Staying vegan

If you have not time to read my long-winded essay below, just view the slides here. For ways to tackle improper nutrition, I will post information on that later on after I have complete my END method.

You have chosen a vegan diet and found yourself getting off the track. What could be done?

Basic help
If you:
1) don't know how to cook vegan...
2) want to find out how to plan vegan meals...
3) need more advice about the vegan diet...
4) need a list of nutrients and what foods contain them...
Go to this page Vegan Resources. If you are in Singapore, you can also sign up for the vegetarian society's newsletter which contains loads of information and outings which allow you to meet veg friends.

If you need help in finding vegan food and supplies in your area, you may want to join a vegetarian meetup, or visit the happy cow website for restaurant list. If you are in Singapore, you can join the Singapore vegetarian meetup or visit the Singapore vegetarian society's website for a list of veg outlets in Singapore.

Every vegan must do their own research on a vegan lifestyle if they want to remain a vegan for a long time. Make time for it, we all have time, only a dead person has no time.

If the above is not what's bothering you to quit veganism, you can see the below topics for more information.

Do a recap on the reasons which prompt you to become a vegan
Re-affirm your resolve on a vegan diet. Tell yourself the reasons why you choose the vegan diet in the first place. If "compassion for animals" is your main reason, it is very good because it is a strong reason. It is easier for us to "sacrifice" what we want to eat for others than for ourselves. Going vegan for the environment is also ok, as it is also done for the sake of "others" - the world and it's inhabitants. Going vegan for health reasons or for a leaner psyche are some of the weakest reasons, because we are doing it for ourselves.

When you are first starting out, you may have to keep doing these recaps or read up and watch documentaries on veganism and related ones such as starving people, animal rights, wastefulness and environmental destruction, etc.

Cravings and what to do with them
Cravings come to almost every vegan, including myself. The first thing you should do when there is a craving is to be extremely patient with it. It will soon come to pass. If you went vegan for the animals, it will help in contemplating about their suffering before they ended up there. View the dead bodies as once alive animals instead of something that is edible. The craving will then subside. But maybe an hour later it comes again, wait, and it will pass. Repeat whenever necessary. Don't jump in and bite into that steak or anything like that once you've got a few episodes of craving, if you do that, you are at a high risk of giving up veganism for good.

If your mind starts telling you: "If I crave it, it means my body needs it." Remind yourself, this mind talk is pure nonsense. It's just an excuse to eat dairy or meat. There may be some truth if our bodies are deficient in nutrients like a starving African kid. But otherwise, this is highly unlikely if you are eating a balanced vegan diet. I can crave vegan french fries or soft drinks every other day. Does it mean I need those fats or sugar? If I crave cigarettes after I had quit them for some years does it mean my body needs it? This is simply nonsense. Don't listen to these lies in your head. Putting less emphasis on food, flavours and "whether I am getting enough nutrition" can also help in this situation.

You may want to visit this page for detail methods on how to deal with cravings.

If your health deteriorates...You feel weak and sickly and suspect you have a nutritional deficiency
If you are a vegan and you tell people you have some health problems, one thing that may happen is that the discussion will move to the "possibility of your vegan diet giving you these problems". This concept that a vegan diet is never ideal and health problems are likely caused by it is so deeply ingrained in our society that even vegans can began to suspect their diet whenever some health issues pop up.

The first thing that can be done is to accept the fact that vegans are only human, not immortals. We too can fall sick and die. Not everyone can live a life without ever falling sick. Even if you are so lucky, you still can't escape death. The next thing you can do is to find out what is wrong or what caused the problem. It can be done by visiting the doctor, checkups, tests. Finally, based on the knowledge gain from the visit, you can try looking into your lifestyle to see if there is anything you can tweak.

If you feel weak and sickly often and do not have some major underlying illness, you exercise adequately, and other aspects of your life seems to be fine, then you can look into your diet and nutritional aspects on a vegan diet.

First, you can do a quick check on whether you are getting your minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids etc. You can use the two lists in this link which is provided by Singapore Vegetarian Society, and introduce foods that you are not taking for any nutrient group.

Thereafter, if you are taking food from all the groups, you still bad, you may want to do a research on whether you are getting adequate amounts of them, and opt for food dense in nutrients, drop off foods that makes you full without much nutrition.

Finally, it may be the way you process the food by consuming it that make you feel bad. For example, if you are on a 100% raw diet, juice often and eat a lot of fruits, you are likely to get bloating or belching after meals and such. This case, you have to get off raw foods for the moment and drink warm drinks and take warming foods. You may have to also visit a TCM doctor to tweak your body back if it gets bad enough. If you are eating too much refine foods like white sugar, you may feel low as well, and you need to eliminate this in your diet. Or perhaps you like to eat lots of black or white pepper, chilli, deep fried oily stuff, and mock meats and find you start to get bloating pains after meals, these should all be omitted. Eating and drinking cold food and drinks (even plain water) can hurt our bodies a lot, so do try to eliminate this habit if you have one. It's a lot a experimenting and tweaking to do, and because everyone's constitution is different, only you can work it out yourself. Listen to your body ad tweak your diet here and there when necessary (but not to include meat / dairy).

Social situations
Whatever happens, be patient and keep the peace. If you have no problems with all the above, then there may be one that may bug you - family and friends. They may purposely taunt you, just smile and be patient with it, it will soon pass. Explain about veganism if the situation is right. Don't preach veganism everywhere you go for it can turn people off. Be patient if you get insulted and leave them to their own views. Everyone thinks differently, not everyone can accept our views.

If you have to go on an outing, you can bring your own food. You can also settle your meal elsewhere and join them later. Or you can ask them to do lunch with you at a veg place. Remember that it can be inconvenient sometimes, but the small inconvenience is worth it for a better Earth.
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