The Ghosts In Our Machine

LUSH Vancouver Ghost-Free Journey: Day 1

Photo by Rosemary Tarentino Foos

We welcome LUSH Vancouver to the 5-Day Ghost-Free Journey! This is exciting for us on so many levels – LUSH has been a generous supporter of this project and this is the first collective group GFJ for us. We have 4 guest coaches: Jennie Ridler, Tricia Stevens, Kelly Davidson, and Mike Kruse – all from LUSH.

Day 1 will focus primarily on food issues. This is often the most common place where a journey starts. LUSH distributed nutritional information  before the weekend in order to help with grocery shopping/meal planning. Hopefully you also had some time to check out the resources that are on this website.

How is everyone feeling today? Excited? Curious? Has anyone tried some new recipes over the weekend?

We would love to hear what your concerns/questions are. And as always, we hope that the rest of the community will join in wth encouragement and suggestions – it takes a village!

For the Ghosts,

Coaches Donna and Rosemary

The opinions we express as GFJ Coaches are ours personally. We are not professional health practitioners.  Neither are we treating a specific health care issue.  That means we are not offering advice on health-care problems. If you  are experiencing a health-care problem, it is important to seek the advice of a health professional. However we are experienced, practicing vegans and we look forward to coaching you on your journey.


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  1. Pearl Gottschalk May 13, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    To mark the first day of my Ghost Free Journey, I began to investigate my cultural foods and as I am Ukranian, I found that my homemade borscht was indeed 100% vegan! Sadly, my perogies have egg in the dough. But I will be bringing a big bowl of homemade healthy borscht to our potluck today. YUM! I also realized that I am already 90% vegan in my diet!

    • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      Pearl, I’ve never tried borscht, but your photo looks so appetizing! I think its really neat to explore your cultural foods, and to find ways to make them without animal products. Have you researched pierogi recipe without eggs? Here is one recipe from Post Punk Kitchen :

    • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm

      Hi Pearl!
      It is so comforting when we are able to enjoy vegan foods that are part of our cultural backgrounds. Rosemary has pointed you to an excellent resource. I think that the book Vegan Brunch (same author as the PPK) has a recipe for pierogies – either that or Vegan with a Vengeance.
      I’m looking forward to hearing all about the Potluck.
      90% vegan already – that is fantastic!!!

    • Coach Rosemary May 16, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Pearl! I hope you’re going to GRAZE tonight, as I just saw Pierogi on the menu 🙂

  2. Nina May 13, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Pearl, I LOVE borscht! Perhaps you will share your recipe with us? ENjoy the pot luck! Nina – Producer, TGIOM

  3. Laura May 13, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    So far today, I have realized that my breakfast (smoothies!) is usually vegan, the milk I put it my tea is not! So I am sitting here planning my trip to Superstore so I can get my hands on some almond milk (which I have at home, just not at the office!)

    I tried a new recipe last night – chocolate peanut butter cookies – for the potluck today… they don’t look remotely like the pictures, but I’m hoping they will still taste good! I seriously cannot emphasize how little my cookies look like these ones… practice makes perfect, though!

    I have also been furiously googling vegan candies (no one who knows me would be surprised!). Fuzzy Peaches, Twizzlers AND Oreos?! I’m going to be just fine!

    • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 1:03 pm

      I’ve been wanting to make the peanut butter pillows for a long time now. Let us know how they taste. 🙂
      Have you tried any of the creamers for tea/coffee? They are really good and a bit more creamy than regular almond milk. There are several brand descriptions in our Alternatives to Dairy Resource Guide as well. Have a great time at the potluck!

      • Kelly May 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm

        The peanut butter cookies were incredible!! Well done! There were so many great foods at the potluck today. Makes me want to cook!

        • Amanda Donelan May 14, 2013 at 1:35 am

          You should try these Super Peanut Cocoa Protein Balls that I was obsessed with, so easy to make and a nice energizing treat too.

          a few spoons of crunchy peanut butter
          a good drizzling of coconut oil
          a scoop of cocoa powder
          a good dashing of hemp protein powder
          a dusting of flaxseeds
          add the tiniest of apple juice

          Mix them all up
          Form into (slightly gooey) balls
          Rolls in some chopped cashews and cocoa nibs
          Refrigerate for 30 mins

          Perfect for a midday snack!

          • Coach Donna May 14, 2013 at 6:28 am

            I can’t wait to try these. I have been searching for more whole foods/raw types of snacks. Is this your own recipe?

            • Amanda Donelan May 15, 2013 at 12:00 am

              I found it in a recipe book from Solgar and replaced a few ingredients!

    • Elizabeth May 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm

      Laura, I feel like we are in the same tea boat. I recieved a bit of a shock this morning when I realized that my favourite tea (Red Velvet Cake from DavidsTea) is not vegan. I am glad I looked at the ingredients because tea is pretty random and the thought that it might not be vegan barely crossed my mind.

      I decided to embrace this journey by also trying out new foods. I recently purchased some raw kelp noodles and I have no idea what I am going to do with them. Has anyone else tried them before? I am thinking a stir fry!

