Trying to Get Back to Veg...with a family with varied allergies/sensitivities - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-06-2015, 11:10 AM
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Trying to Get Back to Veg...with a family with varied allergies/sensitivities

Hi, I'm new here, I don't know if I'd be posting but I really need some kind of support. I used to be a part-time vegetarian....I would only eat meat once in awhile. I thought it was better for my health. Once I got married to meat and potatoes kind of guy I compromised. I would make traditional meat-centered dishes and I would also make vegetarian meals. Then we started having children and things became more and more meat-centered, but not just because of preference. Out of me, my husband, and my three children only myself and my youngest child can tolerate soy. On top of that my oldest child cannot handle dairy and certain stone fruits. My middle child has problems with seeded fruits. My youngest has a problem with apples. My husband cannot handle most tropical fruits (no coconut milk), any cultured dairy, squashes including the ever versatile zucchini, pumpkin, ect....

I have been feeling very convicted lately when eating meat. I just feel sick to my stomach when I look at it. To eat it I push these thoughts aside and eat it because I need energy, and that's what's there. I've been changing my shopping and recipes lately, avoiding red meat....but my husband is a cook and is the one who cooks dinner at home with my job. He so relishes his pork, and everything else.
Whenever I try to convert back to veg he makes half-hearted attempts to support me, but he really wants me to enjoy his cooking and meals WITH him. The problem is that if I cut out meat when I cook I have to find meals I can cook for everyone while avoiding all their allergies and sensitivities. I mean, at least there are no nut allergies...but I'm overwhelmed with the enormity of what converting back to veg or at least a part-time veg means. And what it means for my budget. I don't know if I can do it. Maybe I just need to stick to it better, I don't know.
If anybody has any advice, or similar experiences, or just words of support I would really appreciate it.
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#2 Old 04-07-2015, 03:52 AM
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Welcome skylur!

I do not have children so I can't speak from that experience, but I have been vegan and living with an omnivore husband (meat and potatoes guy to boot) for four years. At first the transition was not easy on our relationship. It took a lot of time and patience, and I really needed to find an effective way to explain to him why this was (is) so important to me and why I was doing it. We used to share cooking duties a little more, and I used to make him all his favorite dishes when I was an omnivore. All that stopped when I went vegan. I laid down rules that I would not buy or cook animal products. We also have separate cupboard space and refrigerator space for our own foods. However, over time I did compromise slightly by making him his eggs or a cheese dish for him on occasion (my husband is also on disability and has two illnesses that make it hard for him to cook or eat when they are severe). In most instances I stood my ground because it was important to me to live my values and in doing this it made him respect me more and take me more seriously. But I also learned to make vegan/vegetarian versions of foods he likes, and heartier meals for him that i might not necessarily eat. I would also take some of our favorite dishes and work with the base recipe and then add my vegan stuff to mine and he would add his stuff to his. For example, I would make harde shell tacos, and I would make a bulgur/red lentil taco filling with taco seasonings or a refried bean mix, and then I would add veggies to mine and he would add his shredded cheese and other stuff to his own once they were dished out. Or spaghetti. I would make plain spaghetti and a vegetable/lentil tomato sauce to go over it, and then he would add parmesan cheese to his and I would add a ground nut/nutritional yeast based "parmesan" to mine. Baked potatoes are another dish that is easy to add a variety of foods to. I normally do not buy the fake meats and cheeses, but I have on occasion bought veggie burgers and vegan ch*kn strips for his sake and he actually likes them a lot. A great hit in our house is homemade vegetarian pot pies (you can buy the pie shells vegan or vegetarian at Whole foods/health stores or make your own dough). I can almost guarantee you your family will love one of those lol. If your husband insists on meat, he could make his own and add it to his portion of pot pie once it is dished out.

You don't have to make meat dishes for everyone else. You can still make vegetarian dishes and if your husband insists he wants meat he can cook his own on another burner at the same time and cook for the kids if that is what they want and you can still sit down and eat together.

Also, I am very busy with work and other activities also, so I tend to take my day off (Sunday) and spend an hour or two making my lunches for the week and also making big batches of stuff I know will take time to make, like dried beans or brown rice. I store it in the refrigerator and have it on hand to heat up with stuff for dinner during the week without having to spend hours cooking it. It does require some preplanning as far as meals and when to prepare stuff ahead, but after doing it for a while it becomes second nature and no big deal. It is an effort at first, but one that is well worth it.

Also, it is not impossible to eat soy free as a vegetarian/vegan. I go through periods of doing this. I also cook gluten free soy free meals for my Mom who also has diverticulitis so nuts/seeds/fruits with seeds are out. That too can take a little planning but it becomes second nature. I am a bit anal, but I went through some cookbooks and thought of dishes to make in my head and wrote out lists of various foods without soy, gluten etc (and categorized them as breakfast, side dishes, main etc) that are also inexpensive and high in protein/calcium etc and I often plan off that list. It did take some time but I worked on it little by little and have used it for years, and have added to it also. Vegetarian can be very cheap if you base meals on beans, bulk grains (rice, millet, buckwheat, bulgur, oats, pasta) vegetables and so on. You can even make homemade sauces and "cheeses" using potatoes, canned tomato sauce/paste, canned coconut milk and so on. No need to buy expensive imitation products. Also, I may spend slightly more on plant based milks, but I compromise in other areas. Meat is very expensive unless it is the overly processed variety, so by not buying that I am saving a lot of money. My protein sources are beans, leafy greens, whole grains, seeds, all of which are inexpensive.

I think a lot of it comes down to really learning how to cook and prepare vegetarian food and being confident with enough stuff to make that you are not overwhelmed wondering what to eat. There are tons of vegetarian cookbooks out there and even public libraries are abundant with them. I started there when I went vegan and learned a LOT about vegetarian style cooking and what staples to keep and also how to meet nutritional needs and with food intolerances to boot. I couldn't tolerate tofu for my first two years vegan. I also avoided all vegan cheese except the homemade nutritional yeast/potato sauce variety. I ate soy free for a long time due to thyroid issues. It is doable, but will take a little time to learn how to do. If you are short on time, do it in small chunks. Have a good talk with your husband on how important this is to you and why, and what you need from him. Start with all vegetarian breakfasts for the week and see how your family does with that or how it works for you alone. When you are confident with enough breakfast ideas and so on, move on to lunches, then eventually dinners.

I hope you can take some time to explore the threads on Veggieboards, because there are a lot of people who have been where you are, and who have children they feed vegetarian meals and so on.

Again welcome to the boards! I wish you the best in your transition! You can do this!

In the end, only kindness matters. - Jewel



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#3 Old 04-07-2015, 09:53 AM
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It might be easier than you think.

I went veg*n before my wife, and I didn't have a problem.

If she cooked meat loaf, wild rice, and a salad.....I just ate the rice and the salad.

We all went to San Francisco, & ate at Fisherman's Wharf. Everybody got fish, seafood, etc. I got some boiled potatoes and a salad.

Just put whatever your hubby cooks on your plate.......except the meat. Maybe add a side salad. or some pasta, etc.

All animals should be respected & should have the ability to lead a natural & enjoyable life. This means not eating them, or abusing them in any way.
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