Vegan at Heart

Cheering Section


Got a specific vegan question to ask or a victory to celebrate? Don't keep it to yourself; let us know! Chances are, others are going through the same thing and will find it helpful or inspiring. Plus, we want to cheer you on. Yay, you!

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Previously Posted Questions/Victories/Replies

  1. What to eat for breakfast?
    Before switching from ovo-lacto veg-ism to almost total vegan, I found that a good egg & cheese biscuit in the morning kept me full for most of the day. Now that I'm going vegan, this is no longer an option (and I find egg beaters to be EXTREMELY GROSS), I can't seem to find a breakfast option that doesn't have me craving everything & stuffing my face before noon. Does anyone have any breakfast menu ideas (besides oatmeal- no working) that are vegan-friendly, low-budget, & low-effort, that will keep me full and satisfied? ...
  2. Gaining Weight
    Have you heard of people gaining weight when they went Vegan? I am one of those people. I eat so much healthy fresh organic produce but the weight is still piling on. When I was a non-vegan, I weighed around 140 (I am 5'10). Now I weigh 160 since going vegan. ...
  3. beginner
    Hello, I don't really have a question so much (yet) as a confession of wandering in the mist. I've been vegetarian, inconsistently, for years. After watching Food Matters, Food Inc., Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead and Ingredients (all in one weekend--I couldn't stop) I made a choice that I'm going to buy local, organic, and get as close to veganism as possible. I'm learning--a lot, really fast--and I want this to be the way I live from now on. And I want this to be as much a political statement as anything else. I was incensed to see in these films how big business and the federal government (USDA/FDA) are working together to terrorize and shut down small farmers. In addition, I want to see if I can, with food, send into remission, maybe cure, some on-going chronic health conditions I've dealt with my whole life; these conditions are getting worse, not better, and I fear if I don't do something now, it will turn into cancer. So, I'm here. Eager to get started, eager to learn. I just wanted to introduce myself because you'll probably be receiving a ton of questions from me in the very near future! :) Thank you for the work you do. Warm Regards, Michelle Benningfield PS Since I'm a college composition instructor, I'm always looking for current "hot topics" to teach my students. My next semester's research class will deal with food and its politics. I welcome any and all recommendations for resources! ...
  4. Soy and Endometriosis
    Have you ever heard that soy is not good to eat when you have endometriosis? ...
  5. How can I do this?
    After years of contemplating the idea, I was finally brave enough to confront my father and tell him that I wanted to try to be vegan. I thought he would understand, or support me, because he, as a way to combat his cancer, has gone vegan twice in the last three years because of the benefits it had on his health. But he shot me down quickly, telling me there was no way I'd get enough nutrients and that I'd be missing certain things and that I should just eat free-range eggs and chicken instead. I've been taking baby steps, four years ago eliminating red meat entirely from my diet, and then three years ago I stopped eating seafood, and for the past year I've been using almond milk in my cereal. But my dad won't let me go vegan. How can I do this without the support of the people who buy the groceries? ...
  6. vegan in a small town
    I live in a small town where I think I'm the only vegetarian. Haha I want to go vegan but how can i do this if I go out with friends or family? What about meals at other peoples homes? My boyfriends mom knows I'm vegetarian and loves to cook me things but when i talked about going vegan she said oh no! ...
