Hi everyone, yes you read correctly, I am not a vegan. I am here to better understand the lifestyle and decide whether it is for my family. We are from the south and well, i am sure you can guess all the foods we eat. I am looking to make a change in our family for several reasons, the foremost being better heath. We love fruits and veggies and eat them often, I just feel there is more I can do for my family. I am married with an almost three year old daughter. There are so many new lifestyles out there and an abundant amount of literature, I have to admit I am overwhelmed. I am looking for your wisdom, opinion, honesty and kindness as I start this journey. Be sure that I will be kind and honest in my response as well. My purpose is not to offend. I must also add that I havent made the choice to become a vegan and while I may never, I really hope to have help understanding.
Hi b.d.! Congrats on being adventurous and willing to expand your horizons! I know that you said your curious about the lifestyle and seek understanding so feel free to toss any questions out to us that you want answered.
Absolutely, what Lindz said. Many knowledgeable people here to share their experiences and wisdom. All you have to do is ask. There is some good literature out there about the benefits of a vegan, or 'plant-based,' diet/lifestyle.
Hi! I advise that you read the book by Alicia: The Kind Diet, if you havent already. She explains everything in a kind, accepting way. Also there are tips on how to experiment with this diet/lifestyle, and you might want to flirt with it ;) Talking about it is one thing, but like with most thing, i think experiencing it firsthand is another.
All questions and discissions can be done here :)
For me discovering this way of eating is one big adventure, i found new foods, new ways of eating and a whole new way how my body feels! I feel happier, more balanced, lighter... and that was a big surprise, starting this diet for animal-welfare i did not expect it! :)
b.d. -- Good for you for putting the health of your family and yourself first. Yes, the whole vegan lifestyle can be overwhelming at first -- lots of planning, new ingredients, more cooking, but I have found that you can make it as complicated or uncomplicated as you want it to be. You may want to check out some of our blogs to get an idea of what we actually eat day to day. It doesn't have to be fancy. My blog is http://midlifevegan.blogspot.com Best of luck to you -BTW I live in the south too!
hi! the china study is another great book to read - focuses only on the health benefits of a plant based diet. I think its great that you are thinking about all of this stuff now for your child - my mom raised us on the typical american diet, and by the time I hit my teen I had chronic illness that took years to resolve - a big part of my recovery was a doctor who put me on a diet that was not far from vegan - to this day (25 years later!) I know my mom still feels so guilty that she feed us what she did for so long, since that greatly was the cause of my health issues - but she only did what she knew and thought was best at the time! I know she wishes she knew when we were little to even look for other ways of feeding her family - and is so glad that she made the switch when she did so that she and my dad are enjoying good health into their 80s!
you don't have to go all the way at once - even just removing one of two "bad" things and replacing them with some better things can make a big difference - good luck!
It's great you are considering a vegan lifestyle! I live in the south as well, and it's not as difficult to be a vegan here as you might think. We are lucky to have lots of great regional produce, and many of my favorite southern meals can be veganized (I love my Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery, and have veganized quite a few of the recipes). And how much more Southern can you get than greens? Right there you have one of the staples of a healthy vegan diet! Of course, you might be steaming or sauteeing the greans instead of cooking them in a vat of bacon fat.
Don't get too overwhelmed. There is a learning curve, but once you change your mindset it isn't all that hard. I eat a lot of cheap, healthy food; dried beans, greens, and brown rice are a great base to start from, then add whatever seasonal produce you can find.
Maybe try a semi-vegan diet for a few weeks and see how you feel. I also reccomend reading The Kind Diet; some of the recipes have semi-exotic ingredients, but many use basic, easy-to-find ingredients (carrots, onions, greens, brown rice, beans, etc). If you decide the vegan lifestyle is right for you, then you can start adding some of the more unfamiliar ingredients.
I agree, reading The Kind Diet is a great start. I was a little overwhelmed at first, trying to make all the recipes in the book with some exotic ingredients that I needed to hunt for. But then I started looking around online, and found some simpler dishes like veggie chile, or cauliflower soups, and kind of found my stride. I agree, if you are dabbling, you may want to have one vegan day a week to start and see what you think. You don't need to jump in with both feet right away.
One thing I will say,...I used to catch every cold, flu etc that came around. Last winter I was sick for 4 months straight, and even ended up with pneumonia. Since starting this lifestyle in May, I haven't caught anything. I thought for sure when the kids went back to school, and brought home all the germs, I'd be doomed. But so far so good. I feel confident that my diet has brought this stronger immune system along. What a lovely gift for eating a kinder diet.
Thanks so much for all of your kind words and advice. We have decided to slowly change our habits. Reduce the animal products and increase the plant & veggies. All of your responses have given me encouragement. Thanks again. I will keep everyone posted!
I am a physician who advocates a plant-based diet for health reasons (not to mention all the other reasons Alicia's book goes into). I focus on the research and data that's out there. I would suggest reading the book, "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell. Also, feel free to check out my blog -- it is meant to be a resource for those contemplating transitioning to a plant-based diet and those new to it. I hope that helps a little. My blog address is: www.theplantrx.com. Jenn