Should I Go Vegan Again?

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Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Philflipsnor » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:41 pm UTC

For the first three months of this year, I went vegan because I was interested in the effects of plant-based diets on the human body. As a result I lost 35 pounds in three months. Since I had only resolved to continue with the diet for three months, I went back to animal products in April. But since then I've felt fat. When I was vegan, I WAS fat, but I didn't feel fat, if that makes sense.

I really want to go back pseudo-permanently (meaning if my health quickly deteriorates, I'd stop). It's a big transition though, and I feel it would best be made on my 18th birthday which is at the end of July.

Thoughts?

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Zohar » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:03 pm UTC

You should go vegan if you want to. That's all there is to it. And you don't have to commit to any set time at any point. Just remember to make sure your diet is balanced, and get blood tests every year to make sure your body has everything you need.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby voidPtr » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:09 pm UTC

Well..since you asked..no, I don' t think you should go Vegan.

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:15 pm UTC

As long as you're willing to take the time and make sure your diet is balanced I don't see why not. Alternatively you could go Vegetarian which would offer some of the same benefits to how you feel but might be a bit easier to maintain.

You could also just cut down on the amount of animal products but remain omniverous--it's all about what would make sense and feel balanced for you.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Philflipsnor » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:44 pm UTC

voidPtr wrote:Well..since you asked..no, I don' t think you should go Vegan.

Why not?

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby voidPtr » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:00 pm UTC

Philflipsnor wrote:
voidPtr wrote:Well..since you asked..no, I don' t think you should go Vegan.

Why not?


Sorry, I cut my other paragraph off by accident, I meant to expand on that above. I think eating at it's most healthy is a social activity, and unless your friends and family are vegans, it is anti-social. A normal vegetarian diet is more easily accommodated, and perhaps more importantly, it's easier to maintain.

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Zohar » Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:34 pm UTC

I disagree voidPtr. If the vegan is trying to help, it's not a problem. I'm a vegetarian so it's easier for me (the rest of my family eats meat), but a vegan should be able to cope as well, if they help with cooking. Then you not only eat with your friends/family, you also help out.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:15 pm UTC

That's essentially what I do as regards my food allergy. I know it can be troubling for a host to sort out what I can eat so I either bring something or I help prepare the food. There are of course some friends I know well and trust implicitly to feed me safely without my help.

Like any other food preference/allergy/choice--it will take some work and it helps to have understanding friends. I know that within my group of friends there are several vegetarians, a range of food allergies and at least one vegan. None of this is a problem socially because we accomodate these things and actually have fun doing it. It's an interesting challenge to prepare a tasty meal that can feed vegetarians, celiacs, migraine sufferers who cannot eat onions etc.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Nath » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:29 pm UTC

Since your goals seem mostly health-related (as opposed to ethical or social), I vote 'no'. Sure, with careful planning and adequate supplementation, it's possible to be a healthy vegan. But this will require more discipline and effort than being a healthy non-vegan.

Yes, you lost weight, but that's because it's easier to control portions when your options are severely restricted. You'd get better results by keeping your diet varied and your portions in check. (And yeah, exercising.)

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:30 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:You could also just cut down on the amount of animal products but remain omniverous--it's all about what would make sense and feel balanced for you.

What Rin said. If you liked the way you felt when you weren't eating meat products, then it's perfectly reasonable for you to decide to simply eat meat products very rarely, rather than going 100% into a vegan lifestyle.

You don't have to show a card to request a vegetarian meal at a conference or on an airplane, for instance. People tend to think that only a moral or religious choice can be really sacred and should necessarily be respected, but that's wrong. You choose what you want to eat, and you set the parameters.

What I would recommend is simply that you make it known to people that you follow a vegan lifestyle, and in individual situations you decide whether or not you want to eat a particular meat product. Unless you don't think you can stick to a limited diet as well as you could stick to an absolute one. The trouble with letting people know you're flexible is that then they won't feel obliged to cater to your dietary needs; every time you go somewhere to eat, whoever's cooking/buying/choosing may think, "So-and-so eats meat, so I don't have to have a veg*n option; whoever does the next party/get-together can do the veg*n option." And then you may end up eating a lot more meat products than you really want to.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby meatyochre » Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:40 pm UTC

My worry about veganism is practical. If a zombie apocalypse occurs, and humans are reduced to eating whatever we can find, all the vegans are going to be SOL. Once you've gone months without eating meat or animal products, you will get soooo sick when you try to eat them again.

