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  • Vegan Lifestyle | Transitioning From Vegetarian to Vegan

    by Kenna Smoot on May 17, 2014

    Vegetarian-to-veganWhen I started my plant based lifestyle, I started out vegetarian. I am a picky eater and I really wanted this to be a lifestyle change, not just some fad diet. Going vegetarian gave me a way to ease into it. I gave myself one year to figure out how to adopt more of a vegan lifestyle. When I went vegetarian I started eating dairy more than ever before.I found instead of food with meat, I was just adding cheese. I had gained about 5 pounds in a couple months, I had acne like I was 14 years old again and I felt bloated all day. I knew I had to be fully vegan since I wasn’t mastering the vegetarian diet.

    Often people ask me why vegan is better then vegetarian, how animals are treated in dairy and egg farms and why vegetarians should transition. I don’t like telling people what to do, but I do love to give them information and tools to decide what is best for them. If you are vegetarian, good for you! You’re helping animals and the environment and we applaud your efforts. I hope we can help further your journey into the lifestyle of plant based foods.

    Vegetarian vs. Vegan

    Being vegan has many other health benefits than just being vegetarian. Vegetarians are still consuming cholesterol through eggs and dairy. Whereas vegans do not. Our bodies make the exact amount of cholesterol that we need. Anything else that we add to it, affects our body negatively. (source) Vegans also consume very low levels of saturated and trans fats. All animal products are very high in saturated fats and even dairy has trans fat that naturally occurs. High levels of saturated fats contribute to heart disease which is one of the top 5 killers in America right now. These fats have also been linked with gall stones, some cancers, kidney disease and possibly Type 2 diabetes. (source) Dairy actually inhibits iron absorption so people who eat a lot of dairy can actually have lower levels of iron than those who do not. (source)

    Vegan foods are typically devoid of unhealthy fats or at the very least extremely low in unhealthy fats. Which helps vegans maintain a healthy weight. Plant foods are also generally low in calories compared to animal foods and plant based foods are high in fiber which maintains a healthy digestive system and reduces risk for colon cancer. (source)

    Vegans also absorb more calcium. Leafy greens have lots of calcium and it’s easier to absorb. Dairy actually extracts more calcium from your bones than it puts in. This is due to naturally occurring sulfur in the milk. It also causes acne, contributes to colon cancer, asthma, breast cancer and many other health conditions. (source)

    Eggs can play a pivotal role in some female reproductive diseases including fibroid tumors, uterine cysts, breast cancer and tumors, and menstrual irregularities. Also, since these chicken eggs are sterilized or infertile, they are in fact impairing their own sexual fertility and potency. Eating eggs can certainly change or alter your bio-chemical, genetic, and molecular makeup and make you susceptible to a host of diseases and pathologies.The sterilization process of commercial eggs is used to prevent the eggs from decaying but it creates health risks for women who consume the sterilized eggs. Everything you eat whether its negative or positive, natural or unnatural, effects your entire being. Also implicating prostate woes, egg consumption can not make a man more sexually potent. (source)

    Plus many more health benefits, I could write about health benefits all day!

    Animal Life on Dairy and Egg Farms

    A lot of vegetarians think they’re preventing animal cruelty by not eating meat and they assume that dairy farms are just farmer’s milking cows and releasing them of pain in their udders. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Dairy cows live in stalls that they can’t even turn around in. They are constantly impregnated to keep producing milk and eventually their body collapses and they’re sent to slaughter. A usual cow will give birth to 1-2 calves in her life. Thanks to the dairy industry, a cow will give birth 7-8 times. Right after she gives birth, they rip the calf away from her and put the males into a veal crate and the females go into a pen to be raised as a dairy cow. Cows are mammals like humans and they also form very strong bonds with their babies. Many dairy farm workers say that they’ll forever be haunted by the bellowing of a mother grieving over the loss of her baby. In the wild, a calf will be by their mother constantly and their mothers are very affectionate and protective. Veal calves often cry out so much their throats are raw. They’re thrown into a crate that they can’t turn around in, stand up and fed a low iron diet so that the meat is soft and tender. By Day 30, they’re sent to slaughter, if they lived that long. (source)

