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#1 Old 01-25-2009, 07:41 PM
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I am having a real difficult time with going vegetarian. My diet for all of my adult (and most of my young) life has been crap. I eat garbage: burgers, hot dogs, pizza with pepperoni and sausage, - tons of meat, fat, sugar, CRAP. I have loooong had the heart and spirit of a vegetarian but am trapped in the body (taste buds and no will power) of a gross carnivore.



I am totally morally opposed to eating meat that comes from factory farming conditions but I still eat it. I am aware of the health benefits of going veg and am in great need of those benefits as I have high cholesterol, high BP, had a colon polyp removed a few months ago and a bad mammogram. I am 37 years old am not overweight, don't drink ever or smoke so it is all about my poor diet.



I have been trying to go veg for about 2 weeks and am really having a struggle. I know it sounds stupid but I feel so yucky when I don't eat meat. I know that this means I am just detoxing from all the crap but it is hard to feel so bad and not cave in to the craving. Has anyone else had a difficult time making the transition? Did anyone ever have bad physical feelings in the beginning?



Thanks
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#2 Old 01-25-2009, 07:55 PM
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Welcome to Veggie Boards and good luck with the transition! ^__^



I don't have any advise for you, since I chose to be a veggie 10 years ago (over half my life, I'm 16 now) and I can't remember a thing. Plus, I was young, so I didn't eat that stuff for very long.



I'm sure plenty of other people could give you tips, though! Plus, check out the recipes section. I have not been about to make anything yet, but I'm collecting them and getting ready to just start baking crazy one day. xD

If you fill yourself up on all that yummy stuff all the time, you probably can swing the cravings quickly. Your body will be gracious for all the healthy and delicious stuff, it will forget all about the other junk. ^-^

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#3 Old 01-25-2009, 08:25 PM
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hmmm. your tastebuds maybe need a bit of retraining. it does take a while to get them used to and even happy with different flavours. are you trying to eat a whole bunch of entirely different things than normal? maybe thats too big of a jump all at once for you to maintain.



how about starting with healthier versions of tastes and flavours that you're used to- for example, instead of swapping your usual meaty pizza out for brown rice and tofu, you could swap it for a whole wheat crust, half the cheese, and buy veggie crumbles and veggie pepperoni to put on it, have a smaller portion, add a few veggies that you don't hate to it, and put a little salad on the side. etc. baby steps.



also, if you're feeling really unwell, have you thought about maybe starting with being fully vegetarian every other day, or 2 meals out of 3, for a while? that way you could try new things, and get a bit of confidence up as well as building a stockpile of recipe ideas, and acclimatising your body to the change a bit more slowly.



if you go swapping out your diet entirely, your body is gonna wonder what hit it. i know mine would if i did that. some people can just handle it, some need a different approach. whatever gets you there in the end and keeps you there is right for you.



also, let us know if you need recipe suggestions that are really 'meat and potatoes' friendly, or product suggestions for replacing things you like - i know there are some experts around here in that kinda stuff.
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#4 Old 01-25-2009, 08:28 PM
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Welcome to VB!



Some people do struggle with the transition to vegetarianism, and so you are not alone in that. It is, however, a very rewarding lifestyle change, and I'm sure it will get easier with time. Go easy on yourself and remember that you are being good to yourself, good to the environment, and good to animals during this transition.



How can we help? Do you need recipes? Do you need moral support? Do you need a kick in the pants? I'm sure someone here will be happy to deliver the information you think you need most!



Just to give you some of my numbers, I went from a total cholesterol of 220 to 173 in the last 3 years. All of my blood work is now excellent, and I feel terrific (I'm 48). I attribute it to being veg*n and I'd never, ever go back now.



You say you feel yucky without meat. What on earth are you eating? Vegetarian food can be delicious and filling and satisfying both for your body and for your soul. You may need to make some simple changes in your choices to feel good.



Best of luck! Let us know how we can help!

