Want to go veg but I have to be Gluten Free.. HELP - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-04-2011, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I have wanted to switch my diet to  become a vegetarian for a while now, but haven't followed through with it. Mainly due to being intimidated by it, and for budget reasons. However, lately I feel very strongly about it! I have to do this gluten free for health reasons. Suggestions? Anything for motivation? I will be the only veg. in my house.. please help!!

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#2 of 7 Old 07-05-2011, 06:32 AM
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Why do you hesitate for budget reasons?  I think a vegetarian diet is less expensive than a meat diet.  Either way it can be expensive to buy a lot of fresh organic vegetables -- everyone should be eating them, though, regardless of whether or not they are vegetarian.


Perhaps a good place to start would be to make a list of your favorite vegetarian dishes.  You could also make a list of your favorite non-vegetarian dishes and find vegetarian versions.


I am gluten-free, and although I'm not vegetarian at the moment I don't think it is much of an obstacle to vegetarian eating.


If you are cooking for people who are not vegetarian at the same meal, you can prepare the meat separately and add it to their plates.  My mama and I both do this with our families because we don't like to eat as much meat as our husbands do.  For example, the other night I made:  brown rice, sauteed kolrabi leaves with garlic, lettuce salad with snap peas and carrots, and sauteed onions with tofu.  I pulled out some of the onions before I added the tofu and cooked them in a separate pan with a piece of left over steak for my husband.  This is just an example -- I don't recommend relying heavily on tofu because of concerns about soy, but we eat it maybe once a month.  It is so delicious!


Also, you can make a vegetarian dish as one of the side dishes of your meal.  I make a warm lentil salad with roasted red peppers and feta cheese that is wonderful.  It could serve as the basis for your vegetarian meal, and your meat-eaters could have sausages or burgers or something.


Hope you get some other ideas and the help you need to make the changes you want.

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#3 of 7 Old 07-05-2011, 07:08 PM
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most of my family is veg/vegan, and both DS and my dad can't eat wheat/gluten.  it actually isn't that hard to come up with meals that work for all of us. 


i'd say the best ways to keep a veg diet healthy, affordable, and avoid gluten is to keep away from most of the faux meat products.  skip seitan of course.  we do lots of bean dishes, and whole grains.  some of my favorite meals: beans & rice, bean burritos/tacos on corn tortillas, polenta or rice with stirfried veg, bean and vegetable soups (you could throw meat on top of any of those for the rest of your fam) mung beans and veg roast (like pot roast, just all the veggies and no meat - or do the meat separately). quinoa or oatmeal with fruit and nuts for breakfast. oh, and potato fritata was one of my pre-vegan favorites. 


i'll assume you're used to negotiating gluten free bread and pasta, and if you're doing lacto-ovo veg you have even more options for protein.  we do big pasta dinners for family get-togethers and just cook 2 pots of pasta.  or do build your own dishes where everyone chooses their own toppings for pasta, tortillas, even pizza or sandwiches if you have gluten free crusts or bread.  it's more work, but when you have a crowd of diverse dietary needs, it works.

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#4 of 7 Old 07-05-2011, 11:32 PM
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I have been a vegetarian since 1984. My husband is not veggie, but at home he is. The kids 5.5 and 2 eat vegetarian, the 5 year old by his own choice.


We recently tried gluten free to see if it would help our daughter's speech delay. Three weeks later her language took off. Could be a coincidence, but it was so striking we decided to stay gf. She has gone from single word utterances to 3 word sentences in a couple months.


Anyway, I LOVE being gf. For years I felt like our diet was okay, but not great. Getting rid of gluten has forced our diet to be healthier. No more drive-thru french fries (they're all coated with flour,) no more bagels, english muffins, etc. For me, the secret is to NOT buy gluten free alternatives...no pretzels, no bread, no low fiber/tastes bad substitutes. Just buy wholesome foods and cook them. My favorite cookbooks are actually weight watcher's cookbooks. Really healthy with whole ingredients.


WW cook it in minutes. Not vegetarian, but some great veggie dishes http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0764565176/ref=wms_ohs_product_T2


WW vegetarian:



Low fat vegetarian:



I'll probably buy some gluten free vegetarian cookbooks when the budget allows.


