(Closed) Silly question, but… tips on becoming vegetarian?

posted 6 years ago in Wellness
Post # 3
454 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@MadameTussaud:  There is an ultra tasty Quinoa recipe that I make that even SO enjoys. http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/creamy-quinoa-primavera/22b5e2bd-04c9-44f2-9e42-66b6b24f5d76  I usually use low-sodium broth and light cream cheese to bring down the calories.

They key is to eat protein and B vitamins.  Look at fake meat options (they now have soy free brands), beans, and eat lots of leafy greens.  And take vitamins…cannot stress vitamins enough.  Visit your local Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/Co-op and you’ll find a ton of vegetarian options.

ETA: If you’re allergic to soy but looking for a milk alternative, there is rice milk and almond milk.  I love almond milk, but it takes a little bit to get used to.  Start with the Vanilla or original flavors and work your way to the unsweetened (only 35 calories a glass!).  They also have chocolate almond milk which is also delicious!

Post # 4
7291 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2011

Honestly I reccomend looking into some good blogs and websites for healthy veg recipes! Many vegetarians are acutally unhealhty due to eating fake products loaded with soy, and processed foods. Like technically pizza is vegetarian…but we all know eating that every other day would not lead to a picture of health!

Stick to fresh veggies, fruits, ( whatever animal products you allow) and some really healthy grains like spelt, brown rice or quinoa on ocassion. 

I love coconut milk and some almond milk!

Also, if you find vegetarian doable, you may want to consider going vegan to see how you body reacts to no animal products and mainly raw foods.

Post # 5
2601 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I was vegan (I’m now omni b/c I’m preggers and my resident seems to have a thing for surf ‘n turf. And ice-cream). 

My best advice is to first think of vegetarianism (or veganism, even) as a means of EXPANDING your existing diet, not restricting it. Some people can just go cold turkey (ha!) and that’s great, but I think that it’s an easier transition and more fun to start off with a commitment to be vegetarian 3 days a week or every dinner or something like that. That’ll help make you excited to explore all the different kinds of foods and dishes that are vegetarian in a healthy way–a lot of people who DO go “cold turkey” tend to rely at first on a lot of processed food (veggie burgers, soy hot dogs, etc. etc.) and a lot of pasta. This is not only not that great for you, but it gets old fast. This is a way of expanding your reperatoire and learning about cooking new foods (some vegetables you may have never tried before) so that you build up a familiarity of what you like and what makes you feel good. 

Here are a few great cookbooks I love: 

“Plenty” (I forget the author–very sexy and popular, though!)

“Moosewood Cookbook” (series, Mollie Katzen)

“How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” (Bittman)

“The Tassajara Cookbook” (Brown)

“The Vegan Mediterranean Cookbook” (Klein)–her lemon oregano potatoes and no-cheese pesto are ama-zing!

Also, although dairy is considered vegetarian (not vegan, though), you can still drink milk and call yourself a vegetarian. But there’s plenty of milk alternatives (rice milk, hemp milk) for you to try. I like vanilla almond milk (i like Trader Joe’s brand unsweetened) if you can’t do soy milk. 

And finally (I swear, this is my last point!), don’t sweat small things. Sometimes new vegetarians and vegans think that it’s a “lapse” or they’ve “cheated” if they have a burger. It’s YOUR diet, your body, and your choice. So if you find you can’t live without a little bacon now and then, it’s okay. A few strips of bacon on Sunday, consciously purchased and eaten, is surely better–for you and the planet–than bacon all the time. 

Post # 6
100 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I know you said you’re going for a month of vegetarianism, but it might be less of a shock to your system (and more sustainable!) if you do a gradual switch. Some folks I know have started to do ‘Meatless Mondays’ (or whatever day) so that they work in vegetarian meals bit by bit — instead of having to come up with a month’s worth of brand new recipes to try.

One thing to keep in mind when you’re looking for recipes is that the best veg recipes are ones that are designed to be vegetarian, not ones that are ‘regular’ recipes with vegetarian options subbed in for meat. If you like Indian food, tons of Indian recipes are naturally vegetarian. We eat a lot of Italian — not just pasta, but risotto, frittatas, etc. Definitely think about working in protein (eggs, beans, etc.) so that you’re not relying on empty carbs, which is very easy to do.

Check out 101cookbooks. All her recipes are vegetarian, and they are so good. Her soups especially are fantastic.

Post # 7
7901 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

Get yourself Veganomicon (a cookbook) if you like to cook. I make a lot fo the recipes vegetarian instead of vegan by using real cheese or eggs where they call for substitutes. If you have a Whole Foods or local grocer around, get yourself some Field Roast products. I’m almost positive they are soy free, but you can check on their website. That stuff is delicious. We love the celebration roast, all the sausage links, and 2 of their sandwish slices.

Post # 8
7901 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: March 2012 - Pelican Grand Beach Resort

PS Almond milk is amazing. We will dirnk regular milk and use it in cereal and stuff, but actually prefer unsweatened, plain almond milk.

