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A decision...

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
After quite a lot of careful thought recently, I have decided to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle.

What finally clinched it today was my best friend's daughter's 3rd birthday party, where they had hired baby farm animals and a pony for the children to interact with. It was beautiful - there was a little pig, a couple of lambs and goats, chickens, rabbits, baby chicks - I thought to myself, `If I honestly claim to be about animal welfare and animal rights, I cannot in all good conscience continue to eat meat and therefore support the manner in which our meat is brought to us'. And the decision was made. I know it is going to be really hard for me, but I feel it is the right thing to do.

Is anyone else here a vegetarian, and if so, what do you do to subsitute meat in your diet, and how has it changed your lifestyle?
post #2 of 20
I work with a girl who eats "nothing with a face". I know she eats a lot of soy products. There are also a number of meat substitute products she uses. I actually buy some of the Morning Star Farms brand, and I really enjoy them.
post #3 of 20
I am not a total vegetarian, but I have tried to cut a lot of the meat I used to eat out of my diet. I drink a lot of soy milk, eat a lot of garden burgers (the garden burger or morning star varieties are usually pretty good, depending on which "taste" you get) and when in the mood for meat, try to make stirfry. My stirfries have mostly veggies with just a taste of meat.

I decided to go this way not because of animal rights so much (when I buy meat I go with organic free-range products if I can) but because of the impact eating meat has on the earth. 16 lbs. of grain goes into every 1 lb. of beef... and 4 lbs. for every 1 lb. of chicken. Yikes! I don't have that in terms of solar energy, but it works out to a tremendous amount.
post #4 of 20
I went to a festival once where they were auctioning off a cow....it was a live cow that, after you won it, they'd butcher it and package it for you...Ugh...I was petting the cow and he was mooing and being cute. I became a vegeterian for about 6 months after that. Unfortunately I have low willpower for food and started up with meat again during a camping trip. But, there are certain meats I refuse to eat...veal (cute baby cows) Lamb (cute) froglegs, (which were good but I couldn't get over that it was a cute little frog), duck, (I love ducks too much) and I rarely eat pork but not because of the cute factor, it kinda grosses me out. I mainly only eat beef and fish, and occasionally chicken, which I don't like that much anyway. I'm glad you're trying out the vegetarian lifestyle, good luck!!!
post #5 of 20
I'm a near-vegetarian myself (mostly for environmental and health reasons). I almost only eat meat when I eat at other people's places.

There are a lot of soy products out there that can replace meat. I especially like the "Yves" brand veggie ground. Works great for tacos, "meat" pies and "meat" sauce.
You can also buy some TVP (Textured Vegetable Proteins) which is soy, usually in the shape of small flakes. I wouldn't eat it straight because it's really bland but you can sprinkle it in spaghetti sauce for some added proteins.

Also, beans are great. They are a great source of protein and fibres (with very little fat). I especially like black bean burgers (basically you make the burger patties like you would with ground beef but you replace the beef with partially mushed-up black beans, add some chili powder and serve it with some salsa )

You might want to look into which products contain animal products. Depending on how strict you want to be about it, you should know that things like Jello as well as some candy have animal products in them.

It's up to you really how fast and how strict you want to make the move. Many people are successful in cutting all meat right away... others do better with a more gradual approach.

One last thing, if you find yourself getting tired easily after not eating meat, you might want to look into some iron supplements (preferably talk to your doctor first and get some blood test). There is much less iron in vegetable products and it's harder for your body to absorb iron form vegetables. And since women especially need iron, it's difficult to get enough in your diet without red meat.

Good luck!
post #6 of 20
Great decision!

I'm vegan. I use lots of differend beans (chick peas are my favorite ) and soy products for protein. If I'm feeling energetic, I'll make some seitan. Mushrooms also have lots of protein. I supplement my diet by some B12 and calsium+D2, latter mainly, because I'm too lazy to make sure I eat calsium rich veggies often. If you go lacto, or lacto-ovo, you won't be needing any supplements.

I've never had any problems, like dizzyness etc. Actually, giving up dairy gave me a feeling quite comparable to when I gave up smoking, my physical performance got a lot better, it kind of felt like I had been drowsy all the time before. Giving up meat just made me feel a bit lighter, for me that was more just a moral decision

I think going vegetarian has made my diet a lot more diverse and imaginative. I've been at least lacto-ovo since I was 16 (25 now, 3 years as vegan), so as a meat eater I usually just ate what my mom cooked, pretty plain and basic food. I think of health issues more and I'm constantly looking for new things to try. I love cooking and food.

Have fun exploring new ways to cook food!
post #7 of 20
I am a strict vegetarian, and I try my absolute best to stay vegan, but with some of the foods I have to eat due to my ongoing problems with blood iron and blood glucose, I sometimes have to eat animal derived foods like casein or whey. I don't eat dairy by itself.

It's an incredibly wonderful lifestyle. And it's getting so easy (at least in the U.S.) to find foods that are geared towards vegans and vegetarians.

You end up using a lot of beans, rice, leafy greens and soy. Foods like help replace the proteins and b-vitamins that you miss out on by not eating meat.

