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If I were vegetarian, what would I eat?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
So lately I have been struggling with the idea of eating animals. I'm just not sure that it's right that I eat them, and I hate the thought of them suffering. But I'm worried that I wouldn't get enough protein if I didn't eat meat.

Right now I eat: turkey, eggs, chicken. Occasionally, perhaps every other month, I eat salmon. Very occasionally, like twice a year, I might have beef.

I used to eat a ton of soy but I won't now. I am afraid of the estrogen-effects.

I have stopped drinking milk- I used to be a HUGE milk drinker, but since I began lactating, myself, I got really weirded out by the thought of stealing the breastmilk of cows. (I explained it to dd, 4, and now she says "Poor baby cows!" every time she sees a milk carton.) DH puts milk in his coffee so I still buy it, but I have started getting the organic milk in the hope that the cows have a better life. It says they have access to pasture. Who knows. It costs twice as much as the non-organic kind...

But what the heck would I do without yogurt, and cheese? Those are a large part of my diet. Isn't it pretty much as bad (for me, the way I explained above) as if I just drank the milk? How do you vegetarians deal with this question?

I'm rambling, I guess, trying to sort out my feelings and where I draw my own personal lines. I think I would still eat eggs, since the ones in the supermarket aren't fertilized and would never become chickens (isn't that right?) And there's peanut butter.

Help me!!! Tell me about how you deal with all of this.
post #2 of 14
Going vegetarian today is fairly easy since there are so many great new products on the market to ease your transition.

Protein: No worries. All foods contain protein. As long as you aren't starving yourself, you will get enough protein. Tofu, broccoli, potatoes, grains, legumes, beans, nuts, seeds, even fruit all have enough protein to sufficiently sustain human beings. No combining needed either.

Cheese, butter, milk, ice cream: there are non-dairy substitutes for all of these and more! Not all of them are soy-based either so no worries there.

I would get some veg cookbooks and try out some recipes. Stews or bean dishes will help you with your transition. You could eat some of the mock meat items out there to ease your transition and then you'll want to eat those sparingly.

Pop on over to the Nutrition forum as we talk about this all the time and there is a Veg Mama thread each month.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you, Erin, I will do that.

We do eat a lot of beans/veggies/rice/fruit so it wouldn't be that different, just minus the chicken I guess. But I have turkey and cheese sandwiches several times a week! It's so quick and easy... I do not want to give up cheese and yogurt. But it feels hypocritical to eat milk products when I have these strong feelings against taking the milk from the cows.

So these substitute products- what do they make them out of besides soy? I have this feeling I would not be able to afford them, because our food budget is really stretched as it is, even with me buying the store-brand yogurt.
post #4 of 14
I became a vegetarian when I was 10. I didn't eat red meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and I was just beginning to cut out dairy, pretty slowly. But I was SO unhealthy. I literally survived off of peanut butter sandwiches and pasta. I'm a very picky eater, so thats why. At 20, my mom and DH (then BF) talked me into eating meat again. My mom's friend is a vegetarian and she's done so much to her body that she kept having miscarriages. So I started eating meat and got pregnant about 6 months later. I've never been healthier.

I do still feel guilty about eating meat. I try not to think about it. But its really for my health.

If you decide to become a vegetarian I would do it slowly. Make sure you're eating well enough, take vitamins. This shouldn't be a problem if you're not a picky eater. Just make sure you're staying healthy.
post #5 of 14
Yes, do it slowly, and do your research as you go along. I've been totally veg through two pregnancies. We find plenty to eat. My dh's mother's side of the family has been veg for generations.
post #6 of 14
In the beginning you can have your turkey and cheese sandwiches, just use the veggie deli slices and non-dairy cheese. Or, skip the cheese!

I think the mindset to adopt is not what you're missing but you can still have. That's what helped me with the transition. Get some cookbooks and don't think about what you're missing. Go through the book and pick enticing recipes and buy tasty foods and you won't miss the old stuff.

Also, check out this list of vegan products that you can find at the healthfood stores. Something might tickle your fancy. There will be some soy in there. Moderation is key, but don't fear soy.

List of veg products
post #7 of 14
Lula's mom, dh and I have been vegan for 5 years (ds since birth). Initially, we used a lot of the substitutes - Turtle Island (tofurkey) makes some of the "healthier" meat substitutes in my opinion, but you can also make your own out of seitan (wheat protein). I don't do either anymore as I've found out I'm sensitive to gluten. But if you can have gluten, there are a ton of really tasty seitan recipes out there (ok, seitan itself isn't tasty - its how you season it, what sauce you use with it, etc.). Its high in protein too, but like Erin said, you get protein in everything you eat. My dh was addicted to cheese, so I bought the cheese substitutes for him.