I think you could stick to a mostly vegetarian diet, but eat meat once or twice a week to keep your body used to it. That way you won't completely ruin your chances of enjoying meat in the future, if you change your mind again.

Or, you could go veggie + fish. My sister is a pescatarian and really enjoys it. Plus many fishies are lighter in texture and stomach-settling-ness than red meat or chicken, so you won't feel bloated after eating it.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby PAstrychef » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:08 am UTC

If you like the way you feel on a particular diet and you're getting a balanced diet, then eat what you want. Just try not be a condescending asshole about your choice. No smug remarks, no polemics about the horrors of beef production. And unless it's a private meal at a friends place, you work around the menu, instead of making a fuss. If I don't have to listen to you whinge about your diet, I don't care what it is.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Ulc » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:33 am UTC

meatyochre wrote:I think you could stick to a mostly vegetarian diet, but eat meat once or twice a week to keep your body used to it. That way you won't completely ruin your chances of enjoying meat in the future, if you change your mind again.


Not to mention that it would be much more easy to maintain a healthy diet. As long as you are not choosing a meat free diet because of ethical or political issues, you might as well not go full vegan. A vegan diet requires a huge degree planning to avoid being deficit in nutrients, but a mostly vegetarian diet that involves meat once, sometimes twice per week is fairly easy follow without getting deficiencies. A completely vegetarian diet is also fair easy to get by on, though it still requires a bit of planning.

Not to mention that following a vegetarian diet makes you much less of a issue to cook for. Vegetarians are easy accommodate for, vegans are a nightmare. Among the non-meet dishes there is a huge number that needs dairy products or eggs, and a good number of them are (to say the very least) impractical to substitute with something else. A good number restaurants also become unavailable.

Bakemaster raises a good point though, flexibility might mean that people are less inclined to make room for your choice.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby voidPtr » Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:17 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I disagree voidPtr. If the vegan is trying to help, it's not a problem. I'm a vegetarian so it's easier for me (the rest of my family eats meat), but a vegan should be able to cope as well, if they help with cooking. Then you not only eat with your friends/family, you also help out.


Well of course, it certainly depends on what circles you travel with and how accommodating they are. In my household it's no problem to push aside a piece of meat and maybe throw a veg on separately for you once in a blue moon. But on top of that, no eggs, milk, cheese, butter, cream, yogurt,... that means you're probably cooking for yourself tonight.

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

Which is a price to pay, sure, but not such a big deal. And the rest of the family could also gain from the addition of salads and side dishes without any of those (not necessarily because they're unhealthy).
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby voidPtr » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:57 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Which is a price to pay, sure, but not such a big deal. And the rest of the family could also gain from the addition of salads and side dishes without any of those (not necessarily because they're unhealthy).


If not for health reasons, then how would they benefit? I suppose it doesn't hurt to cut back on the cream and butter and expose your friends and family to different dishes and sources of nutrition, but strict vegan-ism seems like a rather poor excuse to do this.

OP, let me turn the question around and then it would be then easier to answer if you should go Vegan or not. Why would you go Vegan? Health reasons seem very flimsy to me considering how hard it is to maintain a proper Vegan diet compared to a vegetarian or omnivorous diet.

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Chai Kovsky » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:33 pm UTC

I recently started eating a mostly pareve diet, which is essentially "vegan+fish" because I keep kosher, am lactose intolerant, and avoid meat because it's expensive. It is the most wonderfullest thing I've ever done. I feel so much healthier, but I wouldn't say no to other kinds of food if it were available. How willing are you to eat eggs and dairy? You can eat vegan in your home and vegetarian out; people are good at accommodating vegetarians but bad with vegans most of the time.

There are a bunch of good options, but make sure you're doing it for the right reasons. Don't expect long-term weight-loss, don't expect to be perfect with it at all times (we all lapse, and I love Ben & Jerry's), and don't assume everything is healthy just because it's vegan (so are french-fries).
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Ulc » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:13 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Which is a price to pay, sure, but not such a big deal. And the rest of the family could also gain from the addition of salads and side dishes without any of those (not necessarily because they're unhealthy).