I think you'll find that you feel a lot "cleaner" and that you're forced to make extremely healthy choices in your eating.

post #8 of 20
I was vegetarian for many years, because as a student, I couldn't afford meat. Other protein sources were much cheaper, and I had a much more varied diet.

I read "Diet for a Small Planet", which was a great book. I don't know if the ideas have stood the test of time. I did a lot of protein combining, rice, grains, beans, etc. I didn't get into the "fake" burgers and what not. I figured that if I was giving up meat, I shouldn't just eat pretend meat.

You should make sure you do your research, and make sure that you have complete proteins, and minerals. It's not intuitive. I had lists of various foods posted in my kitchen, like a checklist to make sure I was getting a balanced diet.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your input, guys.

I already have been using soy products for a long time, I can't remember the last time I drank milk, and I am going to look at soy substitutes for cheese and yoghurt, too. Unfortunately in Perth there are not many alternatives for people who aren't of the mainstream, you have to drive miles to find organic produce and things aren't made easy for you if you are vegetarian, have allergies etc. It's getting better, but certainly not up to the standard of the States or other countries.

I will do a lot of research and look into good substitutes as well. Like I said earlier, I am going to find it very difficult. I love my meat, especially fish and steak, and yet I find that it really conflicts with my values as far as animals are concerned, and so it's a sacrifice that I hope I can make.

Yesterday I fed a one-week old lamb from a bottle, after it had been suckling on my chin and finger madly for a few minutes, and its little tail was going mad and it was so sweet and innocent, and I thought, I just can't eat this anymore, I just can't.
post #10 of 20
Congrates ... And please keep me posted if it helps any off your "ills"
post #11 of 20
Originally Posted by KitEKats4Eva!
Yesterday I fed a one-week old lamb from a bottle, after it had been suckling on my chin and finger madly for a few minutes, and its little tail was going mad and it was so sweet and innocent, and I thought, I just can't eat this anymore, I just can't.
That's what gets me to do it every so often. I find myself a little hypocritical when I say I won't eat certain animals but I will eat others, I shouldn't be eating them at all, but at least I'm doing something, I guess...
post #12 of 20
Sweet! I've been vegan for 6 years now, veggie for 8.5 years. It's a great feeling to not have to feel guilty about what you eat.

I don't really "substitute" anything for meat. I eat things like tofu and veggie burgers sometimes because I happen to like them, but I don't look at meat as something that needs to be replaced. I eat mostly simple stuff cos I am a poor student. I eat lots of potatoes (you can do so many different things with them...lots of people are used to them as a side dish but really they're a great main meal!), rice, beans, chili, different soups, Indian food (my favorite!), pasta, etc.

I think the easiest thing to do is focus on foods you already eat that are meatless or can easily be made without meat. Gradually experiment with new foods. Some things you'll like, some you'll hate, others you'll dislike at first but will learn to like over time. Don't freak out if you hate tofu the first time you try it...or the tenth, for that matter! There's no one food you "have" to eat to be vegetarian. Buy yourself a cookbook or two, spend some time at ethnic grocery stores in your area, try new foods and recipes, and in general have fun. You'll probably eventually find that you eat a wider variety of foods than you did when you ate meat.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
I actually really like tofu!! Thank goodness because I think it would be hard to get used to if I hadn't already tried it. And you're right about the variety - one of the best cooks I ever met was my friend Anne-Louise, who has been vegetarian for any number of years. Her food is always so tasty and full of flavour, delicious. I am looking forward to it because I have never eaten enough fruit and veg, and yet quite often I opt for the vegetarian approach for no reason other than it just tastes better.
post #14 of 20
Well, I still don't eat enough veggies, believe it or not! Coke and chips are vegetarian, remember...
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hahahaha I should do just fine then!!
post #16 of 20
Originally Posted by semiferal
Well, I still don't eat enough veggies, believe it or not! Coke and chips are vegetarian, remember...

i'm a vegetarian too, have been for about 13 years, i don't eat tofu or any meat substitutes....i just eat normal food without the meat in them lol

i do eat fish though......can't seem to give that up and i got a bit sick last time i tried.

congrats on your new lifestyle, i love animals, i can't imagine eating them
post #17 of 20
I have thought about it a few times, but I just love beef lasagne too much!
post #18 of 20
I used to like some meat foods too...but there was no food I liked enough that I would actually be willing to kill the animal myself to make it. So I decided that it wasn't really fair to anyone to pay someone else to do what I could never realistically bring myself to do. When I looked at it that way it was a pretty easy decision.
post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes me too. I can't even kill mosquitoes so when presented with the idea of killing something so that I could eat it I would rather go without. I can't even go fishing without making myself sick.

Although having said that, I agree with you Felicia fish is going to be the one thing I am going to REALLY struggle with giving up. I just love it, but hey, hopefully I won't notice it too much. I don't really eat it that much now anyway, so I don't think it'll be too much of a problem - at least I hope not!!
post #20 of 20
Good luck Sarah. You are so sweet for thinking of the animals. You deserve to beat this thing and I hope you do! I hope you prefer it over your lifestyle now and never look back!
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