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How I do vegetarianism?

The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
Hi H/A.

How many folks here have made a successful transition to a vegetarian diet? I am going to be attempting this, but I have no idea where I will be getting my protein from.


I'm pretty sure soy / tofu are basically the only alternatives that anywhere approach the kind of protein that meat provides, correct? Does anyone know of reasonably priced synthetic meat producers (preferably ones on Vancouver Island? Yes, this is hoping for a lot. :P )

Aside from probably having to deal with a lower white blood cell count, are there pitfalls to be aware of? How horribly sick am I going to fell and for how long?

With Love and Courage
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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure soy / tofu are basically the only alternatives that anywhere approach the kind of protein that meat provides, correct?

    Nope!

    Basically all plant proteins are considered "incomplete proteins" in that they don't contain all the amino acids your body requires. There are two exceptions to this rule: soy, which you mention, and quinoa (a grain). However, you can metabolize complementary incomplete proteins together to give you all of your essential aminos acids. The rule of thumb is legumes and simple starches -- for instance, the quintessential red beans and rice.

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    flowerhoneyflowerhoney Registered User regular
    My roommate is a pescetarian so she still get protein from fish and seafood, but she also eats a lot of tofu, quorn (which is the most delicious meat substitute I've ever tasted), beans, lentils, nuts, and eggs. She's a very healthy gal!

    I don't know why you're going vegetarian, but if it doesn't conflict with your personal reasons you could always continue to eat seafood or just consume meat occasionally, maybe once a week and make sure its something like (I don't know) free range chicken. If eating any meat is out of the question, then meat substitutes, tofu, tempeh, nuts, and beans, ect should give you all the protein you need if you make sure to always have plenty. There are also tons of protein shakes and that you make really delicious by adding fruits and sugar!

    I was a vegetarian for about a year and didn't ever feel sick or weak or anything, but I did have occasional meat cravings like nobody's business

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    UncleChetUncleChet N00b Lancaster, PARegistered User regular
    OP, Not sure if Vancouver has it, or if you're inclined, but if you have a local Asian grocery, Make good friends with the folks who work there. I have a good friends who's a 20+ year vegetarian, and we get a LOT of good things from my favorite local AG (Asian Grocer). Just this weekend we picked up a block of "mock duck" it's Really good, I believe it's textured soy protein and a few other bits but it Tastes Really Good, has a fantastic meaty texture and goes well in a lot of dishes.
    Of course there's tofu, and I happen to like it, some folks don't. I've read (but not tested) that pre-boiling (or poaching) your tofu block for 15 minutes before you manipulate it for your dish, really helps to improve the texture and flavor over all.
    Beans, and any legume is going to be a staple for you. Try to buy bulk, and if you can, buy dried over canned if you have the time to prep them. Reasoning is, you'll save TONS of money buying bulk (even if only by the pound) and you'll maintain nutrients and cut back on added sodium.
    Latin food stores are also a good stop. If you ask, you might just be lucky to find corn and flower tortillas made without animal fats, and cheeses made with out rennet that you can use to really "spice things up" (/groan).

    Finally, there is the D&D food discussion thread. I happen to Love to cook, but I find myself never posting in there. I do sure lurk it though.

    Hope this helps, and if you like, I can always expand upon some of the ideas in here.

    I'm sometimes grumpy and random, feel free to overlook the strange man in the corner.
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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure soy / tofu are basically the only alternatives that anywhere approach the kind of protein that meat provides, correct?

    Nope!

    Basically all plant proteins are considered "incomplete proteins" in that they don't contain all the amino acids your body requires. There are two exceptions to this rule: soy, which you mention, and quinoa (a grain). However, you can metabolize complementary incomplete proteins together to give you all of your essential aminos acids. The rule of thumb is legumes and simple starches -- for instance, the quintessential red beans and rice.

    Crap.

    What if I really, really hate beans?
    OP, Not sure if Vancouver has it, or if you're inclined, but if you have a local Asian grocery, Make good friends with the folks who work there. I have a good friends who's a 20+ year vegetarian, and we get a LOT of good things from my favorite local AG (Asian Grocer). Just this weekend we picked up a block of "mock duck" it's Really good, I believe it's textured soy protein and a few other bits but it Tastes Really Good, has a fantastic meaty texture and goes well in a lot of dishes.
    Of course there's tofu, and I happen to like it, some folks don't. I've read (but not tested) that pre-boiling (or poaching) your tofu block for 15 minutes before you manipulate it for your dish, really helps to improve the texture and flavor over all.
    Beans, and any legume is going to be a staple for you. Try to buy bulk, and if you can, buy dried over canned if you have the time to prep them. Reasoning is, you'll save TONS of money buying bulk (even if only by the pound) and you'll maintain nutrients and cut back on added sodium.
    Latin food stores are also a good stop. If you ask, you might just be lucky to find corn and flower tortillas made without animal fats, and cheeses made with out rennet that you can use to really "spice things up" (/groan).

