“Diving into vegetarian living” and more stories

September 25, 2012

Here are nine stories from those who did the Veggie Challenge this past spring.

Diving into vegetarian living

“It was exciting to try new things.”

[Veggie Challenge Stories] I recently became interested in becoming vegetarian after reading several books about food – such as the Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollan and Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran. As I found out more about the negative effects of the industrial food system – how animals are treated poorly, and how they are given massive amounts of growth hormones, antibiotics and other additives that are dangerous to humans – I felt more and more compelled to change my diet. A friend of mine is a vegetarian and her reason was also very influential – the effect of the mass production of animals on the environment – which generates more climate change emissions than the travel sector (all cars, trucks, etc).

Here is a nice recipe for tempeh bacon. Tempeh is also good just fried in oil and salt. Photo is creative commons. From nyxie’s Flickr site.

When I switched to vegetarian this week I found I didn’t even miss meat half as much as I thought I would. By focusing on all the new things I got to enjoy, I didn’t care as much about what I was giving up. I tried tofu, tempeh (just like bacon!), veggie chicken, and tofurky. It was exciting to try new things. This Challenge gave me the push I needed to dive into vegetarian living and I’m so grateful!

Sarah, teen, Kingston/Barrie, ON

Sarah won the random draw for submitting a story during Mar/Apr 2012

The best decision I have ever made

“Mentally and spiritually I feel better and more awake and alive.”

[Veggie Challenge Stories] The Veggie Challenge was great. I loved getting emails from veg.ca everyday that gave me encouragement about becoming a vegetarian. Because no one else around me is a vegetarian, the emails were what I looked forward to for support. My boyfriend supports me a lot and tries his best to help me on this journey by buying me fruits and veggies. Even though none of my family or friends are vegetarian, their food does not entice me to eat meat. This is because I know the implications that it does to my body. I get stomach pains and I don’t feel as good when I eat meat. I noticed a big change when I started going vegetarian. Mentally and spiritually I feel better and more awake and alive. Since I have high cholesterol, I’m sure sticking with this will be the best decision I have ever made for my life.

Jj, late 20′s, Toronto

The Challenge gave me incentive to move to the next step

“My current end goal is to eat meat only occasionally … but by the the time I go that far my conscience may force me to give it up entirely.”

[Veggie Challenge Stories] I went totally vegetarian for the 7 days but can’t wait to enjoy going out for a plate full of tasty wings tonight! This is a slow process for me, starting with giving up pork many years ago, then progressing to the David Suzuki challenge to be a vegetarian one day a week a couple of years ago, and now, as a result of this Veggie Challenge I expect to graduate to a half-vegetarian, if there is such a thing. My current end goal is to eat meat only occasionally, as a treat, but by the the time I go that far my conscience may force me to give it up entirely. Anyway, the Veggie Challenge was excellent. It did what I wanted it to by giving me incentive to move to the next step. I especially liked the day-by-day messaging. I didn’t use a lot of the recipes and other information but felt I would have any help I needed if I asked. Thanks, and keep up the good work!!!

Thaia, age 65+, Mississauga, ON

The push I needed

“I am now meat, fish and poultry free!”

[Veggie Challenge Stories] I visited your booth last year at one of the Toronto shows. The people there were very helpful and introduced me to the Challenge. At this point I was still consuming some chicken, fish and seafood.

I had given up all other meats for the past 16 years, and for some reason was unable to give these up. Well, the Challenge gave me the push I needed and I am now meat, fish and poultry free!

Thank you for your inspiring e-mails and giving me the information I needed to start a healthier lifestyle.

Lilly, age 50-64, Richmond Hill, ON

Lilly won the random draw for completing Phase 2 during Mar/Apr 2012

No problem dropping meat and chicken

“I do not agree with factory farming.”

[Veggie Challenge Stories] One of my biggest challenges was catering to my 17 year old junk-food-addicted son. Fortunately he is not as addicted as I thought as he tried some veggie burgers and was not totally disgusted. I have no problem dropping meat and chicken but will have problems with fish/shrimp and other shellfish. Meat I can do away with especially as I do not agree with factory farming. I also eat eggs but get local free-run from neighbour’s chickens. (I live in the country)

I will continue to use your site for recipes. Thanks for the Challenge and keep up the great work.

Christine, age 50-64, Oakwood, ON

The podcast kept me motivated

[Veggie Challenge Stories] The Toronto Vegetarian Podcast kept me motivated throughout my challenge. I loved going for walks during my lunch break and listening to it. I am also excited to report that my husband has transitioned to an almost entirely vegetarian diet!

Raquel, age 30’s, Regina, SK

I enjoyed every veggie meal and so did my husband

“I spent more time in the kitchen chopping up veggies than I ever have before.”

[Veggie Challenge Stories] At first it was difficult to plan meals around veggies rather than a meat source. I spent more time in the kitchen chopping up veggies than I ever have before. However I enjoyed every veggie meal and so did my husband. We both missed our cheese and eggs, so we may not continue as truly vegan. I also was checking ingredients on food labels more carefully. I read somewhere that if there are more than 5 ingredients, you should reconsider purchasing it as there are probably more preservatives than healthy ingredients. Thanks for all the info.

Flora, age 65+, Nipigon, ON

[Veggie Challenge Stories] It was a great experience. I lost some ‘belly fat’ even though that wasn’t an issue to start with. Most of the recipes were easy to follow and my husband joined me by eating most of them. However he added his own idea of protein! My son-in-law is on a diet (recommended by his doctor) which includes buying expensive commercial ingredients. He was amazed that we were eating well and the food was easily purchased. My husband and I have always enjoyed curries, so many of the meals in the Challenge had similar spices in them. Thanks for getting me so involved. If it wasn’t for all the prepared menus, I wouldn’t have fared so well.

Flora, age 65+, Nipigon, ON

My husband started eating meat again

“The Veggie Challenge was right on time.”

[Veggie Challenge Stories] My husband was eating meat and he had stopped after marrying me as I was not eating meat. Recently he had some craving towards eating meat and started again. This Veggie Challenge was right on time, I could try new recipes, add nutritional value to my cooking, and he again made up his mind not to eat meat.

I’m planning to take the second challenge as well, so that he can completely incline towards the veggie side and stop thinking about meat.

Vids, age 30’s, Richmond Hill, ON

Impressed to see know how easy it is to cut meat without losing flavor

[Veggie Challenge Stories] The Veggie Challenge was a great way for me to change my diet without worrying about losing valuable vitamins and nutrients. I was very impressed to see know how easy it is to cut meat without losing flavors.

Mahalia, late 20′s, Oshawa, ON