Saturday, September 10, 2011

Admit it -- you're intrigued

Skipping products that are made of (or came from) an animal. You hear about the benefits. You've heard people talk about the movie Forks over Knives. **  You're a little shocked that Bill Clinton is vegan. As soon as someone mentions what the animals go through in the meat/dairy/egg industries, you feel awful and try to focus on something else as it's just too painful to contemplate. You suspect there's a lot of good in this kind of lifestyle. But man -- it just seems so extreme! And what about eating out? How would you even explain this to your family and friends? What about Thanksgiving and other special holidays? Wouldn't it ruin everything? Can you possibly give up bacon? Or cheese?

The Making of Forks Over Knives

Here's my advice. Just try it for thirty days. That's it. Then, if it's too hard or if it's not working for you, you can go back. 30 days goes by so fast. (You know it's true. Doesn't it always feel like you just paid your mortgage or rent and then it's suddenly due again?)

In the end, it is just about changing habits. Initially it feels odd to be doing something different. And it can even feel a little scary, deviating from what people describe as "the norm." But studies show it takes about three weeks to change a habit. Add a few days on there for good measure, and you're on your way.

When I started out last April, I was determined to change my habits but was admittedly very nervous about how people would perceive me. (I always like to think others' opinions of me don't matter. But dang it, sometimes they just do!) After my first month, I noticed a big difference in my energy level. I didn't get my weird 3 pm I-need-sugar-and-salt attacks. I didn't feel "stuffed" after eating. (I didn't feel deprived and hungry at all, just perfectly satiated.) And I thought, "You're kidding me. I would have done this ages ago if I'd known how easy it was!"

I wish wish wish I'd had the book The 30-Day Vegan Challenge when I'd started out. The author (whom I've mentioned enough times to probably annoy you) touches on everything you would want to know. I even left a review for the book on amazon:

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars I've never used this hackneyed phrase before, but this book is worth its weight in gold. More than gold, actually., August 25, 2011
This review is from: The 30-Day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately (Paperback)
If you asked me 6 months ago if I'd ever go vegan, I'd have told you that you were off your rocker. Give up meat? Maybe. Give up butter, eggs, cheese, and cream? Nope. No way.

Long story short, five months ago I watched a video showing what animals went through in the meat, dairy, and egg industries. My world changed instantly and I knew I'd never touch another animal product again. So I was left to fumble about a bit on my own and gradually educate myself on how to do this healthfully and sanely, all while hearing dire warnings from well-meaning family and friends. Luckily, I discovered this author's podcast pretty early on in the process (Vegetarian Food for Thought at, so that helped me enormously. (She has, however, ruined other podcasts for me, as hers are so good.) I have never been happier. That sounds trite, but I could not put it any simpler. I am a very happy person now. (And much much healthier!) But I really wished I had had this book five months ago. How lucky are you, soon-to-be-reader?

It is amazing on many counts, but I'll narrow it to four:

1) The chapters in this book hit all the points a person in transition would ask or be asked. All the nutritional aspects are covered. Types of products are covered. Tips on making cooking easier, quicker, and more enjoyable are covered. But just as important, the social aspects are covered. In fact, the advice about social situations may be one of the ways this book is most helpful. It's hard to put into words, but she has a way of explaining things that makes you really understand where your concerned loved ones are coming from. Her words can help you toe the fine line between speaking your truth and being compassionate to all people in a very non-kumbayah-way; no drumming circles or tie-dye necessary. :) I've benefited from following her advice -- my family and friends have relaxed and are even trying my (her) recipes. Which is a good segue to point number 2.

2) The recipes are incredible. My husband, a former big animal-meat-eater is addicted to the Better-than-Tuna salad. And they're very do-able. The ingredients can be found in any supermarket. I've never had to scurry to find that elusive (and expensive) ingredient that I'll never use again. (We've all been there, right?)

3) The whole tone is very non-judgmental. You never feel bullied or guilted into making these changes. I got quite excited, in fact, to change. Moreover, I know that I (one little person on this vast planet) am making a remarkable difference in the world. I see it every day.

4) It's extremely organized, gorgeous, and easy to use. No fluff here. This book is such a bargain for what you are getting. I actually feel a little guilty -- like I should have paid much more.

So that's it in a nutshell. If you aren't sure if going vegan is for you, look at it this way: It's just 30 days. And you're paying the same price you'd pay for one month at a really cheap gym.

Go for it. You will be amazed. 

So there it is! I'd be curious to hear from some of you. If you are vegan or vegetarian, what was your transition like? If you are neither, what kinds of things are holding you back?

** Forks over Knives is getting MAJOR buzz...Ryan heard a bunch of non-vegan folk at work discussing it just this week. We watched it the other night on Instant View with our Netflix and it was incredible. No gore -- just incredible medical proof from respected scientists that animal protein is wreaking havoc on our bodies. In fact, we'd ordered the DVD on Netflix and, even though it was #1 on our queue for weeks, it kept not showing up in our mailbox. Confused and a little annoyed, I looked at our queue and saw some notes in red next to the title that said "Very long wait." I've never had that happen before with Netflix. Maybe that's why they put it on Instant View?   


  1. Hi SSW!
    You asked how I made my bookplates... I did a drawing on regular paper (first with pencil, then with colored pencils, then ink on top). Then I scanned it in to our computer with our printer/scanner. I have a relatively-low cost graphics software (PhotoStudio by ArcSoft). So I imported the image into ArcSoft, and cleaned it up a little, and saved it as a jpeg. (You could easily skip this entire step - and go straight from scanning it to saving it as a jpeg... as long as there weren't any elements you wanted to clean up or manipulate). Then I pasted the image over and over into a Word document. I could fit 8 on one page. Then I printed it out on "best" quality onto large sheets of sticker paper (usually called "label paper" at the office supply store). Is that helpful?? It's so fun!

  2. Fantastic! Thanks, Amey! Colored pencils are such fun to work with, aren't they? Lately I've been doing tiny watercolor and ink pictures. Low pressure and fast sense of accomplishment. :)

  3. Joe and I saw CNN's "The Last Heart Attack" a few weeks ago and were intrigued. I bought two of Patrick-Goudreau's books (thank you for the suggestions) and started reading. Last night we watched "Forks Over Knives" and loved it.

    Joe went vegetarian recently (and has committed for 1 year) -- this will likely be an easy transition for him, since I've been veggie for years. I'm seriously considering going vegan. Am going to start incorporating 3 vegan dinner meals into each week and we'll see where we land. I'm very compelled by the data and health benefits. We'll see how our 'conversion' goes.

  4. Yea--The Last Heart Attack was pretty interesting, wasn't it? I'm excited to see all the vegan things you do on your post. Everything you do is so friggin' lovely. :)

    I found her tricks for getting the water out of tofu (freezing it! who knew?) and steaming tempeh invaluable.