Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

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Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Delalyra » Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:35 pm UTC

It's a bit of a whim, but after reading about cruelty to animals in the meat industry and about how healthy a vegetarian diet (and knowing that I could lose a few pounds), I've been thinking about becoming a vegetarian, or a flexetarian and only eating meat occasionally. I still live with my family, but I am able to cook/buy food for myself at least two meals a day.

So, I guess I'm looking for ideas about how to start? Should I just dive right into it, or start slowly? I've been looking up stuff myself, of course, but hidden gems of websites are always appreciated, as are the opinions of xkcders. :) Or we can discuss our own experiences about vegetarianism; but not the morality, there are at least two threads for that if you search.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Number3Pencils » Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:39 pm UTC

I'm always perplexed by this stuff about vegetarian diets being necessarily healthier. What diet did Homo sapiens evolve eating? That's correct, an omnivorous one. It's what our bodies are best equipped to handle. Which is why vegetarians have to be careful to get protein from other sources, and take vitamins, and stuff. I don't know much about vegetarianism, so some of this may be slightly off base, but I know enough to know it doesn't make enough sense for me to do it.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby gmalivuk » Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:58 pm UTC

Vegetarianism can be just as healthy or unhealthy as a diet with meat in it. Sure, you have to pay a bit more attention to making sure you get enough of what you need, but you also have to worry less about getting too much of things like saturated fat and cholesterol, that you don't need.

Also, if there's an ethical reason for deciding to go vegetarian, in addition to health concerns, I'd say by all means go for it, Delalyra. It is possible to cut meat cold-turkey, as it were, and to continue being perfectly healthy after doing so, for years and years. (My sister dropped meat one day when she was 9, having dropped fish when she was 4, and is now 21, still a vegetarian, and the healthiest person in my immediate family.) However, like most things, it's probably going to be easier in general to ease into it gradually. Drop red meat first, then gradually cut down on the amount of fish and poultry you eat, until, maybe a month after starting, you've gone vegetarian.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:01 pm UTC

Quorn is expensive compared to meat, and tofu goes soggy really, really easily.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby PictureSarah » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:09 pm UTC

But beans and lentils are cheap sources of protein, as are eggs. Nuts are a bit more expensive, but good for you.
Dela, I've been semi-vegetarian (I eat poultry and fish on occasion) since I was about 15. You have to watch out that you don't start replacing meat with a lot of eggs and cheese. Lots of fresh vegetables and fiber are important for it to be a healthy vegetarian diet. Tofu can be cooked without being soggy if you press the water out of it first, and you can also buy pre-marinated and baked tofu in various flavors, although it is a bit spendy. Omitting meat isn't tough with dishes like lasagna, or stirfry or soup. It gets tougher when you consider a meal like a chicken breast, rice and veggies...a hunk of baked tofu just isn't as appealing as a hunk of baked chicken, so I tend to stay away from meals planned that way.

Diet For a New America is a book with lots of nutritional veggie information and also lots of information on the brutality of the meat industry. Amazon also has tons of veggie cookbooks.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Chocceh » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:11 pm UTC

As someone who had to grow up with rules about what food you can and can't eat (my parents were conservative Jews), I can say that it's annoying for you and people trying to go some place to eat. Make sure that when eating with other people, they know what you will and won't eat, but make sure you're not annoying.

Also, be careful about soy and estrogen. Some vegetarians we know only eats tofu occasionally due to the two males in the family.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Cassi » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:35 pm UTC

Chocceh wrote:As someone who had to grow up with rules about what food you can and can't eat (my parents were conservative Jews), I can say that it's annoying for you and people trying to go some place to eat. Make sure that when eating with other people, they know what you will and won't eat, but make sure you're not annoying.


I find that other people are more of a problem than I am when it comes to finding somewhere to eat. I will happily go wherever people like, as I can find something, but they insist on making a big deal out of it.

I went vegetarian...3 years ago now, I think? I kinda phased meat out, though not really intentionally. I just went off it a bit, then decided I might as well just actually go vegetarian.

As far as nutrition goes, I am the most useless person ever, because I really do not pay that much attention and am terribly unhealthy. However, it is certainly possible to be as healthy as a vegetarian as an omnivore...once you're already reading labels so much, too, I guess it's almost easier.

I probably don't actually have any terribly useful advice. It is easier than you probably think, though. Less so when worrying more about nutrition than I do, but things very quickly can become habit and simple.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Chocceh » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:40 pm UTC

Cassi wrote:I find that other people are more of a problem than I am when it comes to finding somewhere to eat. I will happily go wherever people like, as I can find something, but they insist on making a big deal out of it.


