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Topic: Help for a beginning Vegetarian!  (Read 3498 times)
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« on: May 23, 2006 05:15:40 PM »

Alright, everyone, I am in the process of building up my iron/calcium/ect levels with vitamins, and decreasing my meat intake. My last day of school this year is going to be my last day of eating meat (it's June eighth). Any advice, special recipes, ect? Everything, even support, is helpful.
Thank you!

« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2006 05:44:27 PM »

Here's a recipe that I really like.

Black Soy Bean & Tomato Chili Salsa


1 can Eden Organic Black Soy Beans, drained
1 can Eden Organic Diced Tomatoes w/Green Chilies, drained
1/2 cup red onion, minced
2 Tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 teaspoons Eden Organic Shoyu Soy Sauce
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon green onion, chopped

Combine all ingridents in a bowl. Mix, taste and add extra lime juice and shoyu, if desired. Serve with Eden Chips or organic tortillia chips.

Pg. 54 from Readymade magazine (April/May 2006)

http://freegan.info/ (This site is different, but you might like it.)

If you go on Peta.org or PETA2.com, you can order a free vegetarian starter kit from there.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2006 09:08:02 AM by veganxwater » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2006 11:48:13 AM »

hey, I'm a beginning vegetarin too. Here's a really good taco salad recipie that you can make with regular  ingredients.
The "meat": One can chick peas mixed with  1/2 a bag of taco seasoning.

The salad:
shredded carrot
 Grated cheese
  and other regular taco stuff.

Top with corn chips or broken up tacos. This recipie can also be a seven layer chip dip.

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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2006 03:06:23 PM »

Start saying to yourself regularly "On June 8th I will be a vegetarian."  Sounds dorky, but that's what I did 16 years ago.  I never had the desire to eat meat again (now cheese, I struggle with that still.  I need to work on 'I'm a vegan.")

Read May All be Fed by John Robbins.  Less intense than Diet for a New America (which is fantastic, but sometimes daunting for some).  May All be Fed also has some tasty recipes in the back.  Also, The Vegan Sourcebook by Jo Stepaniak excellent for helping one cope with the emotional aspect as well as the eating aspect of the changeover.

Visit these helpful websites for some tasty recipes:

http://vegsource.com  This site also has excellent boards for support, with input by folks like Jo Stepaniak and Bryanna Clark Grogan

Check your library for any of these amazing cookbooks:
Table for Two, Vegan Vittles, Ultimate Uncheese, Saucy Vegetarian  by Jo Stepaniak (she has others, as well.  These are my favorites)
Nonna's Italian Kitchen, Authentic Chinese Cuisine by Bryanna Clark Grogan (she has others, as well.  These are my favorites)
Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson
How it all Vegan, Garden of Vegan, La Dolce Vegan - Tanya Barnard & Sarah Kramer

Cooking items I am never without:
brown rice
arborio rice (risotto)
canned black beans (I usually cook from dry, but for in-a-hurry)
canned garbanzo beans (I usually cook from dry, but for in-a-hurry)
canned tomatoes
tomato sauce
tomato paste
frozen corn
frozen green beans
frozen spinach
lots of spices (I buy the bagged kind - fresher and less expensive)
fresh herbs (I grow them)
fruit in season
other veggies in season

Good luck!  Don't beat yourself up if you have an off day.  Just begin where you left off.  It's all about the journey.


ps - if you're low iron, make sure you eat your iron-rich veggies with a fruit or veggie containing vitamin C.  It will help your body assimilate the iron better.
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2006 04:18:53 PM »

Cook a few meals a week in a cast iron pan, this is how our low meat diet pilgrim ancestors kept their iron levels up. I am not a vegetarian, but I eat a low meat diet and I have never had a problem with low iron which I contribute to eating iron rich veges and cooking in a cast iron pan. Another suggestion is to get some mylicon drops for the first few weeks that you increase your grain and fiber intake because while you are getting used to that you might have some gas buildup issues.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2006 04:21:49 PM by rhiandmoi » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2006 03:03:31 PM »

(now cheese, I struggle with that still.  I need to work on 'I'm a vegan.")

There's an amazing vegan cheese that is sold at Whole Foods. (Depending on where you live, it might be different.)

Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alterative
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2006 03:54:01 PM »

I don't know about you but I hate cooking. And when I'm absolutely forced to cook, I will die of starvation before the half hour of steaming my artichoke is up. You'll find that although vegetarianism has gotten a lot more popular in recent years, the world is still set up for meat-eaters.

