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Old 01-22-2005, 04:01 AM   #1
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Question Becoming a vegetarian

I have recently decided to become a vegetarian as i want to lead a healthier lifestyle in general and i am becoming more and more weary of meat in general.

Does anyone have any pointers on how to have a balanced diet?? Are there any particular nutirents that vegetarians lack??

 
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Old 01-22-2005, 07:43 AM   #2
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

There aren't really any nutrients that vegetarians lack if they eat mostly vegetables and not refined flour. The big thing people might worry about is protein, but a little investigation into this should ease your concerns, because an average vegetarian diet provides all the protein you need. If you are considering vegan then you might be concerned about B12.

 
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Old 01-22-2005, 08:16 AM   #3
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

hey mehtab, i have a question, what about iron? i stopped eating meat and chicken about a month ago, but i still eat fish and eggs. i've heard that if your a veg. you have to take iron pills, is this correct or is it just for the true Vegans, which dont eat any animal products?

 
Old 01-22-2005, 09:54 AM   #4
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

there are a lot of iron rich plant foods, so there's generally no need to supplement, even for vegans, unless you have some previously existing condition (like a predisposition for anemia) that would mean it would be wise to supplement regardless of your diet. iron is abundant in plant foods like beans, dark green vegetables, dried fruits, blackstrap molasses, nuts and seeds, whole grain or fortified breads and cereals, etc. Vitamin C assists with absorption of iron, and most vegetarians get plenty of that, too! vegetarians & vegans are no more likely to develop iron deficiency anemia than non-vegetarians, even though they may on average have lower stores of ferritin. these lower iron stores are actually associated with higher glucose tolerance (and therefore could help prevent diabetes), and unlike higher iron stores are not associated with increased risk of some cancers and heart disease.

You can get plenty of B12 from fortified veg foods like:
cereals (optimum power cereal from nature's path, for example has 100% of the RDA)
soymilks, rice milks, almond milks, etc.
red star nutritional yeast (available in natural foods stores- excellent in making gravies and cheezy tasting sauces and dressings)
meat substitutes
etc.
If you'd rather, you could also take B12 in vitamin capsule form (with or without a multivitamin) or in a sublingual tablet.

I've been vegetarian for about 13 years now, and vegan for almost 4, and I've never had a problem getting enough iron, B12, protein, or anything else just from eating a variety of tasty food (and i occasionally pop a multi-vitamin just to be double sure). I've asked my doctor to check to make sure all those things were okay, and the test came back that I was in great health and getting plenty of everything. He even said he thinks a vegan diet is the healthiest way to go, and all the vegans he's seen are so much healthier than most of his other patients!) And I have lots of healthy vegetarian/vegan friends, too, so I can tell you confidently there's nothing to worry about.

Congrats on making the transition!!

There's a useful book by Vesanto Melina and Brenda Davis called Becoming Vegetarian that might be interesting to you, too. I've seen it at a lot of public libraries and in book stores.

 
Old 01-22-2005, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

thanks jess and llama for the advice....i was wondering what are your favorite vegetarian meals? i dont find it that difficult to stop eating meat or chicken because there are plenty of different foods out there but i am always willing to try new things especially if they are good for you. thanks again

 
Old 01-22-2005, 12:14 PM   #6
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

Quote:
Originally Posted by xismybaby
thanks jess and llama for the advice....i was wondering what are your favorite vegetarian meals? i dont find it that difficult to stop eating meat or chicken because there are plenty of different foods out there but i am always willing to try new things especially if they are good for you. thanks again
Besides my diet primarily being vegetarian(fruits, veggies, whole grains) based, I really like Amy's products but they are frozen dinners. My favorite is the Enchilada with beans and rice. Are you going completely vegan like no milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs? I like yopait yogurt, 2% cottage cheese, skim mozz cheese, organic eggs, soy milk. That's how I get most of my protein from dairy products, but no cows milk and it's all organic except for the yogurt. And I have about 2 servings of dairy a day like yogurt and cottage cheese which has the healthy bacteria in it. I try not to have more than 3 servings of dairy. So, one who eats NO meat but consumes dairy and eggs is called a lacto-ovo vegetarian, and one who consumes dairy only is called a lacto-vegetarian. Now, there are tons of vegetarian frozen dinners or recipes on the net for that matter. I just don't like tofu but I'm sure others will give you a better menu that excludes dairy cause I can't remember if you are going vegan or not.

Last edited by Jess75; 01-22-2005 at 12:16 PM.

 
Old 01-22-2005, 02:13 PM   #7
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

jess, i am a lacto-ovo and a pesco vegetarian, i actually bought some tofu, and im thinking of making it for dinner tonight...i hope i like it, i only tried tofu in miso soup before so i dont really know if i will enjoy it but will see. thanks for the info.

 
Old 01-22-2005, 07:04 PM   #8
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

I've been a veggie for about 18 years now and I have to say that what you have to be careful of is getting enough B Vitamins, enough protein, enough omega and keeping your carbs moderate.

The problem with a lot of veggie protein is that it is also quite high in carbs compared to animal protein. Also, I think many veggies will eat regular foods but just omit the meat but not replace it with a plant protein. The problem with this is that their protein to carb ratio leans too heavily on the carbs and not enough on the protein.