I was going to say that, but I really didn't know how to word it, so... what you said. People are always so interested in your rules, and no matter what, they always take it up a few levels. "No, no, no, we'll go somewhere else... wait, but we can't go to a restaurant - what if they used the same dishes for bacon?"
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Twasbrillig » Wed Dec 26, 2007 11:47 pm UTC

Please please please don't turn into one of those snobby vegetarians who gets their panties in a knot if the main course of a meal they are a guest to is not vegetarian.

I work under the principle that they wouldn't cook me meat, so why should I go out of my way to please them? Sure, have your food choices - eat the side dishes - but don't expect other people to bend because you've made a (somewhat unnatural) lifestyle change.

I'm kind of a dick that way though.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Cassi » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:06 am UTC

Eh, I think it depends. I would never expect all the food to be vegetarian, but if I am going to eat at a friend's/family's, I would expect to either have more than just side dishes to eat, or for them to have asked me to bring something along for my main meal/as an additional option. I would happily bring my own main course along, but I would certainly not appreciate being invited to a meal of some sort and then have to sit there eating potatoes and bread...

(Edited to make a bit more sense.)
Last edited by Cassi on Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:11 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Pesto » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:10 am UTC

If you're going to be a vegetarian, then you should probably avoid eating meat.

That's the only helpful advice I have.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Chocceh » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:16 am UTC

Pesto wrote:If you're going to be a vegetarian, then you should probably avoid eating meat.


I like your no-nonsense, tell-it-how-it-is style.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Ian Ex Machina » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:18 am UTC

Whatever floats your boat.
Just don't be preachy about it.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:19 am UTC

You want my advice? Eat meat!
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby KicktheCAN » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:23 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:However, like most things, it's probably going to be easier in general to ease into it gradually. Drop red meat first, then gradually cut down on the amount of fish and poultry you eat, until, maybe a month after starting, you've gone vegetarian.


I recommend this. It is definitely easier to drop one thing at a time (red meat, then chicken, then fish) and you might find that you want to stop somewhere along that process, like if you decided that you would not mind eating fish but still drop the other two.

As far as tofu goes I have found that it works best as a side or topping. Stir fry some tofu with vegetables, mix it in with a milkshake, or sprinkle some chunks on your pasta (white sauce not red sauce).
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Birdman » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:26 am UTC

You're kind of a dick in lots of ways Twasbrillig.

My brother's been vegetarian for several years now, and is very healthy for it. Don't think you should just replace meat with tofu - the idea of replacing a chicken breast with a lump of tofu is as absurd as it is gross. There are different types of tofu too. The really soft one's almost always gross and I think it's single-handedly responsible for all the people who hate tofu.
Bread is a major source of protein in my brother's diet.
Be ready for people to ask a lot of questions about why and how much you're a vegetarian. Even if they're not trying to convert you back, they need to know (for the restaurant or dinner guest type of situation) where you sit in the broad spectrum of people who call themselves vegetarian. Some people cut out only red meat (chicken's a vegetable, apparently) while others don't want to see meat nor eat anything prepared alongside it. They'll want to know why you're a vegetarian, because if the sight of a steak is going to drive you into a hysterical sobbing fit about the rights of a calf that might put a downer on the meal.

Incidentally, I know two vegetarians who quite happily cook with meat for guests. Some people (specifically Twas) need to keep an eye on their prejudices.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Cassi » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:30 am UTC

It is probably a good idea to get a short answer for the inevitable "so why are you a vegetarian?" that you will get fairly often. If you can have a short standard reply that cuts off arguing/debate, it will make life a lot easier.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Angstrom » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:36 am UTC

I tried being vegetarian for 6 months or so but found that it wasn't for me. It was an inconvenience to me and my family/friends and I honestly don't care enough about animal rights.

Now 90% of the meat I eat is fish, and most of it is prepared japanese style (I make my own sushi, etc). I have been told that it is one of the healthiest diets in the world. I also love tofu. But once in a great while it's nice to be able to pig out on some BBQ ribs or a burger.
It is not necessary to go vegetarian to be healthy, just cut down on meat. You drop the obscene average American's consumption of meat, and voila you will be much healthier.

