Veggie Challenge FAQ

Entering the Challenge

What if I am already vegetarian?

How about trying a vegan challenge or a mostly vegan challenge?

What if I am already vegan?

How about getting a friend, partner, brother, sister, etc. to do it. Inspire them to try it, help them along a bit. And if they win, chances are they will share their prize with you – a dinner for two out on the town perhaps. Another possibility might be to do a week eating entirely organic. Tell us how it went. What foods did you discover, which ones couldn’t you find? Another possibility might be a week of eating as much locally-grown food as possible.

How do you know we really went veg or not?

We trust you. Besides, all the prizes are vegetarian-related, so a committed meat-eater would not likely want to win any of them.

How are the winners selected?

Every two months (at end of Oct, Dec, Feb, April, June, and so on) there will be a random draw of prizes for those who have completed the Challenge and filled out two simple surveys (one before and one after). Winners are determined using a random number generator. See the Prizes page for details.

Do I have to write a story?

No, the story part is optional, but you will have a chance to win additional prizes and sharing your experiences will help others. Stories can be anywhere from 35 words to 350. Tell us about how and when you became interested in vegetarianism, your motivations, how the week went, any challenges that you faced, reactions from friends and family, etc. You can also describe some of the best meals that you made, ordered in, or ate out? What were some of the worst?

350 words is not enough. May I write more?

Yes, but we may focus only on the first 350 words when selecting which stories to highlight.

How are the stories selected?

Any story that is original, not offensive and written in an understandable manner will be posted on our site and eligible for additional story prizes. In addition, inspiring stories will be highlighted. We select such stories based on how well you convey honesty, effort and passion. We also aim for a mix of ages, diets and reasons.

What if I want to go longer than one week?

There is an option to continue called Phase 2 that goes for three more weeks. We send out an email per week with menu plans and recipes along with tips and encouragement. There is no cost and you will have an additional chance to win prizes!

May I enter a second time?

Yes, but please only do so if it is going to be a real challenge for you. For example, please re-enter if the first time you did the Challenge things didn’t work out for you, or if you are going further with your second attempt – moving more towards a vegan diet perhaps. It is not fair to others if you re-enter only for the purpose of trying to win a prize.

What do you do with my email address and other contact information?

We are a registered charity and do not engage in trading or selling your information. E-mail communications will always include an identification of the sender and an “Unsubscribe” option. We will only contact you about information that you have signed up for. See our privacy policy for full details.

Eating vegetarian

What about fish? Do I have to give up seafood as well as meat for the week?

Yes. Our definition of vegetarian also means not eating seafood. There are many excellent reasons to forgo foods that involve killing fish. The oceans are being overfished, coral reefs are being destroyed and sensitive sea floors are getting raked with drag nets. Many species are threatened, including dolphins, seabirds and turtles that get snagged in the nets. Also fish feel pain, they just lack vocal chords to express it. You can still enjoy seaweeds (such as nori and dulse), and flax oil is an excellent source of omega-3.

What about leather?

Don’t worry. For the purposes of the Veggie Challenge, we aren’t requiring that you change your wardrobe. People become vegetarian for different reasons and some draw the line at food. Some go a step further and stop wearing leather, down or wool. Others continue to wear such clothing until it wears out, then they replace it with animal-free alternatives. See our our Leather & Alternatives page for more information.

What about honey?

Honey is vegetarian but not officially vegan. For the purposes of the Veggie Challenge, we aren’t too concerned if your trial vegan diet included honey or not. The focus should be on avoiding eggs and dairy as the modern production of these foods is extremely inhumane and environmentally damaging. If you would like to avoid honey, it can be substituted with maple syrup, rice syrup or agave nectar.

I am not fond of vegetables and beans

Margaret wrote us: “I am keen to try a new way of eating, especially since I’m not happy with the way we treat our feed animals.  However… I am not fond of vegetables per se and don’t like the texture of whole beans very much.”
Vegetarian cuisine can be very diverse. Lentils, tofu, mock meats and tempeh make a nice protein-rich substitute for beans. Whole grains, nuts, seeds (sesame, hemp, pumpkin, etc), soy milk, eggs and dairy products are also high in protein. See ourNutrition page for more information. By the way, if you are in Toronto or Quebec, a good vegetarian restaurant to try is Commensal as they have a large buffet with many vegetarian items to sample. Once you find some dishes you like, you can search the internet for recipes.

I am concerned about eating so much soy

Being vegetarian does not mean you have to eat tons of tofu and other soy products – there are lots of protein-rich plant foods – from lentils and beans to whole grains and nuts. But soy does enjoys a reputation as very healthy food. Many soy foods have earned the right to be labeled “heart-healthy.” They may also make your bones stronger, and they contain cancer-fighting compounds. But some internet articles are saying that eating too much soy can endanger health. Claims against soy include allegations that it raises cancer risk, and causes nutrient deficiencies, osteoporosis, thyroid problems, reproductive difficulties, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Bottom line: Based on the bulk of the evidence soy appears to be perfectly safe for nearly all healthy individuals when it is consumed in reasonable amounts (two to three servings per day).
See for more info.

How do I get enough iron, protein, calcium, etc.?

Plant-based foods are loaded with nutrients including ample protein, iron, calcium, vitamin D, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc. Vegans require a reliable source of vitamin B12, but your body stores a one to five year supply, so you will be fine for a week. The key to health is simple. Include a wide variety of different foods in your diet – no one food source is nutritionally complete by itself. See our Nutrition page for more information.

It is the position of Dietitians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

More FAQ’s

For more questions about vegetarian and vegan diets see our main FAQ’s page. The questions include:
• Isn’t seafood healthy?
• Animals kill other animals for food, so why shouldn’t we?
• What will we do with all the chickens, cows, and pigs if everyone becomes a vegetarian?
• If everyone became vegetarian, many animals would never even be born. Isn’t that worse for them?
And many more.

Forums for support and discussing vegetarian topics

Forums are made up of hundreds of members, many of them experienced vegetarians and vegans that are happy to help you by answering questions and concerns. Jose who took the Veggie Challenge in March 2008 writes: I joined a few vegan / vegetarian support groups and quickly found a few friends to advice and support me in this transition period from regular food to vegan.”
Discussion boards covering all aspects of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Very active. Forums, personals, recipes, photos and more.They describe themselves as:”The largest and most active vegetarian forum online!” Members: 44,919.
Discussion boards on a wide variety of topics, including different age groups, food and recipes. Very active.
This site’s main focus is recipes, but they also have an active forum including support for transitioning to a vegan, vegetarian or raw food diet.

There are also several on MySpace and Facebook. If you are a member of these social networks, just search for “vegetarian” or “vegan”.

Here are the two largest public ones on MySpace:

Vegetarians & Vegans Unite
This group is for all vegetarians, vegans, animal rights activists, animal lovers
Members: 28092

Vegetable Mafia
For Vegetarians and Vegans to network with one another. Share recipes and chat. Anyone is welcome, especially people who are becoming vegetarian or people who are interested in becoming more food aware.
Members: 19578

Last Updated ( Monday, 04 April 2011 )