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Changing Eating Habits from Meat to Plant-Based Foods


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Initial post: Jun 7, 2009 8:53:52 AM PDT
Greta Grey says:
Yesterday I happened serendipitously upon a vegan blog in which Willdog and LMW and others were discussing their opinion about eating vegan food rather than a meat diet. I read every entry with great interest. I am a woman in her late 60s who is interested in the possibility of changing my eating habits. Primarily for humanitarian reasons I want to follow a vegan eating plan but I don't know how easy it will be for me to change my eating habits at this stage in my life. My certified nutritionist many years ago told me I needed protein from animal flesh; she discouraged me from eating vegetarian. I wonder if any of you know someone who transitioned from a meat-eating diet to a vegan diet, and if so, whether I might talk to her (or him). I do not know how to begin. I have ordered a few books by Dr. Douglas Graham and Joanne Stepaniak whose entry I saw here earlier, in the hope that these may help. I am not a cook and do not enjoy working in the kitchen much, so I would be interested in foods simply prepared. If anyone cares to comment about what I've written, please feel free. I welcome your responses.

Posted on Jun 7, 2009 7:35:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 7, 2009 7:36:23 PM PDT
some guy says:
Hi Greta,

Well, i'm not an expert in nutrition but it sounds like you're on the right track by getting some books. I don't think it should be a problem getting enough protein by eating things like nuts, beans and rice, and tofu or tempeh. I eat organic eggs usually a few times a week so i'm not completely vegan. Also, as i understand, chia and hemp seeds are very nutritious and a good source of potein. And we really don't need as much protein as we've been led to believe - maybe some people need more than others.

One product that comes to mind and is convenient is Quorn, which is a meat substitute similar to chicken. It tastes really good and is made from mycoprotein (from mushrooms - doesn't taste anything like mushroom) and has no soy. I've heard a few times that eating to much soy protein products isn't all that good for you. Hummus is also really easy to use and healthy. I love hummus, avacado, tomato, and sprout sandwiches.

Good luck and good health.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2009 10:15:20 PM PDT
J. Ruehlig says:
I transitioned to a vegan diet about a year ago. You can get all of the nutrients needed from eating plant only products. You can buy large amounts of lentils and grain products from amazon which have higher amounts of protein and together have a essential amino acids. Though not the same ratio as meat and egg products they are a good choice. If you have a health food store near you I recommend tempeh as it is high in protein, and fermented so it doesn't have the same problems as soy.

But I don't believe in eating vegan just to do it. There are many reasons to go vegan but never restrict yourself by some arbitrary rule. Take it slow. Eat food because it makes you live better and feel better, not because of some rule in your head.

Just my two cents

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 9, 2009 1:49:15 PM PDT
I wish you the best if you choose to make the change. My sister went vegan last autumn at the age of 54, mainly because she knows 14 people who have cancer! She subsequently lost 35 lbs and feels wonderful. Her husband has had issues since he had his gallbladder out a few years ago. Within a few weeks, his issues had resolved themselves, and we can no longer tease him about being in the bathroom all the time! My husband and I are in the process of changing over, too. We are about 80% there, hoping to be completely vegan within the next few months. If you want some good information on why a plant based diet is so good for you, there are a couple of dvds available on amazon. One is based on "The China Study" - a great book (also available on Amazon). Another is called "Eating" Third Edition. Dr. John McDougall and his wife have a couple of cookbooks available on amazon which contain good, easy to fix recipes. I was told the only thing you can't get naturally on a vegan diet is Vitamin B-12. Protein from plants is not hard to come by; lots of vegetables contain protein, as well as beans and legumes.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 13, 2009 4:26:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 13, 2009 4:26:46 PM PDT
Jane Ortega says:
Hi Greta! I'm really happy to hear that you want to transition into becoming a vegan.
As a woman who's been a vegetarian for about five years and a vegan for about one, I can tell you that there is absolutely nothing unhealthy about eating vegan foods. There are some nutrients, though, that are mainly found in animal products and can be hard to get otherwise. Iron, which most people get through meat products, is present in leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale. Calcium, which most people get from dairy, you can get from soy milk, fortified orange juice, and (in lower quantities) in leafy greens, too. B vitamins, especially B-12, are mainly found in animal products, too. The only vegan source of these that I know of is fungus, like mushrooms and nutritional yeast powder, but I've found it much more convenient to just take a multivitamin in the morning; they usually have all the B vitamins you need. Protein, which it looks like your nutritionist was worried about, can be found in legumes (lentils, tree nuts, and soy are all high in proteins) and a lot of whole-grain products.
As per "some guy"'s comment about too much soy, that is somewhat true. Soy has a lot of plant estrogens, which medical research has linked to higher rates of breast and uterine cancers in female rats and orangutans. However, these studies were done by isolating the plant estrogens and feeding massive amounts of it to the test subject (the animals). These studies are misleading because when people eat soy, they don't isolate certain chemicals found in the bean and eat only that; they eat the whole food. There are other compounds in the soy bean that counteract the plant estrogens, so when the whole food is eaten, there are no negative effects. People who eat a lot of soy rather than a lot of meat DO NOT have higher rates of any kind of cancer. They have much lower rates (as well as less hypertension, less high cholesterol, less obesity-related illness, less dementia, longer life expectancy, etc.)
Good luck on your vegan adventure! --J. Ortega