Of course, you still need to exercise, most people seem to forget that :roll:

And please, for the love of Zeus, listen to Twasbrillig. Preachy and/or demanding vegetarians are extremely annoying. It's very easy to be an understanding person and a vegetarian.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby bbctol » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:45 am UTC

How about this method: Eat what you want to eat. If you think eating more vegetables is healthier, than try to eat more vegetables. Saying that vegetables are healthier and then sticking to vegetables alone doesn't make sense. Don't formalize being a vegetarian, just be someone who doesn't eat a lot of meat.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Delalyra » Thu Dec 27, 2007 12:53 am UTC

Never fear, I'm the least preachy person around; and certainly not snotty or inclined to panty-knotting. :P

bbctol wrote:How about this method: Eat what you want to eat. If you think eating more vegetables is healthier, than try to eat more vegetables. Saying that vegetables are healthier and then sticking to vegetables alone doesn't make sense. Don't formalize being a vegetarian, just be someone who doesn't eat a lot of meat.

I think I'm going to save meat for special occasions, or times when I can't avoid eating it. I don't think I'll cut it entirely (or I'll keep fish, or something), because I do love meat dearly, and I've heard firsthand that having any meat after not having had it for so long can make you quite sick.

And thanks to everyone else. :) I think the only problem will be getting my family to take me seriously, and me sticking with it. We'll see.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Khonsu » Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:08 am UTC

I'm thinking of going...ovo-lacto-pescaterian? Eating veggies, seafood, milk, and eggs seems reaaaaally healthy. Omega 3!

No other meats, besides maybe the occasional poultry (I do love me some turkado!). I never seem to be able to handle meat well (not even white meat, if I have, say, a second helping of holiday turkey, I feel bloated, sick, and nauseous the rest of the night/next day), and I think it has to do with that ~2 inch length of twisted, fucked-up intestine they removed at birth so I wouldn't, you know, die. I was only 12 inches long! I think it equates to multiple feet or something now. :shock:

So...Yeah! Just do your homework about vegetarian nutrition (keep nuts and fish in your diet for necessary proteins--I never heard of a cruelly farm-raised fish) and you should be fine. I know there's a "blood type" diet that supposedly is really good for you and tailored to your specific body chemistry based on the nutritional value of a bunch of different foods (I'm A+, so meat is something that diet would tell me to avoid, for instance). I have no idea if this is BS or not, but it's something to consider--your body chemistry might need more protein than you can get without meat, not everyone's body has the same needs, so you CAN get cruelty-free meat when you need it.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Berengal » Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:33 am UTC

Meh. In my experience, dropping everything meat was no biggie. I love meat, chicken and fish to death, but not once during my two/four months long (depending on interpretation) period of vegetarianism did I miss any of it, so if that holds true for other people as well then that's no reason to try to ease into it. A reason for going cold turkey is that most people (and thus, by extension, you) abhor change, so it's best to go from one normal to another kind of normal with as little a period of change as possible inbetween.

As for being invited to meat-dinners, ask if you should bring your own food, or if they'll prepare something special for you/ side dishes will be good enough if you think it's going to be a problem. Just asking this will make most people make something special/plenty of side-dishes. In my case my family just laughed at me when I told them I was a vegetarian (I was only at home for one week while vegetarian), but I've had it on good authority that asking helps.

Laughing family brings me to short answer for why vegetarian. Again with me and my case: I never had a long answer to this as the train of thought when I decided to go vegetarian was (and I remember this rather well since so many people have asked me about it afterwards) "Eskimoes, innuits, what's the big difference anyway? This chair I'm sitting on is rather worn. I'll become a vegetarian tonight, after I've had a chicken sandwich". Telling people this pretty much shut them up, and in those days lots of people (including me) had trolling vegetarians as one of their favorite pasttimes. Basically, my point is you should have a short answer that shuts people up ready in case you don't want to be drawn into a debate about animal ethics and moral relativism.

Finally, vegetarian food is tastier than regular food, but you need to make real vegetarian food, not just regular food without meat. Get some vegetarian cook books and get cracking. I didn't eat meat for two months after I officially stopped being a vegetarian because I prefered the food.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Delalyra » Thu Dec 27, 2007 1:37 am UTC

Khonsu wrote:So...Yeah! Just do your homework about vegetarian nutrition (keep nuts and fish in your diet for necessary proteins--I never heard of a cruelly farm-raised fish)

Actually, doing my homework, there is. I think I'll keep fish in my diet anyways, on occasion...maybe wild-caught fish only? Fish is good for you, anyways, and salmon is tasty.

