21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: Main Kickstart Forum: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Created on: 01/08/13 02:26 AM Views: 2899 Replies: 14
cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 2:26 AM

Hi all,

I was wondering, for anyone who transitioned into veganism, did you ever take a step-by-step approach..like first eliminate cheese, then yogurt, until you were dairy free? or did you cut all dairy out at once, and all meat / poultry / egg?

I'm having a hard time with this, and I wonder if maybe I should try to do a more gradual transition. Or work on that for this month, so I can do the kick-start more fullyand hopefully be ready to do it complete by next month.

Would love to hear advice / feedback on this, thanks so much. I'm having a hard time with compulsive eating too, comfort eating, and dairy is definitely way up there for me! so i'm hoping to see a nutritionist...maybe in the next two weeks and that may also help...

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 6:58 AM

This is my second time trying the Kickstart and I am finally making it this time. The first time, I really struggled with the dairy products. I have been vegetarian for 1 1/2 years, but had a more difficult time with the dairy. I think I am finally ready and am doing great with this Kickstart. I think taking it step-by-step can be a good way to do it.

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Watching the movie Vegucated gave me the intellectual push to not want dairy.

I think most people have an emotional attachment to dairy. After all we are mammals.

Change takes place over time, but habits are formed by the choices we make in the moments of living.

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 8:37 AM

We kinda did step by step with no intention, at first, of ever being vegan. We dropped beef and pork to reduce fat intake due to cholesterol issues. Then we switched to plant milk because it has fewer carbs than dairy (1 cup of cow's milk has approx 12-15 grams of carb, unsweetened almond milk has 2 grams of carbs) - helps me keep my blood sugar levels better controlled (I can actually have cereal for breakfast!) We still, at that point, ate yogurt, cheese, eggs (well, hubby and son ate eggs, and I'd use them in baking but I can't eat just eggs - like scrambled - because they mess with me digestively), poultry and fish. As we explored more meatless recipes, the poultry and fish became less and less. Then I happened upon a PBS special with Dr. Barnard. Hit the web to find out more (see whether it was 'reasonable' or one of those way out there things that sound okay in a targeted "infomercial" type format but are really restrictive or expensive in real life. It looked sound and it brought me to the Kickstart site. The first kickstart, I dropped everything but my one daily yogurt snack. After the kickstart, I didn't buy yogurt for a while because of budget constraints and realized I didn't miss it as much as I thought - but I did need to plan my snacks out a bit more, the yogurt was an easy grab-and-go item first thing in the morning when I was packing my day's food for work.

However, I know some of the folks here just went ummm "cold tofurkey" Wink because gradual doesn't work for them.

There's no one 'right' way.

For our family, we're on the border between vegetarian and vegan most of the time. Good sharp cheddar and rich Greek style yogurt are the main non-vegan components that are in our fridge (if we're going to "digress" it's going to be with the good stuff). But, they're not an every day kind of thing the way they used to be, and not every one of us all the time.

--DebR

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 11:17 AM

I'm a cyclist who was a cheese and yogurt freak! Before 2010 I ate at least 6 oz or more of yogurt everyday because I thought it was healthy. Cheese? heck my fridge was stocked with all kinds. I nibbled on it constantly. 2010 decided to try the Kickstart, for me letting go of the dairy, I just had to go cold turkey. 2 weeks later I noticed a remarkable improvement in my health. I no longer needed ibuprofen when riding a long bicycle ride. My arthritic knees no longer ached.For me getting rid of the dairy was the best thing I ever did. good luck on your journey.

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Cheese was the only thing that kept me from being a full vegan for over 22 years. I was vegan for a few years, then cheese would sneak back in. I finally (whew) kicked it, permanently!, over 2-1/2 years ago now. I spent the majority of those 22 years vegan but just kept struggling.

It was when I lost a much loved pet and as I sat weeping for days on end that I began to wonder how I could love this one animal so much I couldn't sleep or eat in her loss, yet I loved other animals enough to not eat their bodies, yet again, I was willing to ignore the injustice and harm caused by dairy consumption and allowed some of those same animals to suffer so I could consume dairy. In my time of grieving, it was enough for the final push. Psychologically, it broke the chain.

Oddly enough, as I have an autoimmune disease that causes a lot of pain, I knew dairy caused an marked increase in pain, yet that was NOT enough to make me stop. I have to say my health and pain levels have improved dramatically without animal products.

It is a journey. It is YOUR journey. There can't be only one way to do it. It has to work for you only when you find what is right for you can you make the change.

Always offer kindness and a soft word to the beings around you; You do not know their journey. Your words can be the hug they need or the shove that breaks them.

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 12:59 PM

lovekittens wrote:

Hi all,

I was wondering, for anyone who transitioned into veganism, did you ever take a step-by-step approach..l.

I was slowly, very slowly, too slowly, almost deadly slow going into veganism. I took about 6 months, first I cut down on the meats, just a few meals a week then dairy (not hidden dairy in baked goods just milk and most ice-cream).

I then went vegan after a Main lobster meal that I did not enjoy.

Then the heart attack from eating badly all those many years before.....

I did as much research as possible while recovering and it was easy to make the complete switch to a fat free (check all ingredients) vegan lifestyle.

If I had not already started It would have been more traumatic with everything else. I do believe it helped tremendously during my recovery. The cardiologist was not used to his patients bouncing back so quickly.

Do it for the animals if you wish, but first, do it for yourself. Do it as quickly as possible, sometimes it can be too late.

