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Vegan-Vegan friendly MNetters- the new thread-sign in here!

(744 Posts)
anyabanya Tue 15-Jun-10 10:02:06

Hi Vegan and vegan-friendly MNetters!

Just wanted to know if anyone was out there and wanted to form a support thread- to talk about food/ veganism, 'stuff' in general.

I am late 30s, have been an on and off vegan for about 6 years, and after a hiatus of about 9 months or so am back 'on'. I adore cooking with a passion, and love reading food blogs and vegan food blogs.

I would very much like to exchange thoughts/tips/frustrations with anyone else out there!

CakeandRoses Wed 16-Jun-10 10:30:41

Great thread - thank you for starting it smile

I'm 38, a vegan of 13 years and a life-long veggie before that. My DH isn't veg*n but eats primarily veg*n at home (as I do nearly all the cooking and have never cooked meat!). We've got a toddler DS who we're raising as a vegan and I'm heavily pregnant with DC2.

I breast-fed DS1 until 14 months when I stopped because my nipples were on fire I was feeling a bit sensitive as I was pg with DC2!

I've always looked and felt very healthy and haven't had much criticism about being vegan - these days I mostly get admiration, it's amazing how the perception of veganism has changed in the past decade.

I was expecting some negativity about raising DS as vegan, especially from the medical profession, health visitors etc however I've generally had support and good advice. He's developing very well, has hit all milestones so far early/on time, is full of energy and looks the picture of health.

My only concern has always been that he's on the small side however he's actually stayed on the same centile since birth (which is what the medics say is important) and my DH and I were both v small as children (not now though, weirdly!) so as he's showing every other indicator of health, I try not to obsess over it too much. I also know it's common for vegan children to start out smaller than average but then catch up from 2 onwards - which its starting to look like DS is going to do.

I know a fair bit about nutrition anyway but I'm super-cautious with DS's diet and health. I give him (bio-care) vitamin powder to be on the safe-side although its probably unnecessary.

We did baby-led weaning with DS and its worked out great. He nows eats very well and has a far more sophisticated palate than DH! Current faves are Pizza Express's garlic dough balls and pizza; Mild veggie curries at our local Indian restaurant, oh and black olives!

Re: nutritional yeast, I use it a fair amount, great in macaroni 'cheese'. I get it from my local independent health food shop. If you have one near you they should be able to order it in as it's a well known make (Marigold) that also make a widely available bouillon.

Looking forward to sharing tips, recipes etc.

CakeandRoses Wed 16-Jun-10 10:43:40

Oh and re nursery: DS1 attends a local nursery for 2 days a week and they've been super at catering for him.

They buy in soya milk, spread and yoghurts as well as vegan pies, mince, sausages etc. His current key worker has been really enthusiastic about shopping for him and has been going out on missions to find new treats for him (he's being far more spoilt there than he is at home!) They try to cook similar meals for him as they do for the other children, e.g. he'll have lentil bolognese when they have a meat one.

We've only had one mishap: they once gave him Quorn mince not realising it contains egg, although I wasn't happy and said so, I secretly thought that perhaps it's best that it happened as they'll tighten up their processes which will hopefully prevent the same thing happening with something worse e.g. meat.

AbFabT Wed 16-Jun-10 22:47:38

Ooh, lots of vegans - brilliant! Hello!

Agree, C&R - I get really positive comments about veganism too, and I do think things are getting better and better with regards to general understanding, and availability of decent options when eating out/shopping. And of course, our numbers are increasing, and will continue to do so.

Darn that Quorn - why they don't make it vegan, I don't know (not that it sounds that appealing, mind!).

topsi Thu 17-Jun-10 07:56:43

After starting to read 'The China Project', I have tried to cut down on my animal based food. I would like to go vegan but think that to do a realy good job of it may be difficult. Have switched to soya products but have a toddler who only picks at his food and a meat eating DH. Would love any book reccomendations to help me on my way.

anyabanya Thu 17-Jun-10 08:57:09

Hi again, welcome Topsi! The China Study is one of the classics indeed.
For books that I have found really helpful, one is ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Living’.