Edit: Ah, and I missed Berengal's post. Thank you!
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Khonsu » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:00 am UTC

Being a vegetarian or even vegan must be easy as hell in Portland, OR, because good goddamn, there are high-end resturants and bakeries (and even the Trader Joe's down the street) that serve lots of meatless/cruelty-free meals that...smell so good.

After the daily Mc Donald's/Chinese food takeout (NOT the good kind) I've had to endure (no time, Mom chose the meal, it was 5 AM or really late at night after work and I hadn't the energy to discuss it, she gets so upset when I reject her food choices) over the course of this holiday trip, I think I don't want to have more than a nibble of meat for a while. I have been nauseous with a constant cough and a feeling of oil coating my throat and nostrils for days. I have had C'thulhu in my digestive tract. I'm miserable.

I'm going to a goddamn vegan restaurant for dinner when I get back on the 31st and I am NOT leaving until they've given me foods to detox my system. I will vomit for hours if I have to, but I feel like I'm carrying Rosemary's baby in my fucking stomach. I've *actually* vomited once this week. I am...alarmed.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby H.E.L.e.N. » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:15 am UTC

I go off meat (or fish-only, really) whenever I think my system and/or wallet could benefit from it (beans and fresh fruits and veggies are cheaper than meat; although a lot of the time I just feel like what I need is less processed food. Also I think whole grains are like half a protein?). People should pay attention to the fact that the OP is not a dick; also, most fake meat is a waste of time, but these are delicious.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby liza » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:16 am UTC

Khonsu wrote:Being a vegetarian or even vegan must be easy as hell in Portland, OR, because good goddamn, there are high-end resturants and bakeries (and even the Trader Joe's down the street) that serve lots of meatless/cruelty-free meals that...smell so good.

It is. I live an hour and a half down the river, and I love going to Portland because it is so very easy to eat down there. There's even a pirate-themed vegan restaurant - how cool is that?

Anyway, cutting meat out of your diet is easier than you think - at least it was for me. If you're concerned about the cruelty, the meat you do eat can easily be cruelty-free (farm-raised &c &c). That being said, I think I'll do the snobby vegetarian thing and say: if you eat meat, you're not a vegetarian. It's simply the wrong term. Pescetarianism. Pollotarianism. Even semi-vegetarianism. But a diet with any meat is not vegetarianism, and saying it is confuses the term. (Err, sorry, I don't intend to be rude or self-righteous. I often get asked about what sorts of meat I do eat, and it's frustrating because as a fairly-strict vegetarian I eat none.)
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Delalyra » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:34 am UTC

*meekly* I'll be sure to use the proper term when I figure out exactly what I'm eating and what I'm not.

Edit: typo, and the Morning Star site is making me hungry. :P
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Uffh » Thu Dec 27, 2007 3:32 am UTC

I dove into Veganism head first my freshmen year of high school on a Tuesday right before lunch, or something ridiculous like that.
For about a year I cooked all my own food, it wasn't that bad though, and my family eventually started using oil-olive instead of butter.
My diet isn't that radical - I haven't bought anything you can't find at Lucky's or Savemart for months. Vegetarianism is pretty mellow, it just takes a little more brainpower and time to feed yourself.
I'd say go for it and if things start getting hairy or otherwise super-lame then it's no big deal to turn back.

Also, I don't know about any vegetarian reasources but Vegan with a Vengeance is by far the best cookbook I've found (vegan, vegetarian or otherwise. I know an avid hunter who gets recipes from it) if you're looking for one.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Axman » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:22 am UTC

You know, a better way to fight the meat industry is to seek out non-industrialized meat. It tastes better and you don't have to do all that fucking with your system being vegetarian does. Besides, I don't know any vegetarian converts who won't admit to getting sick more often and feeling tired all the time.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby stockpot » Thu Dec 27, 2007 8:50 am UTC

Letsee

1) Pick up a simple vegetarian cookbook or two. (Example: Mollie Katzen's the Moosewood cookbook) Substituting tofu in for chicken in every recipe is vrey boring, unless you're really skilled with tofu. Substituting fake chicken in for chicken in every recipe is really expensive and will probably be pretty disappointing. With a cookbook, you now have a huge list of meals you can eat. And none of them should taste like something's missing. Also, learn how to cook, if you don't know already. It's really, really not hard.

2) Pay attention to protein. You really do need it.