Since I love instant gratification and often find myself at work when I'm hungry where my resources are limited to a mini-fridge, a microwave, and some plastic silverware, I have scoured the grocery stores for plenty of vegetarian nourishment that takes under 10 minutes and very little effort!:

I LOVE Ramen noodles and was not about to give them up! I still buy my noodles, but when I am making the soup I throw out the little packet of seasoning that comes with them. This takes a tiny bit more cash but I also buy either separate vegetable broth bullion or cans of vegetable broth. Also Top Ramen's Oriental flavor no longer has meat products in it.
The frozen aisles of the grocery store are my favorite place. Frozen bags of vegetables are quick and can do amazing things! Soups, stirfrys, mix with rice, anything. Oooh! Speaking of stirfrys Green Giant has this great frozen stirfry kit that comes complete with veggies and sauce! If you add extra firm tofu it's soooo good.
For even less frozen effort, all grocery stores carry Morning Star and Gardenburger products. And in grocery stores like Giant Eagle or Wegmans you'll find WAY more selection. Two brands called Amy's Kitchen and Linda McCartney have complete vegetarian meals that only take about 4 minutes in the microwave, and they are DELICIOUS.

Oh also vitamins are a very good idea! Just look out for the ones that include gelatin!
Hope some of this helps!
« Last Edit: May 25, 2006 04:01:06 PM by catsprefermarlie » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2006 06:11:46 PM »

I just happen to have a couple of /fantastic/ vegetarian recipes that, while I don't know your preferences, sound really good to me.  I can't wait to try them and I hope you feel the same.

1. Cucumber Sandwich:
2 thick slices whole wheat bread
2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
6 slices cucumber
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 tomato, sliced
1 leaf lettuce
1 ounce pepperoncini, sliced

Spread each slice of bread with 1 tablespoon cream cheese.  On one slice of bread arrange cucumber slices in a single layer.  Sprinkle with olive oil and vinegar.  Layer tomato slices, lettuce, and pepperoncini.  Close and serve.

2. Broiled Tomato Sandwich:
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 slices bread, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to broil.  In a shallow bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Marinate the tomatoes in the mixture, stirring occasionally.  Place marinated tomatoes on 2 slices and sprinkle on the cheese.  Place on a baking sheet and broil for 5 minutes.

3. Corrigans Minestrone
2 tablespoons olive oil
5potatoes, peeled and cubed
5 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14 ounce) can vegetable broth
1 quarts water
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Stir potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic into pot.  Mix in tomato paste, beans, broth and water.  Season with basil, oregano and salt.  Cook and stir 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.  Mix macaroni into pot.  Continue cooking 10 minutes, or until macaroni is tender.

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« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2006 03:05:12 PM »

First off, congrats.

The first year or two of being a vegetarian is always the hardest, not only do you need to find new ways of cooking, but your body also has to adjust to the new way of eating.  The two things that can be issues for a veg diet are iron and B vitamins.   I just had my blood checked and my doc told me I have better iron than most meat eaters -- she asked me what I ate so she could reccomend it to her veg patients.  I didn't want to say doritos and slurpees, which are a major part of my diet, so I said black beans which I generally eat 3 times a week.  I like to make quesadillas for breakfast that are a mix of black beans, tofu and sauted veggies. I throw that mix into a tortilla with cheese, fry it and eat it with salsa.  I credit the black beans for my awesome iron count.  The other thing about iron is that caffiene blocks absorption, so if you are eating a high iron meal try not to have caffiene within 30 minutes of it.  My roomate was always bruising, she found this out and stopped drinking tea with her meals and her bruises disapeared.
An easy way to make sure you are getting B vitamins is to buy some red star nutritional yeast and sprinkle it on top of meals.  It has a slightly cheesy taste and you can puit it on pasta, popcorn or hummus among other things.

It is easy to be healthy on a veg diet, but at first you may feel tired as your body learns to get protein and iron from new sources this will pass.

Good luck.
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2006 03:50:31 PM »

this might be info you already know/someone already posted, but there is a lot written, and im not into reading it at the moment, but i just wanted to let you know about gelatin, since its not vegetarian. i didnt know this until about 4 months after i became vegetarian, but its like, bone marrow or something.
marshamallows have it in them. it took me a long time to find that one out. just read the ingredients on stuff before you eat it.
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« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2006 10:43:11 PM »

moringstar farms has the BEST veggie burger ever!!!! At least I think so, its the tomato basil pizza burger, I have tricked my brother and my dad into eating them because they are against all things labeled vegetarian and they loved them! When I went veg I actually did it just to help a friend to do it and then I read Diet for a New America and it it totally cemented the idea in my head. You are making a very healthy life decision and I congrat you for it, sometimes its hard because especially if you are not much of a cook its soooo easy to just want to go through a fast food joint and get a burger but try and stick with it your body will thank you!
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« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2006 05:22:03 PM »

all i can say is congrats on your decision. I'm taking the steps to going veggie once again ( i was for a while back when i was a bit younger but i got sick etc, etc) i don't have any creative recipes but my mom always says "beans and rice". much love for going veggie.

