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Ambedo. Offline
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Tips for beginning a plant-based diet? - October 5th 2016, 07:02 PM

I've been doing some research on changes I can make to my diet to improve my overall health. I've come across a lot of positive things associated with having a plant-based diet. I've decided that I'd like to try it out for a month to see how it works out for me (basically, I'm giving myself an out if it absolutely sucks), but I have no idea where to start when it comes to things like shopping, recipes, substitution for animal products, etc.

If any of you are vegetarian or vegan, I'd really appreciate some tips! What struggles should I prepare myself for when I'm starting out? Do I need to watch the way I work out since I'm changing my diet so drastically? Let me know!

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Re: Tips for beginning a plant-based diet? - October 6th 2016, 02:08 AM

I'm lactose free, so that'll be a good start. You can get vegan butters, coconut milk, almond milk, and vegan/plant based cheeses.
The butter tastes like normal butter because it can be made with different oils and and ends up being probably closer to margarine but healthier / more natural. It's also easier to spread.
Coconut and almond milk is really good, no explanation needed.
The cheese can be good. I usually get daiya cheese which goes nicely in things like grilled cheese sandwiches but there is this other brand called Traditional Earth (?) and it's really good in things like chili. It's not like normal cheese, I'd take normal cheddar every day but it still tastes good and has similRities, especially for consistency.
There are some many dairy alternates I think it is probably the easiest to handle.

The meat can be harder to cut out. It might almost be easier to cut down for a month and then cut it out the second month. Like maybe cut out red meat and just have fish a few times a week and then cut out meat entirely for a only after you've gotten used to having a few meat free days here and there. Going cold turkey will just make it harder for you. There is a super amazing blog called Oh She Glows with tons of vegan recipes that you could start cooking and you can plan your meals and have days scheduled to be meat free and build up to entire meat free weeks. I love the recipes on Oh She Glows.

Feel free to PM me if you ever need to chat or have questions
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Re: Tips for beginning a plant-based diet? - October 7th 2016, 06:01 PM

Congrats! PM me if you have any questions. I've been vegetarian for about five years and through that, I've gone through times being very plant-based (one month actually vegan, but longer periods of a very plant based lacto-ovo vegetarian diets), time periods of being pescitarian, and times being more broadly lacto-ovo. Let me know how much dairy and eggs you plan on consuming.

Here are a few areas I'd keep in mind:

1. In terms of macronutrients, watch your protein. While the average American gets more protein than they really need, a sudden vegetarian diet can be low in protein especially if you don't do it right. There are many plant-based proteins (beans, tofu, nuts, etc) along with animal products (eggs, some dairy, etc). One tip is that I don't like using dairy as my main source of protein. Although I'm not vegan, using dairy as a protein source often causes you to eat way too much dairy, something that can make you feel sick and bloated. Instead, focus your sources of protein on plant sources and eggs if you'll be eating them.

2. For micronutrients, watch your B-vitamins. I like to use nutritional yeast in my cooking as a supplement, and I've gone through periods where I take a pill for it when I was more plant-based. I eat eggs, so eggs take care of most of that need, but it's still something to keep in mind. Next, also watch your iron. I never had an iron problem until I got off birth control and began actually menstruating again, and for the weeks of my periods, I was soooo tired. So I began taking an iron supplement a month ago and I feel a lot better. I'd honestly just experiment a bit. Like I said, it was never an issue for me until I started having real periods and not just small spotting/breakthrough bleeding, but some people are more sensitive to smaller amounts of iron and need to take it when they eat meat anyway.

I wouldn't say your workouts need to change, but still make sure you're getting a protein source after your workouts. I usually eat a protein bar after mine and make sure I get a meal within a couple hours after, but I'd do that whether I was vegetarian or not.

Let me know if you have any questions! If you clarify what you'll be including, I can provide some recipes. And next time you're in Arizona, let me know, I have a ton of restaurants you need to try.

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& the sun said “it hurts to become."
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Re: Tips for beginning a plant-based diet? - October 8th 2016, 10:21 PM

Thanks for the tips, guys! Cutting out meat slowly instead of doing it cold turkey is a great idea that might make things a little easier for me. Traci, I'll definitely be reaching out to you!

wanderlust consumed her;
foreign hearts & exotic minds compelled her.
she had a gypsy soul
and a vibrant heart for the unknown.
-d. marie
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Re: Tips for beginning a plant-based diet? - October 9th 2016, 02:20 AM

I've been vegetarian my whole life so I can't give you many suggestions on giving up meat.