    Finally, there is the D&D food discussion thread. I happen to Love to cook, but I find myself never posting in there. I do sure lurk it though.

    Hope this helps, and if you like, I can always expand upon some of the ideas in here.

    That information is incredibly helpful, actually. Thanks!

    With Love and Courage
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    UncleChetUncleChet N00b Lancaster, PARegistered User regular
    edited February 2013
    BTW, Do Not, unless you're a total "goose" like me, feed your friend vegetarian suckling pig for easter. Yes, it IS vegetarian, 100%, it's Also completely and totally shaped and colored like half of a baby pig. They may not find it funny. (I sure did though)
    /edit, Yes, you can Google image search "vegetarian suckling pig" and find stuff. LOL

    UncleChet on
    I'm sometimes grumpy and random, feel free to overlook the strange man in the corner.
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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    SammyF wrote: »
    The Ender wrote: »
    I'm pretty sure soy / tofu are basically the only alternatives that anywhere approach the kind of protein that meat provides, correct?

    Nope!

    Basically all plant proteins are considered "incomplete proteins" in that they don't contain all the amino acids your body requires. There are two exceptions to this rule: soy, which you mention, and quinoa (a grain). However, you can metabolize complementary incomplete proteins together to give you all of your essential aminos acids. The rule of thumb is legumes and simple starches -- for instance, the quintessential red beans and rice.

    Crap.

    What if I really, really hate beans?

    It depends. What do you hate about beans?

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    _J__J_ Pedant Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Go here: http://www.livestrong.com/vegetarian-protein/

    There are oodles of articles about vegetarian protein alternatives. Pretty much any question you have about nutrition can be answered through an article on livestrong.com.

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    UncleChetUncleChet N00b Lancaster, PARegistered User regular
    _J_ wrote: »
    Go here: http://www.livestrong.com/vegetarian-protein/

    There are oodles of articles about vegetarian protein alternatives. Pretty much any question you have about nutrition can be answered through an article on livestrong.com.

    I've Really found this to be true. Between livestrong and a friendly AG, you can do vegetarian 365 without running out of ideas. Heck, if you like Asian foods (like I do), you can even do a different nation/region per month and just go crazy.

    I'm sometimes grumpy and random, feel free to overlook the strange man in the corner.
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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    It depends. What do you hate about beans?

    The flavor.

    With Love and Courage
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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    It depends. What do you hate about beans?

    The flavor.

    Is that all? You just need to (a) try more types of beans until you figure out what ingredients you like best, and (b) try more ways of preparing them until you find recipes that you like.

    Have you tried minestrone?

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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    It depends. What do you hate about beans?

    The flavor.
    This is pretty much bullshit. "Beans" is not a flavor. You just haven't grown up eating beans that don't taste like shit, because whatever cuisine/cuisines you were raised on didn't cook beans right.

    Here's how to be a vegetarian. The first step is reading this free cookbook. The second step is checking out my sweet list of vegetarian recipes that I keep updated constantly (plus my list of spice mixes). The third step is finding some good vegetarian recipe websites, like Manjula's Kitchen, smitten kitchen, Simply Recipes, 101 Cookbooks, and so on.

    The thing to remember about vegetarianism is that most humans throughout most of the world for most of history have been vegetarians most of the time. For a lot of diets, meat was something you ate on holidays or other special occasions or if you were a rich person. One reason meat is so huge in American food today is that when food prices came down and people became more affluent, people were able to eat like rich people all the time, and it became normal to plan a meal around meat. Fast forward a few decades, and we end up where you are in the OP: you think the only way to get protein is to replace meat with soy when in reality protein comes from eating like a non-rich person. Indian food, for instance, is made up of a lot of cuisines, most of which do vegetarianism (and even veganism) just fine without removing many of their options. Having a meat based meal be the source of your protein and other nutrients is the exception, not the rule, and moving to vegetarianism is easy as hell when you realize this.

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    Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    While I'm still an omnivore I do a ton of cooking for vegans and vegetarians and often eat vegetarian meals, especially for breakfast and lunch. Vegan I rarely do because of how much I love cheese and none of the substitutes for that come anywhere near close.

    One of the first steps I can advise; learn how to make a good vegetable stock. Basically any leavings from making a good chopped salad or two tops of celery, ends of onions/scallions, carrot peels and ends plus a lot of good herbs and some cold water brought up just to a good simmer for 40 minutes or so. Strain and reserve, and combine that with a lot of things to make them tasty. Roasted vegetable soups are a great filling first step.

    Beans and lentils seem scary but they are your friends! Try many different kinds in soups and cooked salads! If you're still going dairy a good bean and cheese burrito (a staple lunch of mine for the past five years, even better with some nice aromatic rice) is a quick and insanely filling option. Cheap as hell too!