The hardest part for me about going gf was figuring out veggie broth as a lot of my recipes use it. I finally decided to make my own. I freeze it in sterilite ice cube trays (BPA free, bought at Target) then transfer to Ziplock brand freezer bags (also BPA free.) When I need broth, I count out how many cubes I need and throw it in the pot.


We live in Tucson and tortillas are central to our life. Finding a good gf tortilla is nearly impossible. Taste horrible and don't fold. Well, I now make them out of mung beans and love them. They even fold. http://spiceandmore.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/an-exciting-discovery/


We use tinkyada brand rice pasta. Super yummy, just don't cook as long as the directions state. 8 or 9 minutes is sufficient. 


Another hard part was finding fast meals I could make the kids. Gardenburgers are out. Frozen stuffed pasta is out. So I experimented and found I can freeze leftover tinkyada pasta. I put it on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. When it freezes I transfer to a ziplock bag. (To heat, put in bowl and do a light coating of water then microwave.) I also freeze leftover brown rice the same way. (Just heat in microwave, don't need to add water.) I make my own pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays. A quick lunch for my daughter is frozen pasta with frozen pesto sauce. For my son, I microwave some frozen rice with a bit of frozen corn, toss in a scrambled egg, add a bit of tamari (wheat free soy sauce) and sesame oil and he has fried rice.


I just re-read your post. It sounds like you're already gf and want to convert to vegetarian. (Whereas I was veggie and became gf.) The thing about being a vegetarian is don't try to do pretend meat and potato dinners. Do vegetarian dinners. We usually do one pot dinners with fresh fruit on the side. Tonight we did broccoli and shitake mushrooms in a garlic/ginger/tamari/oil sauce over rice. YUM. Often we do red pepper and basil sauce over pasta. Tomorrow I'm going to try to make my own falafels from scratch as well as hummus. (Gotta remember to soak my garbanzo beans tonight.)


So, check out a bunch of vegetarian cookbooks from the library and copy the recipes that interest you. Convert them to gf if you need to. Also look for recipes online. Personally, I don't worry about protein. Most Americans eat too much protein. Since I am lacto-ovo I figure I get enough protein. I grew a baby by eating two servings of cottage cheese each day to make sure I got my increased protein needs. Just eat a mixture of whole foods and you should be fine. If you want to worry about protein, just cook vegetarian for a couple months. Once you figure it out, you can then start considering protein.


If you've got specific questions, let us know. Like I said before, I LOVE being a gf vegetarian. It just feels so healthy.


(Actually, we had to take our daughter off cane sugar, tomatoes, almonds, and black pepper. That was a LOT harder than going gf. Eating out is nearly impossible. How can you screen for sugar and pepper?) We do eat at chipotles. They sent me a great email telling me what had black pepper and what didn't. Nothing has sugar added.)


You may want to check out www.elanaspantry.com for great recipes using almond flour and coconut flour. I bought a cookbook for each kind of flour off amazon.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing and living as gluten, dairy, and cane sugar free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
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#5 of 7 Old 07-22-2011, 02:14 PM
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We're GF vegetarians. I don't think it's difficult at all, unless you are a fussy eater (like my junk-food vegetarian nephew, who lives on mac & cheese, pizza, & PB sandwiches --he'd be in trouble if he needed to go GF, LOL!). We do a lot of Asian cuisine, because so much of it is naturally GF and veggie anyway. Steer clear of the fake-meats, and take it easy on the bread-replacements, and it will be a healthy, easy way to cook. We also are recent quinoa converts, which is great for making cool summer salads. We eat a lot of hummus (with lentil chips instead of pita bread) and nuts & such like that, and now with our CSA share we are inundated with greens. 

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#6 of 7 Old 07-22-2011, 08:09 PM
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I just got this nut cookbook. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1570671915 I haven't used it yet, but the recipes look great and I'm eager to start trying them.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing and living as gluten, dairy, and cane sugar free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.
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#7 of 7 Old 07-23-2011, 02:09 AM
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I use to be a vegetarian and now I am gluten free. Don't feel intimidated. If you can't do it cold turkey try 2/3 meals a day etc until you get the hang of it. After awhile meat might seem abnormal and even make you ill.


Perhaps you can write out what you typically eat and we can change it gf/mf ;)

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