Going From Vegetarian to Vegan

From Vegetarian to Vegan

Vegetarianism has become mainstream. I can’t recall visiting a restaurant in the United States in the last decade that didn’t offer something for vegetarians. On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty that didn’t have a single vegan option.

In terms of diet, the difference between vegetarians and vegans is that vegetarians don’t eat animal flesh, while still consuming dairy products. Vegans don’t eat any animal products including milk, cheese and eggs.

But when you think about it, going vegetarian is like 85% of the way to vegan. You’ve already given up eating meat. All you need to do is eliminate the other animal-derived ingredients.

So why is it so hard?

Dairy is addictive.

When casein, the milk protein found in cheese breaks down, it releases opiates called casomorphins. Attaching to the opiate receptors in your brain, these mind-altering chemicals not only cause your body to actually crave cheese, but also experience withdrawal from it. This is a big reason why so many people say that cheese is the only thing that keeps them from going vegan.

If you’re looking to make the transition from vegetarian to vegan, and you’re having a hard time giving up dairy products, there are ways to handle it.

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Benefits of Going Vegan: Part 3 – Your Ecological Footprint

benefits of going vegan ecological footprintI grew up with this idea that if we take only what we need from the earth’s resources and treat the planet with care, it will continue to provide us with everything we need. As long-term tenants of the planet, we could peacefully coexist in this harmonious system of give-and-take.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

More recently, however, I realized that civilization doesn’t always play by these rules. Short-term thinking often supercedes long-term sustainability. Destructive practices violate the earth, undermining the unspoken symbiotic arrangement I thought we had all agreed to.

It seems that humankind is doing more taking than giving these days, and the earth needs our help.

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the benefits of a vegan diet to your health and vitality. In Part 2, we covered your moral and spiritual self. Here, we discuss how going vegan can minimize our ecological footprint.

Now, I know it’s easy to think that one person can’t really make a difference in the environment. But by adopting a vegan diet, you actually CAN help reduce stress on our ecological systems.

In just the last 3 years, the number of vegans has more than doubled to over 7 million people in the United States alone. Here’s how ALL of the earth’s citizens stand to benefit as more people eliminate (or simply reduce) the amount of animal products from their diets, and practice more conscious eating.

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Benefits of Going Vegan: Part 2 – Your Inner Life

benefits of going vegan part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the benefits of a vegan diet in terms of your personal health and vitality. We saw how the food you put in your body contributes to your overall well-being, helps protect you against disease as well as other … [Continue reading]

Benefits of Going Vegan: Part 1 – Your Health

Benefits of Going Vegan Part 1

Based on my own vegan journey, and from talking to many newbie and long-time vegans, I’ve found there are many roads to a vegan lifestyle. The journey will differ from one person to the next, but we encounter many of the same questions, milestones … [Continue reading]

Easy Mushroom Gravy for Everyday

Easy Mushroom Gravy

I always associate gravy with down-home comfort food. But if you thought a rich, brown gravy had to contain animal products, do I have a surprise for you! Simply with vegetables, herbs and vegetable stock, you can quickly assemble a thick, savory … [Continue reading]

What To Do When Omnivores Come To Dinner

What To Do When Omnivores Come To Dinner

Imagine you're following a plant-based diet, and you've invited omnivore friends and family over for a meal. You've let them know that you'll be preparing AMAZING vegan recipes that are filling and packed with flavor. And yet, you have a … [Continue reading]

Warm Dandelion Greens Salad with Pears & Raspberries

warm dandelion greens salad

Dandelion greens have been used both for food and medicine since ancient times. You may recognize the jagged leaf edges from hard-fought battles with your lawn. But it's the culinary variety, with its longer, flatter leaves that's used in this … [Continue reading]

Step Outside Your Food Comfort Zone

step outside your food comfort zone

A comfort zone is a safe space that you create for yourself. All of us have one, but some people’s comfort zones are more expansive and flexible than others'. All the time, we’re pushing the limits of our comfort zones. You make that awkward phone … [Continue reading]