Semi-new Canadian Vegan

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fables1991
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Semi-new Canadian Vegan

Post by fables1991 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:58 pm

Hey everyone :) I've been a lurker on this site for quite some time, but I've finally made the jump and joined the forums.

I have been vegan before in the past, I think my longest stretch was for six months (I haven't eaten meat in three years, but I would incorporate dairy and eggs back in occasionally). Currently, I've been vegan again for two weeks. I've met a lot of opposition from friends and family, everything from the typical "Ugh, you're going to be one of 'those' vegans now," to people telling me it's straight up un-affordable and I'll waste away without my nutrients, and my sister's taking bets on how long I would last before giving up. I do live on a shoe-string of a budget, but so far I've been proving them wrong.

Anyways, I'm excited to be here and gain all the information and insight I can to help make this a permanent lifestyle change. I look forward to conversing with you all! :)

Dream Sphere
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Post by Dream Sphere » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:21 am

Hey :) I'm also a Canadian vegan.

I would like to give tips on how to make the diet both enjoyable and affordable, but my personal lifestyle is quite different from how a vegan's ideally should be. I buy a lot of specialty products, but also eat some healthy stuff that's cheap, often going between extremes of eating plain beans, steamed veggies, berries, nuts and seeds, to eating processed prepackaged store bought stuff. So, I'm not as experienced as some others in eating cheap in a satisfactory way.

What I spend on food each week recently has been about $120, it's really comfortable and there are plenty of specialty vegan products I would be glad to let you know about to have when your budget allows it. E.g. Pizza Pizza has dairy-free "cheese" by Violife, and Ben & Jerry's have almond based frozen desserts in Canada. However, since your money's tight, in the past I've been able to just about halve the cost if I gain the willpower to prepare most of my food from closer to scratch, and I've gotten a bit back into doing that to save some cash as I've needed to do so recently.

What's your budget?

You could probably manage on less than $60 even each week, however I think others could help you better in really optimizing the bang for your buck in terms of nutrition and satisfaction.

cronometer is a good app/website to see if you're meeting your nutritional needs. Besides showing if you're probably meeting your nutritional needs, it would also mean if your nutritional needs are probably being met that you will be less likely to crave other foods. Also, you can get all your necessary nutrients on a vegan diet, however even when consuming fortified foods, it's a good idea to supplement vitamins B12 and D. iirc. Just to be safe, and they're pretty inexpensive, so it's a worthwhile precaution. 1 000 - 2 000 iu of D each day is closer to the recommended level, and afaik 100% of the daily value is less than 2 000 iu iirc. Take all these "afaik" and "iirc" with a grain of salt though.

The main non-whole food I would recommend to have on any budget would be soy milk of some sort, since that's actually a cheaper way afaik to get adequate calcium on a vegan diet as opposed to alternatives.

Beans are both filling/satisfying and nutritious, so finding different ways to eat them could help keep you satisfied. Curry dishes go well with chickpeas, hummus with pita is great, hummus with higher protein bean/potato chips like Veggie Pop Chips are also satisfying. They're cheap too. If you prepare them in large batches from dry and store them well for later use in the week that could make preparing them less of a chore by doing larger batches less often. Stuff like tofu is relatively cheap and tasty too if you marinate it in something like soy sauce or some other kind of flavourful sauce. I would recommend firm or extra firm tofu personally. Tempeh has a better more grainy texture than tofu, if that might be one thing you dislike about tofu.

If you're having issues with cravings, just remember that the urge to eat whatever else won't last long, and the cravings will tend to get less intense over time. E.g. First three months I craved cheese a lot, next three quite a bit, then for the next year or two just very mildly, and now I don't crave it at all. The discomfort it gave me seemed greater in the moment, but now looking back, it was such a small sacrifice to do a fair bit of good in harm reduction, so I don't regret anything to do with missing flavours from giving up animal products.

Also, what are some of the animal foods you go back to, more specifically? Is it cravings, or more so a feeling of need for nutrition? Like is it more about wanting the flavour/texture, or still feeling hungry, or maybe issues with convenience? Maybe myself and/or others could give tips on convenient alternatives to the animal products you find yourself going back to.

