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Becoming Vegetarian?

I was wondering if anyone has advice on becoming (or not) a vegetarian?  I don't eat much meat as it is, and for the most part, the meat I DO eat is chicken.  It probably doesn't help that I just had an epidemiology class, which included meat, poultry and seafood inspection...yeah...

The issue I think I will have the most trouble with, tho, is a "balanced" diet as a veg.  I don't like beans, unless they are chocolate-covered coffee beans :).  I haven't ever tried tofu, tho I am interested.  I also don't like eggs, although every once in awhile I'll make hard-boiled eggs. 

 Any opinions?
PersonalMilestone

Re: Becoming Vegetarian?

  • Most of my family, as well as my BFF, are vegetarian.  There are alot of yummy foods made from soy, tofu and lentils to balance things out.  I suggest going to a bookstore and checking out some veggie recipe books.  My H and I have talked about switching over, it's a much healthier diet for sure.

     

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  • You've never eaten a bean that you've liked?  They're so plain!  Seems like it'd be hard to hate them.

    My advice is to do a lot of reading, and track your food intake somewhere like SparkPeople.  That way you can see how much protein and other nutrients you're getting.  Try other sources of protein besides beans: soy, whole grains, nuts, quinoa, brown rice, lentils, tempeh, seitan, dairy, etc.  I had really cut back on dairy (for ethical reasons) until I realized that without it, it was hard for me to get enough protein.  Chobani has become my BFF, as has string cheese.

    Take it in steps.  Usually, if you go cold turkey, you won't do very well.  Cut out meat one day a week, then two, etc.  Or cut out one meat product, then another, then another.  I cut out all meat first.  Later, I did seafood.  Later I did all dead animal derived products (rennet, lard, broth, etc).  It took a while, but I got there and have been veg for 8+ years now.

  • I've been a vegetarian for a few years. I like you was stuck on the chicken thing, but it actually wasn't hard for me to cut it out once I had a good reason and motivation to.

    Think about why you want to become vegetarian and that can help motivate you. In addition, as PP said, you don't have to go cold turkey. I still on occasion eat crab meat because I haven't been able to fully remove it from my diet yet, as much as I "want" to do so. I struggled with shrimp for a while too.

    You'll find that when you cut out meat, over time you'll actually no longer crave it.

    As far as the bean thing, I would explore that, there are TONS of beans. DH and I love to stuff peppers with black beans, rice, a little cheese and put them in the oven. There are also a lot of good blogs written by vegetarians where you can find good recipes. I've gotten to the point where I can actually "vegetarianize" almost any recipe. But there are a lot of things that are already vegetarian or can easily be made vegetarian like pasta, lasagna, burritos, etc.

    There are also fake meat products out there - Quorn brand has good fake chicken products that are very realistic as far as taste and texture. These things aren't the healthiest stuff ever but they're good when you're transitioning and DH and I will still occasionally pick up a bag of "beef" crumbles to make sloppy joes, or "chicken" cutlets to make chicken parm.

  • I've been eating vegetarian for a little over a year. For the first 8 months I cut out all meat completely but since my honeymoon in Hawaii in June I have started eating fish again, so I guess, technically I'm a pescatarian. My biggest recommendation to you is to think about eating balanced meals. A LOT of vegetarian recipes are just carbs and dairy... you need to place a heavy emphasis on eating fresh ingredients like fruits vegetable whole grains etc. You can get protein from a lot of sources besides dairy too, my favorites are almond milk, nuts, leafy greens, tofu and quinoa. If you dont like beans at all there are ways to add them to your food for the nutrition and you wont even know they are there. I will often cook cannellini beans and blend them before adding them to soup. They make it creamier and add protein. That brings me to my next recommendation: SOUP! Switching to a vegetarian diet is tough because you have to change the way you grocery shop, cook and eat. I make a pot of soup just about every weekend so I have a back up healthy meal to eat just in case I dont have time to make something fresh. Also, there are lots of good Vegetarian and Vegan food blogs out there! But as I said before, beware of the carb and dairy trap! Good luck!

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