      • Laura May 13, 2013 at 1:32 pm

        Ahh! You’re so adventurous. Kelp noodles! If you bring leftovers to work I am going to be circling you like a vulture to see what they’re like!

        • Elizabeth May 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm

          I will save some for you! haha

          • Jen May 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm

            Let us know how they were. I saw them but they were pricy so I put them back!!

      • Melissa May 13, 2013 at 2:40 pm

        yikes! currently checking my tea collection….

        • Coach Rosemary May 14, 2013 at 8:20 am

          Wondering if all of you tea lovers can share what may be in your tea that is not vegan? Thank you 🙂

          • NIna May 14, 2013 at 9:36 am

            I am also very curious about what could be non-vegan in tea?

            • Melissa May 14, 2013 at 10:23 am

              A lot of the teas that I have contain either white chocolate, milk chocolate, some even with gelatin. (I have one with marshmallows in it) Of course there are loads that are vegan- We are just tea fanatics in our office so we have every tea under the sun here!

              • Melissa May 14, 2013 at 10:43 am

                I have the biggest sweet tooth ever so as long as I can make my tea ultra-sweet I am fine! This morning it is earl grey with soy milk and (way too much) sugar.

      • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        Elizabeth – you are indeed being adventurous. I have never tried kelp noodles and I am curious as to how they turned out.
        I have to say that I really love the positive vibes and beautiful encouragement that you are all sharing with one another. So often, people who take this journey have no support system. Yay LUSH!!

        • Elizabeth May 14, 2013 at 10:49 am

          Thank you! I will let everyone know how they turned out once I eat them. I really want to like them so I am on the hunt for a really yummy recipe.

  4. Diana Alvarez May 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    Hello everyone, I am from Colombia and coffe with milk is part of our everyday breakfast to replace that I went to the Latino shop last weekend to stock up my tropical fruit pulps. my breakfast was a delicious blackberry juice and I started the day fresh and light ,
    I am planing to have a lot of fruit this week!!!

    • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Hi Diana! Ah, Fruit…the “original fast food”!
      Have you tried non-diary milk in your coffee yet? Let us know if you need assistance in your search.

    • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      Hi Diana – coffee is a real musy for me too! There is absolutely no need to forgoe this pleasure.
      As Rosemary mentioned, there are resources listed on the website. I have a fondness for Wildwood Soy Creamer.
      How wonderful that you have such eas access to fruit pulps.I would love to hear more about what you do with them

  5. Aimee May 13, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Wow, that borscht looks great! wish I could have a bowl from California 🙂
    I am excited–but a little nervous–about this journey. My breakfast was green tea and a bowl of Gorilla Munch cereal with almond milk. I usually only have coffee until mid-am, full of milk and sugar (a lot like me, before this challenge).
    HAPPY DAY ONE, Everyone!

    • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Aimee…is there anything we can do to help with your anxiety about the GFJ? I’m sure you are not the only person who feels this way.
      We’re here to assist you and want this to be a positive experience.

      • Aimee May 13, 2013 at 2:32 pm

        Thank you! I am sure it will be a positive experience. I wouldn’t say it’s anxiety so much as a rather crushing awareness of my habits…but I am determined and feel good this morning. My vanilla lattes are a small sacrifice for a greater good. I haven’t had a soy latte in literally years, but i’m sure I will this week. (But I will stick to Green Tea in the am–I like the gentle buzz)

        • Britt Arntsen May 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm

          Hi Aimee, I am in the same boat. I love my morning cup of tea with milk. Over the years, I have tried experimenting with a plethora of non-dairy substitutes, including soy milk, rice milk, quinoa milk and my favourite – almond milk. However, no matter how many times I have tried I always end up going back to cow milk because I just like the way it tastes. So that is definitely one of my barriers too. I have however been able to switch my dairy ice cream for coconut ice cream for about a year now. I don’t even miss it because I love the coconut ice cream. I buy the “So Delicious” chocolate fudge bars. They are small but they satisfy that sweet craving and they are only 50 calories a bar!

          • Aimee May 15, 2013 at 5:16 pm

            I love the So Delicious brand–and I agree, they are just as great, if not even better, than cow’s milk ice cream. I stocked up on a bunch of them, plus a lot of dark chocolate when I shopped for this week, as I have a wicked sweet tooth. I am currently sipping a soy vanilla latte, and enjoying it more than i thought i would 🙂

    • Nina May 13, 2013 at 1:35 pm

      Hi Aimee,
      I became vegan as a result of working on this project. As far as changing personal habits – one of my big early concerns was saying farewell to my beloved morning tea with milk as well as lattes at the coffee shop. I can honestly say that now I love my soy lattes and Natura soy milk (plain) in my morning tea. I have come to love the creamy consistency.
      And regarding any anxiety, you are among friends here…

    • Jennie May 13, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Too bad you couldn’t join the potluck lunch today Aimee, but I’m collecting all of the amazing recipes so that I can share them! We’ll do our best to make you feel part of the group experience, even though you are out of town!.