    The mothers are milked by machines that are very rough, they often bleed and have pus come out of their udders and into the milk. In addition to blood and pus, dairy also carries tons of antibiotics to reduce infection in the cow’s udders. (source)

    The egg industry is no better. Chickens sent to lay eggs have their beaks seared off without anesthesia so they don’t kill other chickens in their pens. They are in wire crates stacked high, so the chickens above them poop on them and the ammonia burns their eyes and causes lesions on their bodies. They never see the light of day. Male chicks are useless to the egg industry so they’re thrown in garbage bags alive left to suffocate or thrown into macerators where they are chopped up alive. (source)

    Even cage free chickens have their beaks chopped off and live in their own filth, they’re packed so tightly in these barns they are on top of each other. It’s a breeding ground for disease and germs.

    How To Transition

    If you’ve decided to transition, a lot of people struggle with, how? It does seem as if dairy is in everything, but I promise you it is not. For me, I just decided no more, it was cruel and it was affecting my body negatively so I decided enough was enough. I bake with Ener-G Egg Replacer, I do tofu scrambles, bananas and applesauce are also good egg replacers for baked goods. For dairy I stick with almond milk, but there are so many milk alternatives out there and they’re all delightful! I use Tofutti American cheese slices on my grilled cheese sandwiches, there are tons of vegan cream cheeses, sour cream, craft cheese alternatives (Daiya makes a delicious havarti jalapeno cheese alternative), Tofurky makes vegan frozen pizzas. The list goes on, it’s easy to make any of your favorite dishes, vegan. If you’re traveling, read my last blog post on how to eat Vegan on The Go.

    Good luck with your journey. If you made the transition, what was the best advice you received?

    About Kenna Smoot

    Meat Meets Vegan Blogger, Model, Mom & Startup Wife Kenna is a 10 year vegan veteran, mother to little vegan gentlemen, and wife of a successful startup entrepreneur. When she was 9 her grandfather moved into her family's home with stage 4 cancer and 6 months to live. After starting an organic diet he added 2 extra years to his life. Still, the pain from watching him suffer caused her to vow to do her part to protect her family from cancer. In her late teens she began researching nutrition and on her quest she found the benefits of a vegan diet; and has never looked back. She now has her own blog where she turns Pinterest's top recipes into vegan delights with instructions showing you how to do it. Check it out at www.meatmeetsvegan.com She is also a model in Los Angeles under the alias "Kenna Cade". Her modeling has landed her in Axe body spray commercials, featured in Mademoiselle magazine, the face of a Swedish beauty company, spokesmodel for countless skin care companies, luxury events and is now the image used for the heroine in a new comic book series coming out next year.

  • { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    Frankie May 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    It’s over 28 years since I did the switch from veggo to vegan and I remember it wasn’t east as I had no knowledge of nutrition. It started because I was always underweight and at 18 I decided to do something about it so I went off to a dietician. Having been. Vegetarian of my own choice since the age of 10 the dietician asked me what I ate. When I wrote it down I knew enough to know that my diet was shocking!!! The dietician said that it was ok but I knew that the amount of cheese I was eating was way too much. Now I used to crave cheese and the next part of my diet became difficult as I had to completely change my mindset about food. It took me a year to wean myself off dairy… I turned to Asia for my answers and discovered lentils, tofu etc. never looked back and have been vegan now for over 28 years!!! Occasional B12 injections and that’s all!!

    Reply

    Lisa May 17, 2014 at 11:51 pm

    I’ve never really made rules for myself for eating however do follow the guidance of my body. This past hear I have transitioned from veg to RAW vegan. Wow, no words to describe this. Once in a while I will consume a bit of cooked food, I can tell the difference almost immediately. The raw vegan feels so nourishing. I will be 54 years young this year and feel better than I have ever felt in my life. I am going to give credit to falling in love with and becoming a raw vegan foodie. Juicing is my game….hehehe <3

    Reply

    Heather May 20, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you for this post. I just transitioned to a plant-based diet back in February and almost got sucked into vegetarianism because it is so much easier but not easier on your body. I just recently wrote a post on my blog about my journey to plant-based. Look forward to checking out your blog more.

    Reply

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