Dear vegetarians;

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Dear vegetarians;

Postby Valerie » Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:43 am

I would very much like to join your ranks. How can I do so and still get all the things my body needs?

I like cheese or else I could probably go full vegan. (I don't care for eggs and I prefer almond milk over cow milk, plus I use Splenda, so no worries on honey.)

I love fruits and vegetables, so I'm not too concerned about those groups, but I guess I wanna make sure I've got everything covered.

Grains - pasta, tortillas, chips, oatmeal

Dairy - string cheese, almond milk (dunno how much it counts, but it has calcium, right?)

Protein - ?????? This is where it gets difficult. I like nuts (not peanuts), but I don't really care for most beans. I like chickpeas and lima beans, so I guess I could try to get more of those in my diet.

Any suggestions? Anything I may have overlooked?

MOST IMPORTANTLY - Is there any sort of easy substitute for fried chicken? I'm Kentuckian, so that is my kryptonite.
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Tamar » Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:39 am

Almond milk is tasty but isn't a source of protein. You may want to try soy milk if animal milk isn't your thing.

As for protein generally, even without eggs you should be fine if you eat cheese (low-fat or skim...whole cheese is high in saturated fat) and, yes, beans and other legumes (lentils, for example).

If you cut meat, poultry and fish from your diet, you'll need (especially as a woman, what with periods and all) to make sure you're getting enough iron so you don't become anemic. Good natural sources of iron include beans and other legumes, tofu, broccoli, spinach, almonds, pecans, walnuts, green and red peppers, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Iron-fortified (artificially-added) foods, like many breakfast cereals, are another good source. You should also increase your consumption of foods high in vitamin C, in order to better absorb the iron.

Should you decide to go full vegan, you'll need either to eat B12-enriched foods (e.g. certain breakfast cereals) or take supplements, because that vitamin is only found naturally in animal products.

More generally, I'd recommend easing gradually into a vegetarian (or vegan) diet. If you go cold turkey (pardon the pun) off all or nearly all animal products all at once you may get that "bluhhh this was a mistake" feeling rather quickly. Also, since many of the foods I mentioned above are high in fibre, you want to add them to your diet gradually to minimize bloating, farting, heartburn and other gassy nastiness. And drink plenty of water to help that fibre absorption.

Above all, whether you're omnivorous, vegetarian or vegan, eat foods not only that are healthy, but that you enjoy. Don't force yourself to eat a particular food you hate just because it's good for you. (Alice and I just love Brussels sprouts and broccoli, for example, but we're aware not everyone does.) Take supplements if you really need them (like if your doctor says so), but try to get as much of your nutrients as possible from real food which, yes, can include enriched/fortified food. Good luck!
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Lia S » Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:10 am

Here’s a cookbook written by one of my tumblr friends, who is an amazing person. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t tried any of her recipes yet, but the book does look useful and isn’t expensive.
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Pink Freud » Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:58 am

Do you like hummus? It's made with chickpeas, which have protein. I love the stuff, and it's surprisingly available here in East Texas. I like dipping vegetable crackers in it.

I could never bee vegetarian, but one of my New Years' resolutions is to eat healthier, so I've been buying more vegetables and fruits. Starting with salads using romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes. God I love romaine lettuce.
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Valerie » Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:33 am

Tamar wrote:Almond milk is tasty but isn't a source of protein. You may want to try soy milk if animal milk isn't your thing.

As for protein generally, even without eggs you should be fine if you eat cheese (low-fat or skim...whole cheese is high in saturated fat) and, yes, beans and other legumes (lentils, for example).

If you cut meat, poultry and fish from your diet, you'll need (especially as a woman, what with periods and all) to make sure you're getting enough iron so you don't become anemic. Good natural sources of iron include beans and other legumes, tofu, broccoli, spinach, almonds, pecans, walnuts, green and red peppers, and whole-grain breads and cereals. Iron-fortified (artificially-added) foods, like many breakfast cereals, are another good source. You should also increase your consumption of foods high in vitamin C, in order to better absorb the iron.

Should you decide to go full vegan, you'll need either to eat B12-enriched foods (e.g. certain breakfast cereals) or take supplements, because that vitamin is only found naturally in animal products.

More generally, I'd recommend easing gradually into a vegetarian (or vegan) diet. If you go cold turkey (pardon the pun) off all or nearly all animal products all at once you may get that "bluhhh this was a mistake" feeling rather quickly. Also, since many of the foods I mentioned above are high in fibre, you want to add them to your diet gradually to minimize bloating, farting, heartburn and other gassy nastiness. And drink plenty of water to help that fibre absorption.

Above all, whether you're omnivorous, vegetarian or vegan, eat foods not only that are healthy, but that you enjoy. Don't force yourself to eat a particular food you hate just because it's good for you. (Alice and I just love Brussels sprouts and broccoli, for example, but we're aware not everyone does.) Take supplements if you really need them (like if your doctor says so), but try to get as much of your nutrients as possible from real food which, yes, can include enriched/fortified food. Good luck!