I beg to differ, accommodating vegans is significantly harder than accommodating vegetarians, the 'doesn't eat meat' restricts a lot of dishes, if you then restrict it more to 'can't involve dairy and eggs', it gets very hard, as those are very common in a lot of food.

Not to mention, that being the only vegan in the family, you would not just restrict your own diet, but force the entire family to spend a lot time planning their diet. For a vegetarian you merely have to make sure that the meat can be avoided. Doing so with dairy and eggs are not really possible.

Personally I will happily change my cooking to accommodate my vegetarian friends*. A vegan would get told "you're cooking, or there's nothing for you". Some choices are just making it too difficult for other people.


*Let me add, if people have allergies, it's not a choice of theirs - so I will change for that no matter how difficult it is to cook for them, but a conscious choice. Nope.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:36 pm UTC

I resent that. What if I chose to keep kosher and couldn't eat meat and dairy in the same meal? It's a conscious choice, a religious one, one which I'm sure most people would help accommodate. How is that so different from being vegan? Especially if it's vegan for ideological reasons? What if I chose to be a Buddhist and I had to turn vegan? What if I were born and raised Buddhist so it wasn't a conscious choice to switch to veganism?
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:38 pm UTC

Also, cooking vegan isn't that hard, I make a mean vegan chili. Which I can serve to vegans and can unveganize by putting cheese in for my own portion. I don't think most vegans have chosen to be vegan in order to inconvenience you, it might help to think of that occasionally.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Alx_xlA » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:48 pm UTC

I have honestly never met someone who observes a vegan diet for health reasons.

I have plenty of vegetarian friends who chose their diet for health (a few of them do eat some meat), and a few who do so for religious reasons.

My vegan acquaintances, however, are almost entirely motivated by animal rights (the only exception is a vegetarian with an egg allergy and lactose intolerance).
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Nath » Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:02 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I resent that. What if I chose to keep kosher and couldn't eat meat and dairy in the same meal? It's a conscious choice, a religious one, one which I'm sure most people would help accommodate. How is that so different from being vegan? Especially if it's vegan for ideological reasons? What if I chose to be a Buddhist and I had to turn vegan? What if I were born and raised Buddhist so it wasn't a conscious choice to switch to veganism?

Buddhists are traditionally not vegan. They eat at least dairy, and possibly eggs. And meat is recommended against, but not outright forbidden; Buddhism is not the sort of religion that runs around outright forbidding things all willy-nilly.

I don't think there are any 'traditional' vegan diets, because staying healthy as a vegan was even less practical before modern dietary supplements and nutritional science.

Oh, and even for a born and raised anything, it's still a conscious choice to switch to a different belief system.

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Zohar » Tue Jun 29, 2010 5:51 pm UTC

And still it's a valid choice. It's not something someone does to piss you off (usually). Seriously, does this really need explaining?
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby meatyochre » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:06 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:And still it's a valid choice. It's not something someone does to piss you off (usually). Seriously, does this really need explaining?

He's presenting an argument to the OP. Of course they're both valid choices. But if OP has no serious moral quandary about eating meat or milk or eggs (etc), then health reasons become his only real reason for making the diet choice. In which case, vegetarianism is a less restrictive diet and easier to accommodate, so why go vegan again?

Nobody is saying veganism isn't a possible or valid choice here. It's just probably not the best choice for this guy based on our existing information.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:15 pm UTC

I think I recall reading somewhere that the healthiest* diet is vegetarian but that omniverous and vegan are about equally less good for you than vegetarianism for different reasons.

*Of course this would be depending on lifestyle, health, what your body needs etc. The reasoning was that with vegetarianism you get the benefit of less fat but the benefits of egg and dairy for your vitamins etc.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Nath » Tue Jun 29, 2010 9:27 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:And still it's a valid choice. It's not something someone does to piss you off (usually). Seriously, does this really need explaining?

Oh, it's certainly a valid choice. I don't really care what other people eat: you can choose to live off endangered sea-marmots if you like. But hypothetically, if I invited you for a meal, I probably wouldn't feel a strong obligation to fricassee you a sea-marmot. A host has some responsibility to try to accommodate their guest's choices, but that only goes so far.

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Ulc » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:34 am UTC

Zohar wrote:I resent that. What if I chose to keep kosher and couldn't eat meat and dairy in the same meal?


