I eased into vegan (or plant based diet) after watching many episodes of Christina Cooks on Public Television. www.christinacooks.com What first caught my attention while watching her show for the first time was as she was making a soup specifically for diabetics, she named the benefits of every ingrediant that was added to the soup. This concept was a new approach to cooking I thought and so I began my research reading books about macrobiotics which Christina practiced and other books on eating healthy. I found out shortly after I started down this path that I was a diabetic, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high tryglyceride levels. My doctor told me if I didn't lose weight and change my eating habits, I would be a full blown diabetic in five years. She wanted me to eat a low carb diet, but I had been down that road, South Beach, and although I had lost 40 pounds in less than 3 months, I gained it all back within two years and then some. I told my doctor, that I was not going to do low carb, but go vegan instead. She wasn't all that impressed. A year later, I was told I lost 20 pounds, I'm now below the diabetic range, and have lowered all other levels into normal range that were once high. I still have a ways to go, but I feel I'm going in the right direction by eating plants instead of meat.
Go back to doctors in two weeks. She won't take me off cholesterol or blood pressure meds until I lower the levels even more. But I'm happy about it. Thing is, I don't starve....EVER! I eat all the time, but it's mostly very healthy food.
Advice for new vegans? Learn to cook your own meals. I'm much faster with a knife now and cutting veggies is almost as fast and easy for me now as opening a can of Spaghettios. Tweak the recipes to fit your taste buds, but keep it healthy. In the beginning, you feel that you spend your life in the kitchen cooking because you are so used to buying processed foods, but it does get easier and you get faster.
Read books about health to reinforce what you are doing. A couple that got me going besides Alicia Silverstone's books were written by Dr. Neal Barnard, Christina Pirello, and John Robbins to name a few. Also to learn about the planets plight and CAFO's, I suggest reading Mad Cowboy, but beware. It will freak you out. I just finished that book, and it reinforced my commitment not to eat meat. Pick up some good cookbooks. Check out rating on Amazon and get them from the library to read before buying.