A: Hi, these are some really important questions for anyone that is considering going vegan or just switching their food habits and going towards a cleaner, more natural diet.
I have been vegetarian for just under 20 years and more than half that time vegan (on and off).
When I first became vegan it was just an intuitive decision. I was probably 15 and had never met or heard of a vegetarian before that so I didn't know what I was doing and had no examples of vegetarians in my life. I felt that it was the right thing to do and dropped meat out of my diet. Then I started reading spiritual literature and it became more of a spiritual practice the way Osho said that veganism is just a part of Buddhism.
Do I have cravings? - Not any more! I am not sure if I have strong will power and once I decide something I do it or just eating this way makes you really appreciate and crave fresh food. Personally I enjoy everything I eat and I crave fruits and veggies. I do prepare some chocolate dishes and hot cocoa whenever I crave that. (I will post the recipe for the cocoa below) If I crave chocolate I have some healthy chocolate. I am not very dogmatic. But if you eat enough dates and fruit you actually satisfy your sweet tooth and you get your carbs in so I find that I don't crave chocolate.
As far as meat cravings go- I think the same applies. Give your body solid, good nutrition. You can even recreate your favorite foods in a healthy version- such as lentil burgers, black bean chipotle burgers, etc and your body will adjust. Just make sure that you eat enough carbs so you don't get overly hungry. If you under-eat then your body will try to overcompensate and crave high caloric foods.
I have not had a fried food craving for 10 years now :D I have developed an attraction to clean, high quality food and I can smell the rancidity of cooked oils and there is no way I can look and crave it or think that it could be yummy. i can really taste low quality oils and ingredients and it doesn't appeal to me. For example white sugar tastes empty and unsatisfying to me. Your body can tell there is no nutrition in low quality foods and after a while you begin to dislike them.
Definitely don't stress and don't exclude foods - just include so much good food that your cravings fall off. If you mess up and give in and have something "unhealthy" don't feel guilty. Just have a huge salad the next meal and keep moving forward. The body eventually adjusts to liking just vibrant, high quality food. And if you are eating right 90% of the time that's enough. There is even some evidence in support of cheat days- they can be healthy.
Hope that helps!
Here is the raw cacao drink recipe:
you can omit any of the ingredients that are not available in your country.
Raw or regular cacao powder
Dandelion root (or chicory coffee such as INKA which is widely available in Europe)
Shilajit (it's high in minerals, Enhances energy and stamina, it's detoxifying, Supports healthy menstrual functions, Supports the immune system and much more)
Cayenne powder (hot pepper, chipotle)
Hazelnut Stevia (or stevia, honey, maple syrup, unprocessed sugar, palm sugar, etc)
Optional organic essential oil of peppermint (less than half a drop - it's that strong)
You can heat the milk and mix everything in, stir and serve. It's delicious!