It is our choices that show what we truly are far more than our abilities. ~A. Dumbledore
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#5 Old 01-25-2009, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoodedclawjen View Post

hmmm. your tastebuds maybe need a bit of retraining. it does take a while to get them used to and even happy with different flavours. are you trying to eat a whole bunch of entirely different things than normal? maybe thats too big of a jump all at once for you to maintain.



how about starting with healthier versions of tastes and flavours that you're used to- for example, instead of swapping your usual meaty pizza out for brown rice and tofu, you could swap it for a whole wheat crust, half the cheese, and buy veggie crumbles and veggie pepperoni to put on it, have a smaller portion, add a few veggies that you don't hate to it, and put a little salad on the side. etc. baby steps.



also, if you're feeling really unwell, have you thought about maybe starting with being fully vegetarian every other day, or 2 meals out of 3, for a while? that way you could try new things, and get a bit of confidence up as well as building a stockpile of recipe ideas, and acclimatising your body to the change a bit more slowly.



if you go swapping out your diet entirely, your body is gonna wonder what hit it. i know mine would if i did that. some people can just handle it, some need a different approach. whatever gets you there in the end and keeps you there is right for you.



also, let us know if you need recipe suggestions that are really 'meat and potatoes' friendly, or product suggestions for replacing things you like - i know there are some experts around here in that kinda stuff.



I second that. You probably need some time to transition. A little at a time will get your body used to it. Try foods you like, veggie-ized, like hoodedclawjen said. Healthier pizza, veggie burgers (but DON'T expect them to taste like regular burgers, they don't, they're a different food in their own right), spaghetti with veggies instead of meat (things like broccoli, squash chunks, bell pepper, you know, thicker feeling veggies), etc.



It will probably take you some time, and that's perfectly okay! We're happy to help you
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#6 Old 01-26-2009, 02:24 AM
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I developed a diet similar to yours when I was in college. It did take a while to retrain my taste buds. I recommend doing it slowly. Make small changes. Try adding healthy vegetables and fruit to what you are eating now. You can slowly increase the healthy things and decrease the unhealthy as you get more used to the taste. Definitely start cooking your meals if that isn't something you currently do. You can swap whole grains for white pasta, bread and rice. This also allows you to control the amount of fat, salt and sugar in your cooking. You can experiment with other flavors to add to your food in place of these (onion, garlic, spices and herbs).



Good luck! Don't be too hard on yourself. We're all here to support you!
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#7 Old 01-26-2009, 04:48 AM
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Hi, and welcome. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time, but like others have said - some people need to transition a little more slowly. I'd like to second the request to know what you are currently eating when you try to eat vegetarian meals. That way we can make some recommendations for improvements.
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#8 Old 01-26-2009, 05:13 AM
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Welcome!! I can imagine going veg from a junk omni diet is even harder than transitioning from a balanced omni diet! It sounds like you've got some good strong reasons for doing it, your health and the ethics of eating meat, and a lot of new veggies find they explore all sorts of new foods and find new favorites and their diet expands, not shrinks!



Just a few questions for you -- What do you mean by "feel yucky"? Are you hungry? Weak? Tired? Nauseated? Gassy? Headaches? Dizziness? Being able to describe your symptoms more specifically would help us make suggestions for resolving it.

What are you eating now? How much? How often?

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#9 Old 01-26-2009, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for all the responses. I am eating more veggies and fruits and pasta dishes. I think I feel like I am not getting enough protein even though I know I am. I am still eating eggs and dairy and nuts and beans. Though I would like to eventually cut out eggs and dairy or at least reduce it.



I am gonna keep trying.



I know a lot of vegetarians eat soy - there has been some controversy over the healthiness of soy lately. Does anyone have concerns about this or know of any reputable studies that have been done on it?



Thanks again for the support.
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#10 Old 01-26-2009, 10:04 PM
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Hi! I've had the same problems and I've learned a few tricks. Whenever I feel the "protein plunge" I reach for peanuts or cashews, especially when I'm at work. Anything to hold me over. My favorite meat substitute are the Morningstar Chick'n Nuggets. They have a familiar texture and also give me a little boost for the rest of the day when I eat them at work for lunch.



I was like you in terms of my previous diet as well. My parents never taught me how to eat healthfully and there would be weeks where we would eat out every single night because my parents didn't want to cook. You kinda have to take responsibility for your own life and learn all the tips and tools that you were never taught. Good luck!
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#11 Old 01-27-2009, 05:36 AM
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First question: Did you quit eating meat cold tomato or did you give it up slowly? Whichever you did, try the other! For some it's easier to just give it up all at once, for others it's best to spend time transitioning it out of their diet.



Next, make sure that you educate yourself well on yummy vegetarian alternatives. Sometimes using meat analogs and finding recipes you really enjoy make it WAY easier to switch!
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#12 Old 01-27-2009, 12:42 PM
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Browse the recipe section here. I just got done doing that myself (just now, really!) and I'm extremely excited about all the new foods and meals I'll get to try!