  7. Being vegan is driving me crazy?
    I don't want to be taken the wrong way... I will stay vegan for the rest of my life because I view it as a moral imperative. But after three years, I am finding it inexplicably difficult. I can see why some people give up. I would say the number one problem is vegans are not permitted to be lazy and I must admit I am lazy. If you're vegan and broke, that means you don't eat. There's nowhere in the world you can buy affordable, convenient vegan food. I'm a student and I'm shocked sometimes at what passes for "affordable" in the vegan community! And frankly, I don't ever expect to be rich enough to buy vegan convenience food. I occasionally splurge on it anyway, but it can't be all the time. I just find it so depressing to know that whenever someone invites me to a regular restaurant or a party, I won't have anything good to eat. Eating has totally become a chore for me because of all the planning and cooking that's almost inevitably involved. I have really, really tried to get into cooking, but I just hate how time consuming it tends to be. I also have the problem that I hate vegetables, most of them taste disgustingly bitter to me, so I can't just lightly cook them and be done with it. I have to find a good way to season them and cook them properly, which I haven't had much luck with. Every time I buy some fresh veggies for a recipe, they just go bad because the thought of all the work involved, when I probably won't even like it, is too daunting. I usually wind up eating frozen french fries or pasta for dinner! I am sure I have multiple nutritional deficiencies because I barely eat any healthy foods ever. I'm not too worried about it but I'm thinking I should be! I've also been depressed that none of my friends and family understand me. They think I'm crazy for being vegan and, although they'll eat dinner if I cook it, they don't exactly accommodate me when they cook for everyone else. I would like to ditch these people and hang out with vegans, but I'm no good at making new friends. Besides, most of the meetups near me would be in New York and it costs me a bit of money to pay for the transit costs and takes a long time to get there. I don't know where to find vegans in my town or how to meet them, although there must be a lot because my local grocery store has begun selling a lot of popular vegan items. Basically I am proud to be vegan but I am starting to hate it too. I love your column because it's so positive. Can you help me? I know my life is a mess, but aside from listening to my rant, I suppose you could help if you know how I could improve my social life or some techniques to cook quick, cheap meals that would please a picky eater. I want to place the blame on society or my unsupportive loved ones, but ultimately I know I could thrive if I wanted to. I just honestly don't know how. Diving right into cookbooks did NOT work! ...
  8. Confrontation
    Hi Marisa!   I hope I'm not pestering you with too many e-mails - please let me know if that's the case. I just think you're a shining example for all vegans and would like to know what you would have done in the situation I found myself in tonight.   I went out to a locally owned restaurant, one which I've been to many times before. I've been eating beans so much lately I feel like I'm going to burst, so I decided that I would ask about the vegetarian fajitas at this restaurant, a tex-mex style place.  Normally I just get a salad there, but I wanted something more substantial.  I asked the waitress if the vegetarian fajitas were sauteed in butter or margarine.  She went to check and told me they were sauteed in liquid butter. I said, okay, I'll choose something else. She said, "Are you allergic?" I told her I was trying to avoid dairy products. She said, "Why? Dairy's so good!" So then I briefly explained about factory farming. She asked why I didn't buy local dairy products, since we have many farms around here.  I tried very patiently to explain to her about the male dairy calves, how they're taken from their mothers when just days old, to become veal or inexpensive beef.  I described the veal crates. She seemed to get impatient and continued to argue with me to buy local. Finally she said, "I'm trying to think of a way to get around what you're saying, but I can't..." Then she told me she had been vegan for eight years because she'd been disgusted by the factory farming conditions.  I was quite surprised to be grilled by someone who was aware of the suffering farm animals endure.  So I asked her what made her stop being vegan. She said, "Because I really wanted some chicken." Then she described how she has bought part of a herd of cattle so she can legally get raw milk. But she says that she would NEVER eat a slab of beef.  I didn't even bother pointing out that the chicken she eats causes more suffering than beef cattle, who suffer enough. I just said that any steps she takes toward a vegetarian diet helps the animals. So I ordered the baked spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce, and told her to leave off the cheese. When the item arrived, I saw that the sauce had meat in it. When I pointed this out to her, she spoke to me as if I were the stupidest person on earth and said, "It's spaghetti! I was wondering why you left off the cheese but ordered the meat." I politely said that the meat wasn't mentioned on the menu as being included in the spaghetti sauce. She said it's just assumed that it will have meat in it. I somehow still managed to be polite to this person, particularly since she had apologized several times, and instead of sending the meal back, I had it boxed up for my dad, since my mom was going to order a chicken dinner to take home to him anyhow. I ended up eating vegetarian refried bean burritos with no cheese - yup, more beans!   I still feel great about what I'm doing for the animals, but is there a point you reach when someone is badgering you that you simply don't have to be diplomatic? I want to set the best example possible, and I was very polite to her throughout the whole meal, but when I left I was very frustrated. It's already an uphill battle around this area to be vegan. To get that kind of treatment from a former vegan was very disheartening. Or am I being too sensitive? I'm sure you've had to deal with people like this, and probably those who have acted much worse. How do you communicate with someone who is obviously defensive toward you simply because you're vegan?   Thanks so much, Marisa!   Miranda ...