  6. Rebecca May 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Hello everyone!
    I’m so excited to be a part of this journey!
    I’m a student still in class so I’m trying many budget friendly meals. I’d love to show everyone this amazing vegan cookie recipe I have– once I made these, my partner’s been asking for another batch every second night.
    It’s amazing that by just using bananas, you can bypass all the bad ingredients for you that are the binders in cookies- eggs, sugar, butter, milk. If you don’t have all of the ingredients, we even just enjoy baking bananas with quick oats for a yummy snack:)

    Here’s one for the coaches– I’m allergic to coconut and I notice that coconut/coconut oil is used in so many vegan substitutes. I feel I’m going to miss cheese the absolute most at times and have looked into both options for vegan cheese on your site. Both brands have coconut oil in them…is there anything else you guys might be able to suggest? What is walnut cheese?

    Thanks for all the support and I’m looking forward to a life changing week,

    • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      Check out Treeline and Dr. Cow…they are nut-based cheeses. Perhaps a local shop may sell them in Vancouver, or you can always order. There are also many resources out there to make your own cheese 🙂

      • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm

        Hi Rebecca!
        Here is recipe for vegan “ricotta” that I seem to post about during every journey. It is delicious to use in lasagna’s or just as adip with veggies:

        Cashew Ricotta (from Veganomicon)
        bu Isa Chandra Moskowitz

        ½ cup raw cashew pieces (approx 4 ounces)
        ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
        2 tablespoons olive oil
        2 cloves garlic
        1 pound firm tofu, drained and crumbled
        1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
        1 ½ teaspoons salt

        In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic until a thick creamy paste forms. Add the crumbled tofu to the processor and mix until the mixture is thick and well blended. Add basil and salt and blend.

        Also, I have heard people raving about this book:

        • Kelly May 13, 2013 at 7:57 pm

          This looks REALLY good.. I have never tried my own vegan cheeses but this looks easy and I like the simplicity of the ingredients. I see some veggie lasagna in my future!!

          • Emily May 13, 2013 at 8:50 pm

            Since cheese has always been my Achilles heel in past vegan attempts I bought the artisan vegan cheese book on the iTunes bookstore. Going to try my hand with sharp cheddar cashew cheese tonight, I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

            • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 9:02 pm

              I can’t wait to hear about it, Emily. Nut based vegan cheeses are so luxuriously delicious.

        • Amanda Donelan May 14, 2013 at 1:12 am

          Oh yum, DIY Vegan cheese, that sounds amazing! I’ve been vegetarian for nearly six years now, 80% vegan but I just couldn’t kick the occasional cheese (plus chocolate)… I am so trying this recipe!

  7. Jen May 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    So far so good, my 14 year old is seems excited about trying this for a week (she seems excited to extend it beyond that as well) The 2 year old is even embracing the almond milk. My breakfasts are usually vegan, so no big change there. One challenge was a quick sandwich that was not peanut butter and jam for the picky teenager, she tried vegan mayo and cucumbers.
    This morning I made some pasta for the potluck, burnt my pine nuts to a crisp and now I smell like smoke!
    I guess there is just one more thing to think about now (learning a new diet) I’m sure like anything it will become second nature.
    Tonight we are trying this

    We’ll see if the toddler think that that measure up!

    • Laura May 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm

      I got an eggplant from my veggie delivery service this week specifically because I saw that you had pinned this! You will have to let me know how it goes…

      • Jen May 13, 2013 at 1:38 pm

        I’ll let you know.
        I’ve discovered already that a food processor will be in my very near future! My blender is probably going to be tough for this recipe..

        • Elizabeth May 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm

          I love eggplant and that recipe looks amazing! I will have to try it out as well.

    • Jennie May 13, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      This looks delicious! If this kids wont eat it, please bring leftovers for us !!!!

      • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 7:45 pm

        You all sound like great cooks. Jen – we would love to hear more about how your family experiences this journey with you.

        Does anybody else have family members joining in?

  8. Jennie May 13, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    I’m really looking forward to our Potluck Lunch today! I’m bringing Chana Masala and I cannot wait to try everyone else’s dishes and getting some inspiration to try new recipes…..I find that I get stuck making variations on the same 5 or 6 favorite meals again & again so it will be great to explore new options!

    • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

      This looks amazing, Jennie! Have fun at the potluck today.

    • Laura May 13, 2013 at 1:33 pm

      Yum! Why isn’t it noon yet?

  9. Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    It’s so wonderful that so many of you have already made some vegan dishes for your potluck, and trying new recipes. What a great way to start the week!

  10. Melissa May 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Good morning/afternoon!

    I am sad I won’t be making the potluck today, but I thought I would share my favourite vegan recipe of all time. I have dabbled in a vegan diet on and off for a couple of years, and am excited that this opportunity came up to jumpstart a re-commitment for me again. Here is is- avocado bruschetta! Just be sure to check the ingredients on the bread that you put with it. Crackers are lovely too!

    • Laura May 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      We missed you, son!

    • Aimee May 13, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      Yum, that sounds so good–will definitely make this recipe this week.