Others here certainly have dealt with family and friend issues regarding their lifestyle changes, so they should be able to help with that. I was lucky enough to have accepting parents, and everyone else in my life is at worst uninterested in the topic, so I don't have anyone nagging me luckily, lol.

By the way, random unrelated question, but what music are you into? Music is something I'm really passionate about, although my greater interest in it is more narrow than it could be. I mean to expand my tastes, and giving and receiving music recommendations is something I enjoy a lot.

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 04, 2018 1:40 am

Welcome fables, I'm glad you joined in. I look forward to trading recipes and tips. I saw your lentil meatball post in the other thread, that sounds pretty good!

fables1991
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Post by fables1991 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:23 am

Wow, thank you for the great response!

I'll start with the animal foods I was going back too - typically, it was eggs, milk, and sometimes cheese. It wasn't so much because of cravings, but I began to eat eggs again after moving back briefly to my mums place. She would make a brunch type meal every Sunday with eggs and hash browns, and they just kind of crept back into my diet. For a long time, up until very recently, I did believe the typical Canadian food pyramid guidelines of eggs and dairy and such being healthy foods, and particularly with dairy such as milk being the best way to get calcium. I did feel like if I was getting my milk and eggs from as organic/small operation a source as I could, and doing all the cooking myself, that it was 'natural' and therefore healthy. I've definitely changed my thinking on that - and on the idea that 'small operation' or 'free range' means it is in any way better for the animals involved.

So far, I haven't experienced any cravings. I've been feeling really good about committing myself to veganism, and encouraged by the fact that I am having a more positive impact on the world in my own very small way, that it's been making the transition considerably easier than I remember it being the first time I attempted being vegan. However, any tips from you or other's on a decent way to replace eggs in recipes that use it mostly for binding would be helpful for the future.

Now, my budget is 'really' small - I try to keep it between 40 and 50 a week. I've been pretty successful sticking to that and being satisfied after most of my meals. I just recently discovered cronometer, and it's very interesting to see how my meals shake out nutritionally. I've been able to get a good percentage of my vitamins and minerals in over the last few days, but my protein seems really low - it's only about six percent of my total for each day. I'm going to buy more beans - I've been eating a lot of lentils but they don't seem to add much protein - and tofu, see how that improves things. What is the percentage of protein I should be angling for?

Would you recommend soy milk over something like Almond Breeze? I found the taste of soy milk to be a little strange, and almond milk is basically tasteless so I've been using that in smoothies - but is the soy milk nutritionally a better option?

And yeah, the family thing is just what it is. One of my sister's was vegetarian for 12 years, and only started eating chicken again about two years ago, so I find her animosity a little strange, but what can I do. I don't want to get baited into arguments and then be labeled as an angry vegan, because I feel that just makes me and veganism easier for them to dismiss.

Music! Oh, man. I listen to a lot of different genres. I just recently discovered Glass Animals and I've been enjoying them. An all time favorite since high school is Modest Mouse. Timber Timbre is my other all time favorite. I also really like Patsy Cline, Dion, Weylon Jennings. Leon Bridges. Kendrick Lamar. Childish Gambino/Donald Glover. Alt-J's cover of House of the Rising Sun is incredible. I'm a big fan of unusual covers - like bands covering a song from a genre totally outside of their own. Bastille's cover of Scrubs, featuring Ella, is fantastic as well - it's intercut with sound clips from the original Pyscho, which sounds odd but it works. I spend a lot of time in between school work perusing YouTube for music. What kind do you listen to?

Thanks again for the welcome!

fables1991
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Post by fables1991 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:25 am

Hey brimstone, thank you! I look forward to trading recipes and tips with you, too :) I'm attempting to slowly grow a bit of a recipe book.

Dream Sphere
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Location: Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada

Post by Dream Sphere » Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:08 am

fables1991 wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:23 am
Wow, thank you for the great response!

I'll start with the animal foods I was going back too - typically, it was eggs, milk, and sometimes cheese. It wasn't so much because of cravings, but I began to eat eggs again after moving back briefly to my mums place. She would make a brunch type meal every Sunday with eggs and hash browns, and they just kind of crept back into my diet. For a long time, up until very recently, I did believe the typical Canadian food pyramid guidelines of eggs and dairy and such being healthy foods, and particularly with dairy such as milk being the best way to get calcium. I did feel like if I was getting my milk and eggs from as organic/small operation a source as I could, and doing all the cooking myself, that it was 'natural' and therefore healthy. I've definitely changed my thinking on that - and on the idea that 'small operation' or 'free range' means it is in any way better for the animals involved.

