Becoming vegetarian - frequently asked questions
Welcome to the Faq. :wave:
This is the place to post any questions you may have relating to vegetarian, vegan and organic lifestyles.
Although I am not an expert on the subject I will try to answer your questions as best I can and if you have any advice or suggestions for others please feel free to post :D
Moderator, flexetarian and organics fan :carrot:
Posts by members, moderators and admins are not considered medical advice and no guarantee is made against accuracy. Please see your physician before taking advice found on the internet. Ask your doctor before starting any diet. You may have a medical condition which limits your choices. Studies have shown that all diets work equally, whether low fat, low carb or vegetarian - if you stick to them. Don't be afraid to experiment until you find a diet plan that fits your lifestyle and tastes.
Thinking of becoming vegetarian?
Here is a list of books that offer some helpful advice on getting started :)
Becoming Vegetarian - A Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Vegetarian Diet
by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis and Victoria Harrison
The New Becoming Vegetarian
by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis
Cooking Vegetarian by Vesanto Melina and Joseph Forrest
Almost Vegetarian : A Primer for Cooks Who Are Eating Vegetarian Most of the Time, Chicken & Fish Some of the Time, & Altogether Well All of the Time by Diana Shaw
Become a Vegetarian in Five Easy Steps! by Christine H. Beard
Beginner's Guide to Vegetarian Cuisine: Everything You Need to Know About Vegetarian Cooking but Were Afraid to Ask by Lynne Tomlinson
First Steps to a Vegetarian Family by Carole Clement
First Steps in Vegetarian Cookingby Kathy Silk
Foods from Mother Earth: A Basic Cookbook for Young Vegetarians (And Anybody Else) by Maura D. Shaw, Sydna Altschuler Byrne
How to Feed a Vegetarian: Help for Non-Vegetarian Cooks by Suzanne D'Avalon
I was wondering what are some veggies that have alot of protein. Sometimes I dont want to eat meat. Also I am anemic so I am wondering if you know right off hand what veggies are a good source of iron.
Hope this helps :)
Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds and nuts all contain both essential and non-essential amino acids.
Meat alternatives to get protein/iron :Soy, tofu, seitan, dried beans, spinach, kelp, also enriched grain products,brewer's yeast and dried fruits are all good plant sources of iron.
Vitamin B-12: can be found in some fortified (not enriched) breakfast cereals, fortified soybeverages, some brands of nutritional (brewer's) yeast and other foods (check the labels), as well as vitamin supplements.
Vitamin D: take in vitamin supplement
Calcium: Vegetable greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli, and some legumes and soybean products, are good sources of calcium from plants.
Zinc: Zinc is needed for growth and development. Good plant sources include grains, nuts and legumes.
Keep your intake of sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. These foods are low in nutrients and high in calories.
Choose whole or unrefined grain products when possible, or use fortified or enriched cereal products.
Use a variety of fruits and vegetables, including foods that are good sources of vitamins A and C.
If you use milk or dairy products, choose fat-free/nonfat and low-fat varieties.
I will try to post some more info for you when I get home from work :D
Okay, here is a list:
Whole wheat breads
whole wheat pasta
Sources of iron
whole grain breads, flour and cereals
green leafy vegetables(broccoli, spinach, kale)
peppers(green, red, yellow)
dried apricots and raisins.
i am currently a member of this site and visit the jaded ladies daily. they are a great support system. i have been thinking of going vegetarian and have been doing a lot of research on the web. thank you for the list of books provided at the top of the thread, i have wrote them down and will go next week to the library. thanks again.
tj p. s. i havent had any meat since monday. yay
Welcome t.j. :wave:
I am going to be trying out some of the recipes in the vegetarian recipe thread - there are some great ideas there. I get tired of eating meat all the time but live with a big meat eater so I have to compromise a bit. I have managed to get him to eat a lot more veggies than he used to and I am trying to incorporate more vegetarian main dishes into our eating plan. It is not easy but in time...:)
Hello. I also live with a very big meat fan. I am not vegetarian, but would like to eat a lot less meat (better for the env't). I was hoping you had some tips on how to get my meat eater to eat more veggies - He is (irrationally) scared of vegetarian meals.