      I also didn’t have the chance to Potluck it up, but enjoyed a giant organic salad full of greens, sugar plum tomatoes, pinenuts and a whole avocado. i used a new O&V set my sister-in-law gave me just yesterday for Mother’s Day, and I will use it all week, it’s so tasty! The oil is infused with Persian Limes and the white balsamic has Cara Cara Oranges and Vanilla. unusual and such a light, happy dressing together.
      I have a fierce sweet tooth so polished it off with 4 wedges of heavenly dark chocolate.
      Hope everyone has a lovely feast tonight and I look forward to the other aspects of this journey.

      • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 5:41 pm

        Heavenly salad, Aimee…and the dressing sounds wonderful as well.

    • Kendra May 14, 2013 at 12:06 am

      This is what I brought for the Potluck, everyone. Melissa and I were roommates when we came across this recipe, and it has been our mutual go-to ever since. It’s one of those recipes that I call inadvertently Vegan or dad-friendly (I know, bad stereotype) because it appeals to everyone, Vegan or not.

  11. Jennie May 13, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Just back from our POTLUCK! Thanks everyone, that was soooooo amazing. Pastas, wraps, salads, snacks, dips, cookies, candy, soups, stirfrys, bread, fruit and more !!!! We agreed that I’ll collect all of the recipes so that we can share with everyone. I feat I may have eaten too much deliciousness…is it nap time now?? Photos to follow soon!

    • Laura May 13, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Jennie you are the best thing to happen to veganism and me. Thank you so much for organizing everything! There are quite a few recipes I can’t wait to get my hands on!

    • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      What a great idea to collect all the recipes and share them! The potluck sounds like it was a success 🙂

      • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 7:55 pm

        yes- sounds like you can put together a cookbook!!! I can’t wait to see photos.

    • Nina May 14, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Hi Jennie, I would love to see a photo of the pot luck! It makes me hungry to read about all these food ideas!

  12. NIna May 13, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    I can’t wait to see the photos!

  13. Diana Alvarez May 13, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    being in the pot luck today, a lot of people mention I am 90 % vegan or 70% or any other number and I was wondering if there is any footprint vegan calculator just to know my own base line where I am starting at, I have done my footprint for style of life and maybe there is something similar for animal cruelty free life

    • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm

      Hi Diana!

      As Kelly stated so well – every step makes a huge impact and everyone’s journey is unique. It is best to not worry about where you are at versus somebody else.but rather where you are at compared to where you used to be.

    • Jennie May 13, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      I really like the idea of measuring your “animal footprint” and trying to reduce it. I’ve been searching online but haven’t been able to see a tool to help with this. I think that with increased awareness you will inevitably make choices to reduce your impact on animals, but there may not be a scientific way to quantify that. Has anyone else ever heard of something like this?

      • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 9:58 pm

        Here is a simple calculator, Jennie. It tells you how many animals you save with vegan diet and how much Co2 not released also!


        • Jennie May 13, 2013 at 10:02 pm

          Great! Thanks Rosemary, I’ll check this out now 🙂

        • Amanda Donelan May 14, 2013 at 1:44 am

          This is a good way of showing that everyone’s choices, whether daily or lifetime, really can make an impact.

          • Coach Donna May 14, 2013 at 6:26 am

            absolutely, Amanda. Each step is very meaningful.

        • Coach Rosemary May 14, 2013 at 8:32 am

          There is a beautiful book called “Ninety-Five”, with stories of individual farmed animals. The stories and photographs are really captivating, and in so, you get a glimpse of their individual life and how sentient it is

          There are also two terms that come to mind for me when I think “numbers” ….it’s Bruce Friedrich’s (Farm Sanctuary) “Someone, not Something” and Jo-Anne McArthur and Karol Orzechowski’s
          1 + 1+1+1…..
          The numbers are huge, but perhaps if we think about each individuals’ life, we can make it better for that 1.

  14. Kelly May 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I think it is hard to gauge a percentage. I haven’t heard of any tool. I think that every change makes a huge impact! It’s all about your personal journey. 🙂

  15. Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    .I love hearing about the dishes that were made for the potluck and the level of enthusiasm is fanastic!!!
    I would love to know a little bit more about some of the reasons why the participants have decided to take this journey.

    • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Many of you have mentioned how difficult it might be to give up cheese, and so I thought it might be helpful to have a discussion about the dairy industry.
      Here is an interesting article –

      • Jennie May 13, 2013 at 9:39 pm

        Thanks Donna. I had thought that cheese would be the hardest thing to give up….I avoided taking that final step for quite some time.I found that by educating myself about the dairy industry, it really became an easy choice to move forward without it. For anyone who doesn’t have the time to make their own cheese, I’d recommend trying Daiya cheese. This is such a great dairy alternative and allows us to easily recreate a cruelty free version of those favorite comfort foods such as pizza. (plus it is great to support a local company producing vegan choices !!)

      • Coach Rosemary May 13, 2013 at 10:16 pm

        This is a photo of me with Sonny, a sweet calf that was a”by- product” of the dairy industry. Male calves are often discarded or confined for 4months until they are slaughtered for veal.

        Sonny’s rescue is featured in The Ghosts In Our Machine film, and his story has caught the attention of many who now want to learn about the dairy industry.
        What are your thoughts about dairy?