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 15, 2009 9:35:14 AM PDT
Hi Greta,
I am 53 and post menapausal(it comes early in my family). I was pre-cancerous for Colon Cancer for over 20 years. My doctor was ready to take out 10 inches of my colon. I put off the surgery and went vegetarian (4 years ago), gradually adding different veggie foods to my diet. As I added veggie foods to my diet, I naturally and gradually deleted animal foods from it. I no longer have a trace of cancerous, pre-cancerous, or even pseudo-polyps in my colon. My doctor and I were so thrilled! I have slowly lost weight, which I could never do before...40 pounds and counting. I feel great. Just add veggie protiens to your diet and let your body decide when it is right for you to cut down on and then stop eating animal proteins/foods. If it happens naturally, you won't feel deprived or forced into it.

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 2:11:27 AM PDT
geddup says:
I have been vegan for about 9 years. As for your concern about protein, my nutrition prof emphasized that soy and quinoa are both complete sources of protein. Quinoa's perfect for those allergic to soy.

Posted on Jun 16, 2009 8:08:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 16, 2009 8:13:21 AM PDT
Guy LaCrosse says:
I've recently started eating more of a vegan diet (no meat or diary) and the results are good so far. I've lost weight and feel better. One thing that I like is that I can prepare a large amount of food and it will keep for several days in the frig (for quick/easy meals). Contrary to what a lot of people think vegan food is can be tasty if you take the time to make it right. I've also made it my motto is that there's always time for making a healthy meal (rather than caving into fast food junk).

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 20, 2009 6:32:10 AM PDT
I think your certified nutritionist gave you very very poor advice. A meat and dairy diet, such as our popular Western type diet, produces oodles of disease, as can be seen daily at hospitals and morgues across our country. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancers of many types, heart disease, osteoporosis...the list goes on and on. Read The Cancer Study, as the one respondent suggested. Also read some of the John Robbins's books, such as May All Be Fed or Diet For A New America. There are excellent humanitarian reasons to change your diet but also excellent health reasons and excellent environmental reasons. Google Livestocks Long Shadow too; that is a report you might read the summary of at least. Hope that helps and you can go ahead and just make that change! You'll be fine!! Recipes abound online at nutritionmd.org which is part of the website for the group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine--a terrific group and resource.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 9, 2009 7:27:52 PM PDT
B. Mouse says:
I've been a vegan before, it lasted about 6months and then I continued as a vegetarian for a year. Right now I'm researching books to help me become a vegan again. when I first became a vegan, I had multiple doctors tell me that it was unhealthy because I was low on protein and iron. This time I plan to buy a few books that will help me select the appropriate foods and look into purchasing vitamins. And I plan to buy a book that makes tofu more appetizing. For me, it was helpful to eat at local vegan or vegetarian restaurant, not only will it taste better but it could give you some new ideas. It helped me realize that vegan food can be delicious, it also made me feel supported by being in an open minded environment. If you're ever in Dallas, Texas or Fort Worth, TX visit the Spiral Diner an awesome vegan Restaurant.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 10:42:24 AM PDT
I went cold turkey to vegan about 3 months ago. It has been the easiest thing I have ever done, and honestly I have never felt better. Decided to do it based on Rip Esselstyns book "The Engine 2 Diet." He did a good job of convincing me that there were no benefits to eating animal products, only detriments. I don't intend on going back, I'm 50 and am looking to prevent health problems. I enjoyed reading Caldwell Esselstyns book on Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease. The recipes are very good.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 11:18:28 AM PDT
Good posts by Peter Jackson & oldie but vegan. It's hard to go vegan & still eat animal products several times per week. Decide you want to be vegan & just do it. Read Dean Ornish's book Food for Life. If this doesn't convince you to go vegan I don't know what will. My meat eating friends come up with that same old story, what else is there to eat. Buy a vegan cookbook & you'll be amazed at all the vegan foods out there that you've never tasted. You'll feel better & have less disease not to mention the cruelty perpetrated on animals. There is a new movie coming coming out about the meat industry & how animals are treated, wish I could remember the name. It comes down to one thing, how bad do you want it? It's your decision, don't let anyone talk you out of it. Don't use your age as a barrier because it isn't

Posted on Jul 16, 2009 9:48:29 AM PDT
The movie is Food Inc. Go see it!

Posted on Jul 17, 2009 6:49:02 AM PDT
ive been vegetarian for 13 years. one thing i can say is dont scare yourself away by jumping right into a vegan lifestyle. its an extreme change for someone who isnt even veg, and it may give you a false sense the lifestyle and you'll be more inclined to give up due to hunger/frustration.

theres an alternative to any meat product out there. ease into it that way. you wont even know you arent consuming meat!

i get alot of food from this store on here:
http://astore.amazon.com/veggieburgers-20

try it out, and good luck!