It provides a really food overview and covers things like calcium, vitamin Bs, feeding vegan children, raw foodism etc. One of the author’s is a nutritionist. I am trying to think of others, but that for me was the best.

Also, the Physician’s Committee for Responible Medicine that I mentioned in an earlier post has on their website menu plans for various stages of life that are designed to ensure that you get a well rounded balanced diet, and includes diet plans for specific dietary issues – people with diabetes for example, as they are very big on using diet to control some chronic diseases. We have moved house fairly recently and a lot of my books are in storage still so I am having a mental blank for some of the books that have really helped me.

AbFab- I love the idea of the vegan summer camp that you put details up for. Might think of that for next year.

CakeandRoses, I was also expecting a lot of negativity about veganism from the medical profession when I first became pregnant, and spent quite a lot of time planning what I would tell them/what I would say about my diet etc. But, throughout my entire pregnancy, I have not been asked even once about my diet, or weighed, or anything. Okay, I fell off the vegan wagon in a big way so it would have been largely irrelevant, but I was never asked at all, which really surprised me. (I mean, I was not even officially advised to avoid the usual things, including alcohol).

Also, I am also sad that quorn has egg in it, because that would be fantastic. Thanks also for the tip on Marigold nutritional yeast… I miss macaroni cheese madly, so will hunt some out.

Quick question,

Does anyone have fave vegan blogs? I follow a couple (plus AbFab’s now!) but like

but if there are any other UK-based blogs that people love I would love to have their details.

cakeforbrains Thu 17-Jun-10 09:09:36

Hi, I'd like to join you. I'm almost vegan - I've been a veggie for 15yrs and since January I've cut all dairy from my diet because I'm breastfeeding DS2 who is cows milk protein intolerant. I thought I'd really miss cheese, but actually its been fine. I'm still eating eggs occassionally, but I'm starting to wonder if I could go fully vegan. I'd love to pick up some recipes - a lot of the time I find myself making dairy-free versions of the food I used to eat, rather than learning new recipes!

CakeandRoses Thu 17-Jun-10 11:18:44

Hi cakeforbrains - nice to see another cake fan ;-)

Have you tried Redwoods Cheating Cheeses? The melting version in particular is the best cheese replacement I've found, DS loves it too.

Re recipes - here's my fave site: The sticky toffee pud from here is gorgeous.

Also, if you do really like cakes then Vegan cupcakes take over the world is brilliant!

Re eggs, not much you can do to replace fried and boiled eggs but tofu makes a mean omelette and scrambled eggs!

CakeandRoses Thu 17-Jun-10 11:23:34

What do you guys do about omega 3? This is what I do but I'm always looking for new ideas:

I take a vegan flax seed oil capsule from Sainsburys. I have tried ground flax seeds but they really upset my digestion which is odd because I don't usually suffer that way at all. I've also tried just taking a tsp of flax seed oil but just found it a bit of a faff to do it.

DS has omega 3s in his supplemented soya milk, yoghurt etc and I also add a glug of rape seed oil into his yoghurt or cereal (for extra calories/fat too). I did try flax seed oil but it gave him terrible wind, I'm planning to try it again now he's older as it would be better quality than the rape seed oil.

topsi Thu 17-Jun-10 11:42:46

Cakeandroses how do those oils taste?

QueenOfFlamingEverything Thu 17-Jun-10 12:05:07

I'm vegetarian rather than vegan, but live in a vegetarian/vegan community with a shared kitchen and shared vegan meals a few times a week.

The vegan cookbooks I use the most are Anothe Dinner Is Possible and Vegan With A Vengeance.

Engevita yeast flakes and mustard make a pretty good cheesy-tasting sauce for macaroni, with super melting Cheezly on top. Mmmmmm.

CakeandRoses Thu 17-Jun-10 12:09:13

Rapeseed oil is very bland, fine for cooking (although think that would 'kill' the omega 3) or adding to yoghurt for DCs! Most of the vegetable oil you see in shops is actually rapeseed oil if you look at the small print. Sunflower oil is best avoided as it's high in omega 6 (which veg*ns especially already have too much of) which upsets the 3/6 balance further. I think you need about 2 tbs of rapeseed oil for correct omega 3 levels.

