Use this space to share stories, exchange ideas, ask questions, and contribute to our growing community!
I've been vegetarian for about four years and have decided to go vegan the start of this year as a goal. I am having such a hard time keeping on it. My family constantly make fun of me, I crave meat all the time, and I keep watching people eat animals products right in front of me. It's heartbreaking that I don't have the willpower to stay on track. I really want to, but I can't seem to make the transition without any trouble. It would be great if I could receive a little bit of advice on how to handle the cravings and ridicule. Also, weight loss tips would be great as well. Thanks for your help if you decide to respond.
If you're struggling, you should watch "Forks over Knives." It's available on Netflix. Also read "The China Study" by T.Colin Campbell PhD and connect with Dr John McDougall. He's a cardiologist that never performed heart surgery. Got his patients on vegan diets to correct their health issues. He's written many books and has a retreat in Northern CA. If you want to lose weight, don't eat ANY processed/packaged food and drink water, water, water.
I think what Kate said is really good advice. You have to be completely confident in your choice to go vegan because you will be ridiculed... sometimes most harshly by your family. When I think about what animals have to go through, I start to see my struggle as a VERY small and worthwhile sacrifice. I definitely suggest watching all the factory farming documentaries you can get your hands on. For most vegans I know, including myself, that was the last straw before going and staying full vegan. If your family is up for it, have them watch the movies too! As far as the weight thing, eating vegan has helped me live a much healthier life. I stay away from a lot of processed foods, I don't drink my calories, and I try to get at least a half hour of physical activity per day. (More if your schedule allows it!) Sometimes I run, sometimes I do yoga, sometimes I just take my dogs on a long walk in our neighborhood. Don't focus so much on the weight. Focus on being healthy and kind and the weight will follow!
You've been vegetarian for four years, but suddenly after going vegan you crave meat? Not cheese, but meat? O_o
The only explanation I can imagine for that is that you're missing umami flavors. Check out this article about getting umami flavors into a vegan diet: http://www.theveganrd.com/2012/04/is-umami-a-secret-ingredient-of-vegan-activism.html
As for the ridicule, is this from parents and siblings? If so, you might try emailing your parents this article: http://www.thisdishisvegetarian.com/2012/09/help-my-kids-gone-vegan-guide-for-non.html But if they won't read it, reading it yourself may help you understand where the ridicule is coming from. They may see your going vegan as a phase or a rebellion. They may see it as a rejection of the things they've taught you.
If you're older and this is from a spouse or children, the motivations may be different, but the answer is the same: communication. In a quiet time, in a non-confrontational manner, you need to talk to them about the teasing and tell them that it's making it difficult for you. Ask them kindly to please respect the choice that's so important to you. It's your best shot. And if they don't stop, just smile politely at whatever silly joke they make, but give them no further response. They want to get a rise out of you, and if you don't give them one, eventually they'll probably stop.
I'm lactose intolerant so cheese was never an issue :P thanks for all your suggestions and I will follow your advice. It's nice to know that there is support.
get cooking! make yourself something so delicious that you won't even miss eating what everyone else is. you could try doing something deceptively vegan, and cajoling your family to hop on board too. being a vegan in a carnivorous family isn't a problem when you do the cooking!
I went vegan on Dec 26th, just before the new year. Like you, I went from vegetarian to vegan. All of a sudden, I craved meat. I'm married with kids and my husband seemed very offended by my new eating habits. As for the meat cravings, I think that was caused by my poor diet. There is such thing as junk food vegan and that will not make you feel good. Now, I love to make a pot of beans and eat them with brown rice. Try the 15 bean soup mix (in the dried beans section) and make it with vegetable broth instead of water and add some garlic, onions, salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Serve over quinoa or brown rice and it's great for ending those meat cravings. Also find a good green smoothie recipe and sip on that all day. Your meat cravings will end. As for your family, they will get used to it. I was so excited in the beginning, I talked about it all the time. I think my family saw it as criticism towards their way of eating and also felt a little ashamed that they didn't want to change their diet. Just keep at it, read lots of good books as suggested above, cook yourself some great food and it does get easier.
For those meat cravings try making some seitan dishes or Boca Burgers (the vegan one). Gardein makes some tasty faux meats, too. Lightlife makes "meat" crumbles that you could substitute for ground meat in tacos. Sandwiches using deli slices of "turkey" or "pepperoni" might also help when you get those nasty cravings....
As far as cravings go, I try to find or create the vegan version of whatever I'm craving. Vegan cupcakes, icecream, chocolate, tacos, spaghetti, chili... It's all fair game during the transition, just try to remember about moderation ;) It's hard not to fall off the wagon because of the jokes and harsh comments too though. Lately I've just been telling people that I don't subscribe to any labels and that I just eat what I want. And it's true! What I want just happens to fall under the vegan category all the time... I share that I'm vegan with like-minded supportive individuals, but everyone else just thinks I'm dieting or that I "ate bad yesterday so I'm going to go for the salad".