Explain to me why I'm under any obligation to make you a dinner?

You're making a choice that severely restricts what you can eat. I make a choice that I don't care enough about your ideals, to go that far out of my way to accommodate you.

I know very well that they don't do it to piss me of, and it doesn't. Nath kinda hits the nail on the head - a host should try to accommodate his guests, within reasonable limts - I just happen to think that veganism is beyond that, and thus I wouldn't invite a vegan for dinner.

And for the record, unless you're fanatical about kosher, it is significantly easier than veganism to accommodate. (fanatical being the part where you have to have two sets of kitchen tools)
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Thesh » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:49 am UTC

From what I read, meat's good for you but not on a daily basis (not that I care, I'd rather die young than get picky about what I eat).

If you don't feel good when you eat meat regularly, just cut back. Allow yourself a steak, some pork chops, or chicken two or three times a week. Other than that, try and get a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. Don't impose strict rules on yourself, and don't stress out about it and you will probably end up happier.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Jun 30, 2010 12:55 am UTC

You aren't under obligation to make anyone dinner, but if you invited a Vegan for dinner knowing they were a vegan and then didn't provide them anything they could eat, it'd be pretty rude on your part.

Fortunately for you and vegans alike you aren't under an obligation forcing you to befriend or feed any vegans.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Delbin » Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:37 am UTC

What did you find yourself missing/craving when you were vegan, Philflipsnor? It's probably healthier for you to be vegan/veggie, but I don't think it would be worth it if you had to fight off an urge to get some meat every time you passed a restaurant. The unsucessful vegans I've known just couldn't live without cheese.

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby voidPtr » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:16 am UTC

Thesh wrote:Other than that, try and get a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts. Don't impose strict rules on yourself, and don't stress out about it and you will probably end up happier.


Best advice on this thread! I completely agree. You shouldn't have to attach a nomenclature to yourself to achieve this, there's a huge middle ground between eating steaks and porkchops every night and going strict vegan.

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:42 am UTC

Ulc wrote:Personally I will happily change my cooking to accommodate my vegetarian friends*. A vegan would get told "you're cooking, or there's nothing for you". Some choices are just making it too difficult for other people.

Well that's a pretty dick move, but I guess it helps to clarify to the vegans what your friendship is worth.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Nath » Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:54 am UTC

For the record, if you invite someone for dinner knowing their dietary restrictions and don't take reasonable steps to accommodate them, yes, that's a pretty dick move. But if you make it clear in advance to what extent you can accommodate them, then you've fulfilled your obligation, I think. If after that they end up not having anything they want to eat, well, they knew what they were getting into.

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Ulc » Wed Jun 30, 2010 7:47 am UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:You aren't under obligation to make anyone dinner, but if you invited a Vegan for dinner knowing they were a vegan and then didn't provide them anything they could eat, it'd be pretty rude on your part.


Yes, that would be a dick move. Which is why I wouldn't do it, I just wouldn't invite in the first place.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Chai Kovsky » Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:48 am UTC

A vegan diet is an incredibly smart choice for people at risk of heart disease. It's a no-cholesterol diet. So I totally get doing it for health reasons.

As a resident eater of kosher, I'll say this: people who are strict about eating kosher outside the home probably wouldn't eat at a gentile house anyway; I know no one who holds to that standard who would eat even at a nonkosher Jew's house. I know some people so strict they won't even eat at my campus Hillel, which has a fully kosher kitchen. Two sets of cooking utensils is standard in kosher houses (it's often called "kosher-style" if you don't do that), but a lot of people have different standards for what they eat in their home and what they eat out. I would never eat vegetarian willy-nilly on any old utensils in my own home, but I'm perfectly willing to do it outside. Cooking for someone who keeps kosher is pretty easy as long as you want to do something vegetarian or pescetarian. Meat is only difficult insofar as you have to buy special meat, but they sell kosher chicken breast at many Trader Joe's in major cities.

(For the record, I don't love being called fanatical for having two skillets in my apartment).

