Help [switching family to vegetarian diet] - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-14-2008, 03:57 PM
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I don't know if this is the right place to start so if anyone wants to direct me elsewhere I would appreciate it.

I have decided to switch my whole family from our current bad eating style to vegetarian. Initially, I want to do veggies, dairy and fish but, I have no idea how to go about making the switch. Besides myself, two of the other three members of the family think it is a good idea and I think the third will go along if I don't gross him out too much at the start (he's 11). We have already started eating whole grains but, I am really at a loss and feeling quite overwhelmed. I am quite overweight and can see that to continue the way we have been is only going to cause the whole family to take these bad eating habits into adulthood. Not to mention the incredible health benefit across the board for us to make the switch. We all need more energy. My 11 year old (although not overweight) claims of being tired all the time. Please could some of you give me some information to get us started in the right direction?

Also, might there be a sample grocery list somewhere that will give me a list of staples that might help the food to be more various and flavorful?
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#2 Old 07-14-2008, 04:19 PM
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ok, for a start, you probably won't get any help with the fish, cos thats not vegetarian (people who eat fish are pescatarians).

beyond that...

your first stop should be the 'tip of the day' thread. full of info on everything you can possibly think of.

there is also a list of what groceries people buy here:

beyond that- keep it simple to start with. you can pretty easily swap things you currently eat, (make chilli with beans, have pizza without meat on it, put different sauce on the spagetti, use veggie broth in the soup, make stirfry and add some cashews, do quick things like baked potatoes and hummus or heinz baked beans on toast, (check for no pork in the beans) eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if you get desperate - not too unhealthy if you use brown bread, natural peanut butter, and no-added sugar preserves!,- etc).

while trying new things is great, you don't have to do it every day. work with what you know, and think about how you can make it a little differently.

loading up on fruit and veggies can't hurt either. try not to replace your meat with a tonne of cheese, its really high fat- beans and lentils would be a good addition if you don't eat them much now.

if you can, try and get hold of a copy of 'the new becoming vegetarian'. its a really good book- full of info and recipes.

also, i'm gonna move your thread to 'new to vegetarianism, i think it'll get seen more, and you'll get more help there.
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#3 Old 07-14-2008, 06:56 PM
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Yes, if you eat fish you are not following a vegetarian diet.

Eating whole grains is a good start. Be sure to eat lots of fruits and different types of veggies, beans, nuts, lentils - stews and soups are great. Buy a few vegetarian cookbooks. The transition is much easier than you think it would be. There are also tons of meat substitutes out there to make your transition easier.
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#4 Old 07-15-2008, 05:03 AM
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Don't know if this will help, but my girls like red lentils and yellow split peas better than brown lentils. TVP makes great sloppy joes. Try some ethnic recipes. Indian, Chinese, Mexian and Italian recipes are a good start. Try some vegetarian/vegan cookbooks from the library or search the Internet for recipes.

Faith not fear, hope not worry
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#5 Old 07-15-2008, 08:48 AM
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Well, since the hoodedjen gave you all the food tips I would like to offer this. Sometimes male vegetarians can get teased because they aren't eating "man food". You might want to look over this page and let your son read scan it and see if he's interested in reading about them. It might be useful for him if anyone wants to ridicule his diet. Good luck with your vegetarian transition.

One of my favorite vegan athletes:

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#6 Old 07-15-2008, 07:49 PM
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Thanks for all the helpful information....I spent the morning looking up recipes...Here's some "food for thought"...I now understand that if I eat fish I can't call myself a vegetarian....This is interesting because mostly, I hate fish....I just figured that I needed something....for things like protein and Omega 3...I also don't like lentils at all.....unless someone has some ideas of ways to cook it so it isn't just like "eating beans"....I like kidney beans and pinto beans I know but, don't have much experience cooking other things. Interestingly, I discovered on the recipe thread today that just because people are eating vegetarian doesn't necessarilly mean they are eating healthy...There were some atrocious recipe ingredients being used from a health stand point. Just because it isn't animal doesn't make it good for you.

