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Want to become a vegetarian!!!!

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Old 12-30-2011, 11:42 AM   #1
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Default Want to become a vegetarian!!!!

I would like to become a vegetarian as getting older and noticed I am eating more fried meats and now have high blood pressure and noticing other things. I have been reading the vegetarian posts here for 2 days and would like some more information. I would like to know do the vegetarians here worry about not enough protein. Also was wondering about vegetarian cookbooks anyone would like to recommend to me.

Are vegetarians truly healthier then meat eaters as I know there are a lot of overweight vegetarians. I want to do this for health reasons (sorry it will not be for animals).

Thanks for any and all help!!!!!!
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:17 PM   #2
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Im not a vegetarian, but I have read alot about it I'm responding now based on observation, personal opinion with a dash of experience.

No, vegetarians are not truly healthier than meat eaters. While there are health benefits, your health is based on your food choices. If you are vegetarian and you choose to eat french fries and fried zucchini, the meat eater who has a lean sirloin steak and steamed broccoli is in a much better position health wise.

As for protein - again speaking from research and a bit of experience - A vegetarians protein comes from beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, peanut butter and other nut butters...etc. There are a TON of sources for protein outside of meat.

I think the key is "fried" meats. Anything fried is less healthy than its steamed, baked or broiled counterpart. Similarly, battered and deep fried tofu is no better than a piece of fried chicken (well the tofu is, but the frying in both cases is not the healthiest).

Hope this helps
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Old 12-30-2011, 12:41 PM   #3
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I have been a vegetarian for about 14 years. Although I am overweight, my blood work always shows that I am very healthy. My cholesterol is super low and I have low blood pressure, among other things. That doesn't mean that my weight doesn't put me at risk for other health issues. I initially became a vegetarian for health reasons (chronic pain related to adhesions covering all of my abdominal organs). Eliminating meat from my diet had a significant enough impact on my pain for me to keep it up. I now embrace a range of other reasons in favour of a vegetarian diet.

I would not advise going cold turkey on non-veggie foods. Eliminating meat from your diet immediately could cause digestive discomfort, so why not phase out meat-based products. You could start with eating only one serving of meat/fish a day for a week, then only 3 times the following week, etc.

I really enjoy the Moosewood line of cookbooks. These are based on menus served at a well-known and very popular (mostly) vegetarian restaurant in Ithaca, NY that I one day hope to visit. Every vegetarian I know has at least one of their cookbooks. These days, I google recipes based on ingredients I want to eat/cook with. I just got some sesame tempeh strips that I would like to use in a salad and the internet provided a wealth of options.

As for protein, it's great that you are already thinking of this. I have trouble digesting soy, so I don't eat it every day. I honestly don't care for tofu anyway. For those transitioning from meat, vegetarian ground round can be substituted for ground beef in most recipes. Lentils/legumes should become your friends. I always keep chickpeas and blackbeans in my pantry. Nuts are also handy. I also enjoy tempeh.

Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:36 PM   #4
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is this just for meat; i.e. no eggs, cheese, dairy, fish, etc?
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Old 12-30-2011, 01:47 PM   #5
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Yes just for no meat.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:09 PM   #6
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We've been made to believe that we need huge portions of meat at every meal to be healthy.

Protein can come from many non-animal sources and it keeps you just as full and gives you the health benefits. But please, like the other person said, don't fry everything!

Definitely slip into vegetarian cooking slowly, your digestion will handle it better. Taking small steps also help you stick with it long term. Switch out soy milk or hemp milk or almond milk for regular milk in a bowl of whole grain cereal. Use Earth Balance 'butter' instead of regular (but watch your portions!). Eat a big salad full of veggies first at dinnertime. If you are slowly backing off from eating meat...try a small portion of lean grass fed 'wandered around in a field and was a happy cow' non-hormone stuff (local is even better)...it tastes better and will be better for you.

Right now I'm using "The Happy Herbivore Cookbook" and "Appetite For Reduction". They are okay, but you can honestly save your money by visiting online vegan/vegetarian sites for recipes.

Oh, I also just finished reading "The Kind Diet" by Alicia Silverstone. It had some good points and motivation for starting out, but at the end I found that her entire diet isn't quite for me.

Small steps are the key and remember that there are probably a lot of foods you already eat that are vegan/vegetarian...like fruit salad!
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:07 PM   #7
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The Vegetarian Way by Virginia and Mark Messina.

1001 low fat Vegetarian recipes by Sue Spitler

That ought to cover basic quite well. I always suggest those to newbies. One for the nutrition background and the other for lots of recipes.

The fittest I ever was was as a vegetarian. I did it for almost ten years then went flexitarian. I'd like to go back to that, honestly.

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Old 01-15-2012, 12:46 PM   #8
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I've been veggie off and on for years (I think of myself as a "don't-eat-much-meatatarian") and have always lost weight and felt good when eating the least red meat. I also recommend Dr. Dean Ornish's books. Especially if you include eggs (especially egg whites) and fat-free dairy, you can get plenty of protein.

I also second the "colorful plate" suggestion. : )

Happy eating!
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