Newbie........No meat, day 2. - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-23-2004, 08:16 PM
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I've been meat free for two days now.



I feel a little run down. But that's probably because I'm chasing after three kiddos.



I'm needing advice in a couple areas.



What are some good ways to keep my iron levels up?



And those of you who still do dairy, how much or little?



ETA: Thanks in advance!
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#2 Old 08-23-2004, 08:25 PM
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Congratulations and welcome!



To keep your iron up, you should avoid eating too much dairy. Dairy products don't have any iron in them, and they actually inhibit your body from absorbing the iron that you do eat. I would try to eat at least one or two meals per day without dairy, and include iron-rich foods in those meals. Some good iron-rich foods are: spinach, peas, chickpeas, potatoes, lentils, beans, figs, dried apricots, dates, whole grains. If you like Cream of Wheat, that is fortified with a lot of iron. So are Cheerios.



Drinking orange juice or eating other foods rich in Vitamin C at the same time you eat iron, will help your body to absorb it. (just make sure it isn't calcium-fortified orange juice because calcium does the opposite)



Good luck! My one-year-old runs me ragged all day, I don't know how you do it with 3 kids!!
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#3 Old 08-23-2004, 08:26 PM
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#4 Old 08-23-2004, 08:38 PM
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I nurse my son, so I still take a pre-natal vitamin.( I have been forgetting a lot though)



I'm scared! This is a big deal to me.



I tend to get anemic real easy, so that's what I'm most concerned about.
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#5 Old 08-23-2004, 08:48 PM
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I personally don't think iron vs. meat is the big deal people make it out to be. I haven't eaten red meat in about 8 years and my iron levels are 'perfect' according to my doctor. Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't pay attention, just don't stress about it. I think the other ladies have already given you some info to get you started. Good luck!
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#6 Old 08-24-2004, 05:29 AM
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Actually I think it is harder to get iron as a vegetarian. I have been a vegetarian for 9 years and go out of my way to consume iron in my diet and still have been anemic on and off for years now. Simply put meat is loaded "heme" iron that is easily absorbed by the body. Plant sources have smaller amounts of "non-heme" iron but it is not nearly as easily absorbed by the body.



Vegetarians like to tout the fact that green leafy vegetables are a great source of iron. I say don't believe the hype! Read the lable, you get about 4% of your daily supply of iron for eating like one serving of the vegetable. You would have to eat A LOT of green leafy veggies each day to get your full supply of iron. So here's what you should do:



Take a multivitamin that contains iron.

Use iron cookware, it helps to add iron to your diet.

Don't drink tea around meals, it will inhibit iron absorbtion.

Consume vitamin-c when eating iron rich foods, it will hep you absorb it.



Personally I think the best source of vegetarian iron out there is cereal. There are cereals on the market that will give you 45% of your daily supply of iron for one serving, that's a heck of a lot more than the veggies. You just have to read the labels. Have a bowl of that high iron cereal and a glass of OJ and you are half way there. Read labels for veggie foods high in iron.



I eat dairy, although not a lot. At home I am pretty much vegan, I don't really have dairy products in the house. The only time they enter the house is if I order a pizza. The only dairy I eat is if I go out to eat and there is some cheese on something I order. So I do eat it, but it is a very small portion of my diet.



After you have been vegetarian for a while you should get your iron level tested just to see how it's going. Getting a lot of iron has been hard for me as a vegetarian, even with being aware of what I need to eat and doing my darndest to do it. But all I can do is try try try. :-)
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#7 Old 08-24-2004, 06:17 AM
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Eat beans and greens, with fruit for dessert( vitamin c helps iron absorption).



Minimize dairy, milk has no iron and can interfere with iron abosrption.









Quote:
Originally Posted by Carka View Post

I've been meat free for two days now.



I feel a little run down. But that's probably because I'm chasing after three kiddos.



I'm needing advice in a couple areas.



What are some good ways to keep my iron levels up?



And those of you who still do dairy, how much or little?



ETA: Thanks in advance!


My Blog: beforewisdom.com
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#8 Old 08-24-2004, 06:28 AM
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i haven't had any trouble with iron levels since i've been vegetarian, because i follow the advice above (get iron rich veggie foods, i particularly like figs, dried apricots, and beans and have some vitamin C--though you don't have to have them at the same time to gain the absorption, anytime during the day is fine), but i do not take supplements. i prefer to get what i need from food sources.



besides plant and meat sources, eggs and dairy can have a positive impact on your iron intake. eggs have 1 mg of iron per egg (RDA for women is 7-9 depending upon life cycle--menstrual, pregnant, lactating, menopausal). you won't need to eat 7 eggs, but a two egg breakfast plus your lentil soup at lunch, plus your salad, plus your citrus fruit should give you your RDA.