        • Nina May 14, 2013 at 10:44 am

          Here is the image of Rosemary with the very popular Sonny!

  16. Kelly May 13, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Hey guys! I found this website and it has tons of vegan resources…

    The restaurant list is great!

    • Jennie May 13, 2013 at 8:14 pm

      Looks great Kelly! I love seeing the photos from the places that I haven’t yet tried, it makes them seem even more inviting 🙂

    • Amanda Donelan May 15, 2013 at 1:00 am

      Mmm, looks amazing! Getting hungry again 🙂 Everyone should definitely go to Panz, it’s sooooo good. They do a great lunch menu, perfect for a first visit to try a few things! Also, Whole Vegetarian on Beach Ave, is very similar but with a gorgeous view of Granville Island! Both have mock meat dishes which would be nice for newbies 🙂

  17. Sasha May 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Hey guys! Thank you for the potluck today.. I was amazed how much different food you can make without meat.. I’m going to have a nice quinova salad tonight.. I thought that the first day of the vegan diet will be hard but i really enjoy it.

    • Kelly May 13, 2013 at 9:23 pm

      That’s great Sasha!! There are so many incredible vegan choices out there, it just takes a little thought, preparation and an open mind! The bonus – it is much healthier and comes with good karma!

    • Jennie May 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      So great to hear that your first day has been such a positive experience, Sasha. Here is another great link to lots of recipes. I’m not very good at following them 100%, but I do like to browse online for ideas.

    • Coach Donna May 13, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Hi Sasha! It’s really wonderful that you are enjoying the journey. Quinoa salad sounds delicious. It seems like the potluck really provided such a great intro for many. Rosemary and I really wish that we could have been there.

  18. Kendra May 13, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Hey everyone! It was wonderful to start the 5-Day Ghost Free Journey today with such a spectacular assortment of delicious food at our potluck. I decided to take part in the challenge because I have been a Vegetarian for almost 8 years and have frequently dabbled in Veganism, but just never stuck with it. I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to try again because we are going to have such a terrific support system. It seems every time I do commit to my version of a Vegan lifestyle, I am able to do so for lengthier and lengthier periods of time, so I hope that this is good news for anyone overwhelmed by it all as a first-timer.

    However, I always find myself digressing back to including Dairy and Eggs into my diet. I would love some tips on staying committed for over 6 months, which is the longest period of time I’ve spent being Vegan. I have two habitual things that come up time and time again and always seem to derail me. Firstly, I have a tendency to lose sight of the initial instigator or inspiraton that is responsible for setting me on the Vegan path to begin with OR I get too overwhelmed by it to reference it again (for example, watching the GIOM film was a great motivator, but for me personally it is too heartbreaking to watch something like this once a month so that I can stay committed.) Secondly, I find that everytime I get ill and visit a medical professional, I am advised to incorporate Dairy and Eggs back into my diet at the very least no matter what ails me (they always suggest meat, but I refuse to eat it.) I find even Naturopaths often fight me on a Vegan/Vegetarian lifestyle instead of suggesting alternative aids. But how do you argue with professionals when it comes to health? I know this is kind of broad (and lengthy, sorry!) but any suggestions would be very appreciated!

    • Jennie May 14, 2013 at 12:20 am

      Kendra, thanks for raising these issues; no doubt other people will be struggling with similar concerns and it would be great if we can get a range of responses to try and offer some varied suggestions (hopefully something among them will resonate with you). With regard to the motivation, I completely understand that you may choose not to repeatedly confront yourself with reminders of animal cruelty. One possible approach might be to write a private letter to yourself about why you have chosen to be vegan? I think that re-reading your own words may be a good way to remind you of the choices that you have made and the reasons why you made them. You can decide how much detail to include and focus on the reasons that you most identify with.

      With regard to your health, it is never advisable to ignore the advice of a health professional and none of us are qualified to give specific advice on this. What I do know though is that many people successfully live very healthily (and often thrive) on a plant based diet. Most doctors and nutritionists that I have encountered have very little expertise with veganism. Unfortunately this could mean that they may suggest reintroducing animal products into your diet not because it is the only option to ensure that your body is getting what it needs, but perhaps because it is the only option that they are informed & confident in.
      I’d recommend doing as much reading as research as you possibly can to ensure that you are getting a balanced, nutritious diet. It is important that when you cut out animal products from your meals, you replace them with other foods that can provide the essential components of a healthy diet. The more you can learn about what your body needs, the better equipped you will be to make sure that you are eating a well rounded diet. These are some of the sites that I have found really helpful as I have tried to educate myself;‎

      Another option (although not something that I have experienced) would be to search for a vegan doctor, or a medical professional that specializes in plant based nutrition – I had a quick look and found a few options here in Vancouver. I wonder if that might be a good approach?

      Does anyone else have any experience with this?

      • Kendra May 15, 2013 at 10:00 am

        Thanks Jennie, this is really useful feedback. I especially like the idea about the letter, kind of like my own personal “We Believe” that can encompass all the reasons why a Vegan lifestyle is something that I can ideally commit to for over 6 months at a time.

