Try to change your mindset. (BTW, giving this advice to myself, too!)
If you think of it as "giving something up" you will feel way more deprived than if you decide that you can eat/drink these things if you wanted to, but since you know what they do to your body, you no longer want to consume them.
That has helped me tremendously during this transition!
(I still have not even tried to give up caffeine, though. My remaining vice... )
I'm with you Beth! Giving up meat was VERY easy. Dairy, pretty easy. But sugar still proves to be my challenge - now a month into being vegan. I still occasionally fall/jump off the wagon and have a bite of a cookie or a small piece of cake. That stuff is just TOO good!! I HAVE cut WAY back from what I used to eat, so I consider that progress and worth something too. While before I would likely have a whole (fairly big) piece of cake, now I'll be satisfied with a small piece. Baby steps. Maybe I'll eventually be off sugar completely, but maybe not. Life is too short, and I believe in living it to the fullest! (While still being kind to the environment and other animals on it!) :-) A note on the caffeine... try Teeccino. I'm still trying to get used to it, but it's ok. It does have a bit of a coffee flavor to it. But it's caffeine-free. I wasn't a BIG coffee drinker - maybe a couple cups a week (with lots of creamer and sugar). That's been one of my "treats." So now I'm trying to get used to the Teeccino (a bit expensive though), while still adding creamer (soy or coconut creamer) and sugar (Truvia, which I feel is more natural and better than regular white, granulated sugar). Just a suggestion, maybe you'll like it and be able to more easily give up the coffee.
Sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever. Read the book Sugar Blues by William Duffy Alcohol & Caffeine are both drugs, socially acceptable & legal but drugs nonetheless. Best to use both in moderation if at all.
seriously, any substance that I can not live without - that alters my behavior when I ingest it and produces withdrawal symptoms when I don't use it.....not good! caffine and sugar are the big offenders, but for some people its wheat! if you HAVE TO HAVE a food - you have a problem with that food and it will be in your best interest to stay away from it. Out of all of those things, the one thing I do indulge in occasionally is liquor! The reason why - I don't have to have it. I can take it or leave it. So to have a cocktail now and again is fine for me. Every day? no - too much sugar.
I totally agree with you Sarah, I figure doing alot more than most to avoid all animal products so if I have some green tea and a little sugar or occassional drink, well that's how it's going to be. I don't smoke, do drugs, hardly ever take medicine, have kicked so many bad habits- diet pop, sugar free gum, cheese-a-holic. What I really love about being vegan is you make better choices, like no temptation to eat sweet garbage lying around work. I have been on a bit of a potato chip kick, which is super bad. Not sure if I will ever make super hero status, seems a bit daunting...
beth - you are better off with real sugar than the substitutes like diet soda and sugar-free gum. the only thing I demand of my boyfriend who is not vegan is not to not eat meat or not eat dairy, but to stop with the sugar free gum and get regular if he has to have it! Those chemicals are horrible! Yes, sugar is not good, but I would rather eat sugar than chemicals! google "dangers of sugar free gum" and read about the various artificial sweetners.......and a little tibbit about diet soda for those who may not know it, it actually leads to a gain in weight! if you have to have a soda, go for the real thing, old school!
I am not off sugar completely, but I usually do my baking with agave, maple syrup, or brown rice syrup. It totally works. Just substitute. You may need to use less liquid in your baking, but I feel a lot better when I use those.
You don't "have" to give up anything. It just depends on how good you really want to feel. There is a direct correlation between how much of those things you consume and how good you feel in my opinion and in my experience. I don't think this diet is about people telling you what you can and cannot have. For me, it's about taking personal responsibility for how I treat my body, other species and the earth.