Can one ease from a vegan diet to vegetarianism?
February 21, 2006 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Say you're basically a vegan, and needed to prepare for an extended dairy/eggs-included period...

I call myself a strict vegetarian, but my diet is essentially vegan - I eat dairy/eggs rarely, and then usually only if there's no other easy options. However, in a few weeks I'm going on a volunteer trip to New Orleans, where the food (along with, incidentally, the housing...check out will be provided for me on my behalf, and while I'm sure there'll be vegetarian options, I've also been made pretty certain that there won't be a serious vegan alternative. I really, really wanna do this, and, as such, I need to get myself used to eating a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet for about five days or so.

The only problem is, sometimes when I DO eat something with substantial dairy/eggs, I tend to feel a little sick afterwards, and I FEEL like my concentration and just general "with it"ness kinda lags...granted, I've never done this for a while, so I don't know if I can build up a temporary tolerance. Has anyone ever dealt with a situation like this before? Should I start including little bits of dairy/eggs in my diet for the next few weeks, building up to the point that I don't find myself feeling ugh in the middle of New Orleans? Any other general advice?
posted by Ash3000 to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd suggest taking mad crazy amounts of acidophilus to possibly encourage your gut to handle the weird animal products and the associated toxins coming along for a ride that are going into your system. But I don't think you'll get over that feeling in just five days. If ever.
posted by cmonkey at 3:55 PM on February 21, 2006

As someone who recently transitioned from being vegan to eating dairy again, I can tell you it definitely takes longer than a few months to get used to it and to lose the queasiness. I still don't process dairy very well and feel kind of sick, and I've been trying to eat it for almost a year now.

Your best bet is to just eat what you have available to you. Try to pick up fresh fruit to snack on if it's available, and just limit the dairy/eggs as much as you can while still getting enough to eat.
posted by booknerd at 4:33 PM on February 21, 2006

In the event you do limit the eggs/dairy and don't feel you're getting enough to eat, is it feasible to bring along a stash of non-perishable snacks like trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, etc.?
posted by scody at 5:10 PM on February 21, 2006

Conditioning yourself would be a good idea. The eggs will probably be a lot easier on you than the dairy. Start with eggwhite omelettes (chopped fresh herbs make a nice filling), move up to whole-egg omelettes.

Acidophilus is a good idea, but I'd say to get it from the yogurt -- thanks to all that probiotic activity, yogurt is easier to digest than regular milk or cheese.

Just in case you wind up needing to know this, chicken is one of the most easily digested meats. Not saying you'll have to go there, but make sure you get enough protein.
posted by desuetude at 5:26 PM on February 21, 2006

I've found that avoiding the dairy altogether eases digestion of just about anything else you eat. Simply cutting it out of my (previously carnivorous) diet gave me back enormous amounts of energy throughout the day. Meat and dairy together give the worst stomachaches and sluggishness - if you can't find decent non-dairy veggie options, I'd try the poultry, as desuetude suggests.

I still don't understand how people can love dairy so much when it causes so many people so much intestinal grief...
posted by salsamander at 9:33 PM on February 21, 2006

Salsamander - it's an addiction!

Ash3000, can you take some powdered soy protein shakes with you that you can mix with water? Or powdered soy milk? How about some vegan dehydrated soups that you mix with boiling water?
posted by hazyjane at 2:26 AM on February 22, 2006

Ash: Would you be able to store some simple dairy-fre groceries where you're staying?

I'm an sXe vegan who lives in New Orleans...I don't know if this is an option for you or not, but if you email me a grocery list my girlfriend and I will pick up whatever you need and drop it off to you. We really appreciate what you guys are doing down here, and helping out our city shouldn't be a reason to eschew veganism. You know where to find my address.

I said this in another thread, but in return I have one small request...if you make it downtown during your stay, like down to the French Quarter or the Garden District, would you please tell everyone when you get back home that the touristy parts of the city are okay? Yeah, a huge percentage of the city is pretty effed up, but our economy thrives on tourism and we need people to know that this part of the city, at least, is open for business and more or less untouched.
posted by Ian A.T. at 3:48 AM on February 22, 2006

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