  9. vegan & omni sexual encounters! (eewww. I know I know.)
    O.k., folks, here's a kind of weird one ... How does a 30-yr. vegetarian who's come over(finally!) to the vegan side of things over the past three years explain to her still somewhat omni but-strongly-leaning-towards-vegetarian boyfriend that she thinks his ejaculations are full of gross dietary byproducts? Sorry to pose such a crude one, but guessing there are probably other vegans who are totally turned off by their non-vegan partner's non-veg. matter derived bodily excretions. The best answer I've come up with is to just not engage sexually. I'm not really looking for a super serious answer to this one, of course, maybe just a few funny comebacks. But any ideas or resources for navigating our tricky-sticky dilemma are appreciated. Best Regards, C.C. ...
  10. Struggling
    Hi Marisa!   I love your site and have always admired you and all you do on behalf of the animals. I've e-mailed you a couple of times before and have greatly benefited from what you have to say. I'm an aspiring vegan, meaning that it's my goal to be as close to 100% vegan as I can. I haven't eaten beef, pork, or poultry for over eight years now, but occasionally I eat seafood, and sometimes when I go out to eat, it seems I can't resist the butter with the bread or cake with ice cream for dessert. I am fully aware of how dairy cows and their calves suffer, not to mention the egg-laying chickens and their male chicks, and I hate to give even a $1.00 to an industry that treats animals so cruelly. But it seems that no matter how many times I try, I can't stay 100% vegan in my diet. I only have this problem when going out to eat, because I make sure that all the groceries I buy are vegan. But where I live, there are extremely limited vegan options at any of the restaurants, so most of the time, I end up ordering a salad. Salads are great, but not all the time. Then when I do eat something with dairy, or eat seafood, I feel horribly guilty for hours afterward. Do you have any advice as to how I can deal with this? I feel like a loser because I can't commit 100% to veganism, even though it's something I believe in so much. I feel like I'm letting the animals down, and all for selfish reasons. I guess I'm asking if you had problems becoming 100% vegan at first, and how you overcame them.   Also, I'm overweight and working on trying to lose the extra pounds - another battle! Just by my eating habits, people I work with and friends of mine know that I'm mostly vegetarian and vegan a lot of the time, but I hate to advertise this fact, because I feel like since I'm overweight, people who might actually consider a vegetarian or vegan diet would be dissuaded because I'm overweight. I don't choose veganism for health reasons, although that is a good reason, but for moral reasons, but I know a lot of people think, "I'm a meat eater and I'm thinner than she is, so why would I choose that diet?" Should I keep the fact that I'm trying to be vegan to myself until I lose the weight I need to? (It might be a while!)   Thanks so much for reading this and for any advice you have to give. I love getting your e-mails and have learned so much. So I know that any advice you have to offer would help me a lot.   Miranda ...
  11. Quinoa burger?
    Hey Marisa! Hope you're well!! In todays mission you mentioned getting excited about a quinoa burger... any chance you have a recipe for that? I'd love to make some! Barring that, a fav bean-burgery type recipe would be most appreciated. Love! Jenn ...
  12. Good guided meditations for healthy eating?
    What made the difference in your meditation?  After my experience with self hypnosis in preparation for Evan's birth, I'm a firm believer.  Because of the almost constant craziness in my house, I'd like a relaxation CD with verbal affirmations to help me focus.  Do you know about anything that would specifically affirm healthy food and lifestyle choices?  It seems that daily focus on the fact that my body deserves to be free of things that drag her down would really help my resolve against crap that my kids eat.   Love and thanks! Sarah ...