Flaxseed varies - can be slightly nutty but ok but sometimes can be a little bitter. Needs to be kept in dark glass bottle in fridge. I just used to gulp down a tsp but you could just add it to cold/warm food (you shouldn't cook with it). I think the amount for DCs over 1yo is 1/2 tsp.

This leaflet has some good info:

The book Plant-based nutrition is the best nutrition one I've seen and is produced by the vegan soc:

CakeandRoses Sat 19-Jun-10 11:55:25

oh and vegan or non-leather shoes...

I really struggled to find any for DS when he got to walking stage. I eventually found out that Start-rite do a gorgeous range of non-leather shoes (decided I'd have to accept the possibility of non-vegan glue). DS's shoes have been admired by so many parents of Clarks-wearing DCs that I think my recommendations must be single-handledly responsible for increasing Start-rite's sales!

Or local supplier is actually an independent shoe-shop which sells Start-rite and other labels, not sure if Start-rite have their own shops at all. Ours carried a smallish range but said they'd happily order in any if i let them know in advance.

Keen to hear of any makes of vegan children's shoes you've come across...

frakkit Sat 19-Jun-10 12:31:44

<edges in>

I'm not vegan but I don't eat meat (do eat fish blush and don't do dairy or egg either. I've often thought about becoming fully vegan but the main thing I want to know is: is it really difficult going out/to dinner with other people? I'm fine cooking at home as I mainly cook vegan anyway (with meat on the side for DH who is a dedicated carnivore!) and have found vegan substitutes for most things but I'm really worried about eating out? Are any of you vegan at home but more relaxed out and about?

Also I'm allergic to nightshades (potatoes, peppers and aubergines) which seem to be vegan staples Do you think it's doable?

DonaldWatson Sat 19-Jun-10 13:01:54

Hello! Also signing in.

(Have name changed as my vegan details might give me away IRL!)

I have been a vegan for 12 years, Veggie for 6 before that. I have a vegan DH and vegan DD of 20 months (though she strayed yesterday - she spotted a milk choc digestive carelessly dropped by the builder and had a bite before we could pounce blush or maybe biscuit.)

Re omega 3 - I am keen on the DHA supplements from v pure (google it) they often have offers on - but DHA is higher chain than whats in rapeseed or flaxseed.

Still bf-ing DD so not yet too worried about what she eats.

Eating out in non veg*n places is a PITA - but you soon learn where you can go and what you can have - so where I live we have

a veggie restaurant
Pizza Express (Pizza without cheese)
Ditto Zizzis & ASK
Wagamama (very vegan friendly)
Boots do a couple of vegan sandwiches (brand name Fresh?)
Boston Tea party do some vegan sandwiches

I caved re DDs shoes after searching for a long time for vegans shoes. I figure we do so much vegan stuff and we had leather shoes when we were little so I would just ignore my principles and get leather ones for DD.

After spending years thinking all vegan cheese was rubbish I have recently re-discovered Redwoods suuper melting cheese. It's fab! DD is not convinced though......

AbFabT Sat 19-Jun-10 19:35:03

frakkit, I have only had a couple of problems eating out with non-vegans, and they have been with people who I have found to be generally selfish and narrow-minded - all of my friends are very wonderful and accommodating, and in the main, it's not a problem. As DW has gone on to say, there are loads of mainstream restaurants serving vegan food, and I would say it's getting easier and easier.

I don't see what benefit fish gives you that you can't get from plant-based sources, even with your restrictions. Give it a go! Check my site for the nutrients section to get it clear what your nutrient sources are - there are more than one for everything, so missing potatoes, aubergine etc shouldn't cause problems. Disclaimer though: I am not a nutritionist.

DW, last time I checked, Zizzi put egg in their pizza bases. I checked last summer, so if they have changed it now, great!

Am interested to hear about the shoes for children - not that we'll have to cross that bridge for a while, but good to know.

ilovemydogandMrObama Sat 19-Jun-10 19:42:40

Hi people. Am not vegan, but DS (2) is dairy and soya allergic, and he is starting to reject meat. I tend to do vegan recipes for him, and add dairy for DD (3).