Don't make a big deal that you are eating vegetarian. He might not notices. :) Bake him a big gooey hotdish (I'm showing my geographical roots). It could have veggies, cream of mushroom soup, maybe some rice, cheese, etc. If it's large and greasy (not necessarily *diet* food...), he'll probably eat it.
My mom is like your meat eater. It's just assumed, to her, that every meal has to include meat. Yet she has no complaints when she comes to my house, even for holidays like Thanksgiving. I bake heavy things, like lasagna. Those recipes are so filling that she doesn't miss the meat.
How I got my DH to cut back was by making casseroles and stirfries. This way I could use one boneless chicken breast or small peice of steak between two of us and loading up on the veggies.
Vegetarian lasagna using TVP or meat alternatives works well too as does vegetarian chilli. It seems that as long as the dish has some substance to it he doesn't mind.
I live with an omnivorous family, but I'd say a lot of people's stereotypes against vegetarian foods are simply psychological! I've put soy beef crumbles in spaghetti sauce and not said a word, and my brother, who can't get enough of his nasty McDonald's "meat", didn't even notice! Needless to say, I celebrated a quiet victory, sneaky me. Not that I'd advise it, or anything...
:rofl: Verrry sneaky!
Now what do I eat?
*Article originally posted by 3FC member TobeyToe
IT'S EASIER THAN YOU THINK!
For beginning vegetarians . . . the transition to Vegetarianism in 5 easy steps!
What to Eat? This article has suggestions for:
Lunch and Dinner
Eat lower on the food chain. It's healthy, environmentally sound, economical, fun and delicious.
The Transition to Vegetarianism
As you begin your transition to a more wholesome diet, remember that tastes for foods are learned. You may want to begin slowly, by replacing high-fat dairy products with fat-free versions and eating meat less often. However, making a complete break from animal foods is so rewarding that it's actually easier for most people.
All your needs for protein, calcium and other vital nutrients are easy to satisfy if you eat enough calories each day from a wide variety of foods. It's that simple! The only nutrient deserving extra consideration is Vitamin B-12, which, since it is made by bacteria, is not naturally present in plants. Your B-12 requirements can be easily met by including miso, a B-12 fortified cereal,
soyamilk or a supplement twice a week.
Reduce or eliminate red meat, poultry and fish. Replace with health-supporting grain, legume and potato-based dishes. Or, start by giving yourself larger servings of rice, potatoes and vegetables at meals - and ever smaller portions of meat.
Increase intake of calcium-rich vegetables - broccoli, carrots, kale, chard, mustard greens, etc. Choose more raw fruits and vegetables: cooking destroys nutrients. Try for 50% of your daily intake as uncooked foods and gradually increase the proportion. Buy organic.
Reduce the "luxury" fats. Hydrogenated oils (like margarine) are artificially thickened vegetable oils that can damage your arteries and have been linked to some cancers. Gradually eliminate both butter and margarine from your diet. Reduce your use of cooking oils and oil-based salad dressings. Switch to nonfat (or low-fat) versions of prepared foods (and dairy products, if you still
eat them). Read product labels. Replace eggs in baking with two tablespoons of water per egg -or try Ener-G egg substitute.
Replace dairy products with non-dairy foods. Delicious milks, cheeses, and frozen desserts based on soy, rice, nuts and seeds are available in health food stores and many grocery stores.
Reduce refined carbohydrates (white flour, white sugar, white rice, etc.) by choosing whole grainproducts and natural sweeteners (fruits, juices, maple syrup, etc.).
It's easy. There is an endless supply of fabulous vegetarian recipes from many cultures. A wide variety of cookbooks are available in bookstores and health food stores. There are several lines of fast foods - pilafs, falafels, humus, "burgers," "tofu," etc. - for sale across the country. If you can't find them in your store, ask your grocer to carry them - she or he is always looking for
suggestions. Ask your favorite restaurant to serve vegan burgers, pasta dishes, etc.
