Ok I've decided to become a Vegan. I have a house-mate who has been for a while. I've eaten several dinners she has made and I feel like I could do it. Has anyone gone this route and if so is there really a difference?
Yes, it's totally different from regular meals and even from vegetarian meals. In my opinion vegan diet ain't so good for health. There are lots of fighting what is better - vegan, vegetarian, regular, sea diet... But truth is that the best is balance. Eat meat and complete your diet with vegetables. You can eat more vegs but don't forget about animal proteins. Unfortunetly vegetable protein can't replace this from meat.
Do whatever you want. Nothing prevents to mixing vegan, vegetarian and meat-eater diet (:
Vegans are, the mostly, people which don't eat meat and animal products cause of morality. I was trying this diet. It's simple to have insufficienty of something.
Being vegan is something you have to approach a little carefully. You have to learn what you will be missing out on by not eating meat and other animal products, and learn how to get those things from plant sources. I'm pretty sure it's totally possible to get EVERYTHING you need from plants, most people who will tell you otherwise are not vegans, nor nutritionists.
Something to really pay attention to, as a woman, is iron and calcium. Meat eaters can get enough iron without really even thinking about it, but vegans need to be very conscious of their food choices, if they want to be healthy.
There are a lot of resources out there for learning about this, though, and especially in this age of technology & information, your learning curve will be a lot faster than mine was.
I was vegan for over four years and have forgotten a ton of stuff I used to know. I eventually stopped during a period of extreme economic hardship, and have just never gone back. In addition to learning about basic needs and nutrition, you will pick up a lot of cooking skills and do-it-yourself skills. I learned how to make vegan parmasan cheese, vegan lasagna, stuffed peppers, seitan, carrot cake, and super rich chocolate dream cake. I'm not vegan anymore but just the other day I learned how to make almond milk and I was reminded of how satifisfying it was to do things like that on a regular basis.
It's easier to maintain a slim weight as a vegan, and I would swear I felt a difference in my emotional state. I was less likely to feel anger in various situations. I don't know if this is actually true but I thought so.
Back in those days I ate a lot more soy than I would recommend now that there is more and more info coming out about possible side effects of soy, but these days are a great time to try going vegan, with the internet putting so many alternative ideas at our fingertips.
I highly recommend trying to eat vegan for a while, if only for the experience of learning so much about nutrition. You really gotta do your homework on this.