So far, I haven't experienced any cravings. I've been feeling really good about committing myself to veganism, and encouraged by the fact that I am having a more positive impact on the world in my own very small way, that it's been making the transition considerably easier than I remember it being the first time I attempted being vegan. However, any tips from you or other's on a decent way to replace eggs in recipes that use it mostly for binding would be helpful for the future.
I don't really make much that would have egg substitutes in them. But my Mom was telling me about chickpea flour and chickpea liquid being some different egg substitutes, but afaik those are for baking, and not for other types of meals which may include egg. At a local vegan restaurant they have this tofu scramble which is really good, though. I rarely ate scrambled eggs before going vegan, so I can't really compare, but it was thoroughly enjoyable, the texture is really good, and in the restaurant's version it's nice and spicy, so I would recommend looking up tofu scramble recipes online if that's one of the egg dishes you found yourself going back to.

Afaik all the vegan cheese substitutes are pretty expensive, but stuff like hummus has found a place for me in satisfying that savory flavour craving without going to cheese substitutes. If you like spicy food, you should try making a harissa hummus. Boston Pizza has a vegetarian hummus/veggie platter with flatbread that can be turned vegan by asking them to hold the parmesan and butter that normally goes on the flatbread, which is where I discovered that awesome spicy harissa hummus.

Also, glad to hear you haven't had any bad cravings. Knowing what you're doing is worthwhile is a good motivator, so I'm happy you see things that way.

fables1991 wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:23 am
Now, my budget is 'really' small - I try to keep it between 40 and 50 a week. I've been pretty successful sticking to that and being satisfied after most of my meals. I just recently discovered cronometer, and it's very interesting to see how my meals shake out nutritionally. I've been able to get a good percentage of my vitamins and minerals in over the last few days, but my protein seems really low - it's only about six percent of my total for each day. I'm going to buy more beans - I've been eating a lot of lentils but they don't seem to add much protein - and tofu, see how that improves things. What is the percentage of protein I should be angling for?
iirc the number of calories protein gave me the last time I used cronometer was around 8-15%, I'm not a dietician so take my word with a grain of salt, but afaik most people don't get more than 20% of their calories from protein. Carbs and fat normally make up the bulk of it. What's more important afaik is seeing that you're meeting 100% of the requirements for all of your amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.

6% does seem a little low though, so eating more beans in different types of dishes could help you quite a lot. Lentils afaik have a similar amount of protein to beans per gram, so don't give up on them. One thing I found after going vegan was that I needed to eat more than I used to on a healthy mostly whole foods diet compared to my previous processed food diet, so make sure you're eating enough too. Foods like cucumber and celery may be fine in small amounts to add some texture or whatever to a dish, but they're more filling and nutritionally lacking, so if you find that you're struggling to eat enough, maybe avoid those low nutrient filling foods, and focus on having some nutrient rich vegetables like dark leafy greens in a dish along with nutrient packed bean/lentil type stuff.

I personally try to get about at least 50-60 gram of protein from bean products each day, that means about two cans of beans if you buy canned. Though if you drank soy milk or a pea protein enriched milk, then you wouldn't have to eat as much. Also, depending on your size your requirements could be lesser or greater, when I was really active in the past I aimed for about 100 to 120 grams of protein overall each day. iirc if you aren't doing serious exercise 0.3 grams of protein for each pound of body mass should be the minimum that you get. iirc my dietician recommended 0.5 or 0.6 grams per pound of body mass, so that may be a better number to go by, but that's just my memory, which may be incorrect, since it was a while ago, but it wouldn't hurt to get that much if you're a person without any unusual health issues.

fables1991 wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:23 am
Would you recommend soy milk over something like Almond Breeze? I found the taste of soy milk to be a little strange, and almond milk is basically tasteless so I've been using that in smoothies - but is the soy milk nutritionally a better option?
The main benefit of soy milk is higher protein content, often having 7 to 8 grams as opposed to 1 to 2 grams per cup for almond/nut milk, so since protein is somewhat of an issue for you, I would recommend it over almond milk. Afaik the only thing almond milk has that most soy milks don't is some vitamin E, but even then almond milk isn't a great source of it, sunflower seeds are one of if not the best vegan source, though some nuts and nut butters are also decent.