Post # 9
267 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2011

Not silly at all! Good for you and your Darling Husband.  I’ve been a vegetarian for about a year now, but completely cut out beef and pork from my diet about 5 years ago.  It took awhile for me to understand that eating poultry or any form of animal meat really did not make me feel good about myself, mostly for moral reasons.  Since giving up all animal meat products a year ago, I’ve felt better, been happier, and noticed a significant improvement in my running times.

Just to echo PP’s – going cold turkey might not be the best method.  Try cooking 3-4 vegetarian meals a week, and on the “meat” days, make meat a side portion, not the main dish. 

I’ve found through lots and trial and error that not every vegetarian meat substitute on the market is the same.  A lot of them are downright terrible (I for one CANNOT eat fake lunch meat… something about it just weirds me out).  Some things are better homemade (veggie burgers, IMO), while others really are pretty good and I prefer the veggie alternative (Trader Joe’s makes a great vegetarian sausage that I love to throw on pasta, they also have wonderful chicken alternatives).  So don’t get discouraged if you try one (or more) lousy meat substitutes – I promise there are some good ones out there. 

And to echo another PP – just because you are eating vegetarian doesn’t mean you’re eating healthy. 

Are you allergic to all soy products or just soy milk? That might make things more difficult. But I agree with PP’s – Almond Milk is the best! I prefer it over cow milk any day! (I don’t like soy milk at all – weird after taste.)

Good luck! I’ve found that I haven’t missed meat one bit since I completely cut it out of my diet, and I’ve had some pretty awesome vegetarian meals concocted for me at high end steak restaurants when the rest of my family is getting beef (just wanted to share that tidbit since some people worry that they won’t find a vegetarian alternative when going out to eat… all you have to do is ask!) 🙂

Post # 11
11166 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@mrsSonthebeach:  Agreed, I looove Almond Milk.


OP all I can say is after being a vegetarian for 14 years to be careful with substituting a great deal of carbs for no meat. I often see new vegetarians doing this as they don’t know what else to do and it can come back to haunt them (via the scale).

If you are looking for some vegetarian meat subsitutes (use in moderation of course) Morningstar, Worthington, Boca and Quorn are my favorites. There is a great deal of variety out there, more so than when I didn’t eat meat.

For great recipes check out Alica Silverstone’s blog, she is vegan but her recipes are super tasty and you can always add cheese etc for taste. http://www.thekindlife.com/

Post # 12
11166 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@MadameTussaud:  Curious where you worked? I’m guessing an Adventist based workplace?

Post # 14
1048 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2012

I agree with other posters who say to do it gradually. Doing it in small bits will leave you missing meat way less than quitting all meats at once.

I was a veggie for 7 years, but I started off very slowly. First, I would only eat free range meats and fish. Then I would only eat free range chicken and fish. Then I cut out chicken, then all fish but tuna, and finally I was completely meat free. It was such a gradual process that I slowly shaped my mind into not only not missing the meat, but also getting grossed out at the thought of eating meat. It became disgusting in my mind and I never craved anything, not even my favorite meats (hot wings and tuna). Good luck! You might find you don’t even miss meat by the end of the month!

On the flip side, when I decided to eat meat again, I picked it up in reverse order also very gradually (tuna, seafood, chicken, everything).

Post # 15
11166 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@MadameTussaud:  Which one? I’m a Seventh-day Adventist. 🙂

No, I’m not….with my weight loss and eating I had to add more protein into my diet so I eat certain meats. I’m still very sensitive about meat and texture so I’m not open to just anything.

And I promise SDA food (and veggie meats) can be AMAZING! Even my meat loving man enjoys veggie meats (for example; tacos minus ground beef…use Morningstar Griller Crumbles. Heat and when they are slightly crisp cover with taco seasoning and some water. Mix until water is absorbed…tastes delicious and meat free). With the right preparation it can taste good. I was raised on SDA veggie meats and recipes so any time you are curious about options feel free to PM I probably can recommend something.



Post # 16
5095 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

@MadameTussaud:  I went vegetarian over a period of YEARS, ha. It was really gradual. Now I haven’t eaten meat at all in 10 years.

I completely agree with the PP’s suggestion about thinking of it as expanding, rather than restricting, your diet. Explore new ethnic foods like Indian or Thai that have lots of veg options built into the cuisine. I would avoid fake meats – if you’re comparing them to real meat, they’ll never measure up, and they’re not that good for you anyway.

I agree with all of BothCoasts‘s cookbook suggestions, too.

My main advice is to start slow with a few dishes you really like. Experiment with putting lentils or chickpeas at the center of a meal, rather than meat. Try a vegetarian lasagna. Have omelettes for dinner. Experiment with vegetables that you don’t usuall cook. Try not to load up too much on carbs and dairy.

If you ever want to chat or have any questions, feel free to PM me!

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