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Thread: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

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    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    I've been thinking about cutting down on my meat consumption for a while, although I'm pretty sure I'm not capable of going completely veggie.

    I just got a copy of Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals and I have a feeling that, once I read it, I'll be "off meat" for some time. It's about factory farming and, from what I've heard (I heard him speak at an event a few weeks ago and I've talked to a few people who've read the book), he doesn't pull any punches. At the very least, I'll probably be buying my meat from the farmer's market, where the meat is organic and grown locally.

    I know we have a few vegetarians here and I guess I was hoping for some advice, recommendations on cookbooks, etc. I have one of the Greens cookbooks, but every recipe seems to have 15 ingredients and I was really hoping for something simpler.

    At the same time, I'm trying to cut wheat gluten from my diet (luckily, we have a gluten-free store in town), so I figure I might as well try to really overhaul my diet.
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    Me and my shadow Gutmutter's Avatar
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    Re: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    I highly recommend Diet for a Small Planet. It gives very clear directions (and recipes) on how to combine plant proteins. It also explains how large mammal (cows, pigs, sheep) meat consumption uses so many more natural resources than veggie/fish/chicken. I was vegetarian for about 8 years and still eat very little meat.
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    FORT Fogey Ellen's Avatar
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    Re: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    For health reasons, we've cut back on meat over the past several years. And for health and ethical reasons, we no longer buy meat (or eggs, for that matter) from factory farms.
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    REMAIN INDOORS MotherSister's Avatar
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    Re: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    I love chicken and eggs far, far too much to ever be vegetarian or vegan. But for the past few years I have been eating less meat for economical, ethical, and wellness reasons. At first I was nervous about cutting down just because my family always bought meat, and I already knew a ton of ways to cook those things. But as I started thinking about it as more of a learning activity instead of a restriction, skimping on sausage, steak, etc. became much easier.

    I think Moosewood is the most well known vegetarian cookbook series out there, but you might try to find a copy of The New Laurel's Kitchen. There are a lot of good recipes in there for entrees, soups, and breads, and all sorts of other cool things like yogurt. There's also info on menu planning, plus a wealth of helpful sections on nutrition and health, and info on the protein and vitamins in different fruits and vegetables. I can't really stand any kind of meat substitute so that part's especially helpful for me.

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    FORT Fanatic CaliLily's Avatar
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    Re: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    My step-mother is a vegetarian and has been for several years. Her reasons are all ethical ones. The big thing we eat in place of meat is a product made by Morning Star (one of the bigger vegetarian brands) called crumbles. I'm allergic to gluten and dairy and my dad is diabetic so our family has become very good at adapting. Our favorites are vegetarian chili (just sub. the crumbles for the meat and all 3 of us can eat it!) and vegetarian tacos. For the tacos we use the crumbles and add a layer of refried beans on the hard shell with lots of tomatoes, lettuce and salsa. They are very good!
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    Dreamer VelvetRed's Avatar
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    Re: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    Although I have not (yet) gone vegetarian, I have reduced my meat consumption drastically over the years, especially red meat. Also, I have significantly reduced the meat portions.

    I also love "Diet for a Small Planet", and "Recipes For a Small Planet" has a meat-free lasagna with aduki beans, and meat-lovers would never miss the meat or even know that it was veggie. It tastes like there is sausage in it. It also has a meatless Shepherd's Pie, with mushroom sauce, and so yummy!

    Another great book/program is "Fit For Life", which if you go hardcore, there is no meat and no dairy (except for butter, since you need some fat in your diet, but no cheese!). Those books also have some recipes with meat for those who are transitioning or just don't want to give up meat. For example, they have a great salad with steak strips, etc. The authors are also big on food combining (eating only one complex food in a meal, the rest is non-complex food). The challenge with that for many is that it means not eating meat and potatoes in the same meal. Also, the diet plan is huge on water-based foods (veggies and fruits) and involves not eating cooked tomatoes (too much acidity, whereas raw tomatoes are alkaline). They have a great recipe for a raw tomato sauce to serve on hot pasta...spaghetti with sauce that won't give you a tummy ache.
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    Wild thang Rattus's Avatar
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    Re: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    I'll also recommend Diet for a Small Planet. I'm not a vegetarian, but Mr. Rattus has been one for close to thirty years and he started out with that book. One very important point that he got from the book was about food combining in order to obtain protein. There is more detail there, of course, but I'm attaching a link which shows a simplified way to get what you need.
    http://www.weightlossforall.com/prot...mbinations.htm
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    Re: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    I was just going to recommend Laurel's Kitchen and Moosewood Cookbook. As others have said, there are many many meatless substitutes for the meals you already make. In our store there are some in the produce section and some in the frozen section. Morning Star is a good brand. Bocca burger. Experiment. When my son decided to go vegetarian in high school that meant cheese pizza, 5 cheese pocket sandwiches, mozzarella sticks, chips, milk, and lots and lots of baby carrots.
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    Re: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    Thanks for all the great suggestions! I'll definitely pick up a copy of Diet for a Small Planet I'll look around and see if I can find one of those cookbooks used. I'd love to find an easy, quick veggie cookbook. The last recipe I made from the Greens cookbook took FOREVER. It was little pumpkins stuffed with veggies and baked. They were so cute at Thanksgiving, but man, were they labor intensive!

    I don't know that I'm even capable of going full-veggie (especially when I have a freezer full of meat), but I'd like to cut down and eat more healthily as well. We have a fairly large Muslim population in this city, so I can also buy halal meat fairly easily, as well as locally farmed organic meat. Unfortunately, those two options are more expensive, so I'm going to have to cut down on meat as well.

    I LOVE Morningstar farms! Those mini veggie corn dogs are SO good! I also love the breakfast patties. I tried the crumbles, but wasn't blown away. I think I'll give them another try.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Dreamer VelvetRed's Avatar
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    Re: Going Vegetarian/Vegan

    The other thing about meat (and one reason that I cut back on it) is that it is very hard to digest. There are many books out there that mention that it is common for meateaters to have quite a bit of undigested meat laying (and rotting) in their digestive tracts. It's also mentioned how when giving up meat, it's very common for the system to finally eliminate that junk.

    Also, some books document that humans' teeth are not carnivore-style teeth, so we weren't designed to eat meat. I don't know if it's true, but if so, it makes sense.

    "Fit For Life" also advocates only eating fruit on an empty stomach, so that it doesn't ferment in the digestive system and cause a tummy ache. And the authors recommend giving the digestive system a break each day (they suggest mornings) by not eating anything, but if we must, only fruit. Of course that goes against all the moms and others who say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
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