Posted on Jul 18, 2009 1:16:28 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 18, 2009 1:21:08 PM PDT
J. Hudson says:
I've been vegan for a while and the best advice I have is to do research about why you're going vegan. Knowing about the horrible things they do to animals in the egg, meat, and dairy industry really made things that I used to wolf down seem very unappetizing. Also consider all the gross hormones in the industry as well. Furthermore I recommend you research about basic nutrition and consider a multivitamin or supplement.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2009 1:20:28 PM PDT
J. Hudson says:
P. Spinogatti- do you remember anything about the movie like who made it and its release date? Sounds pretty cool.

Posted on Dec 12, 2009 1:09:37 PM PST
Hilary Clair says:
Here's another reason: I think our food supply has been so tainted with hormones, designed to cause weight gain in the host animals, along with genetic manipulation, that one of the side effects is causing weight gain in non-vegetarian Americans. I am also wondering if the reason for the outrgeously high projections of Alztheimer's is from that same tainted meat. Maybe Alztheimer's is really Mad Cow, and the meat industry has been paying their usual ransom to politicians to keep it quiet.

Posted on Dec 12, 2009 5:35:26 PM PST
denilea says:
I've been vegetarian for the last six months, with minimal egg and dairy, and it has been the best thing I've ever done for myself. In the past, I've gone without meat, but just never had the real commitment it takes. It takes commitment. I've taken out every book my library has, started my own food/recipe journal. The transistions I've made have been fantastic. I've learned how easy it is to use quick cooking grains (quinoa, bulgar) pre-cooked beans, or lentils, and fresh or frozen veggies for the quickest easiest throw together meals. Miso, veggie broth, mushroom gravy are great flavors.
It's also nice to have an easy clean kitchen. Much nicer when your body cleans out. I used to hate the feeling of hunger when I ate meat. Intestines still keep digesting decaying flesh long after it's been eaten, that's why you don't feel cleaned out. After about the second or third week of being free from meat, hunger became just a feeling of being empty. Not a bad feeling. My digestion is every six hours ( I poop every six hours). If you're wondering, eat beets, mark the time, and see when it turns magenta.
I really wish you the best. Read John Robbins Diet for a New America. Tristram Stuarts Bloodless Revolution was a terrific inspiration for when being veg**n seemed so lonely. Look to vegetarian and vegan sites online.
For cookbooks, I found World Vegetarian to be a big help in breaking down different ways to cook staple veggie foods that you may not be familiar with. Same with Robbie Robinsons Vegan Planet, I like this better because it's vegan and really helps you learn easy subsitutions. To say subsitutions is kinda funny because really it should be the other way around.
Beginning a veg**n life isn't that easy, once you're commited and learned, it's amazingly easy. And good.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2009 7:58:27 PM PST
D. Wright says:
would the movie be Earthlings?

Posted on Aug 18, 2010 10:31:20 AM PDT
I have been off and on vegetarian for most of my life, but have recently decided to go vegan. The biggest transition for me has been changing my mind processes...instead of trying to make my favorite foods taste just the same only minus the meat/animal products, I am learning to appreciate new foods altogether.

Posted on Aug 18, 2010 12:17:59 PM PDT
Well, I just want to add that 4 years ago I went from a meat-eating type Western diet (including dairy, eggs, etc) to a vegan diet in a day, by simply deciding that is what I wanted to do. Then I had to tackle how to cook as I had been cooking with meat as the centerpiece for years. I am now technically a vegetarian as I do eat small amounts of cheese once in a while, but I'm basically off all animal foods. I was 55 years old when I switched to vegan, and I am fine. For those that hate cooking, a good Indian restaurant will see you through those times when you just hate to cook, or a Subway veggie wrap, or Moe's rice and beans with veggies and salsa or whatever is in your locale. There are also EASY recipes on that www.nutritionmd.org site plus cookbooks like "Country Life Vegetarian Cookbook" (some vegetarian to vegan conversions required, but easy to do), Ecological Cooking is great. That is a Joanne Stepaniak book. Love her recipes, and own just about all of her books. "Healthy Eating for Life for Children" is good, as is "Healthy Eating For Life for Women". IDK, I have lots of cookbooks. I like cookbooks. "Nanna's Italian Kitchen" by Bryanna Grogan is super to have around. And right now I'm busy gardening, harvesting and canning/freezing to have some produce always on hand. Yum!!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 20, 2010 8:17:07 PM PDT
Greta, Get the book The China Study! That says it all. And yes, it can be very simple. Good luck!

Posted on Mar 24, 2011 11:01:46 AM PDT
Hi Greta,
I would also recommend you to see the documentary "Eating" by Mike ANderson
and read the book "The China Study"
Have a great life

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2012 11:11:34 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 10, 2012 5:38:17 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2012 3:46:30 PM PST
My brother talks about EARTHLINGS a lot. I'm going to be watching it soon, and know it will be the final nail in the animal product coffin for me -- so to speak. The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet has been an awesome read as well, very helpful.
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Initial post:  Jun 7, 2009
Latest post:  Mar 7, 2013

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