    There's also many many options these days when it comes to salads. Just go to your local farmer's market and find some fresh greens and veggies that look good and through them together! Go to your local store and check out their olive bar/jarred olive section and you can find all sorts of salty briny delicious things to go with them. Also roasted nuts/seeds are GREAT on salads.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    It may help to know why you are going vegetarian, and how vegetarian you are wanting to go. I mean there are people out there who will only eat fruits and berries because they don't require you kill the plant. If you are looking to go to that kind of level it's going to be rough going for you... but it's a world of difference if eggs and/or dairy are going to be okay for you. If you're looking to cut out most meat for health reasons, you may still consider seafood a good source of protein (in moderation and properly sourced).

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    AtomicGaryBuseyAtomicGaryBusey I put on my robe and wizard hat. Beautiful Lynnhood, Wash.Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    So, I went vegetarian last June and went full-on vegan last August. It's been quite a crash-course in learning. First and foremost I recommend reading anything you can on the subject of nutrition. Second, it'd help to know what your motivation is for going veg and how far you're taking it. Are you considering fish in your diet? How about eggs? There are names for almost any vegetarian variant you can imagine and knowing the terminology can help you find recipes and other information online specific to your chosen mode of vegetarianism. For example, if you eat fish you're pescetarian. If you eat eggs and dairy you're a lacto-ovo vegetarian. If you eat dairy but no eggs you're a lacto-vegetarian. Just knowing the lingo can help a LOT. I've found in general when people say they're going "vegetarian" they really mean lacto-ovo vegetarian and will eat eggs and dairy without issue.

    If you're lacto-ovo then you have it fairly easy from a nutritional standpoint and don't need to stress too much about micro-managing your "protein" (I put that in double quotes for a reason. I'll elaborate later) and such. Eggs provide much of the animal protein your body has previously enjoyed, and dairy will also provide some of that. There are some big "gotchas" that some folks don't realize when they first start going veg.

    Gelatin - Anything with "gelatin" listed in the ingredients is out. That includes Jello-o, most fruit snacks, most gummy bears, and a lot of other sweets. Gelatin is made of boiled down animal bones and other pieces, and if you're doing this for any ethical or allergy reason then you'll definitely want to steer clear of it.
    Alcohol - There are some beers, wines, and spirits that are also not safe for even lacto-ovo vegetarians because they contain isinglass and other animal byproducts. Barnivore is a great resource for you to cross-reference your favorite drinks against: http://www.barnivore.com/.
    Some Cheeses - Some cheese is made with animal rennet, which is obtained from the stomachs of various animals. Examples will be most parmesans, many cheddars (especially as you get sharper), and a lot of aged or artisan cheeses. Cheese can be made with fungal or bacterial rennet and this is considered fully lacto-ovo vegetarian friendly. Unfortunately I've never found an extremely good resource on which cheeses contain animal-based rennet and which don't, so Googling on a case-by-case basis is your best bet.

    You've got three main "meat-substitutes": tofu, seitan, and tempeh. Tofu and tempeh are both soy-based, and seitan is made from wheat gluten. Tofu is a great replacement for eggs and ricotta in lasagna, tempeh is good for replacing some crumbled meats and things requiring a "scrambled egg" texture, and seitan (AKA "mock duck") can be easily used to replace chicken, lamb, duck, and other poultry and finer meats. Soy can be textured to easily replace the sensation of hamburger and processed meats like bologna and hot dogs, if you're into that kind of thing.

    When you're considering substituting meat, keep in mind that protein combining and the idea of "complete" and "incomplete" proteins is an outdated theory, by the way. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_combining

    A few key things that've really helped me:

    - Learn to cook at home. If you don't think you know how to cook there's no better time than now. When you cook at home you have complete control over the ingredients and can know for sure that there's nothing animal-body based in your meals. It also gets you more in touch with your food and what you're putting into your body which is never a bad thing.

    - Investigate foreign cuisine. I'm really heavy into Southeast Asian cooking, particularly Indian. There is a huge percentage of the population in India that is vegetarian and has been for many hundreds and thousands of years. They've got this vegetarian thing down to a science. They've also been around since well before the United States was founded and are obviously nutritionally sound as they haven't died out yet.