3) Unless you're really into spinach, you need to pay attention to iron, especially if you're a girlie or an athelete or both. Most meat has plenty of iron, but most vegetarian diets have almost none. Supplements are cheap. Not taking supplements is expensive. I know lots of people who, a few months after they went vegetarian, wondered why they were cold and tired and weak all the time. Iron deficiency isn't all that fun.

4) Don't worry too much about eating out. With the exclusion of fish places and steakhouses, almost every restaurant has at least one or two meat-free plates

4.5) However, a "vegetarian" dish to many non-native english speakers, means a dish with lots of veggies in it.

5) Lots of fake meat products are really foul. Lots are quite tasty!

6) Enjoy!

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Zohar » Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:27 am UTC

tl;dr

Here's my two cents, as a vegetarian:

I started out when I was 12 and it was cold tofurkey. I don't know if that's what you want, though.

Regarding the healthiness of a vegetarian diet - as mentioned, it all depends on what you eat. I doubt it's healthier than a balanced diet with red meat only once per week or less and lean meats (chicken, fish) the rest of the time.

About the losing weight thing - that's just not true. It's much harder to lose weight as a vegetarian (at least for me), since there are almost no protein-only foods (just eggs and dairy). All proteins come from mixed sources with carbs in them. And you need to eat less carbs to lose weight. So it's basically easier to be non veggie, in that sense.

One advantage to being a vegetarian, though, is that it's much easier for me to decide what to eat when I go to restaurants - the variety is much smaller. :-)
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Delalyra » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:39 pm UTC

Axman wrote:You know, a better way to fight the meat industry is to seek out non-industrialized meat. It tastes better and you don't have to do all that fucking with your system being vegetarian does.

How does being a vegetarian "fuck with your system" ? *skeptical face*

stockpot wrote: 3) Unless you're really into spinach, you need to pay attention to iron, especially if you're a girlie or an athelete or both. Most meat has plenty of iron, but most vegetarian diets have almost none. Supplements are cheap. Not taking supplements is expensive. I know lots of people who, a few months after they went vegetarian, wondered why they were cold and tired and weak all the time. Iron deficiency isn't all that fun.

Well, good news; I like spinach, and have had iron deficiency in the past. I agree, not fun. I'll be sure to watch that.

Zohar wrote:About the losing weight thing - that's just not true. It's much harder to lose weight as a vegetarian (at least for me), since there are almost no protein-only foods (just eggs and dairy). All proteins come from mixed sources with carbs in them. And you need to eat less carbs to lose weight. So it's basically easier to be non veggie, in that sense.

(bold mine) I'm pretty sure it's just the amount of calories you consume, not the type, that makes you lose weight. [citation needed] I've heard this from a bunch of places recently, but I don't have a source, so I'll leave it at that.

And Uffh - Thanks for the websites.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Birdman » Thu Dec 27, 2007 2:55 pm UTC

+1
It's the total energy intake compared to energy expenditure that governs fat production/consumption.
Where the energy comes from (fats, complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates, whatever) is important but for other reasons.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Zohar » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:06 pm UTC

It's true that whatever the calories you consume doesn't matter much. However, carbs give a much lesser feeling of "being full" than proteins.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Axman » Thu Dec 27, 2007 4:36 pm UTC

Cutting any major part of your diet, or adding something significantly different in quantity, fucking makes you feel weird. I've gone vegetarian, at least for a couple of prolonged periods, for the sake of science (women) and it was terrible. Making the switch back was not much less weird, all because the enzymes your body needs to break down various proteins are generally produced from the proteins consumed; going vegetarian cold-turkey is shitty in more ways than one on account of your body's inability to handle what you put into it.

It's not that your body is "ridding itself of toxins" or any new-age bullshit--your body is quite adept at kicking out bad shit with or without meat in it--it's that you lack the digestive forte to handle all that green.

It's a little worse going back to meat, except the overwhelming sense of strength and joy charging through your veins is an upside like no other. That, and people, like dogs, can get beef-drunk.

But, now armed with the knowledge that your body literally rewards your brain for gorging yourself on meat, why would you ever want to give it up?

Oh yeah, and while my cholesterol went down, so did my red blood count. My weight actually went up since all I ate was pasta, and your body needs protein when breaking down fat for energy. And meat's not fattening, fat is. Then I got a job that prohibited vegetarianism: catering. 'Cause fuck, it's just hard work, and it got increasingly stupid to not eat normally.

And, of course, diet without exercise is pretty pointless; if your real reason (because nobody actually feels the plight of poor widdle cows) is weight loss, man up and go jogging.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Cassi » Thu Dec 27, 2007 5:41 pm UTC

Axman wrote:Besides, I don't know any vegetarian converts who won't admit to getting sick more often and feeling tired all the time.