  13. Trying to conceive and veganism
    Hi guys, this isn't really a question, but more of a comment. I am trying to conceive a baby and after tons of research and advice from my doctor I added dairy back into my diet. The reason for this? Everything I read said if you want to produce the right "stuff" to ease conception you needed dairy in your diet. Ok, I've been a struggling vegan for 7 years now and I knew in my heart this was wrong. I was so desperate to conceive that I did it. That was dumb. Two months later, I had gained 20 lbs., I had ceased having a cycle, and my liver levels were 2X the normal level. I should have listened to my instincts on this...I should have known better. Now I'm proud to say I'm back to being a vegan, my cycles have returned, and I'm losing that 20lbs. I gained. :) No baby news yet, but we're keeping our fingers crossed. ...
  14. Vegan Week
    Our New Years celebration was complete with an all vegan-free menu. David & I cooked each dish out of Clean Start. Everyone loved the food. Our oldest son and his fiancee couldn't believe how delicious and filling everything was! Our youngest and his girlfriend are vegetarians and have now declared the last week of every month "vegan week". They'll be checking out our cookbooks and prepping a meal for us in that week. So very cool!!! Had to share this with you all. Woohoo!!! ...
  15. College Cooking?
    Hello, I've been vegan for two years, but I live in a dormitory and cooking is such a pain that I usually either don't get enough calories, or eat overprocessed, unhealthy convenience foods. I would really like to cook more and eat healthier. Do you have any specific tips for me? Think limited cupboard/freezer/fridge space, limited budget, and limited shopping trips. My suite does have a full kitchen though. I also want to share food with my roommates without breaking my budget or using up all the food. Thanks in advance for whatever help you can give me! ...
  16. Nourishing foods when you can't cook?
    I finally found the motivation I needed to become vegan (after thinking about it for a long time) when I was diagnosed with food allergies to Dairy, eggs, soy and tree nuts. Eating a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients I need still requires a bit of meal planning. So what foods do you rely on when you are sick (or overwhelmed or stressed for other life reasons) and need good nourishing food the most? ...
  17. Vegan Running Shoes
    Hi Marisa! Any suggestions for some good vegan running shoes? ...
  18. Vegan dog food?
    So I quit eating meat last December. Next is eggs, milk and cheese. Slowly, but surely, want to go vegan. Just got a dog from the VHS. Went to get him dog food and yuck....what do you feed your animals? Do they get to go vegan too? Lori ...
  19. Favorite brands?
    Hey Marisa! So...I was wondering if you had any brands of coconut oil, nutritional yeast, miso, and vegetable broth that you recommend? I've been using TJ's veggie broth for a while, but wanted other ideas. And I started researching coconut oil and nutritional yeast today and was thinking it would be good to try both of them. The coconut oil is funny...my vegetarian grandparents ate it every day, but then they cut it out bc it was too "fatty". They replaced it w/ hydrogenated vegetable oil, which we now know is terrible for you. Anyway...we come full circle, yah? Ok, thanks, lady!   ...
  20. Helping People find their inner veggie
    On a roll! First, my hubby went veggie, then our 24-year-old son, and now a follower at our FB page is on the veggie path. I got to meet her and hear her wonderful words "I'm now a vegetarian and what you post on facebook helps." She's so proud too. I'm so excited, I've been baking on the weekends and passing on the vegan goodness. Our neighbors love it and can't wait for the next yummy dish. It feels so good to share nutrition hands on. People are shopping for healthier baking ingredients...switching over to organics...Woohoo!!! I'm too excited, I can't even type right now...LOL. Next goal, help them all go vegan and beyond :D ...
  21. weight loss
    Hi Marisa, You inspire me SOOOO much on a daily basis! I love reading what you are up to on Facebook and on your fantastic blog. Several months ago I read about losing your wedding weight and have been wanting to email you ever since! :) (You were small to begin with but now you are super teeny and look absolutely amazing!! :)) I know this probably sounds silly, but could you give me an example of what you ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner to lose those last few pounds? I eliminated dairy from my diet several months ago and feel sooooo much healthier. Occasionally I still eat the occasional egg from the free roaming chickens at a local organic farm on Whidbey Island, but I'd like to give those up, too... The thing is, I'm not really sure how to approach losing weight as a vegan because I tend to eat too many carbs! :/ Do you have any advice? Any insight would be much appreciated! Thank you so much!! Catie ...