        Also a big thanks for all of the website suggestions. I didn’t mean to make it sound like I ignore the advice of Doctors (although re-reading it, it definitely comes across this way.) I just meant to say that it’s a little frustrating when they make no attempt to diagnose and instead assume that I’m ill because I’m careless about what I’m consuming, which I find unfair. But I will search for a Vegan Dr/specialist, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of that to begin with.

        Thank you, again!!!

    • Nicole Kaczorek May 14, 2013 at 3:21 am

      Kendra, have you seen Vegucated? It’s on Netflix if you have it! I recommend it because there’s a doctor in the movie (Dr. Furhman) and he actually encourages a vegan diet! I wish he could be my doctor. It’s difficult to argue with “professionals”, and I’ve had the same experiences, but in the end I trust my body more than I trust the medical industry.

      Kelly can add more insight into this topic – she has his book, and she knows a lot about how a vegan diet can actually help some medical issues, when medicine can’t!

      • Kendra May 15, 2013 at 10:01 am

        Awesome, I have not watched that one yet, but now I know what I’m doing tonight!

    • Coach Donna May 14, 2013 at 6:45 am

      Hi Kendra!
      We have found that being part of a community of people who are supportive is a huge help. We strongly encourage past participants to stay involved on the Ghosts FB page and also to join in on future journies.
      It can be difficult when “professionals” disagree with our choices. Have you checked out PCRM’s website?
      Lots of nutritional info – and PCRM is headed up by medical doctors.

      You stated:
      “It seems every time I do commit to my version of a Vegan lifestyle, I am able to do so for lengthier and lengthier periods of time, so I hope that this is good news for anyone overwhelmed by it all as a first-timer.” That is great – you are an inspiration for others.

      • Coach Rosemary May 14, 2013 at 8:40 am

        Hi Kendra! I totally agree with Donna about trying to build a community of support and inspiration. That may look different for each of us, but here are a few suggestions that we’ve found helpful for others:

        Join a local meet-up group.
        Join a local vegetarian society group
        Read informative books and inspirational books to keep your awareness fresh. (I’d be happy to share books that I love).
        Interact with vegetarians or vegans on Facebook
        Visit a Farm Sanctuary

        As far as medical/nutrition advise goes, most doctors only get a few hours of nutritional instruction. Other resources aside from PCRM (which is great), are Dr. McDougal, and Dr. Furhman, as well as the work of Jack Norris, Ginny Messina, and Julianna Hever…all registered dietitians. 😉

        • Kendra May 15, 2013 at 10:09 am

          Wow, so many suggestions. Thanks so much for all of these names. This will be extremely useful!

      • Kendra May 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

        Thanks so much. I really like the idea of getting involved with a group. A little bit of accountability and a lot of support, especially when I start to waiver with my commitment. And I have not seen this website, so thanks for the suggestion!

  19. Roxy! May 14, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Hi I’m a Vancouver Lushie via Maryland but definitely part of the team – I am already vegetarian for the past 21 years – was vegan for the first two. Being Asian, my diet is already rich in vegetables and grains but I found that I did vegan incorrectly when I started (all I ate was spinach, rice, mushrooms and tomato sauce) so now I’ve battled iron deficiency ever since. That was my bad. I find that I love and adore anything rice and spicy, so it will be awesome to rediscover the vegan lifestyle – but this time with friends! Thank you <3

    • Coach Donna May 14, 2013 at 6:49 am

      Welcome Roxy!!!! We look forward to being part of your journey. What a great way to look at this – this time with friends! 🙂

  20. lizmars May 14, 2013 at 1:28 am

    Hello everyone! Wow! What an exciting 5-DAY GHOST-FREE JOURNEY. 🙂

    I want to draw attention to the LEARN MORE section of our website, specifically the DAIRY section in light of today’s thread about food, and people’s love of cheese.

    THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE documentary focusses on the dairy industry, and we offer the opportunity for people to learn more about plenty of delicious ghost free dairy alternatives. Thanks to Coach Rosemary for the amazing research:



    Liz Marshall

    Animals are hidden in the shadows of our highly mechanized world



    A vital film that needed to be made at this point in history and has been made magnificently. 


    The truth can be hard to take, but we have an obligation to look and see what’s going on, and, if we don’t like it, a chance to stop going along with it. This important film provides precisely that insight and that opportunity.


  21. Janine Pham May 14, 2013 at 2:32 am

    WHEW!!!! Thank god today is over. I’m not gonna lie to you guys, day one was ROUGH. I was unprepared, on the go, and ended up eating like a crazed koala bear. For some background, I was born and raised in a family that celebrates a good rare steak. I have tried to go vegan many times before only to my father erupt in laughter and then serve BBQ for dinner. So this challenge is awesomely fun and difficult but I love you guys so buckle up!

    I woke up to much of the same problems that you all encountered – what to replace the milk in my tea?! Followed by a shame spiral of wanting to use honey because technically bees weren’t hurt in this process and isn’t this just their “job”…

    Then I went to work in Surrey which it turns out, is hostile to vegans, so I mostly dined on ice water, fresh fruit, and granola bars. After that, I returned to beautiful vegan paradise Vancouver where I had scrumptious pizza with a smoothie at Gorilla Foods where the servers will talk to you at length about their dietary habits (both delightful and enraging when you’re already running behind).

