Tag: vegan

From a vegan to a vegetarian (transition)

This is a quite uncommon topic and that’s the main reason why I think it is so important to write an article about it. When you search in Google how to make the transition from being vegetarian to become a vegan, you’ll find a lot of articles, videos etc. but there are almost none for the opposite.

This took me some time, half a year, I suppose, just like before it took me the same amount of time from omnivore turning to vegan. Fully I have been vegan for two years and now it’s time for a new chapter in my life. To make things clear, I am still all for animal rights, veganism, I support it as much as I can. I haven’t changed my thoughts (just a bit due to these small changes with my further eating habits), I’m not turning into someone who’s against veganism. I wasn’t radical while being a vegan and I won’t be radical now.

Now, how this can help you? Simple. Nowadays turning into vegan is no longer a problem, each second Youtuber have tips on how to do that, there are a lot of articles, more and more celebrities are trying out veganism. New vegan restaurants and cafes are opening and thriving. But, like I mentioned before, people don’t talk about how you can change your plant-based eating habits back to being an omnivore or in simple words – back to eating meat and other animal products. And there is even fewer information about how to become a vegetarian after you have been vegan. I can understand why.  Veganism is not just about eating habits, mainly it’s a lifestyle and in time, it creates an image of who you are, it takes quite a big part of your personality and the outlook how you project yourself in this world. So it’s absolutely understandable that it is challenging to reset your mind again and to create a new image for yourself because people already got used to you as that vegan persona and all that comes along with it. It is difficult for you as well, to cut some of your strings in your brain and replace them with new ones. You have to change your viewpoint looking at the retrospect. You have to be honest with yourself and clear, why you need this change? For example, for me, it’s quite simple. At the beginning, the reason I went vegan was because of health reasons, I was into a healthy lifestyle, I did some research, I convinced myself that veganism would be even better for my health, although, due to some issues because of my previous eating habits I thought that in time I could have some problems due to being a vegan, well, I wasn’t wrong. But at that time, I went so deep into the topic of veganism, that I also pushed a switch in my brain which turned on the alarm for my ethical and moral views over animals and their rights. So I decided to become a vegan. And that was an amazing choice! No doubts and no regrets. New recipes, new people, activities, places etc. Definitely, if you are a vegan or you’re looking into this lifestyle, your health allows to do that, go for it! As you can tell from the title, I decided from plant-based eating habits turn into a vegetarian. Why? For sure I didn’t lose my faith in this field. I have some health issues, more precisely digestive issues and I can’t handle them too well with plant-based food. I don’t see myself eating meat, fish, seafood or anything that’s made by killing animals so I will try vegetarianism. More precise, I’ll be the basic ovo-lacto vegetarian. I will have more articles about vegetarianism further on. Yet, I still wouldn’t want to support the dairy and egg industry but at this point, I’m not able to help in any way if I feel like crap all the time. But there are some ways which make it at least a bit more humane. Like free range eggs, supporting small local businesses, where they treat animals with respect etc. I tried for a year (from two years being a vegan, the last year was a struggle), I tried some enzymes and probiotics etc, but in the long run that wasn’t a big help. Before I went vegan I had low carb-low fat-high protein-low calorie eating habit regime. And at that time it worked well for my well-being unless I went too deep with “low calorie” part. So now I will try something similar with some changes here and there, let’s see how it works for me. My stomach can’t digest too well high carb intake, as well it’s quite unfriendly to gluten and, well, this was a struggle while being a vegan – it doesn’t cope with legumes ( which is an essential source of protein for vegan nutrition). Being a vegan and having struggle with digestion by eating carbs and legumes (that includes soybeans and products made out of them) plus having problems with gluten…well, it can be quite challenging at times, to say the least. So other I had to deal with discomfort, pain or I ate a lot of sweets and some other stuff to get calories. But that’s not a solution, I want to have a healthy eating habit, that benefits me in a long run not ruin my health. IBS, some other issues. And I’m not alone in this. As well, you are not alone, if you are reviewing your decision on veganism. We all should look closer to our health and wellbeing. Those are the most important things, without them, nothing else really matters.  We should help others (that includes animals as well) but first, we need to help ourselves. And we need to do our best, not for all “the best” is the same.