When transitioning to vegetarianism, it helps to have a good book on hand to answer your questions. There are lots of good ones out there--including many with recipes. YOu can also do a lot of research about vegetarian nutrition online--particularly for pregnant and lactating women that talks about these elements.



when it doubt, be sure to take your vitamins. When you get the hang of everything, then perhaps you can move away from vitamins or whatever. give yourself time and don't worry about whether or not you eat dairy, eggs, or even meat right now. There is a lot to sort through--and i'd rather you start infromed and comfortable and can easily 'stick with it' than get started uneducated, get frightened, and then just head back to omnivore--you know?



i researched for 6 months before transitioning fully to vegetarianism, then another 3 months before going vegan. In the last 6 months or more, i've added eggs back into my diet for health reasons. But, the real key for me has been research and understanding my diet and how i function.



I wish you all the best!
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#9 Old 08-24-2004, 06:40 AM
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This iron discussion made me curious, so I looked up 'dietary iron'. The first site, I came across, has charts listing iron values of various veg and non-veg foods. It also has suggestions on how to improve iron absorption/quality (same as those already mentioned). The news in better than you think!



http://www.mckinley.uiuc.edu/Handouts/dietiron.html



On another note, I was feeling tired earlier in the year. I was always run down and light-headed. They did a blood test to check everything. Turns out, I had just overstressed myself! If you truly feel something is wrong, see your doctor. If there's nothing wrong, you'll know ... If something is wrong, you'll be able to get the help to fix it!
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#10 Old 08-24-2004, 06:55 AM
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I wouldn't blame any fatigue after two days of no meat on not eating meat. It takes quite a bit longer than that to sap out nutrients.



For maybe the past year I've been taking a daily multivitamin, and some extra calcium though haven't had any problems with any vitamin deficiencies in 10 yrs as a vegetarian. Check out your breakfast cereals, many of them are fortified with iron as well as heaps of other things.

http://megatarian.blogspot.com
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#11 Old 08-24-2004, 09:26 AM
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Carka ~



I just want to add one thing. Caffeinated beverages (tea, coffee, soda) can also interfere with your iron absorption. Make sure you drink these types of beverages between meals, not with!
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#12 Old 08-24-2004, 10:08 AM
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Thanks for the info.



I didnt do any research before I made the decision. I just knew I wanted to do it!



I'll go to the library and get some good books.



I'm the only one in my house going vegetarian so my DH has been poking fun at me. I know he's only joking, but I'm beginning to feel very discouraged.



I'll just keep coming here!!
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#13 Old 08-24-2004, 10:17 AM
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Try "Being Vegetarian for Dummies"...it's my favorite, thorough, accurate, and easy-to-read
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#14 Old 08-24-2004, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colorful View Post

Try "Being Vegetarian for Dummies"...it's my favorite, thorough, accurate, and easy-to-read



I have that one I also have a book called something like The Vegetarian Woman. If I remember correctly, it was also a good one. I have a bunch more, but I don't want to overwhelm you with stuff to read.
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#15 Old 08-24-2004, 02:52 PM
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yeah, books are a good start. Also, it's ok to tell DH that you'd rather not be teased about this transition until you get comfortable with it. Also, reiterate to him that you're doing this for yourself and he doesn't have to do it too. a lot of the reasons why SO's react with teasing is because its a 'safe' way to say 'i don't want to be pressured' without starting arguments.



also, you can always serve veg*n based meals with meat added after the fact. one source i read recommended "taking your part out, and then putting the meat in" but i don't like this idea, because it means you can't have seconds! in our household, meat is separate from the main dish, and added in at the table by the individuals consuming the meat. This means that left overs can be had by all, and that omnis still get their meat if they want it.



all the best!
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#16 Old 08-24-2004, 03:46 PM
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Hey- congrats on going veg.

I wanted to mention a few things:

1- spinach is actually a very poor source of Iron bc the iron is bound in oxolates that your body cannot break down, and therefore cannot absorb. But it's still chockfull of other wonderfull things, so don't neglect the spinach.

2- The less dairy you eat, the less you will crave it. If I haven't had cheese for awhile, I could care less about it, but the second after I eat some, I want more, More, MORE!!!!!!!!

3- 'Becoming Vegetarian' by Davis and Melina is a reallly great book- You will learn more about nutrition than you ever wanted to know, and they have a great writing style.