Here are some suggestions for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks and snacks:
Cereal lovers - Try hot or cold whole grain cereal or granola with soy milk and fruit. Use maplesyrup or honey instead of sugar. Try apple juice on granola - it's great!
Bread lovers - Try whole grain bread, toast, bagels, non-dairy muffins or specialty breads, with raisins or dates and nuts or seeds. Remember, even soy margarines have just as much fat as butter. Try apple butter, pure fruit jams, nut butters, humus or tahini on your bread or bagel.
Egg lovers - Don't knock scrambled tofu until you've tried it. There are easy mixes produced by several companies, as well as recipes in vegetarian cookbooks. Try sautéing cubed firm tofu with anything you would add to an omelet.
Other breakfasts - Treat yourself to waffles or pancakes made with soy milk - try using ½ banana in place of each egg - and smothered in fresh or hot cooked fruit. Make fruit smoothies with everything you can imagine. Use sweet fruit to make breakfast cobbler or pie and you won't need to add sugar when baking.
Lunch or dinner:
Sandwiches - Whole grain breads, avocado, grated carrots, sprouts, lettuce, tomatoes and thinly sliced cucumbers make great sandwiches. Try nut butters with pure fruit jams or humus with crisp sliced vegetables. Vegetarian cookbooks have great recipes for spreads. Falafel is delicious.
Salads - Most vegetables can be served raw, chopped small or grated in salads. Cooked beans (garbanzos, kidney, black, lentils, etc.), sprouts, seeds, nuts and avocados are excellent. Try salad dressings with little or no oil and/or flavored vinegars. Stuff your salad into pita bread and add tahini to it.
Pasta - Try all those special pastas made with wholesome grains, vegetables and spices. Experiment with marinara, pesto and tomato basil sauces. Try sautéing garlic, onions, summer squash, red bell peppers and tomatoes in a little olive oil -or in a little sesame oil and tamari (soy sauce).
Burritos or tacos - Try beans (black beans are great), rice or potatoes, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce or crisp shredded cabbage, salsa, soy cheese, etc. Use soft corn or whole wheat tortillas. Find your own favorite combinations. Nachos con to do (with everything) is a great fast meal.
Potatoes - Potatoes can be baked, steamed, mashed or home-fried. Try them with sauces, salsas,mustard, in soups or salads. Treat yourself to mushroom gravy. Remember yams and sweet potatoes.
Veggie or tofu burgers - There are many varieties in stores. They are delicious and easy to bake,fry, barbecue or microwave. Tofu hot dogs are almost indistinguishable from the original. Pile on the lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard, tofu mayo and barbecue sauce.
Vegetables -Try stir-fried or steamed, served with brown rice, millet, barley or potatoes. Add cubed firm tofu and tamari or mushroom gravy for a feast.
Pizza - Use whole wheat crust, tomato sauce, spices, soy cheese, and all your favorite trimmings. Try almonds, garlic, and fresh tomatoes.
Soups - Beans, lentils, nuts, veggies, grains, potatoes, tofu - anything is good in soup. Simmer your favorite vegetables for a few minutes and add a little miso for a quick treat. There are many brands of instant soups made with wholesome and delicious ingredients - just add boiling water, stir and wait.
Milks - Soy, rice, nut or seed milks are perfect substitutes for cow and goat milk. Carob, chocolate and vanilla versions are delicious. Watch out – some have added oils that make them just as high in fat as cow milk.
Juices - Many bottled organic juices are available all across the country. Look for local fresh-squeezed brands. Juice your own. Many vegetable juices are just as delicious as fruit juices. Be daring - carrot juice can be habit-forming.
Water and tea - Add sliced lemons, limes, oranges or tangerines to fresh clean water. Try herbal iced teas and hot teas.
Go for crispy foods like popcorn, pretzels, chips, fresh fruit, carrots, nuts, seeds and celery with almond butter.
Enjoy cobblers and pies made from sweet fresh fruit, smoothies, non-dairy cookies and muffins, dried fruit, frozen fruit bars and non-dairy frozen desserts like Rice Dream and Tofutti. Avoid preservatives and buy organic.
:carrot: NB- Many products can be found at health food and Natural Food Stores, some grocery stores and stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods.