Pros turning from vegan to vegetarian:

  • Easier to get all your nutrition from food
  • A larger range of foods
  • Easier to fit in and have larger food choice at social events (let’s face it if you are a vegan and you hang out a lot with people which are not even vegetarians, not mentioning vegans, there is a barrier between you. The struggle where to go if the plans are to go out, always planning what to take with you, or give directions to hosts, if you’re planning to come over. Although veganism has grown, yet, there are places where you will be able to get only french fries with some sliced tomato on a side, while your family or friends will have a wonderful 3-course meal. If you hang out mainly with vegans and vegetarians, there are no problems)
  • Socializing gets easier (A lot of people still don’t understand veganism, or for their own reasons they deny it. While being a vegetarian, still meat-eaters will look strange at you, more likely they feel uncomfortable about their food choices, yet, they will understand that a bit more than they do if they need to deal with vegans.)
  • More places where to eat out

Cons turning from vegan to vegetarian:

  • Depending on what type of vegetarian you are, you will be a part of an animal suffer support system. (dairy, egg, etc. industries)
  • Vegetarianism does more harm to the environment than veganism.
  • A lot of vegetarian products (cheese, sour cream, whipped cream, butter, cakes, other sweets) are high in calories and not too healthy. So mainly, if you want to stay healthy, still veggies will have to be your best friend with some pinch of low-calorie dairy products (just make sure that fat are not replaced with tonnes of sugar)

I still have dual feelings due to this transition from veganism to vegetarianism. But I’m excited about trying out new recipes. My favorite meals are one-bowl meals. I find them to be easier to make, a bit faster (especially if you meal prep), as well it just looks like a heavenly rainbow and seems quite appetizing (if you take a bit of time and effort to make it look like a little masterpiece, not just throw everything in a bowl, like I do most of my days when I don’t have time for artistic activities). Bowls of Goodness is a great book for one-dish meals. Delicious and beautiful. And vegans, there are recipes as well for you. You can see for yourself by checking it out on Amazon.

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What are your eating habits? Did you had some changes with them or you’re planning to change something? Leave a comment down below 😉 

 

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Introduction (Go Vegan?)

There are a lot of sources about veganism, going vegan, nutrition, best places to dine out, tons of recipes, meal preps etc.
In my attention is to take the summary of all and write it down in an easy, simple way to show you, dear reader, what veganism is and what benefits you can gain from it. So take a cup of green tea, get cozy and “dig into” this informative article.
So what is this beast called veganism?
“Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.” – vegansociety.com

Veganism is not only about diet, but we are also against cruelty towards animals and exploiting them for our needs.

There are three main reasons why people should consider to go vegan. I will introduce you to them.

  • Health aspects

  • Ethical aspects

  • Environmental aspects

Because I have been into a healthy lifestyle since 2011, my main reason to try out a vegan lifestyle, at least in the beginning, were health aspects. I was doing one of my researches and I bumped into some articles about veganism, they intrigued me, so I kept on seeking more information. That was the same time where I had started to watch some health and lifestyle vloggers in YouTube.com and I notice some vegan vloggers, so I started to watch them and follow up. This is one of those things which my curiosity brought me to. There was no particular person, event, moment or advice from anyone. I didn’t even know any vegan at that time. It all was new for me. So I did a lot of research and I gave it a try. In beginning, I tried out, in addition to my usual diet, some vegan products, meals and went to some restaurants, while I was still in Paris. I liked it and I considered to try to stick to a completely vegan diet for some time at least, just to see how my body reacts and if it can cope with it. I had to postpone this idea for some time due to some external circumstances. When the right time came, everything set in how it should be with no pressure.

Then, in one day, I decided to stop consuming any animal products for some time and since then I haven’t gone back to my previous diet and it is not into my intention to do so. I can say that my mind and body feels great, satisfied and I don’t feel that I’m missing out anything.