    - Grow a thick skin. I've been told by family and friends so many times that I'm crazy and they're living their lives to the fullest by being "apex predators" and "eating more bacon and hamburgers" because I'm not. Some people will poke fun at you. Ignore it. You're doing what's right by you and that's an amazing thing. Stick with it as long as *you* want to! :)

    - Ignore the "helpful" meat-eater "nutritional advice". The reason the USDA recommends such a high calcium intake is because protein actually contains a high amount of acid and calcium is needed to neutralize that extra acid. Everything's a balancing act. Americans and other Western cultures eat so much protein that we need to drink a lot of milk and take in other dairy to help the body cope with it. That brings other issues such as fat and saturated fat. If you bring protein, calcium, and other core nutrients more in line with reason you'll find you don't actually NEED such high doses to have a healthy body. Unfortunately through decades of misinformation campaigns people in the Western world have been told you "need your protein" to be healthy. If I had a dime for every time someone has asked me, very earnestly, "But how will you get enough protein?" I'd be driving a Jaguar.

    - **Read Ingredient Labels** - I cannot stress this one enough. You will *never* get a handle on your diet unless you analyze the ingredient labels on anything that comes in a box, bag, pouch, tray, jug, bottle, or carton. There's a lot of tricky speak manufacturers use to sneak animal ingredients into foods you never would have thought of. The reason is simple: animal agribusiness is worth a LOT of money. You can maximize profits by using animal byproducts in any way conceivable. I know you're not doing the vegan thing, but you would not believe how hard it is for me to do something as simple as buying a loaf of bread. Most store-bought bread has eggs and/or milk in it. You'd think bread is just yeast and flour and salt and such, but no. Tons of animal ingredients in it.

    - Shun fast food. This may seem dead simple, but some people don't realize just how many animal ingredients fast food companies put in their foods. Most fast food is also nutritionally void, so I'd recommend avoiding it whenever possible. If you must eat out, say pizza, do your research first. Some pizza delivery places use cheese with animal rennet in it, so even a cheese pizza isn't safe. As always, do research.

    I can recommend you some great websites and books if you're interested. Also, I realize I make some claims that some folks, especially long-time meat-eaters, will find spurious. I can back up anything I've said with scientific studies and book references, if needed. Just let me know. :)

    In the end, the best thing you can do is look at this like an adventure and a new career. Research endlessly and learn amazing things about the world and your own body. Let me know if you have *any* questions. I'll be more than glad to help!

    AtomicGaryBusey on
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    AtomicGaryBuseyAtomicGaryBusey I put on my robe and wizard hat. Beautiful Lynnhood, Wash.Registered User regular
    Oh, and as far as feeling sick, once you go veg you'll learn about that "heavy morning feeling" in your gut. To put it another way, you'll probably notice that the "heaviness" in your gastro system that is present after eating meat is gone. I experienced this and so have many other veg people. As a vegan I can tell you that mentally cheese cravings can get pretty bad (all cheese substitutes SUCK), but I honestly never crave meat. I think this varies by person. Honestly I think once you give it a few days you'll like how you feel.

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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    It may help to know why you are going vegetarian, and how vegetarian you are wanting to go. I mean there are people out there who will only eat fruits and berries because they don't require you kill the plant. If you are looking to go to that kind of level it's going to be rough going for you... but it's a world of difference if eggs and/or dairy are going to be okay for you. If you're looking to cut out most meat for health reasons, you may still consider seafood a good source of protein (in moderation and properly sourced).

    Fair point; I wouldn't do seafood in any case, but eggs are fine by me.

    I've had a long stand boycott against meat producers because I think the domestication of for-slaughter-only livestock is unethical; I was pushed over into, "Fuck this shit, I'm not eating it anymore," last night, after reading through the emerging stories of the horse adulteration scandal in Europe. If regulators can't even effectively control what goes into a package, and therefore I can't be reasonably sure of what is in said package, fuck it, I ain't eating it.

    (I guess I could be 'picky' and just eat whatever fresh meat from the local Deli or whatever, but I think it'll be simpler in practice to just scratch meats from my diet at least until it can be shown that regulators have their shit in a pile)


    Thanks for all of the resource so far, folks.

    With Love and Courage
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I'm not sure where you live or how viable an option this is for you, but I know that around me buying local is actually a pretty big deal. There are a lot of local farmers in this area that butcher themselves, and knowing your farmer and their practices can really help with that. That's not to discourage you going vegetarian because honestly I am not the meat industry's biggest fan, but I would feel a lot better personally buying meat direct from a farmer I felt I could trust to do the best he could by his animals.

    I would talk every so often about just going vegetarian for this reason. Then one day my husband pointed out to me that my business or lack thereof is not even a drop in their bucket, and that probably a better way to support the kind of practices I would like to see is to eat meat from animals raised in a way that I can feel good about (unless I really just don't want to eat it at all, which is a different matter). It will help remove my money from a system I hate in order to actively support more humane/responsible animal-raising, where it's needed far more anyway to help those guys stay in business.

    It's just a thought and feel free to ignore it, but it seems relevant and might be worth thinking about.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I'm not sure where you live or how viable an option this is for you, but I know that around me buying local is actually a pretty big deal. There are a lot of local farmers in this area that butcher themselves, and knowing your farmer and their practices can really help with that. That's not to discourage you going vegetarian because honestly I am not the meat industry's biggest fan, but I would feel a lot better personally buying meat direct from a farmer I felt I could trust to do the best he could by his animals.