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Quickly can be good with support but slowly can worm its way in if there are other family members involved. One dinner a week that is totally vegan for all, with mix'n'match meals the rest of the time (meatballs on the side, for example, and using whole grain pasta and better quality sauce without all the added sugar and stuff). When we first started, I asked hubby to just 'go with it' for 21 days. This was especially important since I work fulltime and he's the at home cook. Without his help, it would have been extra hard for me. But, he was willing to 'experiment'. Key is having easy and tasty meals options that aren't "too weird" right off. Even if it isn't really "low fat", finding a way to make vegan mac'n'cheez was one of the key things, as was learning how to cook quinoa and other new foods (like rainbow chard). Trying to jump right in with others involved can be hard unless they're willing to be a little bit adventurous too.

When we bring food to social gatherings, we skip the 'low fat' aspect and just make a vegan dish that is as yummy as possible. Sometimes it is low fat (like quinoa chickpea spinach 'pilaf') and other times it isn't (mac'n'cheez'n'veggies). Our criteria is more "what will the non-vegan taste buds think is yummy?" Seasoning is crucial - on Food Network's Celebrity cooking series this season, there are two vegan/vegetarian celebs. One of the comments made about one of the dishes was that it wasn't as bland as most vegan food usually is. So keep that in mind and make sure to add the seasoning (onion, garlic, spices) because the missing fat and 'familiar' flavors might become an issue unless it's really flavorful and yummy.

--DebR

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 4:09 PM

We went cold turkey. I didn't have any thoughts of turning back. I craved milk for about 2 months, but I never even thought about drinking it. I truly view those foods as poisons that will harm my health.

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 4:56 PM

I had always tried to eat meat free twice a week but at the end of November after looking into intermittent fasting, calorie restriction and longevity I cam across a research article that mentioned that reduced protein intake was also correlated to longevity. So I started to investigate that and decided to watch Forks Over Knives and Vegucated in December. Immediately, I cut back our families's meat consumption to 2-3 times a week. I didn't want to go cold turkey especially since I have a 3.5 year old and wanted to inform myself so that when I made the switch I could be reassured that I was meeting all of her nutritional requirements. Also, we had a few freezer meals with meat I wanted to use up. So I spent the month of December reading books and using internet resources. The only dairy I consumed was cheese after quickly using up all the milk and yogurt we had in the house. Then the day before starting I got rid of everything in the house that was overly processed, contained animal products and was unhealthy.

I'm only on day two of 30 day challenge but so far so good. I think the gradual approach is what helped because I got used to not eating as much meat and dairy in the month and a bit leading up to this. It also gave me a chance to have some of my favorite foods one last time. Funny though that while I was eating them they were not as good as I used to think and because I had reduced my dairy intake the last meal we had before starting this journey was a cheesy pasta dish that gave me cramps for a day after. Clearly, my body does not like cheese.

Anyways, I think the best approach is what you think will work for you. Some people need to do it cold turkey, others can ease into it.

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 12:56 AM

I was a vegetarian for 11 years before trying vegan (and yes, it was that darn cheese that held me back!). Once I was ready to go all out, I tried gradual or what I call "practical vegan" where I would eat dairy or eggs if nothing else was available or as not to insult someone cooking for me. That approach didn't work well for me. I was still eating unhealthy things and they would trigger compulsive eating. I went cold turkey with this kickstart. For me, having that temptation in the house would end poorly.

- Amanda
Be the change you wish to see in the world...

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 12:22 PM

I went cold turkey (seems like an odd thing to say about going vegan) at the January Kickstart a year ago. Gave a friend who was renting a room from me all the canned tuna, eggbeaters, canned chicken etc, etc. as she had NO interest in eating vegan.

But I didn't tell her she could have the cheese. I wasn't eating it, but I wasn't ready to "give up" the cheese for months. Finally I realized I was never going to eat it, but it was definitely the last thing to go. : )

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 6:51 PM

I went cold turkey and to make sure I stayed on it I gave about half of what I had in fridge and cupboards away and some I tossed out. It was an exspensive beging but I knew I would cheat if things were around. One advantage of being single is others arent around eating differntly or you dont need to make different thing for others.

So far I am finding it ok and am suprised at how far a little food goes and have cut back on shopping habits that led to waste. I enjoy reading labels (dont have a life) and hope to stay on this (only been on a week so far but the support here helps keep me going) Wink

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 11:31 PM

I did both - step by step and cold turkey.

The step by step worked for everything but cheese. I tried to cut back but if I went for a week or two without cheese then had a little for whatever reason (eating out, cheese platters at functions etc) I ended up eating it daily for another week or two. I would find a way to justify stopping at the supermarket and buyingt some. I am definately a cheeseaholic and the only way for me to be able to become and stay vegan was to go cold turkey and not have any.(Even after all the books, movies etc about how bad it is for you and the animals - that wasnt enough)

Good luck whatever you do. If I was doing it all over again I would go cold turkey on everything expecting it to be hard and give my body a couple of weeks to get rid of any cravings. Trying to do that now with sugar.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates.

RE: cold turkey vs. step by step?
Posted Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 11:48 PM

I did both - step by step and cold turkey.

The step by step worked for everything but cheese. I tried to cut back but if I went for a week or two without cheese then had a little for whatever reason (eating out, cheese platters at functions etc) I ended up eating it daily for another week or two. I would find a way to justify stopping at the supermarket and buying some. I am definately a cheeseaholic and the only way for me to be able to become and stay vegan was to go cold turkey and not have any.(Even after all the books, movies etc about how bad it is for you and the animals - that wasnt enough)

Good luck whatever you do. If I was doing it all over again I would go cold turkey on everything expecting it to be hard and give my body a couple of weeks to get rid of any cravings. Im trying to do that now with sugar.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food - Hippocrates.

Edited 01/19/13 11:51 PM


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