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« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2006 05:54:49 PM »

honestly, i've been veg. since i was eight, and i've never suffered a lack of vitamins or iron, and only took flinstones kids vitamins until i was maybe ten.  just be sure to vary your diet and you shouldn't suffer any deficiencies unless you already have health problems, especially since you still eat dairy.  to get a rough idea of how you should be balancing your diet, i offer you the vegan food pyramid:

obviously dairy would be somewhere at the top of that.
and this website has more information about the food groups that should be most important to you (again, i don't know about dairy.) http://www.vegsource.com/food_groups.htm

there are also myriad cookbooks available for vegan / vegetarian diets, and a lot of them will have sections for people who have just changed their diets.  barnes and noble and the like tend to not have really good veg. resources, so if you have any "radical" bookstores around, i'd suggest hitting them up or just looking around on the internet.

some resources for veg. info on the internet that i especially love:
www.vegweb.com is mostly recipes, but also coupons and product review
www.vegfamily.com has more information about products, such as lists of animal-derrived ingrediants and info on vegan candies / cosmetics / toys / menstrual gear and other household things

please don't let yourself start believing that adopting a vegetarian lifestyle is difficult.  unless you have an uncanny liking for meat or have unsupportive parents / freinds/ whoever you live with, you should get used to it in no time.  good luck! (:
« Last Edit: May 30, 2006 06:02:30 PM by heathurr » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2006 03:09:42 PM »

mmmm...as a young-ish vegetarian still struggling with fitting into an all-carnivore family, i've found these tips to be awesome:

dannon makes gelatin-free yogurt
add beans to whatever you can (hummus is amazing if you haven't tried it)
spinach is iron-rich and very tasty in alot of ways (its my #1 pizza topping, next to cheese)
make sure you take a multi-vitamin, its important to keep everything level
if you are having trouble cutting everything off at once, try it gradually and its easier
protein bars are very good afternoon snacks
check out the being vegetarian for dummies book...it honestly helped, and i had my parents read it to know how they could help me out more
and my very favorite:

if you ever feel the least bit limited as a vegetarian...remind yourself that its encouraging you to try delicious new things.
there are wonderful vegetarian dishes from everywhere in the world...you're opening doors not closing them

congrats, and good luck

oh, p.s.
the guilt-free black bean burger at chilis is awesome if you have a chilis near you
p.p.s. boca brand soy products are good too (the flame grilled burgers are what i eat every time my dad wants to grill)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2006 07:32:05 PM by owl_eyes » THIS ROCKS   Logged
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2006 09:57:10 PM »

Okay, so I'm not a vegetarian, but my bf and I both really love to cook and love to eat, and we eat maybe one or two servings (4-6 oz) of meat a week. We like meat, but no more than anything else. Neither of us has ever had a problem getting our vitamins - in fact, if you're eating a balanced vegetarian diet, you're probably MORE likely to get what you need. No problems with protein or iron deficiency, either. This is a great time to learn to really cook! Consider exploring your local farmer's markets (or sign up for a CSA box) and learning to eat seasonally as well - you'll find a new kind of balance in your eating. If you have a Whole Foods in your neighbourhood, all of the products I'm about to mention can be found there as well.

Spinach and broccoli are both really nutrient-rich vegetables - any dark, leafy-greens are really going to help up your vitamins. Remember that while soy is out there, so are beans - and beans have a lot of protein, too. Add nuts and avocado for fats to keep your hair and skin glossy. Think colourful and varied texture and explore! There's a lot out there, food is fun!

Some favorite cookbooks that I'd highly recommend:

Gordon Hammersley's "Bistro Cooking At Home" - every recipe in this book is awesome. It's not a vegetarian cookbook, but there are some great veggie recipes.

"Fields of Greens" - a second, lower-fat cookbook from the Greens restaurant in California. The Greens restaurant is a vegetarian restaurant that supplies most of its own produce from its nearby organic gardens. This one is all-vegetarian. Make the coucous pilaf and follow their suggestions for pairing with asparagus or watercress in a sesame vinagrette - it's incredibly simple, quick, but SO good.

Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone" - not every recipe in this cookbook is inspired, but it has a LOT - and I do mean a LOT - of choices. I use it primarily for pilafs and things made from dry legumes, as it has something for every dry grain and legume out there, as well as vegetable dishes listed by main ingredient - which is really handy if you're trying to figure out how to work some beets into your diet!