Now I will share some facts about the effects animal product have on our body and what benefits are from a plant-based diet.

Health aspects 

Several studies have been shown that consuming proteins and fats from animals increases the risk of developing cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, heart disease.

Further, I will be talking about balanced healthy vegan diet, not junk food vegan diet. However, if your not a healthy lifestyle person, you can still go Vegan, there are tons of yummy vegan snacks, sweets, and products, for each single “normal” meal you can find vegan replacement, also cheese, sausages, cakes, cookies, even “meat” dishes etc which tastes really close to “normal” food. I just would recommend you to go for healthy, not junky veganism. I am for a healthy lifestyle and on a daily basis, I am consuming more whole foods. Clean eating is the best for your body. Our mind and spirit need to be healthy as well, so every now and then I try out some vegan snack, a piece of cake or whatever else I am craving for, still, I prefer homemade sweets and snacks.

Vegetables, legumes, greens, fruits, and whole grains don’t contain cholesterol and are low in fat, especially saturated fats. They are high in fiber vitamins and minerals. There are a lot of plant-based foods that are good sources of protein. Studies have been shown that it’s possible with a balanced vegan diet to get the right amount of proteins and other nutrition. There are a lot of athletes who are on a vegan diet.

There is only one vitamin which has not been found in plant-based diet – B12, which is vital for good health and normal body function. You can read down below, how you can get it.

Main benefits of a vegan diet:

  • Reduces risk of several deceases and conditions.

  • Lover BMI (body mass index) or in other words, you don’t have to restrict yourself (if you’re on a balanced healthy plant-based diet) while still getting all nutrition and being lean and healthy (regular exercises are necessary as well for good health)

  • You will have higher energy levels

  • Healthy skin, hair, and nails

  • Possibilities are that you will get rid of several allergies if you had them. Dairy, meat, and eggs are often cause of several allergies.

  • Lower intake of sugar (most of the cane sugar is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones)

  • Normal hormonal balance

However, there are several vitamins and minerals which can go low if you’re on a vegan diet, so down below I will write down on which nutrition you should pay more attention and where you can find them.

B12

“…are needed by all vegans, and also by EVERYONE over the age of 50, no matter their diet. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause nasty side effects such as anemia, nerve damage, heart disease or pregnancy complications…” – vegansociety.com

You can find it in plant-based kinds of milk, breakfast cereals, yogurts, spreads, yeast extracts, and nutritional yeast products where is added vitamin B12.

A supplement is another option.

Protein

“…Grains and pulses are good plant-based protein sources. Seitan, aka wheat gluten, contains just as much protein, if not more, than a beef steak. And, like fellow protein-rich foods tempeh and tofu, it can be bought cheaply as mock meat from Asian supermarkets. “

“…A diet comprising a variety of plant protein sources will include all the essential amino acids you need. There are a few plant-based foods which contain all the essential amino acids, namely soya, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth (‘complete’ proteins). But you don’t need to eat complete proteins at each meal. Your body can store and combine the essential amino acids. So stick to a balanced diet, and you’ll be fine.” – vegansociety.com

You can find protein in different kind of beans – chickpeas, lentils -, soy products (milk, tofu, tempeh etc.)

Nuts – mostly in almonds, peanuts, cashews, pistachios

Seeds – sesame, pumpkin, sunflower

Grains – wheat, oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, pasta, bread, seitan

Omega 3

Good sources are some nuts and seeds (walnuts, flax, hemp, chia, mustard) Flax and chia seeds should be grounded to absorb as many nutrients as possible.

You can use rapeseed (canola) oil as well.

In some products, omega-3 is added as extra.

Iron

“It’s straightforward to obtain enough iron when you eat a rainbow of lightly processed vegetables, fruits and other whole plant foods each day. In fact, research has shown that vegans have average iron intakes that are similar to or higher than those of non-vegans, and higher than the recommended daily allowance.” – vegansociety.com

You can find it in legumes, dried fruits, whole grains, nuts & seeds, green leafy vegetables, potatoes.