  22. CHEESE!!!
    Help... I have been vegan since November. I did GREAT the first six months of not having cheese... The last couple of months, I have fallen off the wagon completely when it comes to cheese... HELP. I feel yucky when I eat it, my stomach feels all nasty and bloated... I know that the casein in the cheese is why I keep coming back! I quit smoking after 20 years, why can't I kick cheese!! help.. ...
  23. Veg athlete in Italy?
    Hi Marisa... i found your contact accidentally here on fb and i immediatelly noticed that you're a vegan. I'm not a vegan..but i'm tryng to be vegatarian. It's not easy for me because i'm an athlete at very hight level but i wish i could stop eating meat for an ethical motive. I love animals so much. Every animal on earth. I love nature and i know how global warming could be reduced by reducing intensive farms. I can't watch videos of violence on animal. I really can't because i feel completely shoked..it is really a violence on myself..even if it could be a way to understand better. So i read a book some months ago: eating animals by jonathan safran foer..this book make me open my eyes. I feel so bad for lots of time thinking to that book..how can man be so cruel with animals?? But now i thank god to have opened my eyes..i have a big dream: open a vegetarian restaurant in my country to make people understand all this. I wish my dream will come true. Ok i wrote so much..and sorry for my orrible english!! What i want to say is..nothing happens by chance in my opinion..and finding your page here on fb is not by chance!! I like what you write..and what you think about animals. You are a sensible person. Like me. Hope you find the time to answer me..:) Elena   ...
  24. Veg with the Fam?
    Hi Marisa! I got married 6 months ago and my husband and I moved to California. Since then I have become vegan! Thanks in large part to you and your "missions"! We're going home to our families in Texas for the first time next month and I'm very nervous to tell them about my new lifestyle. I'm scared they won't understand or accept the new me. How do I make them feel comfortable and answer all their questions (and possible criticism)? Do you have any advice on how to break it to them? Or explain it in a nice way? Thanks again for all you've done for my husband and I! ...
  25. Vegan in College
    Hi! As a reseident assistant in the "Green Building" on my campus, I try to help my freshmen residents make healthy and cmopassionate food choices. However, college students usually just chow down on convenient packaged and processed foods. Without kitchens to prepare their own foods, freshmen gain that dreaded "freshman 15." Do you know of any good easy recipes using really basic appliances such as a microwave and refrigerator and simple tools? I'd love more ideas to share with the residents coming this fall! Thanks! ...
  26. Eating More Whole Foods -- Recipes?
    Hi Missy,   So one of my issues with going completely vegan is that I'm trying to eat less processed food, especially given the information available about how we should avoid isolated soy protein.  Many of these recipes include these types of fake meat products.  Do you have any advice about where to find more quick, family friendly recipes that don't include the fake meats?    Thanks, my dear!  I love getting notes from you every day.  :)   Love, Liesl        ...
  27. Healthy on Vacation
    Hey Marisa!  Sounds like you're having a lovely holiday-- so glad!  :) So, I have a few veganish questions for you, wondering if you might have some ideas... I'm going to Nicaragua for about a month/month and a half, and am wondering what kinds of foods/supplements I can bring along to keep me in good health.  I'm sure I'll be eating a lot of rice and beans (and not asking what's in the beans... :/   and I think there are some veggies around, but don't think they're a big part of the diet there.  A friend said that she used to bring "green powders" (clorophyll, algea, etc) when she travelled in Africa, and sometimes would take up to 10 caps per day.  I was also thinking of bringing some kind of super-protein vegan powder to add to fresh fruit juices, but don't know a good one.  And my last part of this question is, what kind of vitamin supplements do you take?   It's become clear to me that I need to be taking something but don't know what's best, and I'm wondering if I need to take some kind of non-animal calcium? Whew!  Sorry to inundate you, but thought you could point me in the right direction for some of these!  :) Lots of love, Jenn ...
  28. Complete no-turning-back vegans
    Marisa, You are wonderful to be a Vocal Vegan.  My daughter and I started with what we called a "vegan experiment" a year and a half ago.  Then we said 'hey, THIS is the way to live.'....Then we found we liked it and became "virtual vegans" - a dab of butter or cheese now and then.  After the Oil Spill, the sad state of sea life breaks our hearts and makes us complete no-turning-back Vegans.....I think there's a universe of my generation (early boomers) who  simply have no idea the horrors they're doing to the earth and their hearts - in both the health and moral sense,  However, they need to be hand-held - to tip-top into veganism.  Oy!.....what to do?! -Carol   ...