    In the evening at LUSH, Nicole fed me those delicious cocoa balls of protein that Amanda mentioned above. Mariah gave me trail mix too. A huge thanks to my wonderfully encouraging team.

    Now I’m home and eating my body mass worth of dragon fruit and pineapples. You vegans sure love to struggle. Day 2, DO YOUR WORST!!!

    FYI, the info package is invaluable (a million thanks Jennie!) and I downloaded a million vegan apps on my phone. No one can stop a girl with an iphone full of apps.

    • Coach Donna May 14, 2013 at 7:15 am

      Hi Janine!!!
      Keep your enthusiasism and sense of humor – 2 invaluable assets when making life changes.
      Every day gets easier – especially when you are surrounded by so much positivity.
      You will see as the week goes on that we vegans love to eat – and there sure are lots of awesome foods and recipes out there!

  22. janine pham May 14, 2013 at 2:42 am

    Ps. While doing some late night shopping, I noticed that there are A LOT of vegan products trying to imitate meat…that’s messed up right? (doesn’t that shatter the entire moral ground for some vegans? how strange is it to manipulate soy bean paste into a “chicken nugget” and what kind of nuclear chemicals were involved? … my instincts just don’t trust it)

    • Nicole Kaczorek May 14, 2013 at 3:04 am

      Janine, your post made me smile. I will bring you delicious cocoa balls of protein any time, girl.

      For me, meal-planning really helped! I went to two grocery stores, and stocked up on everything I would need. Having little snacks on you is definitely helpful as well. I also HATE cooking. I like to look up recipes, and then eat the subsequent meal.. but I hate the actual cooking part if I have to do it more than once. Plus, like you, I’m always on the go! What I do is make a big serving of chili or something yummy (today Evan made lentil stew), and then I have meals for lunch or dinner for the next few days when I’m in a rush or just super lazy.

      As for your hesitation on imitation meat, I am equally wary of it and have never tried it before! I have been a vegetarian now for 8 or so years, and I went cold turkey – no pun intended! … I’m the worst because I make that terrible joke ALL THE TIME. Anyway, I watched some horrifying videos, threw up in the chicken that was sitting nauseatingly in my stomach, and never ate meat again. So, everything about meat just grosses me out and I never really want some fake chicken. It might be good if you’re struggling to give up meat, but if you find it creepy, you really don’t need it. Veggie burgers are great because they taste like vegetables, not wannabe meat! Evan and I are making these babies tomorrow:

      • Coach Donna May 14, 2013 at 7:21 am

        Hi Nicole!
        I love the ohsheglows website!!! Thank you for posting it here. Some people feel the need for familiar foods and find it much easier to substitute faux meats – others feel the way that you do.
        How do you feel about tempeh and seitan products – have you tried cooking with them?

        • Nicole Kaczorek May 15, 2013 at 4:07 am

          Hello Donna!

          I just discovered Oh She Glows, and I might be a bit obsessed. I think that most of the recipes I’ve planned for this week are from her blog!!

          I have never tried cooking with tempeh or seitan- I have also never cooked a meal with tofu either, now that I think about. I think I’m going to look up a recipe, and maybe give one of those a try this week! I have never been the biggest lover of long cooking processes, so I find that I usually just whip up the easiest option. However, today I spent hours in the kitchen, and I loved it! After I made a delicious dinner, and ate it, I went back to make dessert! I find being a vegetarian so easy, so it doesn’t really force you to be creative. But vegan cooking is quite exciting! It’s a challenge, and that’s the fun part!

  23. Emily Taylor May 14, 2013 at 3:09 am

    So today was okay. Easier than I thought. I bought Vanilla rice milk which is lovely with porridge but far to creamy for my tea and coffee. I LOVE milk and have tried soya, almond, rice and coconut milks in the past but none compare to the real thing for me sadly. I ate lunch at a cafe in Granville Island which was okay. I ordered a Quinoa, Hummus salad wrap but it was really bland. Also had a Vegan brownie. Also dry and bland. These were the only options available which made me sad. This annoyed me as I feel like so many more people would be open to become Vegan if there were tastier options available. Dinner consisted of a Vege wrap from a sandwich place near my shop. This was super delicious and I will definitely be getting it again over my usual chicken option. Im looking forward to cooking some of my Vegan treats tomorrow on my day off and trying Dairy free cheese for the first time. At the moment I feel becoming a full time Vegan would be quite a challenge for me but Vegetarian is most delifinetly an option…..

    • Coach Donna May 14, 2013 at 7:28 am

      Hi Emily!
      I too feel disappointed when vegan foods are offered at eateries and are bland and boring – not at all an accurate representation of what is possible.
      It does become much easier with time – I can’t wait to hear about your Day 2 of cooking.
      Have you had a chance to look at the resources info on this website ?

