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I went vegan on July 10, 2010 & did it for about a month & a half & just couldn't make it work, so I've been doing vegetarian ever since. I really need some advice from someone who has been there. I tried getting rid of dairy cold turkey, but ended up a mess, so I'm hoping someone has some ideas for me. I "LOVE" salads, always have, but without ranch, I was left with little food options. I tried the vegan ranch (hated it!....It tastes too citrus-like, which is nothing like ranch at all). I'm not a vinegar fan at all. I can do raspberry or mandarin type vinagrettes every so often, but they are too acidic for me & I just don't enjoy them or the vinegar taste, so I end up not eating salads to avoid going back to ranch. I've always used soy milk in my stuff, so that wasn't a problem for cereals & cooking. Cheese was my other major issue. I've cut waaaaay down on how much I eat, but I have a major weakness for cheddar,(on crackers, veggie burgers,pasta,pizza) I love Margherita pizza! I tried several soy cheeses,rice cheeses & I despise the taste. I would rather not eat cheese than east those alternatives. I also noticed that every rice or soy cheese that I found has casein in it. I have yet to find one that didn't & isn't that a milk by-product? I'd rather eat the real thing instead of the one that tastes nasty. For the bit that I wasn't eating dairy I know my body felt lighter & it was a positive thing, but I was so at a loss for eating options that I was feeling too weak & frustrated to keep it up. I'm the only vegetarian in my family & I'm having such a hard time planing dinners & keeping my eating habits on track. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Feeling super overwhelmed right now, but I know I need to muscle through it.
There was a thread on here just last week about dressings... Dani A., has a blog with all kinds of recipes and has created a WONDERFUL ranch dressing. It is now my favorite. Dani, I hope it is okay if I print your ranch recipe here!
1 c vegan mayo
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 c unsweetened soy milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp chopped parsley (I used dry)
1 tsp dill (optional, but wonderful!)
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional, makes it spicy)
Put all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until creamy. Add more soy milk depending on the consistency you want. Store in an air-tight jar.
Have you tried Daiya Cheese? It is made from tapioca, melts well, and tastes the closest to real cheese that I have found.
Trina....I appreciate your post a lot! I encourage you to keep it up and stick with it if that's what your heart is telling you to do. I have been where you are!! A lot of us have, I'm sure. I had been vegetarian on and off about 15 years. About 2 years ago I wanted to go vegan. At the time I used to drink a lot of milk and cheese, and I switched to soy milk, w/o decreasing the quantity. I also ate a lot of fake meats (heavy on soy) and soy cheeses. I developed a thryoid problem!! I later read on the internet that too much soy can indeed cause thyroid malfunctions. So I thought I *couldn't* be vegan, as much as I wanted to be. I went back to vegetarian. Then I found The Kind Diet book about a year ago and recommitted to being vegan. Armed with new knowledge that Alicia presents so well in that book I was more informed about it this time. And it's made a world of difference! I share my story so you know that you're not alone in trying and thinking you might be *failing.* You're not! And you're definitely not alone!!
(more to add).... I also feel you on missing cheese! I used to eat string cheese literally every day before going vegan! I LOVED cheese pizza!!! And so many other foods with cheese. That was also my HUGE point of struggle when going vegan (for the second time) last year. And I had a few slip ups the first couple of months. One day I felt so out of whack and frustrated (like you're probably feeling) that I went to the grocery store solely to buy string cheese sticks! I ate 5 or so on the drive home alone and finished the pack over the next day or 2!! Talk about falling off the wagon! So I totally get how you're feeling!!! :-) I think being vegan is a choice we all make on a daily (and even meal by meal) basis. Be kind to yourself too! One thing I've learned is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing! I thought it did at the beginning and about drove myself crazy (which it sounds like you sorta did to yourself too). As a general rule I don't eat any animal products (including cheese/dairy). But one time, about a month ago, I was out with a group of friends at a pizza place. Everyone wanted to get a pizza to split. I weighed the options in my head....order my own, separate cheeseless pizza, eat no pizza at all, or eat a slice or 2 of regular pizza. I ate the pizza with everyone else. I didn't feel GREAT about it, but I let it go and didn't beat myself up over it. So I had 2 slices of veggie pizza with cheese. Not the end of the world, and then I didn't have any dairy for weeks afterwards. A few weeks ago I was at a basketball game and they sold Dippin Dots (for those if you who don't know, it's ice cream frozen in tiny balls...kinda "futuristic" looking). I LOVE Dippin' Dots and hadn't had any since being vegan. I let myself have a small cup of it.
i think its great that you are a vegetarian!!! that is the point that I am at too. be gentle with yourself- change is really really hard! just giving up meat is a big deal. right now i'm feeling like im full time veg, and working on being vegan some of the time. i read something about a guy who eats vegan for breakfast and lunch and then eats whatever he wants at dinner. i'm learning that you kind of have to make up your own rules as you go.
hang in there!! :)
My point, through these consecutive posts, is to just do the best you can, with what you have, every day. Make the decision you feel is right for YOU at that time and let it go. Making vegan choices 90 or 99% of the time is far better than 0 or 10% of the time! Celebrate your successes.
