GUEST BLOGGER- JL GOES VEGAN!

Happy Monday folks!

Today I'm thrilled to post JL's vegan experience!  As you will remember, I posted the link to the guest blog I did for JL last week!  I am so happy for you all to get to know her better as she is very inspiring. I could go on and on, but I'll let JL take it from here! Check her out!

JL

Founder/Writer, JL goes Vegan: Food & Fitness with a side of Kale
Founder/Editor/Writer, Stop Chasing Skinny: Find Happiness Beyond the Scale

Nearly ten years years ago I quit eating meat. Almost. I was in Kenya for work. We were in a small village in the Rift Valley. There was a celebration held for an auspicious occasion and my colleagues and I were guests of honor. Early in the day an elder from the community brought a goat to the site of the celebration – a true demonstration of generosity. The goat was presented and subsequently killed and boiled. That evening, we were offered the goat for dinner. To refuse it would have been an affront (or so I told myself?) Essentially I met a goat, shook his hand then ate him. I became a vegetarian.

Nearly two years ago I decided to eliminate all animal-based foods from my diet. I went vegan. It was one of the easiest transitions I have ever made.

A few things I have learned along the way…

Don’t worry about the protein What? Why would I say such a thing? Because the most annoying question a new vegan gets is “But where do you get your protein?” This perpetuates the myth that the only way to get protein is from animal products (flesh, egg and milk). This is simply not true. There are a huge variety of plant-based proteins, from beans/legumes, to fruit and grains to leafy greens. I’m not suggesting that you be irresponsible – in fact, I encourage a nutrient dense vegan diet – I’m simply saying don’t let people influence you with misinformation.

Do think about getting B12, Vitamin D and Calcium I’m not an expert, so I’m going to direct you to this article on B12, this one on Vitamin D and this one on Calcium.
When I decided to go vegan I did my research and met with a nutrition counsellor. I wanted to be a healthy vegan. I make sure to eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods and believe that I get a great deal of necessary vitamins and minerals directly from my food. I do, however, take supplements for insurance. I take a daily Vitamin D/Calcium/Magnesium supplement and once a week I take one 3,000mg B12 lozenge. I have had my blood tested twice in the past year and my Vitamin D and B12 levels are excellent.

Do stock the pantry The best way to get started is to stock up on vegan essentials. You’ll want lots of beans, greens, grains, fruits, veggies, condiments, spices and herbs to start creating delicious, healthy, nutritious meals. Most (good) vegan cookbooks begin with a “pantry list” to get started. Don’t feel like you have to buy everything; start slow by adding a few things to your grocery list each week. One strategy is to pick a few recipes you want to try each week, pick up the “new” ingredients required, and you’ll slowly build up your pantry. You’ll also discover new things, such as fortified nutritional yeast (a great source of B12!) and Bragg Liquid Aminos, both of which I now use all the time. A year ago I had never heard of either!

Do read I started by reading food blogs. I may have gained a few pounds just from looking at gorgeous pictures of vegan meals on blogs. Almost any new food or recipe I tried came from a blog. I never would have dreamed that I would bake kale chips or sprout beans. I read these food blogs faithfully. I highly recommend JL goes Vegan: Food & Fitness with a side of Kale. (Come on, you saw that one coming, didn’t you?) I have collected a good number of vegan and vegetarian cookbooks that not only provide me great recipes but also great facts and information on a healthy vegan diet.

Do Relax It is pretty easy to get uptight about all of this. Am I doing it right? Am I really a vegan if…? This is a process, trust me. Figure out what this whole “going vegan” thing means to you…is it about the food? Is it about the animals? Is it both? Oh, and guess what? You might change your mind over and over. Don’t get hung up on labels. Do be true to yourself and do the best you can. Ask questions. Do research. Enjoy the journey.

BIO: Post-40 JL Fields became a marathoner and triathlete, changed careers and transitioned from vegetarian to vegan. She now blogs about vegan cooking (and wine!) and fitness at JL goes Vegan: Food & Fitness with a Side of Kale and is the editor of Stop Chasing Skinny: Find Happiness Beyond the Scale. JL is a fundraiser for a community college and teaches nonprofit management at a local university. She holds a B.A. and M.S. and is currently enrolled in an advanced graduate program on Adult Learning.

Comments

  1. Awesome tips! I think you accurately covered all the bases!! If I had to add a tip, I'd say "Don't be afraid to ask for what you want in a restaurant."

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  2. Hi Bianca!

    I agree! JL covered all bases and I like your tip as well!

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  3. It was great reading this JL! As a vegetarian on the way to veganism, this was very educational :)

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  4. Bianca, Yes! Great tip!

    Veggieecoife: good luck on the transition. You can do it!

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  5. I second JL veggieecolife! Don't hesitate to ask if you need any extra tips!

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