So those are my staples of late for building our weekly menus, but I also recently checked out "The Artful Vegan" from the library. It is simply stunning! The recipes are from the Millenium restaurant in San Fran. Vegan Haute Cuisine. Need I say more? Yes, the recipes are time-consuming and complex. Yes, there are a fair number of ingredients. But, having made a few of these so far, I have to say, they KNOW their stuff. If you're interested, try starting with their pastas - they're simpler. Note: should you go vegan, this cookbook is PACKED with vegan condiments, sauces, aiolis, etc. Good resource.

I've heard that Charlie Trotter's "RAW" is similar - tons of ingredients, hours of prep, food that is as much art as food. I hope to check it out soon, but without a dehydrator, I'd probably be out of luck for most of his recipes.

Of course, you still need some standbys for the pantry. Here are a few things that I really enjoy:

Double Rainbow's Soy Cream. They make a fantastic "Cherry Garcia" like flavor. I find Soy Delicious brand chalky and icky, try Double Rainbow instead. While we're talking dessert, Tofutti Cuties are great! The mint ones are not so great - skip those, stick to vanilla or chocolate.

Toby's Tofu Pate - pick up this egg-salad knockoff that's coloured (and flavoured!) with tumeric and other spices. Remarkably similar to egg salad without the heaviness or egginess. It's really, REALLY good. Can't emphasize that enough.

Silk brand Soymilk. I keep a quart of the chocolate silk in the fridge at all times. I'll take a few swigs off the carton (the bf loathes soymilk, so the Silk is mine, all mine!) for a quick snack and chocolate fix - and soy is loaded with healthy protein.

Check out cultured soy yogurts. Nancy's is great (another hometown food, also avail at Whole Foods). They're pretty good.

Try Soy Crisps (deelish) or Soy Nuts (toasted, they're kind of like corn nuts) for a protein-packed snack.

Field Roast veggie & grain meats - my favorite is the wild mushroom. They even make Field Roast sausages and roasts! It's a nice break from all those soy meats - it's not trying to be meat, just delicious veggie lunch slices.

I like Gardenburger better than Boca, especially the flavored ones - roasted vegetable, Greek, etc.

If you have a Trader Joe's near you, buy their Chickenless Nuggets. THey look and taste exactly like those horrid McDonald's nuggets, but they're tofu! I almost feel guilty eating them, the resemblance is so striking. Also, check out Gardenburger's Riblets for veggie ribs slathered in bbq sauce. They're delicious, but yikes! the sodium content is high! Don't eat a lot more sodium in the day if you have one of these. (they're SO worth it, though!)

Try tempeh slices for lunch - a bit more texture than tofu. Slice it up and saute with 1-2 cloves of garlic, finely minced, a T. of olive oil, and a good splash of soy sauce for delicious savory sandwich stuffing.

Love hummous? It's packed with protein from garbanzo beans. You can make your own with a can of beans (rinse them well to lose that "canned" flavor), the juice of a lemon or two, a crushed (through a press) garlic clove, and salt and pepper to taste - blend until smooth. Try in a pita with tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce for lunch, or eat on cucumber slices in the summer.

Martha Stewart had a recipe a few months back for an amazing smoothie that includes healthy fats and a lot of protein - it's really great after a morning run. Blend 1 ripe Haas avocado, 4 oz. silken tofu, 1 c. pear juice, 2 T honey (or agave nectar, if you're vegan) and 1/2 tsp. vanilla until smooth. Add 2 c. ice and process until smooth. This serves four (easily) - and the avocado will go brown, so if you're not drinking it all at once, cut the recipe down.

Another great breakfast started is to blend fresh apple juice, banana, and shredded basil leaves. You'll be amazed. It's great.

Anyhow, hope this helps. Though I just haven't the heart to give up bacon (though Smart Bacon isn't TOO terrible), really, vegetarianism doesn't need to be a difficult change - not with the wealth of products available to people today. If you'd like, feel free to PM me. I LOVE food and I'd be happy to share some of my favorite veg. and vegan recipes to help you get started!

Oh - and the previous comment about your digestive track being off for a while as you make this change is really true. I find that whenever I go off soy for a while, it takes about two weeks of re-introduction to adjust. Just hang in there, your body will thank you for this!


all of this, calm and reasonable as it was, made out of ordinary things as it was, was the truth now; beauty, that was the truth now. Beauty was everywhere. - Virginia Woolf

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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2006 04:21:40 PM »

This is great.  I've been off and on vegetarian for ages and I'm just going on again.  My friend's going veg for the summer (maybe forever, who knows).  Good luck to all the other new vegetarians out there.
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2006 06:33:49 PM »

Don't forget to take your vitamins!!

If these walls came crumblin' down
Fell so hard, to make us lose our faith
From what's left you'd figure it out
Still make lemonade taste like a sunny day
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