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Hi :) My name is Andreea, I live in Toronto, Canada and I finally have made the decision to become vegetarian. I decided to ease into this lifestyle because I need time to learn how to cook more meal options. My family is Eastern European so animal products consist of 90% of their diet. I attempted this first year of university and I gave up-health foods seemed too expensive and everything I cooked seemed to taste horrible. I guess I'm just here for support, I have all of these thoughts going through my head. I know I am way too sensitive and empathetic to keep pretending I'm alright with my current lifestyle. Here are some of my worries: 1) My mother bought me a fur coat. Its the warmest winter coat I have and Canada is freezing right now. I feel guilty every time I put it on but I can't afford a new coat right now... 2) My regular breakfast is soy milk and healthy cereals or oatmeal, but I recently learned that soy milk is bad for digestion and I have a sensitive stomach. Is almond milk or coconut milk better? 3) I need to be as low-cost as possible because I am paying for school, which body products are cheapest? Right now I'm using kissmyface body cream and going to purchase face cream when I run out of my current biotherme 4) Macadamian nut oil or coconut oil? is it true you get ill if you rush into using coconut oil too quickly? 5) I feel like all I have done is put a long long list of "nos" in front of me. All these veggie recipes look amazing but I don't have the time to spend on cooking often. If I cook the veggies in bulk sunday nights and warm them up during the week, will they loose their nutritional value? 6) isn't the sugar from fruit extremely fattening and harmful? 7) Best source of iron?
hi andreea, i live in oshawa..so pretty close to you.i'll give you some advice...no expert here just my suggestions. 1) i realize how cold it is here, i have an ankle length north face (down) coat i bought 6 years ago i can't seem to part with. would your mom be really upset if you sold it so you could afford a veg friendly coat? if so, there will be a time when you just won't be able to wear it. don't rush everything. 2) our house generally uses organic unsweetened almond milk. ocassionally i make it myself. my 2 year old drinks some organic unsweetened soy milk too. (always buy organic to avoid gmos) 3) coconut oil is a fantastic moisturiser and very affordable. i use cocoon apothecary (it's a company from kitchener, i found them at the toronto veggie fair. products are reasonably priced, check them out online) 4) we like to use coconut oil, it's great for you. if you can get to costco they sell a huge jar for $20 (organic cold pressed extra virgin) 5) cooking ahead is crutial for most of us. i always have cooked quinoa, beans and veggies available all the time. my new favourite snack/meal is quinoa w a bit of braggs and chopped avocado on top.6) don't overdue it on the fruit, but it's natural sugars...i wouldn't be concerned at all. 7) cooked spinach, lentils, pumpkin seeds.... not hard to meet your needs. hope i've helped a bit. on a side note... the big health food store in kensington market has great prices! cheaper then some of the prices at big box stores out my way. can't remember the name...
Hello to my fellow Torontonian! Welcome to vegetarian cooking! and it is so easy.
My tips are to cook in bulk, make a big veg pasta that will last a few meals. Add veg to pasta as you drain the water so vegetables don't over cook. Spinach, kale and collard greens great for iron & calcium. Rice dishes with beans and veg can also be made in bulk for meals, paired with some miso soup and it takes no time at all. on days you don't have time to cook try going to Vegetarian Haven on Baldwin st. for lunch and dinner. Don't worry about eating too much fruit, I eat tons of fruits and veg and never had a problem with too much sugar. Soy can be hard on the stomach and the skin so try Almond or rice milk. Get the fortified one so you have added nutrition.
In terms of your fur coat. I personally would wait until you can buy a new winter coat and then decide what to do with it. Fur is so disturbing to me as down is too...but you need to do what's financially practical too. Next winter look for a fur and down free coat, trust me, they are warm enough for our winters. You can find some great coats @ Aritiza.
I find it helps it you tell your friends and family why you are making these changes to your life so they can understand. And if they have any questions tell them to watch the movie "Earthlings"
Thanks guys that very helpful.
My mom found out that I didn't want to wear the fur and eat meat (I didn't even mean to tell them but she saw me reading a veggie cook book) my mom called me a freak and said I was hysterical after trying to show her the fur videos. I just wanted to show her why it was so important to me. I really really don't want to give up this time.
That's really unfortunate about your Mom. My husband isn't very supportive of my veg diet and I've run into others who aren't either. My best advice for people like that is when they start to get at you about it is to say that it's something you do for you and you are not suggesting what others should do and if they keep at it I tell them I am more than happy to discuss the veg lifestyle and why I chose it but i will not be drug into a conversation where I have to defend myself. That usually does the trick.
I cook my meals in bulk like some of the others on here suggested and it seems to work just fine and it's really a time saver and helps prevent slip ups resulting from not having any food around. When I first started and even now I find it easiest to start with recipes that have the majority of their ingredients ones I already know I like, that way your more likely to enjoy the end result and not have wasted money and food on something you just can't eat.
I say keep the coat until you can afford to replace it. I know it feels wrong but just tell yourself it's a process and make the changes as you can.
Hey Andrea, How you doing?
So here's the thing. You are doing this for you. Of course you are doing it to save animals which are precious creatures, gifts on earth, and to help out nature, and ironically to help people too ( costs of animal killing factories,etc corn going to feed cows instead of babies, etc.). Right so we all know this. But you initially made this decision yourself! And that is the beauty of it. So when someone, for example a friend or family member , or even a stranger ( hehe yep) seems to not understand , or to have some discomfort with it, or even make fun of you ( maybe they don't even know they're doing it) --- let it be a reminder that you didn't do it for anyone else's health BUT YOUR OWN. And OWN IT GIRL.:) You are making a difference that is well worth celebrating. You are your own best friend- BECAUSE you are TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF. It just so happens that when you do this, you free yourself to help others. Oddly. When you do this , you are ironically empowered. And ironically , NOT being selfish, at the same time. Isn't that amazing?
The other thing I thought about in regards to what you wrote was the way food tastes/ costs. Trust me, I know what its like to have to budget wisely as you save up money. Do what you can. Don't beat yourself up. I have noticed when I don't really purchase many processed vegetarian foods or processed vegan foods- and instead buy only veggies, beans( canned or bagged), grains - I'm " aaiiight" ( as they say in colloquial terms). For real . And I've found it doesn't take long for your taste buds to start feeling that way more and more , tasting the different flavors of vegetables,etc in awesome ways the more you eat them.
I'll leave with this quote - the famous one that's been said many times" Be the change you want to see in the world". Guess what? You're already doing it. I told my mom I was vegan , she made a sad face, a perplexed face, laughed when I made little "don't kill animals " jokes. But what I've found is, almost everything I've made ..... ( wait for it...) SHE'S LIKED ! (???) Its all good,girl. You will be fine. You don't have to explain your choices or prove yourself to anyone really. Let them just take in the positive differences you have made in your life, and they will see you living your life to please no one else but you. They will be happy for you. And if not, guess who will be ? :) Save those chickens, eat those greens , and go on with your bad self,mama. x
From Whitby here. We have tried all the milk alternatives out there I think (hemp, rice, oat, soy, almond and coconut) My husband prefers Oat with his cereal and almond with his coffee. I prefer coconut for everything. To vary the nutrients we use a combination of almond, oat and coconut milk most of time.
For cooking we use either coconut or grape seed oil and save olive for non heat related uses.
We also buy as much organic as we can and are lucky enough to have a local organic place that actually delivers weekly to our home.
We have not thrown out items from our past life however when it is time for replacements or we can afford to donate and get new in all areas from clothes, cosmetics, furniture, cleaning products etc...we make better choices with our new knowledge.