    Well, the issue is that I have the boycott (I don't particularly care if you're a local farmer; I still think it's unethical to raise for-slaughter livestock). So, when I'm just grabbing my own groceries or whatever, it's simple: I just don't buy any meat. It's when someone else is buying the groceries, or when I'm eating at someone else's place, that just saying no thank you to meats would be simpler than pestering people about where they got [X] meat dish, whether they bought local, etc.

    With Love and Courage
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    goldgold Registered User regular
    Honestly, going vegetarian isn't hard at all. In most supermarkets (so I'm guessing yours too) there's a pretty decent selection of vegetarian substitutes which aren't just tofu. I know Alpro has a very wide selection of vegetarian foods that are all really tasty.

    Furthermore just take some time to go to a few supermarkets in your area that you frequent and check out what kind of selection they have. For example the one that's just a mile down the road from my house literally has nothing vegetarian (they have cheese and stuff, but no substitutes) and the one that's a 10 minute drive has a very large selection. All depends on the area.

    Just be smart about it and don't JUST eat tofu or vegetables. Mix it up, buy veggieburgers, sausages, meatballs, steaks,... It's all there and they all have different substitutes in them so you can pretty much get anything you need from mixing up your diet just as you would while eating meat. No one eats steak 7 days a weak, right?

    Furthermore, just start doing a lot of your own cooking. It's amazing how little it takes to have a really good vegetarian meal on the table. My favorite is making veggie wraps with quorn, apple, paprika, some peppers and yoghurt sauce and cheese. Takes about 15 minutes and tastes delicious.

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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Just be smart about it and don't JUST eat tofu or vegetables. Mix it up, buy veggieburgers, sausages, meatballs, steaks,... It's all there and they all have different substitutes in them so you can pretty much get anything you need from mixing up your diet just as you would while eating meat. No one eats steak 7 days a weak, right?

    Be brutally honest with me:

    Are there really good vegetarian steaks? Like, you bit into and say, "Damn. This is just as good as a beef steak." ?

    I know that there are legitimately good veggie burger patties, and I personally prefer some veggie patties over beef ones, but I'm having a hard time imagining a good synthetic meat steak.

    If there are, what brands do you recommend?


    I'm just asking so that I don't buy one and get unpleasantly surprised.

    With Love and Courage
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    Baron DirigibleBaron Dirigible Registered User regular
    Are there really good vegetarian steaks? Like, you bit into and say, "Damn. This is just as good as a beef steak." ?
    No, there are not. I find the emphasis on mock-meat in this thread pretty disappointing, to be honest. Mock-meat products might be an effective crutch if you're just starting out and want to replace some staple meals in your diet with a veg-friendly alternative, but I certainly wouldn't recommend them as the foundations of a vegetarian diet.

    To be honest, I agree more with ceres' advice about eating sustainable, ethical meat than I do gold's advice that you find some good veg-friendly "veggieburgers, sausages, meatballs, steaks". In the end it's your choice and you have to decide what you're comfortable doing, but I see no point in switching to a vegetarian diet if you're not prepared to put in a bit of extra work and get some healthier, tastier and cheaper meals out of it. Tycho's post is full of great links (particularly fond of smitten kitchen, myself -- try her romesco potato alongside some poached eggs and tell me you'd prefer bacon!). I'm a big fan of this cookbook, as well. The broccoli, chickpea and tahini salad is my go-to lunch these days, because it's unbelievably cheap, healthy, filling and much, much more delicious than it has any right to be.

    As a disclaimer I've been vegetarian for five years and I enjoy the odd chickpea parma, but I also prefer to make them myself.

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Keep in mind, you will need to eat incomplete proteins that complement each other roughly at the same time in order to metabolize them together. So, beans and rice, always together. If you eat the beans at 8:00am and the rice at 6:00pm, you basically just ate one half, then the other. Though you can mostly get around this by eggs.

    Hell if you have your own home/property you can keep chickens for eggs and treat them however you want to treat them.

    Or bugs, eat bugs.

    Lots of alternatives to your problem here.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    PelPel Registered User regular
    It will be a consolation to you that the "complete protein" dogma that has generated so many questions from omnivores over the years has been largely discredited. It IS accurate that you can greatly increase your effective protein intake by mixing foods to complete the mix of essential amino acids. However, even "incomplete" proteins normally have enough of all essential aminos that with an average caloric intake, it would be difficult not to eat enough protein to survive and be healthy. If you are an athlete, weightlifter, or outdoorsman, or work in a physically demanding field, you might have to do some planning in your diet to avoid losing some muscle mass. Even then, such planning is minimal (depending on how active/ muscle dense you are). If you are an average guy or already skinny, your protein intake is probably many times what you need anyways. It's also, IIRC, untrue that incomplete proteins must be eaten together. In reality, your body stores the incomplete components for as long as a few days.

