Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Starting a Veggie Lifestyle

I got one of the worlds greatest pleasures today. A childhood friend contacted me today and asked me for help in going veg! I love this and jumped at the chance to help another person move towards a plant based diet. Like so many of us though she has no idea where to start. She asked me to help compile a list for here and a few tips that would help her start. I have decided to share it on here for everyone! Please feel free to add any additional tips for her to start out with!

I have made a list of books with the things I like about them. Also there are tips to start out at the bottom.

- "Crazy Sexy Diet" By Kris Carr.
This book is the one I am reading right now and I am loving it! She really gets to you and gets you thinking about your body. I love her approach to making "healthy vegans." However I would not be as include to recommend it for a starter. Going Veg is hard enough. Going from a Mc Donald's chomping westerner to a Raw Foodist? Harder. However, I would recommend the 21 day cleanse in the back as a detox plan. Note: Has a web community

- "Vegetarian Beginners Guide"- Vegetarian Times
This is one of the first books I bought when going veg all those years ago. It teaches you how to stock a pantry which is one of the hardest things to do in my opinion. It also has list of ways to get all of the nutrients and proteins you need, including veggies with high sources of protein and iron. It addresses common myths. The things I am not so fond of? I don't really like the recipes that they used in this book. Their Magazines are full of yummy recipes but the book...not so much.

- "The Kind Diet"- Alicia Silverstone
You will recognize this women from you childhood which makes the book more convincing. And this happens to be one of my Fav books of all time. Alicia is understanding, compassionate and sweet in the way that she writes. This has some of the best recipes I have ever made, veg or omnivore. She gives you the reasons why you should be a veg for your body, for animals an for the planet without making you feel like you have lives the past how-many-years of your life in sin. One of the things I love the most is that she teaches you how to "Build a Meal" without meat. This is something most of us forget how to do without meat. Note: Has a web community.

-"The Kitchen Shrink" Natalie Savona
This is not a veg book, thats what I dislike. But I recommend it for everyone. It teaches you how to deal with mental issues like depression or any other physical sickness using your kitchen as a pharmacy. It teaches you which foods promote which feelings and what problems can be solved with what.

-"Eat, Drink & Be Vegan" Dreena Burton
This is a pure cookbook. 100%. If you are going to be a veg then you need to learn how to enjoy your food. That is why I looooooove pure vegan cookbooks. This one in particular has a great deal of breakfast and sweet recipes.

-"Vegan Lunch Box Around the World" Jennifer McCann
Variety is the spice of life and I love international food. This teaches you to make many kinds of international food. It also all happens to be able to be packed up in a lunch box and taken to work, school, or just out with you. I dont know about you but I have to work! Note: Author has a web community.

Other Books On My Shelf:
-The Urban Vegan
-The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend
-Beans and Rice by Williams Sonoma
-Raw Food by Ani Phyo
-Vegetarian Kids Cookbook by Roz Denny
-Vegetarian Cooking by Nicola Graimes
-Eating Animals by Johnathan Saffron-Foyer
-In Defense of Food by Michael Pollen
-Food Rules by Michael Pollen

- Beware of soy: Most of all if you are becoming a veg for health reasons or to loose weight. Soy is highly processed and as fatty as some meats. While it digests a bit easier I would not use it as its labeled "As a meat substitute".

-Immerse: Veg is just like any other subculture. The more you immerse yourself with the community the stronger your commitment to your new healthy life style becomes. Twitter has a huge veg community and there are many boards that go along with books to go to for advise (Along with my blog of coarse.) Seek out like minded people.

-Support: Having a supporting roommate or spouse is essential. Its hard to stay out of trouble when someone across from you is eating a burger in front of you. Cook together, try new things together. Its nice bonding, cheap dates and fun!

-Shopping: There are so many tips that you can use for shopping and many of the books above have them. I have this one piece of advice that I believe more then anything. Stick to the outer portions of the super market. That and the bulk. Stay away from the sugary crap on the inner parts of the market. Most supermarkets are mostly designed the same way; fruit and veggies on the outside. Thats where you should be shopping.

-Farmers Markets: They are tons of fun and full of good people and good food!

-Eating Out: My first instinct is to say dont. But it is a social obligation and a corner stone of our culture. Look up the menu first online and find out if they have any veg dishes or think about how to turn them into veg.

-Dairy: You will read a lot about this in every single book that I recommended but I feel the need to state it now because my friend is very into weight loss. When I dropped Dairy I also dropped 15 pounds. Enough said. Each persons body is different but dairy is nasty. We are the only creature that drinks milk from another animal. Over 70% of the population is born lactose intolerant but we are weened onto it and fast. Give it up and you'll taste things better and digest like no ones business!

-Google is your friend: Or bing or any other search engine. There are many new things to be learned along the road to a plant based diet. New words will stump you. Alien ingredients will taunt you. Luckily we live in the information age and googling can be done in the blink of an eye. Dont be afraid of the information highway.

-Detoxing: Its not just for coke addicts. Do it and you will find the bad things easier to resist. I recommend the 21 day cleanse from the Crazy, Sexy Diet.

There we are! Please comment with the things that have helped you along the way. Sometimes I think that we forget how hard it is to start out a new life.

I love you Lauren!!!!


Lauren said...

Erika that was all so helpful and insightful!! Loved all the tips and all of those books sound super interesting... I need to plan a trip to barnes and knoble tomorrow so that I can check these out!

That's so crazy about the dairy though - because I thought eating dairy products like yogurt, milk, etc actually helped with your digestive system and were used to keep you "regular" haha.. I don't drink much milk anyway so maybe I should plan on giving up dairy if that really helps!

I am not totally sure I want to go vegan yet... I'm thinking that I will start with vegetarianism and then see where it goes from there? What are the differences between the two? I'm sure I'll have plenty more questions coming your way so I'm sooo happy you are so willing to help me :)

Lauren said...

Another thing I'm also worried about is the money... I recently lost my job and am unemployed AGAIN, and am worried that all of this will be a little too expensive for me to keep up with.