The main (good, and low in carbs) protein source for veggies is tempeh and tofu. I don't like tempeh and tofu is very bland and requires a little culinary experimention to make it taste good. Beans are also good but are quite high in carbs. (i'm not a low carber or anything, but I think higher carb foods contribute to skin problems) Eggs are also great in moderation as is plain, live yoghurt, cottage cheese or kerfir (also, soy cheese is incredibly high in protein, but it is a processed food - as is regular cheese - so keep it moderate)

Don't depend too much on dairy for your protein as produce has it own health risks (except cottage cheese, kerfir or plain, live yoghurt)

To make sure you get enough omegas, take a tbsp a day of flax seed oil and make sure to eat raw nuts and seeds such as cashews, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, flax seeds etc.

Good grains to eat as those such as quinoa, millet, mixed wild rice, whole barley and whole oats - but too, moderate these for when your body needs energy.

Good luck with being a veggie, I hope it works out for you.

 
Old 01-22-2005, 07:13 PM   #9
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

Quote:
Originally Posted by xismybaby
jess, i am a lacto-ovo and a pesco vegetarian, i actually bought some tofu, and im thinking of making it for dinner tonight...i hope i like it, i only tried tofu in miso soup before so i dont really know if i will enjoy it but will see. thanks for the info.
A great way to use tofu is to soak it for 1/2 hour in this lemon and ginger marinade.

1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tbsp chopped spring onions
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp chilli paste (Thai Kitchen brand make them)
3 tbsp soy sauce (or use Braggs Liquid Aminos - not fermented)
3 tbsp water
4 tbsp lemon lemon or lime juice
freshly grated lemon or lime
2 tbsp honey/sugar/agave nectar
2 garlic cloves (if you don't want garlic breath, then use roasted garlic instead of raw)

Soak tofu the marinade for 1/2 - 1 hour. Meanwhile, cook some quinoa, oats or wild rice. Also, steam some broccoli with some green and red peppers (or whatever veggies you like) for about 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

Pour marinade into pan and add 6-8 tbsp coconut milk and a little thickener, heat until thickened. Add tofu and veggies and stir to coat.

Serve veggie/tofu mixture over whatever grain you cooked. I ate this today and my non-veggie boyfriend really loved it.


ps. If you like, you could take the tofu out of the marinade and saute it in a little oil until its browned on all side. Its up to you. Sometimes I do this, sometimes I don't.

Last edited by veggie girl; 01-22-2005 at 07:18 PM.

 
Old 01-23-2005, 01:37 AM   #10
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Mehtab HB User
Re: Becoming a vegetarian

No you don't have to worry about iron if you eat vegetables. You don't have to worry about iron that is unless you eat a lot of dairy.

 
Old 01-23-2005, 08:23 AM   #11
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

thanks veggie girl for that very informative reply, i will have to try your tofu recipe...as for dairy i'm try not to eat that much, i never drink milk straight (i sometimes just put some in cereal), i don't really eat yogurt either (though maybe i should start) but i do however eat cheese, which is probably the worst because of the sodium. i'm gonna cut down on carbs and eat more vegetables, i already eat alot of fruit. mehtab- does dairy eliminate iron or something? thanks

 
Old 01-23-2005, 12:35 PM   #12
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

yea anemia is pretty common in dairy drinking populations...rare in non dairy drinking populations. The reason for this is because cow milk can cause blood loss from the intestinal tract, reducing the body's iron stores.

 
Old 01-26-2005, 11:37 AM   #13
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

i was just wondering if anyone who is a vegetarian, did your skin clear up and become better looking and healthier (this obviously only goes for the people who didnt have perfect skin to begin with). thanks

 
Old 01-26-2005, 07:59 PM   #14
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veggie girl HB User
Re: Becoming a vegetarian

Quote:
Originally Posted by xismybaby
i was just wondering if anyone who is a vegetarian, did your skin clear up and become better looking and healthier (this obviously only goes for the people who didnt have perfect skin to begin with). thanks
I became a veggie in high school and my diet consisted of all the regular crap people eat but just without the meat!!

Some veggie proudly proclaim themselves healthy because they don't eat meat - and don't suffer the harmful affects of animal protein - but then they live on veggie pizza, veggie pasta, veggie burgers etc, soda, processed veggie 'meats'!!!

A poor veggie diet is no better than a poor omnivore diet.

However, many who do become vegetarians have a wonderful diet rich in organic food like veggies, live nuts, whole grains, fruit, legumes etc. (i just wasn't one of them until recently )

Oh, and consequently, I've always had crappy skin. Lots of pimples etc. Only recently since I drastically changed my diet has my skin cleared up.

Do you suffer from skin problems??

Last edited by veggie girl; 01-26-2005 at 08:02 PM.

 
Old 01-27-2005, 05:16 AM   #15
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Re: Becoming a vegetarian

thanks veggie girl, i get a couple of pimples here and there, and i suffer from facial flushing and my t-zone gets oily. but my skin really isnt that bad, i just heard that some peoples' skin became clearer when they stopped eating meat.

 
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