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Help me ease into vegetarianism....

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I'm definitely not ready to go full-out vegan.  I also don't really want a lot of soy in my diet.  What do all of you experienced mamas recommend?  Lots of bean dishes so that I get enough protein?  Anyone here a new convert to this who has BTDT have any secrets?

post #2 of 15

What I'd suggest is starting with a meatless day one day a week, and increasing to additional days as you grow comfortable and build a repetoire of meals. You should aim for two servings of legume-nut-seed group foods a day, plus a serving or more of dark green leafy veggies to boost your iron intake. That's peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, bean soup, chana masala, lentil curry, refried beans, pasta with asparagus and cannelini beans- there's so many creative things you can do with legumes. Even if you don't want to eliminate them, try not to fall into the habit increasing the egg and dairy you eat to compensate - a lot of vegetarians do it, and it isn't great for your health.

post #3 of 15

Make sure the vegetarian dishes you make have a good supply of fat too.  Don't skimp on the oil, add in avocado.  Many complaints I've heard over the years from friends who try to go veggie is they don't feel full and satisfied after a meal.  Part is psychological part is not enough fat.  So if you make tacos or burritos, add guacamole and cheese if you eat it.  Add some olive oil to your pasta sauce if you want.  

post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by neptunemama View Post

 Many complaints I've heard over the years from friends who try to go veggie is they don't feel full and satisfied after a meal.  Part is psychological part is not enough fat.  So if you make tacos or burritos, add guacamole and cheese if you eat it.  Add some olive oil to your pasta sauce if you want.  


That makes sense...thanks!

 

post #5 of 15

I eased into becoming vegetarian by eating meat only once a week, and then ultimately lost my taste for it all together after a few months. I found that the one thing I really craved was ground beaf tacos, but once I discovered textured vegetable protein (TVP) and made tacos with that, it completely satisfied my cravings! I realized it was more about texture and spices than the meat itself. Other than that, I also recommend whole grain pasta to help fill you up. Also check out an Indian cookbook - there are lots of ideas there even if you don't want to follow the recipe exactly.

post #6 of 15

Great suggestions so far.  I would also say focus on all the vegetarian meals you already eat. Or that could be made veggie with ease. Hello pasta with tons of sauteed veggies, pizza, fajitas, chilli... yummy. Those are things I eat all the time even now I just make/order pizza without cheese. It's really about making sure it's flavorful.

Also, as for easing the transition think "I could never be vegan/vegetarian because I could never give up ______" If you think you could do it if only you didn't have to give up that one thing then don't. Be mostly vegetarian but for your once a week steak or mostly vegan except ice cream or whatever. Even if you never give that 'one thing' up, you will be so much healthier and reduce the amount of animal suffering you're contributing to.

Progress not perfection.

 

post #7 of 15

yeahthat.gif Nicely done, femalephish. I'm with ya!

post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by neptunemama View Post

 Many complaints I've heard over the years from friends who try to go veggie is they don't feel full and satisfied after a meal. 



Yep. Feeling satisfied has a lot to do with the complexity of the meal as well, I suggest you try eating at an indian food buffet (lots of veggie dishes) and you'll find that you are satisfied with the meal long before you get to the full point. Its all of the spices! I honestly don't know how people do veg*n w/o incorporating large amounts of ethnic recipes. :)

post #9 of 15

Hi and welcome to to wonderful world of vegetarianism carrot.gif( Had to use the dancing carrot, HAD to :) My DH and our three boys are lacto-ovo vegetarians. I am a lacto-vegetarian..The others have great suggestions. I have found lentils and brown rice to be budget friendly and really versatile,we use a lot of mushrooms. Corn flour and course ground corn meal are also really nice to have on hand ( fresh tortillas,corn bread.)  I soak then slow cook a mixture of beans once a week,I really like pintos,pink beans and white beans..I use this basic bean mix to make refried beans and chili as well as bean pasta,it's just about a cup of beans cooked pasta and sautéed onions..Any fresh organic produce you can gets keeps thing bright and tasty..Also nuts and seeds are wonderful. Something else to look into if your interested is sprouting,I really like sprouting spelt,wheat,lentils,millet,mung beans,flax and clover. If your not into sprouting a great sprouted bread is Ezechiel bread,its kinda spendy but very nice toasted with peanut butter.

Enjoy the journey!

post #10 of 15

When I went veg I just stopped putting meat into my food. So, if I made spaghetti, I left out the beef. If I made a sandwich I put veggies on but no meat. I ordered veggie pizzas, or bean tacos when I ate out. It helps to know a few good websites and get a couple of cookbooks to give you some good ideas. I really like www.vegweb.com and your local library would have several books to choose from, I'm sure. You can also go to amazon to see what the best sellers are.

 

After a few months of just cutting out the meat, I started experimenting with different kinds of foods, or replacing the meat with fake meats or beans. Since you don't want to do a lot of soy, there are wheat gluten options like Seitan, that are good meat replacements. lentils work well for ground beef texture, and I like to use chickpeas a lot too.

 

I went cold turkey, but I know a lot of people ease their way into it.. being veg one a week and increasing it from there.

post #11 of 15

I am a new convert to vegetarianism. I tried going cold turkey lol. Didn't go so well. So I backtracked a bit and started with one meat at a time. First red meat, then pork,then chicken and last fish. Dairy was the last to go and we still have some from time to time, but very seldom. We do eat alot of bean dishes but are discovering many more. Peta is a great site for vegan dishes and also a book called Don't eat me. But converting your favorite meals is really easy. O we do still eat eggs but we get them from cage free sources till we have our own little flock:) good luck:) Also we have nine kids and they don't miss the meat. Our new food list is always growing.

 

post #12 of 15
Great suggestions so far! Another thing that helped me a lot was to really articulate for myself WHY I was going vegetarian. So, for me it was the animal suffering... For you, it might be that or the cost or the health benefits or whatever. Then, if I was missing meat, I would think about my reason and think, "is it worth it?" sometimes it was at first, lol! Especially when I was pregnant! But overall it really helped me stick to it until I lost the taste for meat.

Another thing that helped was that whenever I craved meat I thought about my recent meals and usually I hadn't had enough protein or iron lately.
post #13 of 15

Also get yourself some great vegetarian cookbooks. I actually like various weight watchers cookbooks. They're healthy and yummy.

post #14 of 15

Great suggestions from others!  One additional idea...there are some good websites that might help:

 

http://www.tryveg.com/cfi/toc/ 

http://www.vegetariantimes.com/

http://www.vrg.org/

 

Good luck!  

post #15 of 15
I just wanted to add to the links above that Vegetarian Times has a guide called The Vegetarian Starter Kit that includes recipes & info about meal planning.

They are also currently doing something called the 28 Day Veg Boot Camp where they actually have made weekly mix and match meal plans for an entire month. I haven't delved into the suggestions yet but I think it is an awesome idea!
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