This is an incredible challenge for some people, yourself included, but I have yet to meet a vegetarian who doesn't consider their decision totally worth it. What you're going through is normal, 100%, and it will pass. It's just like giving up any other unhealthy substance. People who quit smoking or drinking can have violent symptoms of withdrawal, and I think the same can go for meat. You're doing the right thing. I would recommend finding a sympathetic doctor who can monitor your change so you can rest assured that your new diet isn't hurting you - sometimes even that much can go a long way.



As for the Great Soy Debate, there are a number of threads here that you can look at. In my opinion, even if soy "maybe, might" have some dangers attached to it, the dangers of consuming large quantities of meat have DEFINITELY been proven, and it sounds like they've even been proven in your own life. Too much of anything is bad, and besides, soy isn't the only place to get your protein. I actually haven't eaten a soy product in two weeks, now that I think of it, but I've been keeping track and I'm getting all the nutrients, protein, and other necessary goodies that I need every day.



You are doing a wonderful thing. Just remember that the voice telling you you can't do it is only the part of your brain that's addicted to the meat you've been eating. Don't let that voice boss you around, because it doesn't speak for the rest of you! Good luck!
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#13 Old 01-27-2009, 07:29 PM
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Hey Barb,



I'm a new vegetarian but I'm loving it and the transition was very easy for me because I eased into it. I grew up a southern cooking carnivore but I also gained alot of weight. I was 195lbs & only 5'2 1/2". I started making small changes...1st switched turkey burgers for beef, cut out soda for perrier water with lemon & things like that. Then I did the Master Cleanse (aka the lemonade diet) which cleaned out all toxics and helped me slim down to 130lbs! i gained about 13lb back when i slipped back into some bad habits.. chicken tikki marsala & supreme meat pizzas. So I did the cleanse again & made the decision to eat mostly veg. After a while, I found that I wasn't eating meat that often anyway so I decided to try the meatless versions of my favs. Thank God for Boca Burgers, Morning Star Farms Corn Dogs...they taste better than the original meat versions and made my transition easy because I know if I want a naughty treat like a burger or a corn dog it isn't going to kill me literally or figuratively! I hope this helps! You will find your way!



Remember Baby Steps get your further than no steps at all!
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#14 Old 01-27-2009, 08:38 PM
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My best advice: Stick around this forum!



Veggieboards has done so much to keep me dedicated and to educate me about my diet... I went veggie on a silly whim, but finding this forum is what made me really dedicated to it, and now I'm vegan.



Also, don't beat yourself up too bad when you slip up... It gets way easier with time.
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#15 Old 01-27-2009, 09:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmjohn72 View Post

Hi! I've had the same problems and I've learned a few tricks. Whenever I feel the "protein plunge" I reach for peanuts or cashews, especially when I'm at work. Anything to hold me over. My favorite meat substitute are the Morningstar Chick'n Nuggets. They have a familiar texture and also give me a little boost for the rest of the day when I eat them at work for lunch.



I was like you in terms of my previous diet as well. My parents never taught me how to eat healthfully and there would be weeks where we would eat out every single night because my parents didn't want to cook. You kinda have to take responsibility for your own life and learn all the tips and tools that you were never taught. Good luck!



Also, sunflower seeds are good as well.
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#16 Old 01-28-2009, 04:13 PM
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I am transitioning as well. I have had a relatively painless time of it, by going slowly. I started with the rule that I would keep a vegetarian home, but could eat animal flesh when I was at restaurants, meetings, a guest in somebody's home. I now only eat flesh on Sundays at my family's dinner and in emergencies out of the house. I had turkey on Christmas day, but had vegetarian gravy.For now, I am keeping it at that level and adding to my repertoire of vegetarian recipes. I have not bought eggs for over a month, but will eat them in baked goods.I am looking into calciu sources so that I can give up dairy, but that may very well take a year to complete.
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#17 Old 01-28-2009, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Barbrae View Post

I am having a real difficult time with going vegetarian. My diet for all of my adult (and most of my young) life has been crap. I eat garbage: burgers, hot dogs, pizza with pepperoni and sausage, - tons of meat, fat, sugar, CRAP. I have loooong had the heart and spirit of a vegetarian but am trapped in the body (taste buds and no will power) of a gross carnivore.



I am totally morally opposed to eating meat that comes from factory farming conditions but I still eat it. I am aware of the health benefits of going veg and am in great need of those benefits as I have high cholesterol, high BP, had a colon polyp removed a few months ago and a bad mammogram. I am 37 years old am not overweight, don't drink ever or smoke so it is all about my poor diet.