As well you can find it in soy, parsley, watercress, edible seaweeds, dark chocolate etc.

Iodine

“Iodine is a slightly challenging mineral. Too little or too much iodine can lead to problems with your thyroid, which controls how your body uses food energy…” – vegansociety.com

You can use supplements or iodized salt (please, check out more information about this mineral and use proper amounts. You can simply click on the added link on top of this)

Calcium

“Calcium is often thought of as a nutrient that helps to keep your bones and teeth strong. It is also involved in your nervous system, blood clotting and controlling your muscles…” – vegansociety.com

Vegan-friendly and good sources are tofu, milk, yogurt alternatives and bread with added calcium

Other options – kale, pak choi, okra, spring greens, dried figs, chia seeds and almonds

 

One of the sources which I used, where you can find the required daily dose and a wider information about vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Ethical aspects

After doing research I came across information about meat, dairy and egg industry, those horrifying footage just got my brain to click and I wasn’t able to look at these products as a food anymore. Cruelty towards these living beings is insane and I don’t want to take a part in to support that anymore. Health reasons are good to try out vegan diet but in long run it might not be enough, because person can be healthy as well on balanced diet where meat, dairy, and eggs are included, so ethical reason is the main aspect to stay vegan, it’s difficult to turn back after getting to know the truth about meat, dairy and egg industries.

“Preventing the exploitation of animals is not the only reason for becoming vegan, but for many, it remains the key factor in their decision to go vegan and stay vegan. Having emotional attachments with animals may form part of that reason, while many believe that all sentient creatures have a right to life and freedom. Specifics aside, avoiding animal products is one of the most obvious ways you can take a stand against animal cruelty and animal exploitation everywhere…” – vegansociety.com

I kindly recommend you to take off that eye shield which these industries have been putting on your eyes (money rolls the world, let’s not forget this) and watch this footage:

Environmental aspects

In general, we try to help our planet and we tend to switch off electricity if not needed, use bikes instead of cars, use fabric grocery bags, buy organic food, recycle and so on. A lot of people are not aware of the damage that is caused by the production of meat and other animal products.

“…The vast amount of grain feed required for meat production is a significant contributor to deforestation, habitat loss and species extinction. In Brazil alone, the equivalent of 5.6 million acres of land is used to grow soya beans for animals in Europe. This land contributes to developing world malnutrition by driving impoverished populations to grow cash crops for animal feed, rather than food for themselves. On the other hand, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet, making the switch to veganism one of the easiest, most enjoyable and most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment…”- vegansociety.com

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[Infographic: From Mercy For Animals website]

I want to share with you, reader, also my personal opinion about veganism. I will be able to give larger perspective after some time since fully I have been into it only from the end of December 2016 (doing research, trying out some vegan products, restaurants etc. since June 2016)

However, I have been into a healthy lifestyle since 2011 and I can find benefits for myself even after so short time switching to a vegan diet. I am not a lower of cooking, but veganism provoked interest in cooking. I have tried out different recipes and even more opened up my imagination because I like experimenting with different tastes, now I have even bigger urge to try out new things.

I included in my diet even more legumes, beans, grains – whole foods in general. I discovered a lot of products, I started to cook more, to do more research about things, to find new places and things in relation to veganism, met like-minded people, started to care even more about animals and I try to help them in ways I can care even more about our planet, I have more energy, so I have more power to do things I love. I am happy that with my actions I can help the planet and living beings.

In following posts, in this section, I will write how to go vegan, some review about vegan products, brands, vegan clothing, shoes, make up products, also some recipes, but this is not and probably won’t be a vegan recipes blog, it is meant to be more informative, but will see, time will tell, I don’t have cravings for becoming a “guru” in the kitchen, but who knows haha… So about vegan lifestyle in general.

My food photos and ingredients you can check out on my Instagram account if you’re interested.

So I hope to see you in my next posts!

Some sites for useful information which I would advice you to check out:

www.vegansociety.com

www.vegan.com

www.veganhealth.org

nutrition.org

Movies/videos  and documentaries to watch:

Books:

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