  24. Ash Davies May 14, 2013 at 3:35 am

    Today was a good day. I always feel much better when I eat vegan and to be honest the main reason I don’t do it all the time is out of laziness and my intense love of cheese. I find I aways choose healthier options when I am choosing to be vegan. I only ate two meals today because I was feeling under the weather but i had porridge with almond milk and banana for breakfast which is deliciously sweet then later in the day I just threw together some kale, spinach, cabbage, peppers, yams, corn and edamame with some sweet chili sauce which was totally satisfying and made me feel full in the good way not the way where I need to go into a food coma because my liver is not able to process all the rubbish I just ate. Excited for what delicious food tomorrow will bring.

  25. Nicole Kaczorek May 14, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Hello everyone! Today was a great start to this amazing journey. I have been vegetarian for about 8 years, and although I don’t purposefully consume a lot of dairy (I have never liked milk, eggs, yogurt, etc.), I do love cheese. Whenever others tried to push me into veganism, it was very frustrating. I just felt like other vegans didn’t see my being vegetarian as enough for animals. However, when I watched the documentary last week, something clicked for me (for those who haven’t seen it, there’s a moment that takes note of how many people go vegetarian for animals, but ignore the dairy industry’s equally if not worse record for animal abuse). I gave up meat for ethical reasons, not health or environmental reasons (although those benefits are great, too). Why was I ignoring how terribly dairy cows are treated? I can’t boycott the meat industry, and ignore this part of it. I’m so happy for this journey because it has really pushed me into taking this next step! I loved our discussion at the potluck today as well. It’s not about being the “perfect vegan”, but just about trying to lessen your impact on animals.

    Anyway, now to actually talk about FOOD. I was so excited yesterday that I stayed up late cooking! My partner and I are doing the journey together. He lives with me, and he’s also vegetarian. I made chick pea salad wraps for both the potluck and for my own dinner. I also made those yummy chocolate maroons others were discussing, and came home after work to some delicious lentil stew to eat. Lentil stew is my favourite when you want to use up the rest of your carrots, celery, etc. before they go bad! I have tomorrow off, so I will actually have time to play with some more recipes.

    • Coach Donna May 14, 2013 at 6:36 am

      How great that your partner is taking this journey with you,Nicole.
      Feeling pushed into making changes usually does not have a good result. One of the things that we often discuss during these journies is the “aha” moment. It isn’t the moment that you find out about the truth – but rather the moment when you are ready to connect deeply to it. It sounds like you made that connection while watching the film.
      As you said – It’s not about being the “perfect vegan”, but just about trying to lessen your impact on animals.

  26. Laura Cuthbert May 14, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I’m just starting to get the hang of this, and agreed–meal planning is the saving grace. Last night I made two Vegan lasagnas and froze one for next week. I also made some delicious almond milk, and added a bit of peppermint extract–delish!

    • Coach Rosemary May 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      You must have been cooking all day, Laura! The lasagna’s sound wonderful, and making your own almond milk is so healthy! Glad you’re having fun with this 🙂

  27. Kelly May 14, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Wow!! What a first day! I am so proud of each of you exploring this new lifestyle. For some reason the website wouldn’t let me on last night, but I am back!! I thought I would just leave a few comments in one post…

    Health – I have done lots of research into the health aspects of a vegan diet. We do have to be a bit more careful about getting all of our vitamins! Eat to Live, by Joel Fuhrman, MD is a great book to explain how to get all of your nutrients. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is a documentary on Netflix that is also great. I am currently looking for a Vegan friendly Dr. – I want to make sure that I am getting advice from someone who respects my choices and can guide me based on that. And really, is the breast milk from another animal really the answer?? I think not…

    Fake meat – As I was transitioning to Vegetarian a couple years ago, I ate lots of fake meat. These days, not so much… sometimes if I get a veggie burger somewhere and it tastes too much like beef I get creeped out, drill the server to make sure there was no mistake and it kind of ruins it for me. I LOVE tofu and tempeh though, and coconut bacon is the best!

    Longevity – I keep myself motivated with a number of things. I am constantly checking out delicious recipes, have added tons of vegan organizations to my FB and have a community of friends that are also vegan. Our coaches Rosemary and Donna have been a huge support for me!! Jennie – you too!! I do watch every documentary out there as well, I don’t like to see the harsh parts though… but a reminder to keep my blinders off is important.

    Bland Vegan Food – your tastebuds will change! It is true that some cooks have never cooked vegan so it turns out bland but you will start liking different things. I crave veggies and fruits more than before, think kale is the bomb and notices the subtle flavours in different foods. Plant based foods are more subtle in my opinion.

    Cheers to day 2!

  28. Roxy! May 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Coconut facon? *ears perk*

  29. Coach Rosemary May 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    This is a great site for recipes and nutrition info, with easy, user-friendly options:

  30. Aimee May 15, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I was just invited to a potluck at my kid’s new school–and I am going to try to bring one of these new vegan recipes inspired by this journey. I like the idea of doing small things that help share the experience with others, it feels like paying it forward a bit.

    • Coach Rosemary May 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm

      Awesome- Aimee 🙂 Let us know how it turns out!