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my dh's good friend just found out he has rheumatoid arthritis and his doc is recommending a vegan diet for at least the next month. i have been a vegetarian for almost 15 years, so i can give him lots of vegetarian recipes but he specifically needs vegan recipes, minus peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and pasta. any quick and easy ideas to help him transition? btw, he is a 40 year old man who probably has eaten meat at every meal for his entire life. i'm hoping for some good ideas that won't scare him off, iykwim!!

also, what about good brands of soy cheese or soy milk? i always buy trader joes soy milk but honestly have never bought any soy cheese for myself!

thanks in advance.
 

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Pop over to this page for a list of vegan items you can find in the store.

In the meantime, he should try rice or soy milk to replace cow's milk. And there are two vegan cheeses I would recommend. Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative is one and the vegan cheeses from Soymage (Galaxy Foods). Tell him not to buy just soy cheese since that usually contains casein, a cow's milk protein.

Out of curiosity, why no potatoes or pasta, etc?
 

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Well, what makes macrobiotic meals--which are basically vegan with no nightshades-- attractive is their completeness and aesthetic quality. It's really satisfying to have a plate with a mound of whole grain, a little mound of beans, a little mound of green vegetables and a little mound of bright orange or yellow ones, and a small bowl of soup. Everything has a garnish.

So let me think for a little bit about meals that follow this pattern.
 

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Greek Chickpeas and Spinach

(From Debra Wasserman's Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook)

1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons oil
19 oz. can chickpeas, drained (or two cups cooked chickpeas)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 lb. fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Saute onion in oil for 2 minutes. Add cooked chickpeas and dill and saute another 5 minutes. Add spinach, lemon juice and salt. Cook another five minutes until spinach wilts. Serve with rice.

(Little kids will eat this dish when we bring it to potlucks, because it's not too spicy and spinach is a pretty standard vegetable.)

A good, gluten free and nightshade free meal would be this chickpea and spinach dish with baked sweet potatoes (baked in foil so that they carmelize) and brown rice with toasted sesame seeds on top.

This isn't a macrobiotic recipe of course because they don't really do spinach, but your friend's doctor didn't say macrobiotic, he just said vegan, no nightshades and no pasta.

I would also say that Indian food is a good way to go. It's pretty easy to cook brown rice in one pot and red lentils for dal in another and on a third burner to make a vegetable curry.

There are some recipes for vegetarian chili that don't call for tomatoes, that might seem more normal and American to have chili. i will look around. Soup with bread always seems good to me.

I don't like soy cheese and I don't think it's much of a substitute for dairy cheese. I like Edensoy Extra soymilk and Rice Dream rice milk.
 

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He might be interested in browsing www.drmcdougall.com

Dr. McDougall advocates a low-fat, vegan diet for a number of chronic diseases, including arthritis. He has several recipes posted on-line and his wife has written a cookbook, which you can get from the library. HTH!

Oh yes, I made the transition from omni to vegan at the age of 41. He can do it too!


ETA: My whole family likes the taste of Vegan Rella mozzarella flavor, but only my dh likes the Vegan Gourmet. He was the cheese lover, so maybe that is a vote in its favor?! As for milk alternatives, we like Silk soy milk the best, but will buy the Wild Oats brand when its cheaper. We also drink Rice Milk...
 

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how about stirfry? that's quick and he could use whatever he has on hand: my faves are peas, boy choy, corn, scallions, mushrooms, cabbage, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, sprouts, brocolli....so many possiblities. He could throw in seitan (though that's wheat gluten - can he have that?) if he's missing meat, or just good old tofu.

Also great would be miso soup - again throwing in whatever he has on hand.

Mexican food would be good if he could live without the salsa. Beans, vegan cheese, scallions, rice, cilantro, corn, zucchini all in a tortilla.....

grains like bulghur and quinoa simmered with veggies and whatever seasoning he likes - i like mustard seed and cayenne.....

just regular old hummous and ? sandwiches with butternut squash soup. He could use portabella mushroom when he wants a good dose of meatiness. So many things one can throw in.
 
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