Hello to the inhabitants of Veggieboards!
I am so excited to have found this forum, it looks to be very welcoming and every bit of what I need.
As a child I was pretty much a vegetarian without even knowing what it was. But because of not knowing what vitamins I needed while I was young I developed an iron deficiency. I remember coming home from the doctors when my mother found out. She was furious at me for not eating my meats/dairy (which she cooked EVERY MEAL, as most parents do) My mom was not much for understanding my displeasure with such food and pretty much told me that if I didn’t eat it, I would die. So of course being a naive little girl I believed her and started eating the stuff, as much as I could take anyway.
20 years later, here I am, now knowing it’s possible to be meat/dairy free. I would like to go completely vegetarian. No days off, no exceptions!
I want it for more reasons than I can list, and I need help!
Currently my biggest hurdles are:
- I live with my boyfriend (who can’t live without meat and "regular" food). So how do I go about cooking a full meal for him as well as a vegetarian meal for myself in a short period of time on a limited budget. (I know that there has to be many people on here that have to have this same situation)
- I have limited funds. My vegetarian cookbooks call for some very lengthy lists of foods that I’ve never heard of and would have to buy over the internet since I don’t live near a “wholefoods” type of store. What are some good low budget meals/ingredients?
- My friends/family always seem upset when I turn down their foods. Some of them have even been angry at me for inconveniencing them. They don’t want to eat with me because I don’t eat “normal”. What is the best way to not inconvenience others while being vegetarian? What are some tips for going out to eat in large groups to restaurants when nothing on the menu supports the lifestyle?
If anyone has any tips or can point me to some great threads that have discussed these issues it would be very appreciated.
Phew! Lengthy post!
See you all around!
Hi Cucumumbers. Welcome.
A lot of the answers to your questions are floating around the boards - check the newbie forum area. As to the questions above...
1) I live with two other vegetarians and two meat eaters, so I get this issue surrounding this question, but I don't cook two different meals. I just don't. That's a major pain. I cook a vegetarian or vegan meal, because frankly, I do most of the cooking around here, so my kitchen my rules. If someone else feels the need to add meat to their meal they can do that part on their own. On that note, the two meat eaters I live with are a-ok with vegetarian meals. But if your boyfriend is not, I honestly still wouldn't suggest you cook meat for him and another meal for yourself. I actually wrote a post about this at my blog that may help you Vegetarian Meals for Meat Lovers (or Reluctant Vegetarians) - it's useful if you're cooking for meat eaters.
2) If you're on limited funds a vegetarian diet is the best ever plan. I think cooking with meat is the most costly kind of cooking there is (meat's expensive). Vegan diets can be a little more costly than vegetarian meals I've found, but only if you want stuff like vegan butter and cheese. Vegetarian cooking though is super cost effective - and I was a total organic vegetarian, but it was still cheap. I suggest staying clear of the more fancy vegetarian cookbooks, because they DO tend to contain a lot of weird, hard to find, more expensive ingredients. Get a good basic vegetarian cookbook at the library like Moosewood, look online (type in cheap vegetarian meals) or aim for regular old cookbooks and simply don't cook the meat dishes. We also have a large recipe selection here at VB.
3) As for not inconveniencing others while being vegetarian... it's more going to be the other way around. It's a meat-filled world and that will pose a problem for you at times, but vegetarians aren't the inconvenience. If someone really gets angry at you because you don't want to eat meat, which has happened to me a few times, you should stay chill if you can't avoid the person (like in-laws) and just make sure you always bring your own food to family gatherings. If it's a friend, well, they're not really a friend if they're getting mad at you about food. As for eating out, there's a good thread going on about this in the vegan area - but the tips are very good for vegetarians too.
Are you currently vegetarian? Or starting soon?
Jennifer, Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. This is great advice!
Currently I am struggling to maintain a vegetarian diet. I have been 'on-again, off-again' vegetarian for most of my life. I have even gone periods of time being vegan as well as trying the raw food lifestyle. But, this was back when I had time and money and only had to take care of myself.
As for just sticking with it, I would ALWAYS break due to one of the obstacles mentioned in my first post.
Part of the problem is that I was never strong or secure enough as a person to put my foot down and just say "No! This isn't your life, I'll eat what I want". But I'm ready for that now, I'm ready to take the responsibility for myself, because no one else can/should do that for me.
I have bookmarked your blog (I LOVE BLOGS!) It looks to be helpful in ways I haven't even considered yet. And it's always insightful to see how someone else lives the lifestyle since I know absolutely nobody that does.
Thank you again for your suggestions, I'll definitely be looking into the things you have mentioned.
Have a great day!
You'll find this a great place for support!
Stay with the plan, get great recipes and ideas from others, and soon you'll find you don't have to think so much about it! I found that when I started I had to obsess over everything, and like you said- recipes seemed so unforgiving! Now it's all old hat, and I don't have to go out of the way for anything.
Check out the "look inside" feature on amazon.com vegan cookbooks. Ask your library to get books for you- I did, and many have stayed there!
I personally recommend just doing an internet search on veg*n (vegetarian/vegan) subsitutes.
Foods omnis can agree on seem to be things with fat free refried beans, salsa, potato salad, bean salads and soups, so many pasta things, vegetable fried rice, vegetable paella, stir fry, veggie fajitas, casserols, pot pies