And in response to your question, yes, casein is the *bad* protein to avoid! It's what they talk about in "The China Study" that has strong links to cancer. (If you haven't read that book, I HIGHLY recommend it! It's really helped me keep on track and avoid cheese and dairy as much as I can.) See if you can find Daiya, Tofutti, or Teese cheese products. All of those I have really liked! After I first went vegan I tried Veggie Shreds (which I believe aren't really vegan b/c they have milk protein in them or something), but I didn't like the taste of them at all! I mourned the loss of cheese in my life (seriously!!), and had a few breakdowns (like the cheese stick debacle). Recently it seems the store I shop at started carrying more cheese options and that's when I found Tofutti, Daiya, and Teese. Tofutti makes great mozzarella slices! I put them on sandwiches and they melt and taste great! Daiya makes great shredded cheese which I use in recipes and can eat straight out of the bag, I like the taste of it that much! Also, Teese cheese comes in a chunk (looks like how sausage is packaged). I shredded that myself and it also tasted great! Try these and see if you like the taste of them any better than what you've tried already. I also suggest detoxing from cheese, as hard as it is (believe me, I know!). The longer you go w/o cheese, the more your body releases it from your system and it gets gradually (albeit slowly) easier over time with fewer cravings for it.
As for being the only vegetarian / vegan in your family, it's the same for me. That part has been the toughest for me! My dad doesn't get it, nor does my grandma. They still make some comments or pokes at me, which I don't appreciate and am still learning how to deal with (good responses, ignoring, etc.). Generally when I go to dinner at my parents' house (I'm 33 and live in my own house now), I eat before I go. My mom does make an effort and usually has at least 1-2 things "for me" but it's not enough to make a full meal. I was so stressed about the holidays as well and am honestly glad they're passed. It was my first vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas! Eek! But it went well and people were more understanding and accommodating than I expected (most, not all of them). Another thing I'll do with family events is make a dish or two and bring it. At least then I know I'll have something I like. And it opens others' eyes to vegan food that tastes good! I have now been living with my boyfriend for the past month and a half and he (thankfully) eats whatever I make. He knows I won't make non-vegan stuff. And he actually really likes everything I've made so far! We got a new cookbook for Christmas that I highly recommend.... Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food, by Alicia C. Simpson. I like the recipes in The Kind Diet, and have also found some really good ones online. But this Vegan Comfort Food cookbook is amazing!!!! Seriously...try making some things from it for your non-vegan family. Try not telling them it's vegan, if you can, and just see what they say. My boyfriend (who is only vegan when I make the food) raves about it!! The food is easy to make, uses "normal" ingredients for the most part, and is food just like non-vegan food, only prepared in a vegan way. Seriously....try it!! The enchiladas are my favorite!
Thanks for replying guys!
TINA-I just wrote down the ingredients & I'm going to try that this weekend & I'll post after I try it. Thank you for an alternative to try. I can't remember if Daiya was one have tried or not. There was one type that has a mozzarella version & I used it for a pasta recipe I found here from someone else. It was the only one that actually tasted really good. The non-veggie hubby actually liked it!
SARAH-Thank you! I know I shouldn't feel guilty, but that's exactly how I feel. Like I'm cheating & not doing it right. Pizza is VERY hard! It's everywhere & my daughter does a lot of fundraising for her school dance team & when they do pizza ones, it's hard to say no. Is there any cheese alternatives that actually taste good enough to try & make a pizza with??? Just curious.... I totally want to kick my pizza issue & throwing a slice of cheese on my veggie burger.....constantly lookin for new things to try.
SARAH-Next week is my shopping week, so I'm compiling a list of new things to try. I'll look for those cheese alternative to see what I can find. Never heard of Teese cheese, but I'll look. I'm going to look into that cookbook too...thanks! I also had my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian & we were visiting my family out of state. I thought it was going to be a nightmare, but my grandma was so busy, I don't even think she noticed that I never touched any turkey! LOL I'm still getting snide/condescending comments here & there as well, but the longer I stick with it, the more people are realizing the choice I'm making is for ME & it's just how it is. I have snuck a few things in on the family (my husband & I have 3 daughters) & it's hot or miss because everyone likes different things. We love tacos, but I switched to the veggie taco stuffers & they sort of noticed something different, but never realized that it wasn't meat. When I told them after using it for the 3rd time, my oldest daughter said she thought it was better than the regular way (a winner!!!). My 2yr old is the closest to being a vegetarian. The only meat she will eat is bacon when the dad & the girls make it (GROSS!!!!!). Other than that, she just doesn't like meat by choice, so it's been sort of an inspiration with her. She loves fruits & veggies, so she'll eat a lot of what I do. My hubby just DOES NOT like tofu...lol....I think I need to find a really good veggie sausage with lots of flavor to add to some recipes for him. I use them in spaghetti, but he says they don't taste bad, but they're very bland, so another mission......
KRYSTEN-I agree, as much as it sounds like it would just work better to have an itinerary worked out in front of me to follow, it does have to be done at our own pace, however it is best for us to do so. Otherwise, total mayhem awaits! LOL