After 25 years, this little carnivore has decided to go vegan! My bacon-loving, cheeseburger eating world was completely shocked when I spent one night at home watching documentaries about our food and animal abuse ("Food, Inc.", "The Cove", etc). I've always been an animal lover and an adovate against animal abuse but I was turning a blind-eye. Not that the veil has been lifted it's hard to look at my diet the same way. So as one of my many New Year's Resolutions, becoming a vegan is top priority. This is where your help is needed! HOW DO I START? Does anyone have a new-to-veganism first time grocery list they'd like to share? Is there a particular grocery chain I should shop at? Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated!
Whitney, First of all, WELCOME!!!! You have made one of the best decisions of your life! If you don't have Alicia's book, run to the bookstore post-haste because it contains a great 'starter' grocery list. There are a lot of products, but just get your basics to start. I, of course, always have a few things on hand, but everyone is different. Here are a few.
1) A good green mix for salads. Greens are super important and what's faster than throwing greens on a plate with some nice vinegar, citrus, or dressing?
2) Beans. Stereo-typical, I know, but a lot of recipes call for them, they are an awesome source of nutrients, and they are filling, not to mention just down-right tasty!
3) Grains.....all sorts. I have all kinds of rice, quinoa, etc. in my cupboard. The brain runs on one thing and one thing alone, carbohydrates. However, when I say carbs, I mean good carbs, not pretzels! Whole grains in their natural form are good for your brain and body. Eat them with every meal. Try a new grain every week and you will be amazed by the different varieties and flavors.
4) Vegetables. I always have fresh veggies on hand. I try to stock my fridge with all the colors; my precious greens (collards, kale, broccoli, etc-concentrating on my cruciferous veggies), squashes, cabbages, upward and downward growing veggies, etc. I basically just go for as many colors as I can. The more colors, the more nutrients! It's that easy!!!!
5) Spices. So very important! Food should taste good, right? And it's amazing what a little S&P can do for those in good health. Not to mention, spices are chock-full of antioxidants, so eat up!!!
6) Fruit. It helps with cravings for sweets, but don't eat too much...unless you're REALLY jonesin' for some sugar!
Wow, I had so much to say the post cut me off! Anyway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are pretty obvious choices for organic, vegan-friendly foods. However, it's incredible how much standard grocery stores are starting to carry. You can also check your area for locally-owned health food stores, some of which might be co-ops, which are great!!!!! Also, any of your health food stores or Whole Foods will more-than-likely have vegans working there (at some Whole Foods they even where special tags on their shirts) who will bend over backwards to help you out! After all, we all started somewhere at some point and needed encouragement....and still do!
Oh! Good tip! When shopping, always always hit up the bulk food section first! You will save mad money and packaging. You also can buy only what you need, so as to save on cupboard space and ward off staleness. Bulk foods are also often on sale. I recently bought organic oatmeal for less than a dollar a pound! WHA????? Just be sure to buy from a place that does a good business so you know the food is fresh.
Anyway, I will help you in any way I can. I have been doing the vegan thang for a couple years and the veg thing for many many. However, helping others is a great way to keep myself in check, so hit me up!
Hi! I am just like you, Whitney! Ex- carnivore who loves animals and FINALLY allowed myself to watch the videos, look at the images, and read the stories. I wish I would have done it years and years ago, but i am thankful to be starting even now. I have been vegetarian since May 2009 and am beginning my vegan journey with 2011. I am overwhelmed, but I keep reminding myself that going vegetarian became VERY natural after a few months, so I am sure that this will too. I expect the first few months to be challenging, but I am up for the challenge every time I think of the animals. I am very lucky that my husband is willing to try too. :)
I agree with everything Jillian said about the foods and places to shop. When I went vegetarian, I actually cooked MORE than ever! I learned how to use spices for once in my life other than just salt and pepper!
Looking forward to learning more about a vegan lifestyle with everyone here. Thanks to all those who help out! One day I hope to be the one helping others, too!
I'm trying to get my mom, aunt, and grandma on it for the new year, as I've heard great things about it. Have you read The Kind Diet yet? That's also a good place to start if you have only been looking at the site.
I am a physician who advocates a plant-based diet! As a hobby I also keep a blog on Plant-based diets It is largely from a medical perspective of course, because well, that is what I know. I'm here to learn from other people about the benefits from an animal welfare and environmental perspective. That being said my reasoning for adopting a vegan diet for myself was all due to the data on health and wellness benefits. The fact that there are additional benefits on top of that is a wonderful bonus!
If you guys have a few moments you may be interested in taking a look at my blog, particularly a section on our "mini-experiment" that will be starting in two weeks on Jan 15th. It is an experiment in which people who are currently consuming either a SAD diet (std American diet), a flexitarian diet or a vegetarian diet convert to a vegan diet for 60 days. (I only require 60 days for the experiment but I have done this before with patients and they almost always stay with it) I measure various health parameters prior to the onset of the experiment, at the 30d mark and at end. The participants will be blogging about their experience the entire 60 days sharing the experience with my readers. I hope to have bios, etc up by the end of next week! (Actually, I hope to have a lot more done site wide by then, but I digress) I thought it may be interesting since you will be on a similar paths.
Also, you guys might be able to help one another out with tips, resources, etc. That's what I love about this community (vegan), everyone is so positive, helpful and supportive. It's so wonderful!
Thank you ladies for all your tips! I greatly appreciate the time and effort you spent responding to my plea for help. "The Kind Diet" book has been so insightful into the process of becoming vegan as well as everyone's feedback. I spent my morning at the local Trader Joe's using Jillian's grocery list (thank you, Jillian) and now my fridge has been completely overhauled from the meaty, sugar-filled disaster to a beautiful, leafy green "zen like" state. It's my first official day and I've already have made one yummy meal and I look forward to making many, many more! I know it's only been officially 7 hours into my vegan adventure but I can truly say I already feel a ton better! Yay!
Hey Whitney- I'm in the same phase as you. A noob to the vegan way! It all started with Alicia's book, The Kind Diet, and from there I just kept reading more and learning so much.
I've always classified myself as a "meat & potatoes" type of girl, as well as a cheese fanatic. But I've come to realize that I needed to do something better for myself and for the animals and world that I love.
I'm officially on day ONE- meat and dairy free. Yesterday I spent the day cleaning out my kitchen and got rid of all the dairy, meat and processes food products. It left a great deal of room to store the new fuel I had purchased, I too recommend Whole Foods & Trader Joe's. I got a ton of veggies, hummus, some fruit, grains, rice, and other "kind" foods.
So far so good after day one. At no time did I feel hungry and/or deprived. If anything I'm eager for day 2 and beyond because I believe there's nothing but positive things in store based on the Kind path!!
Hi, I am also new to being a vegan, I have tried different times but always gave up after 3-6 days. Mostley because of how much time, energy and money there is involved. However I have been a vegetarian for 5 years. Anyway I hope this time I don't fail again and even if I do I hope i just keep on trying. Good luck!! :)