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I am a senior in high school, and have decided to go vegan for a month(mid December to early January) as my senior project final. I have joined this site because I am feeling a little insecure about my choice. I am a really, really picky eater, most vegetables are out of the question for me. But, the reason I chose this project was because I just don't understand how someone could give up a food that they may have enjoyed before (im not trying to insult any vegans, I really respect your choices, and admire you all greatly.) I am doing this project to understand a community I do not easily relate to. Even though i am only doing this for a month, I hope I could adapt to some of the recipies very easily as time goes on, and hopefully replace some of the foods that are already harming my body (I have cystic acne, and am just a few pounds over weight.)But mostly I want to do what's best for the enviornment (even if i am just 1 girl)Can I just get a little help, and maybe you can tell me how you motivated yourself to become vegan, where you do your shopping, and maybe some tips on how to trick a picky eater? Thank you for reading this post, and for any help and motivation you may give me in the future!
Hi there. I became vegan because of the treatment of the animals that are used for food. It is horrific, as you can see from the video that Alicia posted last night. After becoming vegan and reading a lot of information, including "The China Study," I wholeheartedly do not believe that humans are meant to eat meat biologically. This is where disease comes from, so much is due to an improper diet. If a food was right for us, why would it cause disease? This is why I chose to give up foods that I used to enjoy. Just because you enjoy something, it doesn't make it right for you. It was 100% worth it and it was the best thing I have ever done. That was over 3 years ago. I haven't missed that stuff for a day. I don't even see it as making a sacrifice for something I believe in, but instead embracing the life that I was meant to lead. My biggest question is why people continue to put this food into their bodies. Especially people who have been exposed to the horrors of factory farming. Seeing how it is made and the disgusting conditions and food that they feed these animals, how can anyone think it is healthy to eat that stuff regardless of how you feel about animal rights? It is utterly disgusting that people eat something that has literally been living in its own feces. Ugh. So, my motivation is ethical and health, and environment related. It just makes sense. I do most of my shopping at Whole Foods and a local health food store. I have found that you don't mind some of your least favorite vegetables if they are in a soup or chili form (masked by other flavors!). Please check out PCRM's website for their 30-day vegan challenge. They have great recipes for people just making the change. I know this is a trial for you, but I have to say, I hope you don't go back! :o)
If your motivation is environmental, I suggest reading Eating Animals and watching The End of the Line, and probably Food Inc, too, if you haven't seen it. That should provide information and motivation for you.
I first became vegetarian in high school, many years ago, and I certainly didn't know any others. These days, there are actually a lot of teenage vegetarians (maybe not vegans), which sort of makes me think that one reason for that is that deep down, most people are against eating animals, and teenagers being idealists (no offense at all meant by that, it's unfortunate that most adults find it difficult to be idealists), they make the change, which they often move away from as they start losing their idealism.
To 'give up' a food you may have enjoyed before - the more you learn and open your eyes, you can't help but move away from things if you are at all a reflective person. Just because people want instant, momentary, gratuitous satisfaction, doesn't mean that what provides that satisfaction is acceptable. I would not be able to stand there and look at a cow or pig or chicken who has lived a torturous life I can only begin to comprehend, caged up, living in filth, injured, sick, beaten by humans, babies ripped away, and say - "I know you've lived a horrible life fro m the moment of birth, and now you are going to be killed in possibly the most inhumane way possible, but I really want a hamburger/pork chop/chicken sandwich/egg/cheese right now."
In your case, you may find it helps with you acne, maybe. Many others ahve written about cystic acne being cleared after giving up meat and dairy, and I think sugar as well. But whether a month will help depends on the individual. It's just something to keep in mind if you want to help your body.
That was not mean to be negative, but to share my motivation. If you haven't read The Kind Diet, it would be good to read it beforehand to help you with food choices (you can always check it out from a library).
You really should learn more about it during your month and at least become informed about your food choices, so you can make them intelligently. It will only make your project that much more worthwhile, and could effect more in your life (and you may find as you detox that yoiu start enjoying more foods).
And by the way - you may 'just be one girl,' but each of us on here is just one person. And there are thousands of us. In terms of animal lives, on average one vegetarian saves over 90 lives a year. So, one person certainly can make a difference.
Good luck! Feel free to ask any questions to help with your project. Not eating animals is one of the most impactful things a single person can do the have an effect on the environment. Like catconserv, I hope you don't go back, but you can at least become more informed during your journey.
Hazel, nicely put. Use this time not only to revamp your diet to feel better, but also to inform yourself about the conditions in which our food is produced and the effects that it has on your body and the environment. Like Hazel mentioned, you may experience detox during the first month which may sway you. This is different for everyone, but it does go away. Most importantly, like Hazel said, you are only one person, but you are one person making a huge diffrence. Maybe other people don't see it, but we do, and hopefully you will too as you educate yourself on the issues. We are excited to have you here. Make sure you make use of the new recipe section!
Hey JustHere! Great project! All the posts have great advice - just want to emphasize reading Alicia's book - The Kind Diet. Good luck!
Thank you all so much, and yes I have seen Food Inc (we watch it in my senior non-fiction class, which made me want to do this project even more), and am in the process of reading Alicia's book. I'll try to keep you all posted once this project finally takes off.
Hi JustHere! I just wanted to say how cool it is for you to consider being vegan for even a month. It will be tough, but rewarding! I don't know what your daily food routine is (do you eat at school cafeteria, do you or your parents cook most meals?), but here is some info to helpfully point you in the right direction:
To gain the most benefits from being vegan, you should try to focus on a plant-based diet and steer clear of processed foods, sugar, etc. That said, if you are already a picky eater and don't like a lot of veggies, there are a lot of meat and cheese substitutes out there, and I don't think it'll do any harm to rely on them for the month. I think Whole Foods is the best place to grocery shop if you have one in your area. They can be a little more pricey, but the quality and options available are worth it. They have a lot of frozen and prepared vegan-friendly foods that will make life easier.
Make sure you always have a vegan snack on hand to avoid any temptation. When I first tried veganism, I was hungry a lot more often, and it can be scary if you don't have something readily available to eat. Keep some trail mix or granola bars in your backpack or locker for emergencies. I also keep hummus and crackers or baby carrots at home all the time to snack on when I get home from work. When you first grocery shop, you will need to read the labels to make sure there are no animal-products used. This can be frustrating and time consuming, but it's a necessary evil.
Also, check out this web site for a list of "accidentally vegan" foods that you can find easily in any grocery store or vending machine: http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/accidentally-vegan.aspx
Good luck! You have lots of allies on TKL!
Hey there. This is Kristin from Salina, Ks. I'm just starting on the Kind Diet too. So far I still have yet to clean out my fridge and pantry but my reasons for wanting to switch to being a vegan is for my health.
Since graduating from high school in '03 I've noticed a lot of changes (bad ones) with my body. I have ance too and hope that this lifestyle change will help. I have a 4 yr old and she has problems goin poo and I hope this will help her to go better. I'll keep you updated on my results too so can have more than one reference for someone who is startin out. :)
I live in a small town and have to travel almost an hour to a whole foods so I have found that it help to shop around. One of the grocery stores in town has a small health food section and the other one does not but I have learned that Target has started carrying organic produce and some tofu, silk, etc. Depending on where you live you just need to get creative. I shop about 6 different places and they are all in different towns, Anytime I run to another town I hit up their grocery store's health food section.