Personally, I would never not invite someone to my house just because cooking for them is difficult, no matter the reason. I make food for people all the time when multiple people have different intolerances: I have two gluten-free friends, one of whom is lactose-intolerant, and one other needs to have a high-fat, high-carb diet. I can barely make any foods that overlap for both the latter people. But I do, AND I make it kosher. But I love these friends and would hate not to have them over for dinner just because they have a different diet than I do. If you do that for people with intolerances, why wouldn't you do it for friends who make a different dietary choice, or who have religious restrictions. If I weren't Jewish, I'd be chowing down on the lobster and treif steak in a heartbeat. But just because it seems like a choice to you, doesn't mean it does to me.

Bottom line is, you're not living with these people, you're having them over for dinner every so often. You can't rack your brain for one night trying to find something that doesn't have butter or eggs or meat?
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Ulc » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:00 pm UTC

Chai Kovsky wrote:(For the record, I don't love being called fanatical for having two skillets in my apartment).


I should have phrased that a bit more clearly.

I do consider people that expect anyone they visit to have two sets of cooking utensils fanatical. Inside their own home, it's none my business, and I couldn't care less.

Anyway, I don't think there is much point to this discussion really. In the end it's a choice on either side, and I don't care enough about their choice to play along.
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Chai Kovsky » Fri Jul 02, 2010 1:33 pm UTC

*Ahem* I expect Orthodox Jews also to have them. I don't think it's fanatical to have any dietary standard you damn well please, but then you just don't go to dinner at a nonkosher house. Much like you wouldn't serve vegans because of their dietary standards, and don't put a value judgment on that.

Calling someone "fanatical" because of their diet is simply uncalled-for.
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peter
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby peter » Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:43 pm UTC

Chai - perhaps this is veering off-topic, but what kinds of foods do you (or anyone else) make for a "dietary-variety" group? I've never had the opportunity to serve people with different restrictions, but I would like to learn.

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Chai Kovsky
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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Chai Kovsky » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:03 pm UTC

You really just have to make multiple dishes, there's no way around it, so focus on making easy ones. I like making Mexican because 1) I'm from Los Angeles and you can get really quality ingredients for that kind of thing on the cheap 2) You can make a variety of foods pretty easily. I'll make vegetarian/vegan chili because it's high calorie for high-calorie boy while gluten-free and lactose-free for my other friends. Tortilla chips to dip in the chili, because you can just pick up a bag, and Mexican rice (which I make from a box) because it's gluten-free or very-low-gluten (which I warn my severely gluten-intolerant friend about, but the one who's also lactose intolerant is less gluten-intolerant and does fine with trace gluten in the rice). Quesadillas for my high-fat, high-carb, high-calorie friend, and you have a great meal that's easy to make and that, apart from the quesadillas, requires very little supervision. There's rarely one perfect food for everybody, so the more you find low-maintenance dishes, the easier it is to serve that kind of person.

Another helpful thing for serving vegans (since that's slightly more on-topic) is to focus on a only couple dishes for your repertoire. You probably aren't going to serve your vegan friend that often, so you don't need more than a couple dishes. Stir-fry is nice and easy (especially if you add Quorn, but tell your vegan friend it's fakemeat first or they'll freak out), for instance. Pasta with veggies. Bunches of Asian dishes are super-easy to make vegan. Salads are classic. Google vegan recipes and see what you can do easily. Ask your vegan friend what's easy to make. Your vegan friend probably won't freak out if you occasionally repeat recipes. Hell, if you show your vegan friend you're interested in cooking for him/her, s/he might even come over and demonstrate some dishes for you. And who knows--you might even like them!
Spoiler:
kellsbells wrote:¡This Chai is burning me!
Chai Kovsky wrote:I can kill you with my brain.

That is all.
superglucose wrote:In other words: LISTEN TO CHAI.
Delayra wrote:Yet another brilliant idea from Chai!

I <3 Pirate.Bondage!

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Re: Should I Go Vegan Again?

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:15 pm UTC

What's great is when you can find dishes that can work simultaneously as a main course for vegetarians and a side dish for meat-eaters. For instance, a meatless lasagna. You make that, you make your meaty main course, and you make a bunch of vegetarian sides. Since there's only one dish that any significant group of guests definitely doesn't care to eat, it's not going to feel terribly divisive.

Of course, this works best if your two main courses are comparable in how much attention they attract. For instance, a small moussaka can't stand up to an entire roasted turkey or ham. The whole table's going to smell like meat, and the center of attention's going to be on the meat. So it would be better to cut the meat in the kitchen and bring out a plate of pieces rather than carve it at the table.
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