    Suggestions for meat substitutes:
    Anything Indian. You might not even be able to tell the difference, depending on which dishes you prefer.
    Falafel and Hummos!
    Tofu is boring if you don't cook it properly, and it will make you hate your life if you try to eat it plain. However, there are interesting and delicious ways to cook it!
    Thai food has some astounding variety in vegetarian fare.

    One MAJOR thing to remember is that often the "meat" of the meal is less important than the supplemental stuff. Having high quality whole grains such as whole grain bread or pasta and brown rice are often just as important as the main course, and come with a slew of other health benefits.

    Good luck: I have tons of other suggestions that will vary based on your personal taste and dietary restrictions. Feel free to PM.

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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    The Ender wrote: »
    I've had a long stand boycott against meat producers because I think the domestication of for-slaughter-only livestock is unethical; I was pushed over into, "Fuck this shit, I'm not eating it anymore," last night, after reading through the emerging stories of the horse adulteration scandal in Europe. If regulators can't even effectively control what goes into a package, and therefore I can't be reasonably sure of what is in said package, fuck it, I ain't eating it.

    Yeah I saw your D&D thread on the horse meat thing and thought they might be related.

    I'm with @Baron Dirigible in that I find the emphasis you're placing on mock meat to be counterproductive and ultimately self-defeating; if your goal is to find a way to eat steak for dinner every night without actually eating a steak, you're going to be perpetually disappointed until you eventually start rationalizing why it's still okay for you to eat red meat again.

    If you actually want to stick with this, I think you need to learn to appreciate actually eating like a vegetarian. I'm personally not a vegetarian, and I never will be, but I still find myself frequently ordering off the vegetarian side of the menu when I go out to restaurants -- not because I think that an artichoke po' boy tastes made with breaded, deep-fried artichoke hearts tastes exactly like a po' boy made with breaded, deep-fried oysters but because that shit is delicious in its own right, independent of its lack of verisimilitude to an oyster.

    If that doesn't sound like you, and you're doing this because you believe it's unethical to raise for-slaughter livestock, might I add to Bowen's list of not entirely serious alternatives and make a serious suggestion? Get yourself (1) a rifle, (2) a sharp knife, and (3) a large freezer. If you're this focused on finding something as satisfying as a steak without worrying about the ethics of for-slaughter livestock or questions about where your meat is actually coming from, and you don't think you'll be satisfied giving up entirely on animal protein, the most direct solution for you is probably to learn to stalk, kill and field-dress a deer.

    SammyF on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Pel wrote: »
    It will be a consolation to you that the "complete protein" dogma that has generated so many questions from omnivores over the years has been largely discredited. It IS accurate that you can greatly increase your effective protein intake by mixing foods to complete the mix of essential amino acids. However, even "incomplete" proteins normally have enough of all essential aminos that with an average caloric intake, it would be difficult not to eat enough protein to survive and be healthy. If you are an athlete, weightlifter, or outdoorsman, or work in a physically demanding field, you might have to do some planning in your diet to avoid losing some muscle mass. Even then, such planning is minimal (depending on how active/ muscle dense you are). If you are an average guy or already skinny, your protein intake is probably many times what you need anyways. It's also, IIRC, untrue that incomplete proteins must be eaten together. In reality, your body stores the incomplete components for as long as a few days.

    Suggestions for meat substitutes:
    Anything Indian. You might not even be able to tell the difference, depending on which dishes you prefer.
    Falafel and Hummos!
    Tofu is boring if you don't cook it properly, and it will make you hate your life if you try to eat it plain. However, there are interesting and delicious ways to cook it!
    Thai food has some astounding variety in vegetarian fare.

    One MAJOR thing to remember is that often the "meat" of the meal is less important than the supplemental stuff. Having high quality whole grains such as whole grain bread or pasta and brown rice are often just as important as the main course, and come with a slew of other health benefits.

    Good luck: I have tons of other suggestions that will vary based on your personal taste and dietary restrictions. Feel free to PM.

    You're saying a lot of stuff that I'm finding a hard time believing.

    Especially with the recent discovery of gluten and the allergies to it and how wheat might actually be bad (the opposite of "health benefits.") More specifically, incomplete proteins having the rest of your essential aminos sort of contradicts itself.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_combining

    Backs up that each will contain incomplete or missing essential proteins. You're still going to have to do heavy combining on the lacking ones to make up the incomplete. If it's just missing an entire set you can eat that at a later time, sure. There's still some figuring involved there.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    SammyF wrote: »
    might I add to Bowen's list of not entirely serious alternatives and make a serious suggestion?

