, pork & chicken somewhere around 14 years ago and finally stopped eating fish 7 years ago after reading Animal Liberation. I had no problem being a vegetarian. I didn't miss meat. I didn't want to eat animals.
I've always loved vegetables (in that I'm lucky! ) but my favorite type of food has always involved cheese & dairy. I loved my coffee with cream and did not think I could give it up. I loved my mom's cheese lasanga and tomato, cheese and green olive pizza from Oleys.
I rationalized that I wasn't really hurting animals by buying organic and getting eggs from a local farmer. I excused my dairy habit as being from Indiana and not having enough veggie options. I always knew I should be a vegan given my animal rights stance but I just kept saying to myself it was too hard and the times I tried never lasted very long.
I was telling some co-workers I was planning to adopt a pig from Farm Sanctuary and put it out there that I wanted to try to go vegan again. I bought Alicia's book around this time but that was just a nice coincidence. I started January thinking it will take a year to wean myself off dairy but then I watched Eathlings. I've been 100% vegan ever since without any desire to cheat or ever eat animal products again! It was a long journey but I'm really happy I finally did it.
I've had similar experiences with some of the comments here. I found it was super easy to give up the meat, but harder with the dairy mostly when I eat out. Dairy and animal byproducts are so prevalent in a lot of foods at restaurants and processed foods, so I'm still learning what to avoid. Having said that, I did decide to give up milk and cheese soon after becoming vegetarian, but still blundered a lot with the cheese. (There might be a chemical in the milk/cheese that attributes to addiction, as well. It may naturally occur so that baby calves want to drink it and thus not starve. So cheese is literally an addiction. If so, then giving it up all at once eventually gets rid of the addiction, but if you try to give it up gradually it doesn't work because you renew the addiction.)
As to what to do when going to a friend's house - I'm not sure if this was in Alicia's book or not (forget where I read it), but a suggestion that I liked was to call the host before the dinner and offer to bring some of your own food to contribute. That way, the host knows what's going on, you get a good meal that you don't have to sneak in, and everything is kinda smoothed out.
Well, I guess I'm the odd ball! I'm allergic to dairy and made that switch a long time ago. Giving up meat was harder for me, but this is my 4th week in and I really don't miss it. The food is sooooo awesome that it has awakened new taste buds and flavors!! I also felt the change in my body when I finally cleared myself of dairy and that made it worth it. I felt the same wonderful feeling giving up meat! Loving this feeling and the food!!!
people who turn vegetarian may increase the amount of eggs and dairy in their foods to replace meat, which makes it harder to give up for these vegetarians as it is a more prevalent part of their diet than people who go straight to vegan from eating meat. i was one of these people. most vegetarian meals have some form of dairy product in it, eg butter, milk, cheese, yoghurt, icecream, etc, so it is harder to eat out as a vegan. there is also a chemical connection to being 'addicted' to dairy products, there are chemicals that hook babies/baby cows to milk so they will want to drink it, and hence help them to survive. these chemicals are called casomorphins and are derived from casein (dairy protein) and they act like mild narcotic drugs. neal barnard explains this in full detail, try pcrm site if u want further information on this.
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