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I am from The netherlands and I am a vegetarian since last summer. I'm interested in being a vegan too.... but has some trouble with that. Replacing regular milk in soy milk was easy but I've also tried soy cheese and I didn't like that at all. I threw it out. Not eating eggs is pretty easy too, but what about all the products with eggs in it?? As a vegan you're not suppose to eat that as well, right? Is it easy to replace those products?
I'm not the best cook and it's hard to come up with new recipes I like. I've tried a few recipes that I like (from The Kind Diet), but I'm not succesful at making new vegan meals every day. Does it get easier after a while?
And I'm really curious what you guys do when you don't eat at home..... What do you tell people when you eat at their house? Do you bring your own food? And what about eating in a restaurant? It's easy as a vegetarian, but as a vegan.... isn't that hard?
its all what you are used to - I've been vegan for over 20 years, and 6 months ago had to omit soy/wheat/corn/garlic from my diet - good times! doing that put me back at square one in a way, and the first two months were hard to figure out all new foods but then I settled into my "go to" recipes and meals and figured how to order and where to eat out etc....what was easy and good to bring to work yadda yadda and now its no trouble at all.
Look around the site, there are a ton of recipes and threads on good cookbooks from others who also have similar issues/questions.
Going to others homes I either eat first or bring my own - like yesterday I had a family luncheon. I just ate lunch before going and brought my own snack of hummus I had made and rice crackers. When I was hungry I just went in the kitchen and put it all on a plate and then went back into the living room, sat down and ate it. If anyone even noticed no one said a word! If its someone I don't know, I tell them either that I'm not hungry right now or that I'm vegan or that I have food allergies and ate before/brought my own - all depending on the people and the situation.
I find if I don't make a big deal out of it, no one gives a crap what I do!
eating out we go to our favorite vegan places, but if we go to the "regular" places in town I just tell them I can't eat dairy and my other list - I never say I'm vegan - I leave them thinking its an allergy. If they think you might suddenly keel over and die if they put cheese on your food by accident, believe you me, there will be no accidents! My friends always call ahead to a local non-veg restaurant in town that they go to for special occasions and tell them what they can/can't eat and they fix them something special.
Its just getting used to it - once you do, its no more difficult then eating any other way!
Thanks for your response.
I think I will just look online for many vegan meals. The following months I can try it out. Maybe I won't be a 100% vegan for a while, but I'll do my best.
I lived in NYC for almost 2 years and there are much more vegan options and vegan products. Not that I was a vegan or a vegetarian back then, but I was always interested in eating healthy etc. In the city where I live now there is only one vegetarian restaurant with vegan options (there are always veggie options in a restaurant), so I would have to ask a lot of special things at a restaurant...... I don't feel good about that, cause I don't wanna be "a pain in the ass".
Also, the responses I get about thinking about becoming a vegan are not so great. Being a vegetarian is OK, but a vegan.... People easily think that you "go too far". I don't care that much about their comments, cause if I want to become a vegan I will do it anyway, but I don't like it. Becoming a vegan is hard enough already (lots of changes) and I feel like I have to explain everything to them. And when I go to my mom for dinner, I'll have to ask her to think about so many things. I don't feel comfortable doing that.
Even though I was always interested in eating healthy, I've always liked bad food, like french fries, patato chips, etc...... I eat healthy for three days and then the fourth day I have those cravings. At those moments I am not strong enough and I eat something bad....Then three healthy days again, and the next day something bad again. How do you deal with those cravings?
OMG I am so psyched to find another Kind Lifer in the Netherlands!!! I'm living in Utrecht myself and I agree, it's a little more difficult when eating out but my personal solution has been to give myself some flexibility and not go full-on all at once.
Where do you live in NL? I am on a mission to find good vegan options and will gladly pass them along! Most restaurants have veggie options but yeah, they usually cover them in cheese. I usually just order whatever the veggie meal is and ask for it without cheese or butter - which I did even before I was a vegan because I didn't want the extra fat and cholesterol anyway.