Shortcuts for vegetarian cooking
Preparation & shopping
Convenience foods – Keep on hand some instant food items such as veggie burgers, hot dogs, cans of baked beans, chili and vegetarian soups. These can be used as a basis for a larger meal. Just add extra vegetables or grains.
Buy in bulk - It’s usually cheaper and you buy only what you need and can store.
Seasoning mixes – Using concentrated seasoning mixes can spice up your meals and save several steps when preparing a recipe. Try the following: vegetable bouillon stock cubes, natural soy sauce, Indian
curry paste, Thai green curry paste, hot sauce (harissa, tabasco or chili sauce), miso (as soup base), salsas, chutneys, mustards, etc.
Canned help – Canned beans, chick-peas, tomatoes, and other vegetables will save you cooking these items from scratch.
Glass containers – Put grains, beans, flour, etc. in clear containers, so you can see at a glance what you have on hand.
Don’t forget the leftovers – Check your refrigerator and cupboards for left over fresh vegetables to make into a weekly soup or quick stew.
Be prepared – Bring out all the necessary ingredients for your recipe before you start. This saves timeand steps. Also try to plan ahead when shopping.
Make extra! – Leftovers can be stored in the fridge or frozen in individual servings for quick future meals. Cook a large pot of brown rice at the beginning of the week and reheat portions as needed by steaming, microwaving, or stir-frying.
Be simple – There is no need to always use a dozen different ingredients. Some of the best meals are
combinations of one or two veggies, a grain or rice, and a little seasoning.
Don’t over chop – There is a tendency for enthusiastic beginner cooks to chop everything into tiny pieces. For most recipes it is preferable to have large bite-sized pieces.
Use a garlic press – Inexpensive hand held garlic presses will instantly convert a clove of garlic to a pulp.
Steaming – Any vegetable that you would normally boil, including potatoes and corn-on-the-cob, can be steamed. It is much faster because you don’t have to wait long for a pot of water to come to a boil.
Steaming also saves energy.
Microwaving – Zapping vegetables keeps them nutritious and crisp and you avoid heating up the kitchen on hot days.
Cooling food quickly – Place pot, pan or bowl containing hot food in a larger container or sink full of cold water. The heat quickly conducts out of the food and into the water. Don’t try this with very hot food in a glass container. Cooling hot foods in the refrigerator or freezer wastes energy and actually takes much longer than water cooling.
Fast grains and pasta – Use grains and pasta that cook fast such as couscous (three minutes) and thin noodles (8 minutes), and bulgur and kasha which take about 10–15 minutes. White rice and quinoa take 20 minutes.
Quick rice – Automatic rice cookers with a timer will have hot cooked rice waiting for you after a long
day at work.
Instant ramen noodle soup packages – Whole wheat varieties are sold at health food stores or you can buy the really cheap ‘three for a dollar’ ramen packages imported from Asia – the kind that say simulated beef or shrimp flavour. There is no real meat in most of them but discard the MSG–laced flavouring pack anyway. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add quick cooking vegetables such as diced green onions, carrot slivers and watercress. Add instant noodles. Voila it’s ready in three minutes. Stir in miso at end.
Pizza pita – Instead of using pizza dough, try pita bread for your pizza crust. Put your toppings on the pita bread and heat in oven as usual.
Putting your freezer to good use
• Cook extra beans and rice or other grains and freeze in portions. Always label containers to be frozen
with name of contents and date.
• Don’t freeze cooked red potatoes. Only the white or russet varieties keep their shape once thawed.
• Frozen cooked rice can be microwaved hot in 2-3 minutes.
• Uncooked pastry freezes well, so when making fruit or savoury pies make extra and freeze. Bake in a
hot oven directly from the freezer.
• When you cook lasagna, stews, casseroles and lentil or veggie bakes, make extra portions and freeze
them. Defrost in the microwave for a no-hassle dinner after a hard day’s work.
• Keep supermarket packs of broccoli and carrots in the freezer and microwave ready in eight minutes.
• Freeze fresh or cooked pasta and drop it into boiling water for a quick meal.
