Questions about starting a vegan/vegeterian diet

Hi there,

After gaining a massive beer-gut due to unhealthy eating I have started experimenting with my diet in an attempt to improve my health and lose some weight. Some things I thought were good for me turned out to be bad for me and vice-versa. One of the things I have not yet tried is a vegan diet, mostly because I am not yet conviced that it is actually healthy, however I am willing to give it a try for a few weeks.

However I have a few questions before starting my experiment.

-Right now I am eating a fairly meat-heavy diet. Is it better to ease into eating a vegan diet (eat less meat everyday) or to just stop eating meat all at once?

-I have found great benefits in eating one big meal a day over several small ones. Using mostly animal-based foods I could easily get my daily required nutrients(calories/vitamins etc) in a single meal without eating a large volume of food. Seeing as plant-based foods are generally have fewer nutrient (per weight/volume); Is it still possible to eat only a single meal a day without stuffing yourself and getting all the nutrient you need?

-I do not tolerate grains of any kind (wheat,rice,corn) very well and right now animal products(mostly meat) makes up the bulk of my calories. Seeing as for mosty people these make of the bulk of their daily intake, but I cant tolerate them well. What would be good staple foods to get enought calories each day without having to eat huge quantities of food.

-Right now, where I live it is freezing and usually cloudy, so getting enought sunlight to get my vitamin d is not very practical. Would not getting any dietary vitamin d for a few weeks hurt my health?

-What are common side effects of changing from a diet low in plants to a diet high in plants? I ask this because I do not want to confuse the problems with transitioning from one diet to the next with actual problems with the diet.

-I have found that eating a diet high in meat increases my testosterone and thus an increase in muscle growth and sex drive. When excluding meat, should I be worried about losing my libido or muscle.

-Where would I get quality protein? I have read a few times that some people use soy, but I am very scared of eating soy in large quantities as I believe it is far from healthy.

John, I am new on this blog, but since I don’t see other replys I will give you my opinion. Yes, you should do a cleanse immediately and remove the animal products from your system. Drink a lot of water and eat just green veggies - raw or cooked - and fruit for 3 days to flush out the toxins. Like any addiction, this will require will power and may be uncomfortable. You may lose a few pounds during this cleanse, probably 5ish right out of your stomach area. Your digestive system will work much, much better and this will help you lose more weight and keep it off. Vegans are rarely obese.

After you have recalibrated your appetite, add beans and nuts (legumes) back for protein. Soy is not a problem, but GMO soy is a frankenfood, so be sure the soy products are organic. You can drink (organic) almond, rice, or hemp nut milks. Plant foods are far more nutrient than animals, especially when you consider the carcinogens in animals from pesticide residue, growth hormones, and antibiotics that make you resistant to medical treatment when you have an infection. Also, all that fat and cholesterol will clog your arteries over time resulting in heart disease. The acidic Ph in your body from heavy animal consumption sets you up for type 2 diabetes. So, if you are serious about your health, becoming vegan will change your outcome. You will even smell better as meat eaters emit more odor. Important that you get good at cooking fresh food because processed food, even animal free processed foods, are laden with fat and high fructose corn syrup and other sugars that will keep you fat. The high salt content will also cause you to retain water weight. Some veggie mock meats are better than others, so read the lables.

Take a multivitamin that includes B-12. Omega 3 from flax seed is good to supplement, too. You can find veg-caps in health food stores that have animal-free essential vitamins & minerals, including vitamin D. Don’t worry about testosterone and sex appeal. I am sure when you have lost the weight that you will feel better, look better, and be more physically active. As a vegan, you will be surprised at how much you can eat (except go easy on nuts, they are high in fat) and maintain a good healthy weight. Doctors marvel at the good numbers for weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar their vegan patients present. Other than accidents or infections, they rarely have to see them the way they see their chronic meat eating counterparts. Good luck.

Thanks for the reply,

start with only fruits and veggies, got it.

How is a vegan diet “cleansing”? It seems a vegan diet high in vegetables and fruits, thus high in fiber would be rather hard on your digestive system. Wouldn’t “not eating anything at all” be much more cleansing?

Since when has meat become addictive? I know certain foods high in sugar, like say chocolate cookies can be quite addicting, but have never heard that this. Do you have any research or article that can explain why this is true?

When I was talking about nutrient density I was mostly talking about calorie density (per calorie vegetables are not that bad, but they have very little calories). With about a kilogram of meat (muscle,fat and organs) I can easily get my daily calories and vitamins. My question was more if there were plant-based foods that have a similar density of calories/vitamins per weight/volume

You talk about carcinogens (I had to look that up on wikipedia, I had never heard of that word) in pesticides, but wouldnt that be an argument against eating plant-based foods as well as most vegetables,fruits and grains are produced quite pesticide intesivly?