Hi, vegetarian here. I have gotten sick less often since becoming a vegetarian, and feel tired no more than I did when I was eating meat. So sorry to shatter your world view there.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:18 pm UTC

Two words: quinoa.

    Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and followed in third place by maize. In contemporary times this crop has come to be highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content (12%–18%) is very high. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete food. This means it takes less quinoa protein to meet one's needs than wheat protein. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered as a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.

Also, since I live with a vegetarian, know several, take part in monthly vegetarian potlucks, and generally absorb up whatever is around me (take that, Bruce Banner's Dad!), I would like to say:

Axman wrote:Cutting any major part of your diet, or adding something significantly different in quantity, fucking makes you feel weird. I've gone vegetarian, at least for a couple of prolonged periods, for the sake of science (women) and it was terrible. Making the switch back was not much less weird, all because the enzymes your body needs to break down various proteins are generally produced from the proteins consumed; going vegetarian cold-turkey is shitty in more ways than one on account of your body's inability to handle what you put into it.

This is true. Ease into it. Reduce the amount of meat you eat in a day over the course of a month, slowly replacing it with fruits and veggies, and lots of fibre. You will need lots of fibre in order to 'clean out' many of the red meat byproducts from your digestive tract to allow you to digest all these new veggies easier. Indigestion is common when you suddenly switch diets, as well as either constipation, or anti-constipation. Fibre and water, big time.

Zohar wrote:It's true that whatever the calories you consume doesn't matter much. However, carbs give a much lesser feeling of "being full" than proteins.


Not always. Buy a 22 lb bag of Quaker Oats for $6, and see how long it takes for you to eat it all (note: a freakin long time). Adding a bit of unrefined brown sugar or honey is a great way to make the oats tasty. DO NOT GET INSTANT OATMEAL!!! One nice bowl of oatmeal in the mornings is a great way to feel full, and get lots of fibre and iron. Also, being forced to boil water to make your oatmeal makes you feel productive.

As for the healthiness and weight... I am a confirmed carnivore, and I am... uhm, sizeable. My wife is a almost lifelong vegetarian, and she is not small, either. I am very healthy, with low cholesterol, great blood pressure, and perfectly healthy glucose levels. Bif Naked is a raw foods vegan, and she can probably kick my ass if she wanted to, and Jim Fix died of a massive heart attack. Your diet is important, but it does not define your health, just like having black tires on a red car doesn't mean the car is black.

Books I Recommend (As a meat-eater who tries to eat more vegetables)

Vegan With A Vengeance - awesome book, very tasty, very healthy.

The Moosewood Cookbook - Also very tasty, cute little drawings, entirely handwritten.

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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Zohar » Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:51 pm UTC

I agree with Cassi. I hardly ever get sick and I've been vegetarian for more than half my life (13 years). I can't remember the last time I stayed home sick. This doesn't mean that I would be more or less healthy had I eaten meat, but still - healthy vegetarian.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Moo » Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:35 am UTC

Second the iron thing. Nothing contains iron like red meat does, not even spinach. Except maybe supplements. I cannot preach enough to especially females about getting enough iron. I hear you, you are aware of it, and I believe you, but especially if you've had problems with it in the past make sure you will be ok from an iron point of view sans the red meat. Talk to your doctor about it, maybe?

I had a vegetarian friend who got told in no uncertain terms by her doctor to start eating meat for her health's sake but blanket statements are stupid - I have no idea what her general lifestyle was like or her eating habits, and if they were well balanced.

On the more ranty side, I do get annoyed when people preach at me for half an hour about being a vegetarian for animal cruelty reasons and then have a frigging piece of fish. So only some animals are animals, is that it? Fish are sub-animals? Or chickens? Wtf? If you have good reasons for doing the things you do then yay you but if you use bullshit excuses that sound good or are fashionable but can't even stick to your convictions then don't insult my intelligence by spewing your self-rightious crap at me. I buy free-range stuff everywhere I can and read up a lot about and support ethical farming etc (example) so my piece of lamb is probably more ethical than your battery-cage egg sandwich thank you very much.
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Re: Thinking about going vegetarian...advice? thoughts?

Postby Cassi » Mon Dec 31, 2007 11:43 am UTC

However, if talking to a doctor, do keep in mind that they are not required to have any kind of extensive knowledge on nutrition, so you may get a very biased view.
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