The most important thing is to find a manageable balance that works for you. Even the most hard-core vegans will agree that transitional baby steps are better than giving up! Try eating vegan consistently a few times a week and giving yourself one or two "cheat" days. That will give you time to build up a stockpile of vegan recipes you really like without being miserable in the process.
It's hard when you are a guest at someone else's table but you have a few options. 1) make one of your cheat meals; 2) offer to cook with your mom and bring a vegan recipe made of "real" food, meaning no fake-food substitutes - easier to find than you think!
I'm less worried about being a PITA at restaurants but if it bothers you, Asian and Indian restaurants are easy since they almost always have tofu or veggie options and rarely use cheese or dairy anyway.
I post great recipes that my carnivorous husband loves at http://sneakyvegan.blogspot.com/ with links to other great vegan sites where you can find hundreds of easy, low-maintenance recipes.
I don't use a lot of food "substitutes" but when I do they are easy to find at Natuur Winkel and Super de Boer
Hope that helps - and if you're near Utrecht I'd love to have you over for dinner sometime!
I love the netherlands! I have been there four summers to teach surfing lessons and have made so many great friends there. Where in the netherlands do you live? Best of luck to you, just take it all one step at a time and don't be hard on yourself! Especially with eating out, it gets tough.
In amsterdam, there are AMAZING vegan restaurants, I used happycow.net and found some really awesome ones. Also I spent a lot of time in scheveningen (spelling?) and there the best options were japanese and italian resturants. Also there is a great organic/bio store in scheveningen that I found on happycow.net.
I go on vacation to europe and will spend a week in the netherlands, so any more advice, info or good vegan restaurants that you can recommend would be great!
@Jannekevt - one easy way to sneak your eating habits in and "not be a pain in the ass" is to not even use the word Vegan around people. Sounds silly, but I've noticed it really freaks some people out! I have told the whole world I am a vegetarian, but most people don't know that I also follow a Vegan diet about 95% of the time these days... I still have occasional slip ups but I try not to beat myself up over it. I have found it is easy for my friends and family to understand if I don't say the word Vegan, instead I say "hold the cheese, or No butter please..." just like someone else mentioned. It is much easier that way!
Eating out IS hard--especially vegan. Try your BEST and think of each encounter as a learning experience for next time. Also GOOGLE things and do research on your own time so you are better prepared. i.e did you know Guinness is NOT Vegan? They use a fish product when filtering. I learned that on this site from someone, but whoever posted it found out by emailing the company herself. Interesting huh?
The few times I've had uncomfortable moments being a vegan (at first) was when I was a guest at someone's home. Now that I am more experienced, I find it very easy!
If I am going to a large party (not a sit-down dinner) where no one will notice what I will or won't be eating, I usually don't mention my veganism to my host, but I always offer to bring something to help out.
If I will be sitting down to a meal with my host, then I always tell them I am vegan immediately after being invited. I say, "I would LOVE to join you for dinner, but I don't want you to go to any special trouble because I am a vegan. Can I bring something that would fit with your menu that everyone will enjoy?"
The host will usually say, "Oh, I was planning to make [insert meal here], what would go with that?" I always try to bring something that will fit with my host's menu, I always get their permission and suggestions first, and I always reassure them how excited I am to be visiting with them and how I hope not to be any special trouble.
Your host might be nervous about having a vegan dinner guest and once you put them at ease in advance, they can enjoy their party more.
@ Sierra - any specific suggestions for vegan restaurants you've tried? I check Happy Cow too but you're right, in A'Dam there are SO many to choose from. Any personal reco's would be awesome!
If you make it to Utrecht on your next visit shout out - there are some really lovely places in my hood :)
sneakyvegan at gmail dot com
PS - GREAT suggestions Beary! I'm totally stealing those - starting next weekend at my friend's housewarming party! Thanks so much :)
I think when it comes to eating out you familiarise yourself with certain places that you know have great vegan dishes. I was lucky because I used to live very near to Soho in London and there are so many amazing places - Zili green, otarian, Mildred's, Govinda's, Hummus Bros and the list goes on...(check these places out because the food is delicious and may give you ideas for cooking your own food.) Also when it comes to friends I've noticed that my best friends don't judge and those that do I tend to see less and less - process of ellimination....