You honestly believe cholesterol and saturated fat are bad for you? They are essential for human life, there is a reason your body can make its own fat and cholesterol; without it you would be dead. Look up the wikipedia article on cholesterol if you want to know the specifics. (although wikipedia isn’t 100% accurate either)

I absolutely agree on processed foods, they are horrible for your health. Delicious but gorrible.

Could you explain what exactly in meat causes bad odor. I know processed food can cause you to sweat more, but I don’t know what in meat can cause the same behaviour.

Personally I am very skeptical about supplements as many nutrients work much better when combinded and eaten alongside food. Also, more of a general question:

How can you call a diet “Healhty” if it requires supplements to make up for its lack of nutrients?

Sorry for nitpickign so much, but as I have learned most information about nutrition is horribly wrong and that the general opinion of what is healthy is very wrong. Especially on the internet, most information you find about nutrition tends to be blatanly untrue. I have just become very skeptical of new information that I cannot confirm easily.

To answer some of your questions from my learned opinion (been a veg for 8 years and have read extensively). You may want to do some research from qualified sources. I would suggest “Becoming Vegan” by Brenda Davis, R.D. & Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D. There are entire chapters on some of your questions.

The 3 day veg cleanse is what I do whenever I get too tubby. I usually have a fresh fruit juice & ice drink from a ninja blender in the a.m. Then for lunch I would have a steamed green vegetable in any amount that I needed to satisfy my hunger - no oils on it of any kind. Later in the day another piece of fruit or two. Drink water all day long. That is my limit on the amount of food I eat otherwise I will not lose. The cleanse “cleans” you out which helps to drop the weight. Eveyone is different. For me, after 3 days I can expect to be 5 lbs and 1 size smaller. If I over indulge after that, the weight comes back on.

I eat primarily organically grown and homegrown produce paying attention to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) annual list of the dirty dozen and clean 15. If you are aware of plants in general books or read such as “SuperFoods” by Steven Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Matthews about their particular favorite 14 foods - or the myriad of information about other amazing plant foods - you will realize that few, if any, animal sources are ever recommended. Wild Alaskan salmon is sometimes mentioned as is range free poultry, but never ever anything factory farmed! Anyone who lives on that tortured flesh is filling their bodies with cancer causing, heart disease, diabetic producing puke and is just a walking disease time bomb (sorry, but there is no “nice” way to say it). Your body produces its own cholesterol in the liver and does not need to consume excess amounts. If you are in doubt, have a blood test to see what your HDL, LDL, and ratio are. Include your tri-glycerines. This will give you an idea about what a meat based diet has done to your health - and it will only get worse over time.

Physically sugar is not said to be medically addictive, but we all know the taste can be. Red meat, with the high uric acid content, has a salty taste that some also crave. When you think of what that is - undigested urine in the tissues - it makes sense. We have all been erroneously inculcated to believe that we “need” the protein and iron from meat because the agri-slaughter industry has always depended on our cooperation in their profiteering. However, it is a fallacy. Plant proteins are superior without all the fat. Plus they provide the fiber to clean your digestive system of the toxins that build up and every conceivable vitamin you need. Meat clogs your system and does not provide the nutrients you need, thus you gain weight and still crave food since that type of diet is malnourished.

As for the rank smell of meat eaters you will have to get testimonials. In Asian countries Americans with their heavy meat diets are said to be “smelly.” I only notice it when people are sweaty. Horses and other sensitive animals can smell someone’s diet and many horse experts, like the “horse whisperer,” recommend not eating meat prior to working with horses because of trust issues. The smell emits through the pores. Google this if you want more info.

There are “mock” meats aka alternative meats made from TVP (texturized vegetable protein) in any supermarket anywhere. Veggie burgers - whatever brand you like, along with sausages, “fakin” (my term for tvp bacon), chick 'n product, etc. Also soy based yogurts, margarines, sour creams, cheeses, etc. Seitan has a texturized meat taste and can be used in place of beef in recipes. These are all calorie dense, so I wouldn’t use them until you have completed a cleanse and have more control over your appetite. They don’t have the grease of meat and so thy don’t have as many calories, but after you have lost some of the weight, they will help you to keep it off. Tofu is the best protein source, but you need to know what to do with it. It will take on the taste of any sauces and should be cooked. Again, good luck.

Quit cold turkey bud. That’s what I did.

I know people may say, there are side effects on becoming a vegan overnight or you can do it gradually. Bull! I did it overnight and never looked back. Quitting gradually makes you feel like a failure. It’s like dieting and binging on weekends.

What I can suggests though is: research as much as you can before you do it. I wouldn’t want you to starve!