I am not being critical but, just voicing observations so far....I'm just going to start plugging at it one day at a time....Tomorrow we are having veggie lasagna for dinner...if I can find a good recipe.
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#7 Old 07-15-2008, 08:28 PM
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#8 Old 07-15-2008, 09:56 PM
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I like ethnic food. You can find a lot of recipes in Middle Eastern, Oriental, African, Indian, Italian, Greek, Mexican recipe books and of course, many recipes from Everywhere. So, for ideas, I'd hit a book sellers first. Get something like Vegetarian cook books-- with pictures, so you can get ideas for your own recipes. I frankly don't miss meat at all. If you're doing dairy and eggs, there should never be any concerns about enough protein or B12. Even if you are not doing any dairy-- but then B12 could be a problem. Things I've made and eaten recently include hummus with corn chips, vegetable stir-fry with soy meat strips water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and fresh veggies, vegetable stew with sweet potatoes, and veggies from my garden, thickened with bean paste and tahini, I made noodles, and navy beans with ranch dressing seasoning. I don't usually have multi course meals. Today at the store I bought tiny potatoes to fry up in a few days, eggplant to make into a roasted spread, more hummus fixings (love hummus), and a variety of fresh fruit. I eat a lot of rice and beans, and not a lot of soy meat-analogues. I'm lactose intolerant, so I eat some cheese, but not a lot of liquid milk, and I am trying to cut down on that to lose weight. I think what you are doing is great, and really, you can make nearly anything vegetarian, you just can't rely as much on ready-made food, because a lot of it has chicken stock and such in it. You still need to monitor your calorie intake to lose weight. As far as weight, a lot of the most fattening things are vegetarian (cookies, crackers, cakes and so on). I really started seeing a difference in weight loss when I cut myself off from cheese, eggs, and dairy. I use limited amounts now, but before, I was sprinkling cheese on everything I ate, and eating eggs every day. I learned when you diet, you have to watch the dairy. Once you get down to eating only beans, rice, limited bread goods, and fresh veggies, I really think such a thing as 60 pounds lost in a year is really do-able.
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#9 Old 07-16-2008, 08:24 AM
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Weight Loss is probably a major concern for me but, for my family, I would like to see them develop better snacking habits and develop an interior body climate that is not so acidic.
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#10 Old 07-16-2008, 09:20 AM
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Sounds like you're doing great! This was probably one of the hardest decisions for you to act on. Good for you! Veggieboards has lots of knowledgeable people who are ready to help. There are non-fish sources of walnuts, but if cutting fish out right now is too strange for you then by all means do whatever it takes to succeed at dropping meat. If that means eating fish for a couple of months, I'm not a big fan of it, but that's a lot better than just giving up entirely, isn't it?

The cool thing about veggie cooking is your taste buds are going to open to a whole spectrum of tastes (my masculinity prevents me from saying 'rainbow of flavor').

You're 100% right about "just because it lacks animal products doesn't make it healthy!" I've made some biscuits and muffins that were sweet enough to kill diabetics within smelling distance.
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#11 Old 07-16-2008, 02:21 PM
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Well done hun, you are going to feel great. I've been a vegetarian for a week and a half lol, and don't feel so weighted down by the meat.

So empowering walking passed a butcher and not walking in to buy meat.
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#12 Old 07-16-2008, 03:30 PM
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I think the problem many people have when they switch foods is they expect them to taste the same. Brown rice just doesn't taste like white rice. Lentils don't taste like hamburger. Veggie dogs are not hot dogs. Look at the foods as new experiences, not as old favourites. Maybe rent some cookbooks at the library (or if your town is lame, with a craptastic library, like mine, buy one) and pour over the recipes with the kids. see if anything sounds good and then try it out.
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#13 Old 07-18-2008, 11:42 PM
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Just fyi, you're right in that not all vegetarians are trying to be healthy. I think a lot of us are pretty healthy for the most part, but sometimes we go all out with the junk food
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