I've found some brands of soy milk to be pretty bad and others are so much better. It also depends if you buy it sweetened or unsweetened. Silk unsweetened is by far my favourite soy milk. And yeah, I too found almond milk more palatable at first, but Silk unsweetened was pretty easy to get used to. I couldn't stand drinking this other brand which I can't remember, and imagine I could never get used to it, so just know that some brands do vary wildly in terms of flavour. The thing I remember most of that bad brand was a strong bitter and weird taste, lol. Silk unsweetened is perfect for me now, though.

fables1991 wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:23 am
And yeah, the family thing is just what it is. One of my sister's was vegetarian for 12 years, and only started eating chicken again about two years ago, so I find her animosity a little strange, but what can I do. I don't want to get baited into arguments and then be labeled as an angry vegan, because I feel that just makes me and veganism easier for them to dismiss.
If talking at all about veganism turns into arguments where your family members shut down and don't really listen, then yeah, it's probably best not to talk much to them about it unless necessary for yourself like making sure you're accommodated at a get together or whatever.

One reason why your sister might be more defensive or even offensive towards the subject is due to cognitive dissonance. There may be embarrassment for trying something different that didn't work out, or guilt in her habits going against her ethical views underpinned beneath her current behaviour and persona towards veganism which she uses as a sort of shield against those conflicting feelings. It may be more difficult to get her to accept your veganism than other family members because of this because it reminds her of her personal conflict. So don't take what she says in regards to your veganism too personally, and try to be sensitive of her feelings if you ever need to talk about something to do with veganism with her.

fables1991 wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:23 am
Music! Oh, man. I listen to a lot of different genres. I just recently discovered Glass Animals and I've been enjoying them. An all time favorite since high school is Modest Mouse. Timber Timbre is my other all time favorite. I also really like Patsy Cline, Dion, Weylon Jennings. Leon Bridges. Kendrick Lamar. Childish Gambino/Donald Glover. Alt-J's cover of House of the Rising Sun is incredible. I'm a big fan of unusual covers - like bands covering a song from a genre totally outside of their own. Bastille's cover of Scrubs, featuring Ella, is fantastic as well - it's intercut with sound clips from the original Pyscho, which sounds odd but it works. I spend a lot of time in between school work perusing YouTube for music. What kind do you listen to?

Thanks again for the welcome!
I like Modest Mouse's song Float On, though I've heard from some friends that they have many better songs than that, what would you recommend? What are some songs you're currently digging by Glass Animals? Also, I haven't discovered any rap or hip-hop yet that really interests me, but I would be open to checking out some artists there. I've heard from friends that Kendrick Lamar is really good, but I haven't asked which songs to check out first yet.

The genre that I'm the biggest into is metal, actually. But I also like a bit of folk, jazz, classical, and electronic music, and a sizable amount of various types of rock like punk, classic rock, alternative, and a bit of post-rock.

My favourite band during highschool was Blind Guardian. They're a more accessible band, you should try their songs "Another Stranger Me", and "Nightfall", as well as their cover of the song "To France" originally done by Mike Oldfield iirc.

Blind Guardian is kinda still my favourite, but I've also really been loving Amorphis over the past year. Some of their stuff is probably too extreme for you, but they have a fair amount of variety in their discography. You should try their song "Divinity" from the album Tuonela, as well as two new songs by them, "Wrong Direction", and "Amongst Stars". Those later two songs have some harsh vocals, but not much as most of it is sung melodically.

fables1991
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Post by fables1991 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 12:36 pm

