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Follow healthy eating guidelines with these easy and light recipes. They are all heart healthy and fast to make!

guacamole

How do I go from vegetarian to vegan?

Becoming vegan

Becoming vegan

Question: I have been vegetarian for a few years and finally want to take the plunge into vegan, but I have a few questions:

1) Is it difficult to cut out dairy produce? I love ice cream and chocolate, and I am not sure how to live without cheese.
2) Does becoming vegan change your weight a lot?
3) Does it make day to day life harder to be vegan? What do you eat in restaurants?
4) What are the health benefits versus vegetarian?

Answer from Belsandia:
I had the same challenge as you. After 5 years as vegetarian I finally turned vegan last year. It is a good idea to prep yourself with information, resources, and your "elevator pitch" in case people ask you why, but that's really all you need to do. Once you are in the swing of things you will notice the positive differences in your life, and you'll probably be very proud that you took the plunge.

1. Being from Germany, I thought I could never live without cheese, and that was truly the most difficult part to give up. Luckily there are very delicious vegan cheese choices nowadays, so you don't have to forgo it altogether:

*if you love ice cream, try "Purely Decadent" or "So Delicious" from Turtle Mountain. A great hemp-based ice cream comes from Tempt.
*for chocolate, look for the dark varieties that don't have milk. They are just as good!
*for anything cheesy that needs to be baked, creamy, or melted, try Daiya cheese.
*to replace parmesan cheese for pasta and rice dishes, you can try nutritional yeast, which has a nice nutty flavor, or try Rawmesan – outstanding raw cheese replacement for pasta and more.
*for cheese sandwiches, look for anything that says vegan (beware of those called "dairy-free", as they usually still contain casein).

2. Going vegan won't necessarily affect your weight if you already eat

mainly healthy, fresh veg food.
However, if you were heavily into cheese, buttery sweets, and "junk veg food", you may notice weight loss as you no longer get that much fat in a vegan diet. Most saturated fat in a vegan diet comes from nuts, seeds, avocados, and coconuts. If you focus on a balanced, varied diet of fresh, unprocessed foods that have complex carbs and high nutrient counts, you can basically eat as much as you want and won't gain weight. Here is an idea of foods that have a high ANDI score, which stands for Aggregate Nutritional Density Index.

3. Being vegan is totally simple if you like preparing your own food. It is a bit more challenging when you go out to dine, but honestly it's just a matter of telling the chef what they can make for you. We often go to restaurants and even if there is not one item on the menu, we usually ask the chef what vegetables and grains they have in the kitchen, and then suggest how they can adjust the dish without animal products. In 99% of the cases this works really well! We even go to steakhouses with friends and indulge into a great array of side dishes!

4.The health benefits of a vegan diet are plentiful:

*you have a 50% lower chance for heart disease
*your cancer risk decreases by at least 40% for some cancers like breast, colon, prostate, ovarian.
*your cholesterol level would be practically below 150, and at such level there is no known heart attack case to date.
*your chances to attract adult-onset diabetes are close to none. *you will probably never have to worry about obesity.
*your risk for osteoporosis will minimize.
*your blood circulation will be better, your blood pressure lower, and your metabolism faster.

And these are just some of the benefits! Take a look at further explanations here.

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