Okay, so, soy milk, broccoli, spinach, and more water. I can handle all that easily enough. I like all of those things. I have an appointment with my doctor later this morning, so I'll ask her opinion while I'm there. A coworker told me quinoa is good for protein, too. Do you know anything about it?
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Valerie » Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:34 am

Lia S wrote:Here’s a cookbook written by one of my tumblr friends, who is an amazing person. I’m ashamed to say I haven’t tried any of her recipes yet, but the book does look useful and isn’t expensive.


Ooh, I might get that. Thanks!
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Valerie » Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:35 am

Pink Freud wrote:Do you like hummus? It's made with chickpeas, which have protein. I love the stuff, and it's surprisingly available here in East Texas. I like dipping vegetable crackers in it.

I could never bee vegetarian, but one of my New Years' resolutions is to eat healthier, so I've been buying more vegetables and fruits. Starting with salads using romaine lettuce and cherry tomatoes. God I love romaine lettuce.


I LOVE HUMMUS THAT IS AN AWESOME IDEA I LOVE YOU

Romaine is so good. <3 I love cherry tomatoes, too. They're just these perfect little pops of tomatoey goodness.
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Tamar » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:54 am

Valerie wrote:A coworker told me quinoa is good for protein, too. Do you know anything about it?


Other than that it's really trendy now for some reason? :D

Quinoa's a grain, so as such it's a source of protein, yes.
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Lia S » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:19 am

Quinoa is “better” than other grains because it contains all amino acids you need. In other words, if you were going to eat only ONE thing for the rest of your life, quinoa would be a better choice than, for example, rice.

If for some reason you want to be sure you get all essential amino acids at the same time, rice and beans combined are just as good and much cheaper.

That said, it’s another flavour to try, and that’s fun.
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Pink Freud » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:31 am

Valerie wrote:I LOVE HUMMUS THAT IS AN AWESOME IDEA I LOVE YOU


Love ya back, baby. ;)

Yeah, me and the roomate have been talking about making our own hummus. It's just chickpeas and some spices thrown into a food processor, and probably a lot cheaper than buying it at Brookshire Bros. Gotta find us a cheap food processor, though.

Edit: Ooh, I just thought i could toss some garlic powder in it, I wonder how good that would work. I love garlic like a sane man shouldn't.
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Valerie » Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:24 pm

Pink Freud wrote:
Valerie wrote:I LOVE HUMMUS THAT IS AN AWESOME IDEA I LOVE YOU


Love ya back, baby. ;)

Yeah, me and the roomate have been talking about making our own hummus. It's just chickpeas and some spices thrown into a food processor, and probably a lot cheaper than buying it at Brookshire Bros. Gotta find us a cheap food processor, though.

Edit: Ooh, I just thought i could toss some garlic powder in it, I wonder how good that would work. I love garlic like a sane man shouldn't.


I've got a tahini-free recipe somewhere, but we recently moved so Lord knows where it is. I think it was chickpeas, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cumin.
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby thebitterfig » Mon Jan 19, 2015 8:27 am

Another piece of quinoa advice: my brother who cooks a bunch of the stuff, him and his family being vegetarian, advise against the standard 1 cup grain, 2 cups rice recipe method often printed on bags and boxes. The old ratio came about when the drying process for quinoa was a lot more inconsistent, and it used to be necessary to use too much water, but modern quinoa cooks fine with a 1:1 water/grain ratio. The grains don't turn to mush, and have a lot of texture and snap and flavor this way. Another nice cooking trick: dry toast the grain first. Just throw them dry into the pan (no oil like if you were making a rice pilaf), stir and heat until they smell a bit toasty, then add the water and cook.

I used to make my own hummus in a blender. Chickpeas are soft enough that they don't really need super-powerful grinders. Basically, it was throw in whatever spices (needs garlic and lemon--not necessarily a lot of lemon, but it needs at least some--maybe chili peppers), a bit of olive oil is nice, and use some left over juice from the can (not sure if dried chickpea soaking liquid works as well. It might, but there are sometimes odd things with dried bean cooking/soaking liquids) to get the consistency right. Sesame is pretty nice to include, though. Tahini is probably more available than it used to be, and without that, it's probably not hard just to get a big bag or jar of sesame seeds. Typically the asian sections in larger grocery stores have the best prices (or middle-eastern sections, or small asian markets if there happen to be any around). Before folks say "east Texas, east Texas", I used to live in southern Ohio, one congressional district over from John Boehner. I could get this stuff in Kroger and Meijer, so it's worth at least checking in HEB or wherever.

Veggie crackers is no doubt a lot better than what I'm kind of hooked on dipping into hummus: Fritos.
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Re: Dear vegetarians;

Postby Valerie » Thu Jan 29, 2015 9:52 pm

Just an update (mostly so I can keep track of my progress).

I've switched to soy milk, because protein.
My doctor said to take a complex vitamin B, so I have that added to the morning multivitamin now.
I've had meat twice since I started, which was I think a week or two before my original post. Once because my sister was over and got crab rangoon (HOW COULD I NOT) and the other time because I ate something in the house that already had chicken in it (I don't want the stuff I have to go to waste). I haven't really missed meat, though, so far, so I think this is going to stick.
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