• Make sure there’s always an uncooked vegan entrée in the freezer (such as tofu lasagna) for those
This article is from TVA’s Vegetarian Tastes of Toronto
Basic Vegetarian Meals
Here are some suggestions for preparing a delicious and satisfying vegetarian meal.
Hearty soup. Start with water or a soup base made from vegetable bouillon cubes, vegetable juice,tomato juice or packaged soup mixes. Add potatoes, split peas, lentils, carrots, spinach or any leftover vegetables. Season with bay leaves, salt, herbs or miso. For additional flavour add fried leeks, onion or celery.
Pasta. Cook up your favourite noodles, then add a sauce such as tomato, pesto, béchamel, mushroom, or herbs and olive oil. Sauces can be purchased ready-made or create you own. For a heartier meal add in some tofu cubes, chickpeas, lentils or nuts. Toss in some steamed veggies or serve on the side.
Stir Fry. Fry any combination of fresh vegetables, onions, tofu, tempeh, nuts or seeds. For flavour use soy sauce, ginger, garlic, or roasted sesame oil. To create a sauce, add about one cup of water when the vegetables are half cooked, and simmer. The liquid can be thickened by adding 1 Tbsp. of cornstarch dissolved in cold water. Serve on rice, couscous, bulgur or pasta. Tip: add in any greens near the end as they don't take very long to cook.
Substantial salads. Potato salads, bean salads, rice salads. There are dozens of fresh veggies to choose from. Try adding fresh herbs, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, croutons, avocado, artichoke, olives, sunflower sprouts, etc.
Pizza. Build a pizza with your favourite toppings such as: green and red peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, basil, olives, Yves Veggie pepperoni, etc. For vegan cheeseless pizza drizzle with olive oil and top with olives for extra richness.
Oven-roasted veggies. In a baking dish, place large slices of potato (with the skins), squash, turnips, parsnips, carrots, onions, whole garlic cloves, etc. Drizzle with olive oil and rosemarry, then roast until tender.
Shish kebabs. Thread mushrooms, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, and green pepper onto a skewer. Add tempeh, seitan or firm tofu. Baste with BBQ sauce, then grill.
Couscous. African speciality of zucchini, carrot, turnip, chick peas and onion, cooked in tomato sauce spiced with Harissa hot sauce. Served on cous cous pasta with currents.
Indian curry. Cook lentils or chickpeas with some store-bought curry paste (follow the directions on the jar), then add veggies. Delicious served on rice.
Thai curry. Combine Asian veggies with coconut milk and green curry paste (store bought). Cook until
done. Serve with rice or noodles.
Tacos. Enjoy with refried beans and all the fixings.
Chili. Beans, tomatoes and spice.
Split pea soup. Serve with crusty bread.
Spinach lasagna. Try making vegan lasagna by layering spinach, tomato sauce, crumbled tofu, light miso, and noodles.
Ratatouille. Hearty stew made from eggplant, zucchini, tomato, onion, garlic and seasonings.
Savory pies. Hearty potato, tofu, or millet with veggies and meat-less gravy. Best to use a recipe for these or buy ready-made.
Falafel. Middle eastern speciality served with pita bread, tomato and tahini sauce.
Crepes. Savory or sweet.
Ramen Noodles. Add green onions, watercress, tofu, miso, etc.
Vegan sandwich suggestions
Be creative! There is life beyond ham and cheese.
Nut Butters – Peanut butter goes well with raisins, dates, banana slices, or sprouts. Try almond butter with peach for an exotic treat.
Avocado – Sliced avocado makes a nice quick sandwich. Try adding tomatoes, sprouts, and mustard.
Hummus – A middle eastern spread made from chickpeas and tahini.
Others – Veggie paté, fried tofu slices, cucumber and tomato, etc.
Very fast meals
Natural food stores stock many different quick-cooking vegetarian foods. Try tofu hot dogs, veggie burgers that you can pop in the toaster, pizzas, chili mixes, canned foods, savory pies, pasta sauces, pancake mixes, tofu scrambler (instead of scrambled eggs), etc.
This article is from TVA’s Vegetarian Tastes of Toronto
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