We don't usually eat meat substitutes that often unless it's for like special occasions or sometime's I'll use them, usually once a month or so. Gardein has some really good products. I like the chick'n strips (without the sauce) in pasta or salad and the chick'n scallopini is good as well. The beef strips or tips are good as well. Morning star is also another brand to look at. My brother loves their bacon strips as well. Yves has good veggie dogs (the tofu or veggie dogs are good as are the bavarian sausages). The breakfast links are good as well. The ground round can be used in lieu of beef and tastes good as well. The Kale and Root Veggie patties are good as well. Keep in mind, I don't know what meat tastes like to compare so.

Daiya has some good cheeses and pizza. The Margherita, Supreme and Fire Roasted Veggie are my family's personal favourites. The Macaroni is pretty good as well. This brand has some pretty good yoghurt alternatives which are good in smoothies or with fruit. We get the unsweetened plain kind. This brand also has some good yoghurt as well. We only ever have had the plain kind so can't vouch for any other flavours. Coconut Bliss also does some nice ice creams as well. Eath balance is also good for butters and such.

We've never had low iron levels but some iron rich foods are things like soybeans, tofu, spinach, lentils, beans (kidney, lima, pinto and black) and chickpeas, potatoes, oatmeal, kale, broccoli, etc. You also absorb more (I think it's as much as five times more) if you eat your iron sources with vitamin C rich foods.
Some foods that are high with proteins are quinoa (which is really good), soy, tempeh, rice and beans, seitan, hummus, chia.

Some recipes I have bookmarked and tried that actually tasted okay from the past few months are: this one, I just substituted the whipping cream with soy cream (pureed tofu) but you could use coconut milk (full fat) and then used dairy free cream cheese and cheese with nutritional yeast. This was also good with nutritional yeast on top. This crust was also good, I used flax seed instead of egg white but next time I'm going to try silken tofu. Cauliflower crust is also good. Umm, my sister found this and it actually was pretty good. She has some pretty good recipes as well. This one was good as well and I substituted out the cheese for dairy free cheese. This without the feta. These are pretty good as well. Most of the recipes I use, I just sub out what I have to.

Some substitutes that we use are...


Coconut, rice, soy, oat, almond or cashew milk. If you need buttermilk add one tablespoon of either lemon juice or vinegar in the measuring cup and then add the specified amount of soy milk. Hemp milk is also a thing but I'm not a huge fan of it.

Half and half cream (in pasta sauces and such):

- Silken tofu and plain soy milk blended together, usually do 1/2 of each. You can use oat or rice milk as well.
-Full fat coconut milk word as well if you let it settle for around 30 minutes. The cream will float and you can blend the cream with soy milk.

* I can't remember the exact measurements or instructions off the top of my head but you should be able to google it or I will edit this when I have better wifi.


Agar flakes or the powered version works.

Sour cream:

-Raw cashews, salt, cold water for blending, ACV, juice from a lemon. (I can't remember exact amounts but you soak the cashews with water overnight and then discard water and blend then in the food processor with the other ingredients.)
-Silken tofu, lemon juice, salt, soy milk, olive oil and sugar (you can use honey as well but it we prefer just plain sugar)

* I can't remember the exact measurements or instructions off the top of my head but you should be able to google it or I will edit this when I have better wifi.


Coconut butter or soy margarine. Or even coconut oil. My sister's favourite at the moment is vegan becel (it has less salt as less and it is good for baking) because we don't have to cross the border to by it buuuuuut Earth's Balance is good as well.


In baked goods, soft tofu, applesauce, or flaxseed works well.
In like recipes that eggs are binding agents, oat flour or soy flour works, cooked oatmeal, cornstarch or sometimes tomato paste.

Maple butter is also really good on toast/bagels or oatmeal as well. I think you can buy it but we just make our own because we buy the maple syrup by the case.

If you have any questions or want some recipes or anything, feel free to send me a message. I apologize if the links don't work or there's spelling errors, I typed this on my phone.
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