I’ve used chickpea liquid for making vegan meringue before, so it makes sense that chickpeas/chickpea liquid could be used for substituting eggs in other bakes recipes – I’ll be experimenting with that, for sure. The tofu scramble sounds delicious, and I think that would do me for any egg cravings. The biggest thing was that my family has a lot of traditional recipes passed down from grandparents that involve eggs, and I would like to try and make vegan versions of these recipes if possible and take them to family get togethers, holidays, etc.
I was never much of a cheese person, I always found the taste and texture kind of off, and like you I’ve found that hummus has definitely satisfied any need in that department, as well as nutritional yeast (if I’m missing that kind of nutty, cheesy flavor). I love spicy food, so I will check out the harissa hummus 😊
All of the info on protein is excellent, thank you! Understanding what percentage of protein to fat to carbs is a good balance is something I am totally new too, and I thought my percentage of protein was drastically low, lol. It’s good to hear that it’s only a little low, and I could improve that pretty simply. I’ll give soy milk another go, we have quite a few brands available locally so hopefully one of them is decent. At worst, I can just leave my milk substitutes for smoothies, where I can obscure the taste better. I do think I probably don’t eat enough in a day – it’s hard to tell because I feel really full and satisfied after meals, but I’m also a slow eater, and I tend to feel full pretty quickly. Two cans of beans seem like a lot to me, lol, but I’m going to try a combination of beans/tofu/soy milk, and see how my protein does.
What you said about why my sister might be more antagonistic rings absolutely true, and I think it might be part of the problem with my other sister and my mum as well – they have all tried to reduce the amount of animal products in their diet before, but say that they feel healthier or it’s more affordable or whatnot consuming animal products. I’ve never tried to discuss veganism with them in the sense of “this is why I am vegan, this is why you should be vegan, too,” but I did inform them that I was vegan now – ever since then, they make comments like, “mmm, these cow juices,” when drinking milk, and stupid shit like that. I’m pretty sure this will die down eventually, and I just don’t respond to it. I’m hoping that several months down the road, when they see I’ve been successful with this, that they may reconsider, and we can talk about it maturely together.
Okay, back to the music. For Modest Mouse, I would recommend Bukowski and Night on the Sun – they’re my favorite songs hands down. They have a large discography, so I would see if you like those two, they give you a pretty good feel for their more recent stuff. Some of their first albums have a more experimental sounds (that’s the best I can describe it as, lol), and not everyone tends to like them. With Glass Animals, I would check out Life Itself and Youth.
Now, with rap, Kendrick Lamar is really, truly incredible. Listen to Cartoons and Cereal, absolutely. Then, find the version of a song called Untitled 1 that he performed on the Stephen Colbert show. That version of it in particular is just really good and the emotion he has while performing it live is awesome to watch. I admit I don’t listen to a lot of rap artists, I have some of Biggie and Tupac as well, but Kendrick is someone that I recommend to everyone.
I used to listen to a lot of metal when I was younger – I’ll definitely check out Blind Guardian and Amorphis. I still listen to a fair bit of Rage Against the Machine. For classic rock, I listen to Derek and the Dominos, Cream. Bob Dylan is an artist I heard SO much of growing up, that he’s just been adopted into my playlists. I got really into punk too for a bit when I was a young teenager, but unfortunately I don’t remember the band names!

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:46 pm

Dream Sphere wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 11:08 am
6% does seem a little low though, so eating more beans in different types of dishes could help you quite a lot. Lentils afaik have a similar amount of protein to beans per gram, so don't give up on them.
6% is malnutrition low. Even 10% is low, but should be seen as more of the minimum. 15% is pretty safe in terms of nutritional minimum (if you meet all of your amino acid needs), but in order to be satiated many people need closer to 20%.

A focus on lentils is good; they're rich in protein, and usually richer in minerals than some other beans. But all beans are good. :)

fables1991
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Post by fables1991 » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:04 pm

Hey brimstone, thanks for the info! I do generally feel satisfied after my meals, and I don't find myself getting hungry or light headed between meals - but would you say that 10% is not enough for my body to be healthy?

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brimstoneSalad
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:31 pm

fables1991 wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:04 pm
Hey brimstone, thanks for the info! I do generally feel satisfied after my meals, and I don't find myself getting hungry or light headed between meals - but would you say that 10% is not enough for my body to be healthy?
I don't think 10% is enough on a 2,000 calorie diet.

But here's where % can go wrong: if you're an athlete and you eat a 5,000 calorie diet because you burn 4,000 calories of carbs every day, then 10% is just fine.

The fewer calories you eat, the larger a % protein needs to be.

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