That's all I have to add.

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May the whole world be joyous'
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#17 Old 08-24-2004, 04:15 PM
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Congrats on going veggie! Don't get discouraged---it's the very beginning of this transition that's the most difficult--after a little while, you'll be more confident w/your new diet and your friends and family will hopefully will tame their teasing/blaming.



The only time I've ever been low-ish (though not anemic low) in iron, the Red Cross nurse told me to eat watermelon. She didn't know I was a vegetarian---that was just her pick for the best food for me!
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#18 Old 08-24-2004, 11:10 PM
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Oh welcome to vb!!!!! You sound just like me 7 months ago. It'll be so easy for you over time.



How much/little dairy you consume is really up to you.
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#19 Old 08-25-2004, 12:32 AM
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My favorite iron picks are watermelon and lentils--both great sources of iron. Eat your legumes, lots of green veggies, fruits, and whole grains, and don't worry about it too much. I think most vegetarians have never had problems with their iron levels--I certainly haven't, even in nine years of vegetarianism.
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#20 Old 08-25-2004, 02:34 AM
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Beans, whole wheat products, fortified cereal, soymilk, apples, spinach and a multi-vitamin are my sources of iron. Ooh, also eat Luna bars...lots of iron!
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#21 Old 08-25-2004, 02:41 AM
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Oh yeah...are you eating enough protein? If you aren't vegan, chances are you are getting enough...however, when you take something out of your diet, you need to replace it with something new! Try tofu, tvp, seiten, tempeh, beans and other soyfoods to replace the meat you aren't eating! My fave meat sub is Boca and Gardenburger, also TVP and Morningstar Farms Veggie Crumbles. All of them are vegan, except some of the Gardenburger ones (damn them and their milk cultures! Grrr!).
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#22 Old 08-25-2004, 09:15 PM
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I've been doing ok!!



My DH ate some of the tofu, spinach dip I made and liked it a lot.



I also really liked the boca burgers and meatless chikkin patties.



Thank you all so much for the support!!
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#23 Old 08-26-2004, 07:51 AM
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be mindful of soy foods, they really aren't the healthiest. if you can, replace your meat with legumes and other unprocessed, whole-food products. here's a great (and simple) meal:



thai-style chick pea curry



1 can of chick peas (i use cans, they're easier, but i do open them, rinse them of the canned water, then soak them in regular water, rinse, and then cook them)

1 large green pepper

1 med onion

garlic and ginger minced

1 can of cocnut milk

fresh basil

various veggies of your choice (broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, mung beans, carrots, etc)

curry powder (or tumeric, cumin, papricka, etc)



put everything in a pot and cook/heat through. takes about 20 minutes. serve with rice (brown or basmati, an unprocessed white rice, are best).



if DH wants to add meat to it:



cut beef or chicken into strips, marinade in lime juice, red chili pepper, and coconut oil. stir fry in marinade.



he can add his chicken/beef to his plate/bowl leaving the left overs in the pan as vegetarian so that you can have seconds.
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#24 Old 08-26-2004, 11:52 AM
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While it's better to rely on whole foods for nutrition, and less on processed foods like tofu, it won't kill you to have it now and again as part of a healthy diet. The other night I had one of our favorites -- millet-tofu croquettes with cashew nut gravy -- and I wouldn't give that up unless it was found with absolute certainty that having that dish once a year would lead to cancer. But it won't, so that remains a monthly to bi-monthly favorite.



I have, partly due to zoebird I might add (and my wife), cut back on soy a bit in the last couple of months or so. Edamame is now more of a rare treat. I'll eat tofu or tempeh before I eat any kind of TVP or soy-based processed meat analogue (I still eat seitan about once a week), and 4 out of 5 meals are based around vegetables, legumes and grains now. Still working on increase the amount of vegetables and decreasing the grains to a more reasonable proportion.



I still get lots of soy every day, though, thanks to soy milk. I figure I'll probably cut back to having it only as included in my coffee instead of cow's milk, but right now I eat it in cereal, too. I don't drink it straight anymore, except the rare occasion when I'll make some chocolate soy milk. Maybe if the rice or nut milks become popular enough to be made as tasty as Silk Vanilla Soy Milk (et al), I will find it easier to knock those out.



Just for a point of comparison, between the daily coffee and daily cereal, my soy protein intake is roughly 12g, I'd wager. Not bad but, as zoe pointed out, probably more than I need. Variety of sources is the rule of the game in any well-planned diet.
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