    Totally serious! Lots of people keep chickens, even in urban areas.

    Bugs too, I know a few people who grow or want to grow bugs for eating. @Arch even posts on the forums and he's contemplated doing that very same thing.

    As someone who's accidentally eaten ants and meal worms, I can't say they were bad.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Disclaimer: I am not a vegetarian

    Vegetarian food that's made to mimic or replace meat is invariably disappointing. Whilst I do eat meat, I'm quite happy to eat meals that don't have any meat in, and I generally have at least 1 day a week where I don't eat meat, because doing this makes my tummy happier. IMO the way to eat vegetarian meals is to pick recipes that bring the vegetables forward and make their tastes and textures the focus of the meal, not ones that try and mush them up into "veat".

    PS my favourite vegetable recipe is shredded savoy cabbage, stir fried with caramelised soy onions, fresh ginger and whole cumin seeds. It's savoury, spicey, insanely delicious, and adding meat to it would only dilute and distract from the flavour triad that's in there. It stands on its own merits and doesn't try to be "meat".

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    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    "Meat substitute" is just entirely the wrong way to think about this stuff. Indian cuisine does not have a "meat substitute" in every meal. Ethiopian cuisine does not use "meat substitutes" in its many vegetarian dishes. With the exception of falafel, the many vegetarian foods in Middle Eastern/Egyptian/Israeli/etc. cuisine do not have any "meat substitutes." Japanese vegetarian food, Vietnamese vegetarian food, Thai vegetarian food, Chinese vegetarian food, and so on don't have "meat substitutes" (some have tofu, but not in place of meat).

    "Meat substitutes" are just a way to keep being a non-vegetarian in everything but technicality. If you're eating shamburgers and notdogs then you haven't learned to be a vegetarian: you've learned to be a meat eater who eats the shittiest tasting meat that anyone has ever invented. Plus, you're going to pay a lot of money and it's not going to be super healthy. Learn to cook real food like a real person and you're going to be healthier, happier, wealthier, and more attractive as a potential mate.

    And if @ceres wants to turn this into an ethics of eating animals thread I'm all over that, but I'm guessing that's probably a no-no, so I'm going to go ahead and say "hooray to you" for going vegetarian, and you might also think about cutting eggs out of your diet if you have a problem with the mistreatment of animals, because, well... eggs don't come from happy places :(

    TychoCelchuuu on
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    AtomicGaryBuseyAtomicGaryBusey I put on my robe and wizard hat. Beautiful Lynnhood, Wash.Registered User regular
    edited February 2013
    I'll also agree with putting as little emphasis on meat substitute products as possible. It really does defeat a lot of the point of going veg. I over relied on these products for a few weeks last year and the rationalization did fire up for a while until I realized what it was and put a stop to it. I'm firmly in the camp of learning to live being non surrogate based whenever possible.

    I do like the whole idea of commitment to buying local whenever possible. It helps the local economy, your fellow local citizens, and the rest of the planet too. The fuel savings alone are worth it. ;)

    Regarding the whole protein combining theory, it's largely recognized as something nearly nobody needs to worry about. If you live only on spinach then you'll have a problem, but they won't be limited to protein deficiency. There are all sorts of potential health gotchas with any diet, including a meat based one. Look up current scientific concerns over the levels of estrogen in soy. That is something that concerns even meat eaters as soy is a cheap filler and is in tons of processed foods.

    EDIT: one last thing I wanted to mention. See a doctor. Have them draw blood samples and check you out to ensure your blood contains the right nutrients and such. Find a veg-friendly doctor if possible. No better way to know if you're protein (or anything else) deficient than seeing lab results.

    AtomicGaryBusey on
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    AtomicGaryBuseyAtomicGaryBusey I put on my robe and wizard hat. Beautiful Lynnhood, Wash.Registered User regular
    And if @ceres wants to turn this into an ethics of eating animals thread I'm all over that, but I'm guessing that's probably a no-no, so I'm going to go ahead and say "hooray to you" for going vegetarian, and you might also think about cutting eggs out of your diet if you have a problem with the mistreatment of animals, because, well... eggs don't come from happy places :(

    This is what pushed me over the edge into being vegan. I initially stopped meat for health reasons. I stopped eggs and dairy for ethical reasons and realized the meat cessation was partially based in ethics as well. The only thing I'm awful about is honey, on rare occasions, and even then only from local producers.

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    tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    The Ender wrote: »
    It may help to know why you are going vegetarian, and how vegetarian you are wanting to go. I mean there are people out there who will only eat fruits and berries because they don't require you kill the plant. If you are looking to go to that kind of level it's going to be rough going for you... but it's a world of difference if eggs and/or dairy are going to be okay for you. If you're looking to cut out most meat for health reasons, you may still consider seafood a good source of protein (in moderation and properly sourced).