  29. Using the Vegan word in business
    Hello Marisa, I recently read a post by Seth Godin in which he talked about the fact that part of Lula Apothecary's success was due to the fact that they didn't have vegan specfic wording on their signs (initially mostly due to not having enough money for a lot of words)- and so more people came in and simply experienced deliciousness. This got me thinking about my store (and it got another vegan business owner who has a bakery thinking about her business). We have both seen people look at our signs and walk by or say something about the word vegan and walk by. Possibly if they came in, they would be won over (at least a little bit) by the bakery's yummy products and my store's vegan footwear, etc. So my question to you and your readers is this - are we doing veganism (and our businesses) a disservice by using the word vegan? ...
  30. ripples
    Hey Marisa! :) So, I got a text the other day from my neighbor.... I wanted to share :) "I feel like i owe you guys a massive thank you. I had toyed with the idea of giving up dairy but never seriusly then you told me how much better u felt after doing so. It's the best health decision I have made in forever. I feel so much more energetic. I have had almost no allergies this spring- I am usually plaged badly. I dont have bubble guts anymore. I lost 10 pounds. I will never go back! I will prob never give up meat but I am much more aware of how much meat I eat and how it is produced. Thanks a bunch :-) " This is on top of the fact that her husband stopped having daily migraines after first cutting WAY back on dairy (he used to go thru a gallon of milk a week, YUCK!!) and then going dairy free. He has not had a migraine in I think he said 3 months. Thanks again for everything. You inspired me, I inspired my husband, we inspired our neighbors. I am loving the rippling effects! :D Your friend, Geri ...
  31. A happy surprise
    we had a family bday party this past weekend and there was the usual variety of stuff that chris's family puts out - decent for vegan fare (ie veggie burgers, fruit and green salad) when ALL of a SUDDEN (dun dun dun), chris's mom came up to me and said, "did you know that Woodstock (Chris's dad) made a vegan potato salad?" you could have knocked me over with a piece of microfiber! This is a man who NEVER cooks outside the box (never say never!)...but since there is now a critical mass of veg*n or veg*n friendly folk in the family, he made a separate potato salad...and here is the clincher in my mind: it was all because I decided to leave a jar of Veganaise in their fridge for when I am up there craving some faux salad-y stuff. There was even a person there who was at the party was allergic to egg (?) and was also really excited because she never has potato salad. It was a huge hit. Now I am brainstorming about what other things I can leave lurking in their cabinets/fridge. ;) jennifer   ...
  32. Bug repellant?
    I wonder what you have to say about safe bug repellant? The mosquitos and biting knats are killing me around here and I can't figure out what is safe for my kids and the environment! ...
  33. Mushy Tofu Syndrome--How to Fix?
    Marisa,   I recently tried to make sesame-ginger glazed tofu over rice and veggies.  It sounded delicious.  However, I completely ruined the tofu.  I drained it (perhaps not well enough?) and fried it (perhaps not long enough?).  My sister and I have both tried to make tofu (tofu scramble; fried tofu; etc), and we have both failed.  It has all been a disaster.  I was wondering if there is some secret to making tofu on the stove, and what that secret is.  We are desperate.    Thank you,   Marcyanna M. ...
  34. a dumb question (hope not too personal)
    Is your husband vegan? Second, If he is would you have married him if he wasn't? I'm just curious. Also, what do you do for your calcium and protein? I know that's probably another dumb question. ...
  35. What About Cat Food?
    I'm a vegan who lives with a carnivore (a cat). I give my cat food made of fish. I don't agree with the idea of making a cat vegetarian or vegan; felines are true carnivores and are meant to eat animal flesh. But feeding her animal flesh goes against my ethics, too. How do others deal with this dilemma? ...
  36. Why can handlers be so mean and make the animals suffer without getting in trouble?
    How can handlers get away with the abuse they give the chickens & cow & pigs? Do the animals have rights? ...