I know I feel better since we've taken the next step and eliminated the subs and gotten into truly eating a whole foods diet. We reserve the soy or rice "ice creams" for birthdays. Its amazing what you can whip up in a blender and freeze in popsicle molds though. I especially like to make pineapple, strawberry, banana ice pops. 100% whole fruit! The possibilities are endless!
post #8 of 14
My daughter can't tolerate dairy in my breastmilk, and even though I've been a vegetarian for 15 years, the last year HAS been hard. I usually have oatmeal with a LOT of almonds for breakfast, either peanut butter or egg salad sandwiches for lunch, and something with beans or lentils for dinner. Tofu and meat substitutes are good options too. I personally don't find that any grains or vegetables, including quinoa which supposedly is high in protein, really make my body feel like I've had enough protein. Maybe my body craves the particular amino acids that are in nuts and legumes instead; I don't know.

I don't know how anyone can feel that it is ethical to eat factory-farmed meat. If you are not opposed to eating humanely raised animals, you could switch to that. (And its impact on your budget will likely reduce your meat consumption!)
post #9 of 14
Lulasmom, do you mean "vegan?" As in no animal products, or does just the dairy gross you out? Here is a great list of the different terms.


I myself, after being apparently a "ovo-lacto vegetarian" since 12 (17 years), moved to "pescatarian" this year - alaskan wild salmon 1-2x a week, sometimes sardines, anchovies, other small fish. Oh, it all makes sense in my OWN mind.

http://www.ivu.org/recipes/index.html has lots of recipes.

Hi srain ... I believe I know you!
post #10 of 14
I think it is Silk, they make some yummy soy yoghurt.

I don't drink milk or like cheese so it isn't hard for me. If I didn't love milk chocolate and ic e cream so much I could easily be vegan. I don't drink soy milk but do eat alot of soy foods. I think most non dairy chese is yucky, so I just skip it. Except my amy's mac and soy cheeze, which I think I'll make some right now! And some other brand boxed mac and chreese I get- that one isn't soy but some yeast mixture. yum.

I eat lots of the fake meat products. I agree if you are OK with meat just go for the humanely treated meat. DH eats meat and I try to get him the "good" meat.

I don't know, there are lots of yummy meatless thinks to eat. Fake meat spagetti sauce, for burgers I like the morning star farms grillers, vegetable stir frys and curries and lots of indian vegetable dishes. We have a real easy time not eating meat and not even really trying.
post #11 of 14
You can make milk, yogurt, kefir, and cheese out of any kind of nuts or seeds. It is much cheaper and healthier to do this than to buy the processed "substitute" foods. Coconut milk is also wonderful and can be used for many things. I make kefir out of it and put it in my oatmeal and pumpkin soup.

Check out this site...

Find a good source of nuts/seeds in bulk. My HFS has all kinds of organic ones in bulk. I am not a veggie, but I rarely drink milk except organic, whole, unhomogenized milk made into kefir.
post #12 of 14
A non-soy sandwich filler that you might want to try to find is Field Roast, It's made from seitan and then stuffed with lentils and wild rice and stuff.
It's pretty expensive, but you can also make your own. :]
You can also check out some raw food cookbooks for "cheese" recipes that are made mostly from nuts and seeds instead of using soy cheese (they have rice cheese too though)
post #13 of 14
DH and I used to be vegan. Now we're ovo-lacto vegetarians. We have ethical concerns about factory farming, but we buy organic dairy and eggs because we feel that the animals are treated better. Going ovo-lacto is a lot easier than people think. We all have our own eating habits--things we eat all the time. When we eat meat, we don't really think about how not to eat meat. A friend of mine recently asked how vegetarians eat tacos. She was completely baffled when I told her that we were having tacos for dinner. This seems so common sense to me (beans instead of meat, black beans, red beans, refried beans--or meat substitute) that I laughed. You really get used to it after a while, and it gets to where you don't even have to think about it really. I eat mostly what I did before, just without the meat (spaghetti without adding meat to the sauce, veggie lasagna instead of meat lasagna). We had "chicken" quesadillas the other night with Quorn brand stirfry tenders.

If you want to go vegan, I would recommend trying ovo-lacto for a while, then making the transition...baby steps!
post #14 of 14
Originally Posted by AprilJoy
. She was completely baffled when I told her that we were having tacos for dinner. This seems so common sense to me (beans instead of meat, black beans, red beans, refried beans--or meat substitute) that I laughed.
(off topic)
Mmm, have you tried the soy chorizo? So hot and delicious!
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