There is a really great book called Animal Free Shopper.

We were at the vegan festival last week, and found Kara, a dairy free milk replacement based on coconut milk, but not as thick. Great for cooking.

Oh, and of course people know about Booja Booja chocolate ice cream? dairy and soya free. And Montezuma blue chocolate.

DonaldWatson Sat 19-Jun-10 21:56:36

Ok -scrub Zizzis - I think I checked longer ago than you!

ilovemydog.... the Bristol Vegan Fayre? We were there on the Sunday!

They have Kara in Tesco.

Montezuma - yum - you can get it in Waitrose.

And Booja Booja - WOW (both taste and price.....)

CakeandRoses Sun 20-Jun-10 00:15:11

Best chocolates EVER, vegan or otherwise (and believe me I've tried them all)? Troody Skrumptious hand-made chocolates.

They are v expensive but so worth it. DH buys them for me for Easter, birthdays and Christmas - it's that or divorce wink

<thinks perhaps giving birth should join that list...?>

Fontella Sun 20-Jun-10 01:15:39

I'm a lifelong veggie (stopped eating meat when I was a toddler because I absolutely hated the texture of it in my mouth) and don't eat fish or eggs and have no desire to. Just looking at an egg makes me want to puke. I think I was born a veggie rather than choosing to become one if that makes any sense. I do however eat dairy - milk and cheese especially which is my main source of protein.

I've thought often about going the whole hog and become vegan but i just can't imagine life without cheese.

I'm happy drinking soya milk but have yet to find some really good non dairy cheeses. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

CakeandRoses Sun 20-Jun-10 22:58:15

Fontella - a couple of votes on here for Redwoods Melting Cheese.

Tofutti cream cheeses are great too - we get the plain one, chopped olive and the Garlic and herb

AbFabT Mon 21-Jun-10 00:12:23

Fontella, I gave up dairy after several years as a vegetarian and within a couple of weeks, I honestly just didn't miss it. This was in the days before vegan cheese was readily available, and I just did without. Felt marvellous. Was a few years before I discovered/they brought out vegan cheese, but you may well find that you don't miss dairy like you think you might.

I like Cheezly, but only really use it on pizzas. The Tofutti cream cheeses are lovely, the garlic and herb one with toasted pitta bread, and I make a great cheesecake with the plain one.

And about the protein thing - there is protein in every plant cell - it's unlikely you'll suffer a protein deficiency being vegan.

Chocolate: my favourite right now can be found in Sainsbury's - Celtic Caramel Choices - yummmmmmm.

CakeandRoses Mon 21-Jun-10 07:59:26

Ooooo yes, re the caramel choices! I'm managing to justify snaffling a few boxes of those at the mo due to eating for eight two

DonaldWatson Mon 21-Jun-10 13:43:42

<abandons desk and sprints to Sainsbos>

CakeandRoses Mon 21-Jun-10 14:23:19

ilovemydog - the soya allergy does make it a bit trickier for you/your DS.

Here's some of the non-soya things I give DS for fat and/or protein which you might not have tried:

Quinoa/quinoa flakes - I often chuck some of the flakes into pasta dishes etc as they cook in minutes and don't really have a flavour

Lentils - DS loves them in a 'bolognese' or soup. I usually use the canned green/brown ones.

Humous - One of DS's all times faves, he'll literally eat it by the handful if I let him!

Broadbeans - DS stuffs these down like raisins! I usualy cook them in a noodle soup.

Peas - good for protein (which lots of people don't realise), unfortunately they're one of the few veggies that DS won't eat.

Rice pud made with rice milk and/or coconut milk - yum!

Avocado - DS isn't that keen on it but will eat it disguised with humous, e.g. today he had some in a wrap with humous, cucumber, raw mushroom and olives.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 21-Jun-10 15:11:40

re omega 3, apparently hemp oil is meant to be v good for that.

Bit of a random question: if you cut all of this stuff out of your diet do you use the ability to process it? I'm thinking about bringing up dd (currently 7 weeks!) vegan, but don't want to force it on her, ie can she later choose to eat meat etc or will it make her ill.

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