    Fair point; I wouldn't do seafood in any case, but eggs are fine by me.

    I've had a long stand boycott against meat producers because I think the domestication of for-slaughter-only livestock is unethical; I was pushed over into, "Fuck this shit, I'm not eating it anymore," last night, after reading through the emerging stories of the horse adulteration scandal in Europe. If regulators can't even effectively control what goes into a package, and therefore I can't be reasonably sure of what is in said package, fuck it, I ain't eating it.

    (I guess I could be 'picky' and just eat whatever fresh meat from the local Deli or whatever, but I think it'll be simpler in practice to just scratch meats from my diet at least until it can be shown that regulators have their shit in a pile)


    Thanks for all of the resource so far, folks.

    You could take up hunting and/or fishing. 100% free range,no untrustworthy middlemen.

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    CybitCybit Merch Underling RedmondRegistered User regular
    black bean patties for the win.

    FYI: never eaten meat in my life; lifetime vegetarian. I weightlift 3x a week. Beans, almonds, are all good sources of protein. also, if you're weightlifting a lot, protein shakes, but only if you are hardcore at the gym. Also, Indian food works well (I am indian, and thus have grown up on Indian food) for vegetarianism.

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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Nah we're not going to turn this into an ethics debate, and I get what you're saying now. I just wanted to put that out there in case it was something you hadn't thought of.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    And if @ceres wants to turn this into an ethics of eating animals thread I'm all over that, but I'm guessing that's probably a no-no, so I'm going to go ahead and say "hooray to you" for going vegetarian, and you might also think about cutting eggs out of your diet if you have a problem with the mistreatment of animals, because, well... eggs don't come from happy places

    In my case, eggs specifically come from my aunt, who raises chickens as pets. The buggers just happen to lay a lot of infertile (yet tasty) eggs. :P

    With Love and Courage
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    Daily pretty much!

    Awesome.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    My friends have a few laying hens.. there's nothing quite like fresh eggs. I really didn't think they'd be any different, but they are pretty amazing in comparison with the best eggs you can possibly buy in a store. Everything that happens to a store-bought egg between laying and purchase really kills it, which I understand is the point, but still. I wish they lived closer, if only for their eggs. Also they are nice people I guess. >>

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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    ReciprocityReciprocity Registered User regular
    Also for the month of February, Kenji over at Serious Eats has been doing all vegan meals. I've never made one of his vegan recipes, but all of his other recipes are amazing, and he has really great insight into food and food science.

    http://www.seriouseats.com/tags/the vegan experience

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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    "Meat substitute" is just entirely the wrong way to think about this stuff. Indian cuisine does not have a "meat substitute" in every meal. Ethiopian cuisine does not use "meat substitutes" in its many vegetarian dishes. With the exception of falafel, the many vegetarian foods in Middle Eastern/Egyptian/Israeli/etc. cuisine do not have any "meat substitutes." Japanese vegetarian food, Vietnamese vegetarian food, Thai vegetarian food, Chinese vegetarian food, and so on don't have "meat substitutes" (some have tofu, but not in place of meat).

    "Meat substitutes" are just a way to keep being a non-vegetarian in everything but technicality. If you're eating shamburgers and notdogs then you haven't learned to be a vegetarian: you've learned to be a meat eater who eats the shittiest tasting meat that anyone has ever invented. Plus, you're going to pay a lot of money and it's not going to be super healthy. Learn to cook real food like a real person and you're going to be healthier, happier, wealthier, and more attractive as a potential mate.

    Tycho's a little bit aggressive about how he makes his point regarding cooking. Someone already pointed you at the D&D cooking thread, and if you've poked your head into it, you've may have already come to the point where I explain that I don't put salt or pepper out on my table because I'm already confident enough in my culinary skills to know that when your food hits the table, it tastes exactly the way it's supposed to taste, and if you don't like it, fuck you and get the fuck out of my house. So I'm admittedly kind of an asshole when it comes to my own cooking, and I'm trying to dial that back in general but especially when we're talking not about my cooking but about yours.

    Having explained why I'm studiously avoiding adopting Tycho's tone, I hasten to add that there is absolutely nothing he said here that's wrong.

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    The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    Right; the reason I asked specifically about that is I know people who tried a vegetarian diet and became sick, like, all of the time, because they just weren't getting enough protein to keep their white blood cell count high.

    So I want to avoid that sort of pitfall.


    You guys gave more more than enough resources to do that. :P

    With Love and Courage
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    To counter why you should avoid doing that is because each person tastes differently. Some people have dull taste, some have sensitive taste. Salt may actually be their way of saying "Wow this tastes good, I would like to taste more of it."

    It also works really well in masking bitter flavors in foods, which can offend someone who has an oversensitive taste.

    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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