NTMU and...question!

Introduce yourself to the vegan bootcamp community here and tell us a little about yourself and your journey!
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Stephen Paice
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 28, 2021 4:53 am
Stars: 190
Course: Honey
Courses Completed: 2/32

Hi Steve from Brisbane Australia here. I have been reducing my meat and dairy intake slowly for the last 12 months but having just watched Seaspiracy, Cowspiracy and The Game Changers back to back (phew!) I have decided to take the plunge and try to make sever ties permanently from my animal product past.

I will post for advice separately but I guess I wanted to just mention my biggest concern (which I think is stoked by the meat eating community indirectly) and that is how can I guarantee that I am getting the nutrition, minerals etc that I would have gotten before. I would hate to end up deficient in something due to this change while I'm a newbie! I would be really keen to know of a few simple meals (oh yeah my other pet hate is complicated meals that require me buy weird things that I will use once and then resign to the depths of the pantry!) that guarantee I get everythign I need per day or week to stay healthy. What are the pitfalls you've experienced and overcome to keep you on track?! More optimistically, I think paying closer attention to my diet will actually cause me to get more of everything I need as I more carefully make sure I am meeting my requirements, so that's a plus :).

Thanks and I am really excited to be in this bootcamp and grateful in advance for everyone's support. Have a super week! :eye-face-love:
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Valerie Shepard
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2021 5:17 pm
Course: Dominion

Hi, Stephen,

This Bootcamp site is certainly the place to get answers to these questions. As you said well, thinking that it is hard to get all micro and macro nutrients you need is a myth. Also, the "special" stuff you get from meat and dairy, like B12 and Vitamin D, are supplements given to the cows so you get them second hand. So at least in my personal experience, the only supplement I take is B12. And even then, not every day - plant-based alternatives to meat usually pack 100% of B12 in a serving (be it a burger or a sausage, for instance). Also, the brand of nutritional yeast that I use (and it's so delicious I sprinkle it on everything) is also reinforced with B12 and vitamin D. I don't take a supplement for iron. I am a trans woman, and I get blood work done every 3 months as part of the hormonal therapy. My iron levels are always checked, and they've always been in the healthy range. Same thing with red blood cells, etc. And one of the best things about the plant-based diet: the cholesterol level is on the floor. =)

But I digress - you wanted to know how to guarantee you will receive adequate nutrition. And the answers depends on the style of the food you eat. When I first went vegan, I went full junk food - all I did was to replace meat/dairy/eggs with their plant-based alternatives. If this is the case, you'll need to watch for things like sodium, or calories, but macro/micro-wise, you'll have to worry about nothing. Those things pack the same nutrients of the plant they're based of (pea, soy, lentils, etc), plus the reinforcements like B12 and Vitamin D. So it's as easy as that. It really is as if you were still eating animal products, minus the cruelty.

If you go to a whole-foods route, the trick is doing exactly the same as you would in a a balanced carnist diet: make sure you have a colorful plate, eat your leafy greens regularly, and ensure your beans, grains and legumes are varied - beans, lentils, quinoa, barley, etc will do the trick. No need for special recipes or anything of the sorts. It's really not that hard, to be honest. If you want a chunky umami-ish centre to your plate, I suggest you learn how to work with tofu, soy curls/chunks, and mushrooms. Some mushrooms will look and feel like beef, it's amazing. It's also good to get into the habit of planning your meals a day ahead, as soaking the grains/legumes for 24h allows you cook them in little time without a pressure cooker.

But in all honesty, that is it - you don't need to track micro nutrients, and even less so protein. Literally every plant has protein, and not a single vegan ever suffered a deficiency from it. Seriously, non-vegans make a huge fuss about this, but it's a myth. Eat literally any grains or legumes, and you don't need to worry about protein. If you'd like to have a very high protein intake for body building, there are resources on that life style. But long story short, there are plenty of vegan supplements that act like the whey and BCAA supplements carnists take to improve body building.

I honestly can't point to a pitfall that I or anyone I know has experienced, personally. Some people mention cravings in the first four to six weeks, but they go away as your body gets used to building its protein blocks (like taurine and carnitine) on its own. Some other people mention non-food related difficulties - like finding vegan friends, and realizing how disconnected and uncaring people that are otherwise good seem to be. Realizing the extent to which people go to keep abusing animals is appalling, and I'd say that's the biggest challenge, to be honest. To re-learn how to navigate the world of people who are good, and yet staunchly cling to wanting to abuse animals for sensory pleasure. And of course, seeing how much the meat industry pushes myths and lies, like the one that is hard to obtain protein and nutrients, or that regenerative grazing is good for the environment.

I hope this has helped! And if you wouldn't mind adding one documentary to your list, specially seen as you are in Australia, I highly recommend you watch Dominion. The ones you watched are amazing, but they touch on the issue of health and environment more than anything. If you want to look the devil in the eye, Dominion is the one to watch. The atrocities you will see on Dominion is what motivates us, animal rights activists, to do something about it.

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