I have been trying to go veg for about 2 weeks and am really having a struggle. I know it sounds stupid but I feel so yucky when I don't eat meat. I know that this means I am just detoxing from all the crap but it is hard to feel so bad and not cave in to the craving. Has anyone else had a difficult time making the transition? Did anyone ever have bad physical feelings in the beginning?



Thanks



OMG Yess...the beginning...the middle....now....I have been a veggie for 18 years and WAS a total junk eater...junk all the time from pizza...to oreos..chips....ect...it took me a long time and a bigg change in my eating style....cut down my diet soda drinking to virtually nada...but thats a different story...thats was a caffeine addiction...but yes I felt horrible while this was going on...I was irritable and moody..bad headaches and always hungry...so maybe it was just a regular day...LOL...but I worked my way through it and feel a ton better now...Okay I had bad days...still do...but for the most part its sooo worth it...I feel sooo much better...good luck to you
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#18 Old 01-29-2009, 07:58 AM
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One of the best pieces of advice I received was to look at foods you already eat that are vegetarian. (Spaghetti with marinara, grilled cheese sandwiches, bean burritoes, cheese and veggie pizza, cereal and milk, that sort of thing).



Then try for just a few meals a week -- most people seem to have the most difficulty with lunch and dinner, so I'd focus on transitioning those. The easiest "beginner" meals are often substitutions, like Boca burgers for regular hamburgers. If you're worried about soy, there are some non-soy faux meats available (Quorn comes to mind, although there's controversy about that, too).



Make up your own "recipe book" of vegetarian recipes -- whenever you see one that looks good (here or elsewhere), write it down and try it out. If you like it, you can start making it regularly. You'd be surprised at how relatively easy it is to make a veggie version of things (lasagna and chili are super-easy, surprisingly).



If you've never eaten many vegetables or beans, I'd be cautious with eating a ton of them at first: you can get gas pains and diarrhea if you go too crazy when your body's not used to it. Increase your intake of these slowly.



If you don't think you're getting enough protein, try low or nonfat cottage cheese or egg whites. Both are almost pure protein. (When you're ready to go non-dairy/non-egg, you'll probably be knowledgeable enough by then to know what sort of things to substitute ... cross that bridge when you come to it! )



And as ripvanfish said, stick around the forum. It's definitely a motivator!



Good luck!
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#19 Old 01-29-2009, 03:49 PM
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I had considerably less trouble becoming a vegetarian, which is probably because my diet didn't have to change very much. I do understand how it feels to have an emotional attachment to meat so that not eating it makes you feel yucky at first. Dont worry about it-that goes away when your body realizes it doesn't need meat for comfort.
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#20 Old 01-29-2009, 08:57 PM
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Thanks again all. I am doing better. I think part of my problem was this huge fear of "failing" rather than just allowing myself to have a slip up. It made me feel "deprived". Telling myself it is okay to "cheat" makes me want to cheat less - if that makes sense. I have also been reading everything I can that deals with factory farming - Diet for a New America, The Cancer Diet, Food Revolution, Slaughterhouse...Not exactly happy reading but certainly motivating!



I just came across a faux chicken patty that isn't soy but is something I am not familiar with - they called it a mycoprotein and it is a fungi from a company called Quorn. Has anyone tried this?
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#21 Old 01-30-2009, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Barbrae View Post


I just came across a faux chicken patty that isn't soy but is something I am not familiar with - they called it a mycoprotein and it is a fungi from a company called Quorn. Has anyone tried this?



I'm currently a pescatarian who may move to vegetarian in the future. I've tried several different Quorn products in the last few weeks and loved them all. Even my meat eating girlfriend prefers Quorn mince to real mince now! We both also have tried and liked the chicken style pieces, fillets and beef style slices.



There is some controversy with Quorn. Some people have had allergic reactions and there is opposition against it. However, I've read dozens of articles in recent weeks from both sides and it looks to be typical conspiracy theory scare mongering to me.



Try it, I think you'll like it.
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#22 Old 01-30-2009, 05:51 AM
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I've had it, I love it; the taste and texture are very, very close to poultry IMO. Kind of expensive, so I save it as a treat (usually holidays when everyone else is having turkey).



But as Badbark said, there's some controversy surrounding it (partially due to potential allergic reactions, partially due to how heavily processed it is). Also, it's not vegan since it has milk or eggs (IIRC) in it, btw.
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