21-Day Vegan Kickstart

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Forums: January 2012 Kickstart Forum: Minor Deviation, Big Deal?
Created on: 01/20/12 05:43 PM Views: 2014 Replies: 7
Minor Deviation, Big Deal?
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 at 5:43 PM

Hi All,

I should start off by saying that I've been vegetarian with virtually no animal products for the better part of 10 months now. Throughout this time i've avoided processed and refined foods in favor of a whole-foods plant based diet. Interestingly the only dietary changes I had a tougher time with involved giving up coffee, dark chocolate, and diet coke (caffeine, caffeine, caffeine, go figure). I've also elected to back off on the peanuts, walnuts, since I was consuming quite a lot of these.

I've learned lots along the way. I'm basically at the point now where the only things in my diet that I don't like are this: 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil per week, along with about 1/3 cup grated cheese per week.

Part of my problem is this. My wife is not vegan (or vegetarian) though she eats very little meat since I am veg (perhaps twice a month). However, she cooks supper most nights and I end up consuming the above products that don't follow an Essylstyn/ McDougall/ Barnard, etc plan. An obvious answer is to have me do the cooking, which I try to as often as possible. It's hard at times though since I eat 6 meals per day, at least 5 of which I'm already preparing.

My questions is this. Is 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/3 cup grated cheese per week going to sabotage things here?

RE: Minor Deviation, Big Deal?
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 at 6:15 PM

First of all, you are doing wonderfully! You are aware of what you are putting in your body and making good choices.

You have a partnership with your wife, there is a tricky balance in this and a matter of respect. Only the two of you can decide where your respect and compromise lie between you.

That said, I would worry far less about the olive oil. The cheese would bother me far more for many reasons. Perhaps you can find a compromise with your wife in finding another ingredient that perhaps would not be your first choice, as in olive oil, but would still satisfy her desire for the richer flavors, without being an animal product?

I believe I would openly discuss your feelings and listen intently to her own, finding a middle road that will work for you both. Should that not work, and you choose not to consume the oil nor animal product, then it would appear to be your only recourse to be responsible for all the preparation of your own meals.

Best wishes,


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: Minor Deviation, Big Deal?
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Ultimately you will have to answer your question yourself, but it may be easier once you have balanced all the perspectives others will give you. Before I start with my perspective, I do want to say that you are doing very well, and hope you don't beat yourself up too much.

One thing to consider is the "why" of your almost vegan diet. If you are recovering from a poor situation related to one of the big three, heart, diabetes or cancer, you will get much better results with an extreme approach, no dairy and no oil. Even if you are high risk, this is something to consider.

Another thing is the dairy addiction. There is evidence that the brain reacts to dairy as if it were a drug. So long as you don't kick the habit completely and let your body heal, you will be constantly in danger of the slippery slope of increasing your intake at the first crisis, or due to a gradual grinding away of your resolve. Think of someone who smokes two packs a day and cuts it down to 2 cigarettes. You would certainly think that this was great, but wait for the first big argument with the spouse or other emotional event and see if the person can maintain that. With cheese it may not be an emotional event. Perhaps you will just tire of saying no in other people's homes or restaurants... after all you are eating it at home, and before you know it you will be lacto-ovo again.

I have the same problem with coffee. I have it down to one cup a day, usually, but once in a while I find that it has crept back up to three. I will risk this until I finally get my brain used to life without the drug.

I think it is key to ask yourself what kind of a person you are. Some people can cut things back, other people must go cold turkey, we are all different. You also have to ask yourself what kind of a lifestyle you want for yourself. Do you want to be vegan? Is it health or ecology or animal rights, some combination or all three?

It sounds like you have a good situation at home. If you are managing to be almost vegan, and you decide you want to go all the way, I bet your spouse would let you take that final step without too much discussion. If you are mostly into this for health, you are young and healthy, and your personality will allow you to avoid the slippery slope, you may have a different answer for yourself.

What to you think about this amount of cheese and oil, knowing yourself?

- madeline

madeline yakimchuk
Director: MEET IRENE - An Unlikely Vegan
GRYPHON media productions

RE: Minor Deviation, Big Deal?
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Both of the above posts make very good sense. I would like to add that, IMHO, sometimes the "ideal" is much more attractive than the "real". I absolutely applaud those that are 100% anything! But as so often discussed, even 100% vegans are not necessarily making healthy choices. Assuming that you are basically healthy, not overweight, and just trying to eat better, and that you are honest with yourself that the only deviations are those that you listed, that bit of olive oil and grated cheese are not going to make a hill of beans in the big picture. Indeed, Dr. Campbell, in The China Study, advises that, while the approach should be to consciously try not to eat any animal protein, that one not freak out at minimal amounts of it included sometimes in foods maybe beyond our control, as it won't affect the bottom line, and will take some of the stress out of eating this way. People love to speak in "absolute truths", but lets face it, you eat better than 99.9% of them. As above, I think the bigger question is, is it okay with you?

RE: Minor Deviation, Big Deal?
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 8:40 AM

I eat 100% vegan and I am eating very healthy and I find it very easy to do. My tastes have changed and I have lost cravings and my old chocolate addiction...because I followed Dr. Neal Barnard's direction to stay away from them for 3 weeks. I can walk by the aisles with junk food easily. If I am hungry I just eat another piece of fruit or a small baked potato or another healthy snack so I keep on track and I am full and its all healthy. I love the food and I don't miss anything. Seems there is a healthy substitute for just about everything. I don't have much to complain about...I am very happy with the food.

RE: Minor Deviation, Big Deal?
Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 9:19 AM

Not so much addressing the original poster's concerns, but Veganer, you have a good point about staying on track..eat something that you love, just healthy. It sounds simple, but too often the craving gives way to the....craving. In my case, at night, like vegan choc.chip cookies, or maple syrup banana bread. I rationalize that I have eaten well all day, so why not. Then wonder why I don't lose weight. Recently, I had a banana, with a little almond butter, cut in slices and drizzled with a little honey, and another nite, a big bowl of fresh strawberries sprinkled with a bit of homemade granola. And I was happy! Smile

RE: Minor Deviation, Big Deal?
Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 at 10:26 AM

You are all correct to say that my relationship with my wife is sacred, precious, etc. And that maintaining this is my priority in life. I guess you are also correct to say that it is up to me answer the question, but I do thank everyone for their thoughts. It's helping me to stay plant-strong!

RE: Minor Deviation, Big Deal?
Posted Tuesday, January 24, 2012 at 6:22 PM

Hi neodrew:
I will be very brief and only quote two of Dr. Esselstyn's phrases: "No oil" and "Moderation kills". Now, it is up to you to decide. I can understand how difficult it may be having a wife or husband who does not follow a Plant-Based Diet. The best of luck!

To your health!


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