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I really want to take the giant leap from veg to vegan, but I am having a really hard time! What are the things that you all did in order to make it easier to go vegan. Did your kids go vegan when you did or did you wait to switch them until you had it down. Thanks in advance for the tips!
 

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Congratulations on your decision to change


Wow, it's been so long I don't remember all the details of our change. We had 2 children at the time aged 3 & 5 and they changed too because I'm the cook & if people don't eat what I cook they can go hungry

We actually cut out dairy first. We had bought a new property - 38 acres in the Bega Valley Australia (dairy country). I started hearing the most pitiful bellowing from the cows on the next property. For days they would walk the fences crying out. I had no idea what it was all about so I asked my neighbour. He said they were 'just' crying for their babies & were walking the fences searching for them (they had been taken away 24 hrs after birth so we could have their milk). I was horrorfied. I said to my husband we just cannot be part of this suffering, I can't be responsible for the torture of these poor mothers (not to mention what happens to their kids) & we just went cold turkey off dairy. The kids REALLY missed it but they got over it.

Next I read "A Diet For A New America" & we went cold turkey vegan as soon as I finished the book.

To make it easier I bought a few Vegan cookbooks & made lists of breakfasts, lunches & dinners that were vegan (so I didn't have to think too hard each day). I think the most painless way to go vegan is to think of all the things you normally eat & think of how you can 'veganise' them, then try new recipes & get a stack you like & add them to the mix.

We really don't like pretend 'meats' - they always taste like crap to us & they are hardly ever very healthy. My oldest daughter, especially, likes to eat dishes from other countries that are vegan in their natural state (& their are soooo many).

Here's a list of our staples: (soy milk is our 'milk' of choice)
Breakfasts:
Oatmeal with nuts, seeds & soy milk; Toast with baked beans or creamed corn or sauteed mushrooms; pancakes; toast with avocado & tomato or tahini & tomato or PB&J

Lunches
Tortillas with refried beans, tofutti cream cheese, salad & salsa; salad & hommos rolls & sandwiches; lentil patties on a bun with vegan mayo & sweet chilli sauce; nori rolls with carrot, cucumber, avocado & sunflower seeds; noodle or pasta salads with beans or nuts

Dinners:
Stir-fries with veggies, tofu or cashews & brown rice (Thai, Malay or Chinese sauces); Mexican - beans substituted for any meat; lentil bolognese; lots of pasta with veggie sauces; Felafal with lebanese dips & veggie dishes or salads; soups with damper; casseroles with lots of veggies & beans served with mashed potato; Lentil or bean patties with veggies & gravy. The list is ENDLESS!

For snacks I make vegan cookies, cakes, muffins (I always make a double batch & freeze half that way I've always got something to throw in a lunchbox if I'm pushed for time), we have fruit plates, veggies & dip, nuts, popcorn, smoothies
It really is easier than people think.
 

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I have to echo Susumama--it really is easier than people think! I didn't have any kids when I went vegan, but my partner stayed vegetarian for a while after I made the switch.

I started out getting rid of the obvious offenders (milk, cheese, and eggs, and any ingredient that sounded like it came from those things--stuff ending in "lactate," etc.) and moved on to learn about more obscure stuff like Vitamn D3, magnesium stearate, and all that fun sneaky stuff.

I'm also the primary meal preparer here, so people need to eat what I eat or they'll probably go hungry. I get a lot of my recipes from here:

http://vegweb.com/index.php?action=recipecategories

We eat such a wonderful variety of whole foods now! And we feel so much better about our impact on the environment and other animals.

Best of luck to you!
 

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Dairy was the hardest thing for me. I love cheese, and still crave things like brie and blue cheese frequently. I borrowed a lot of books from the library when making the decision, and so have several recipes to reference when I am craving something cheesy in particular.

I'm definitely addicted to putting nut yeast on everything from popcorn (with hot sauce) to stir fries, and love coconut milk curries. I try to keep my pantry stocked to have options available. We buy in bulk online for most of our dried goods, and then pick up produce and things of that nature from places like Costco because we are not close to farmer's markets or co-ops. And we eat a lot of veggies over the course of the day.

My dh respects my choices, and knows that he can order something at a restaurant when he wants meat. As for dd, she is still only on pureed veggies, fruits and cereals right now, so it's not a big deal for her.

We do oatmeal and cereal for breakfast, generally, but do sweet buns and things like scrambled tofu and hashbrowns on the weekend. Lunches are usually leftovers, and dinners are generally beans/tofu over a grain and lots of veggies. We use salsas, stir fry sauces, nutritional yeast, do curries, use baked tofu, etc., to change things up. And we eat quite a bit of pasta. Snacks are things like smoothies, pb with apples, fruit, homemade snack mixes, and so forth.

Good luck!
 

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I waited about 6 months after I transitioned to transition my daughter. She was little and I could have easily transitioned her when I did, but I was worried it wasn't best for her. It took me 6 months to feel differently.

Anyway, I find that all of those fake product replacements are not a great idea. I think the easiest thing to do is buy more fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds, beans, grains, etc. We eat very simply and it's easy, healthy, and we don't have any cravings (well, I do b/c I'm pregnant, but we won't go there).

My daughter LOVES beans and we rotate between all the different types. Same with grains...rotation. With fruit we don't rotate as much, maybe b/c I'm particular and so we stick to the basics (apples, pears, oranges). Veggies are easily rotated too.

I don't know if this is helpful or not. It was different for me b/c I went vegetarian and only stayed veg for a few months before going vegan. Good luck!

Editing to add: I personally do NOT think soy is a safe alternative. If you do soy, I'd really suggest limiting it. Soy is already in everything if you buy packaged foods, and we as Americans eat WAY too much of it. We avoid it, mostly b/c DH and DD are allergic, but also just b/c more and more studies come out that it's high in estrogens and causes problems. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't, but I personally don't think it's worth the risk. What's wrong with beans, seeds, nuts, nut butters for protein? We drink hemp milk and rice milk and alternate between the two. Almond is good too, but we don't do sugar, and the plain kind doesn't taste great.
 
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