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hi there! i'm a new vegetarian. i started about three weeks ago and am having a few concerns. i'm a broke college student living on campus and (surprise surprise) my school doesn't offer too many appealing vegetarian options. as a result, i've taken to doing my own grocery shopping and i'm slowly coming up with creative ways to feed myself. i'm worried about my overall nutrition now, though. how can i keep protein in my diet? also, can anyone suggest any dietary supplements i may need to consider now that i've cut out meat altogether?

any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance.
 

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Protein should actually be the least of your worries. Unless you're a pro body builder or something it's hard to become deficient. That doesn't mean you shouldn't keep an eye on what you eat, but unless you just munch on lettuce all the time you'll probably get above the recommended adult levels.

I'd suggest this list of nutrients, why they're important and their sources. It's a list for vegans, but these are nutrients all humans require and a vegetarian should keep an eye on these things too.
 

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Do you have a stove? microwave? hot plate? Toaster oven?

You probably don't need to worry about protein so much, it's pretty easy to get the rdi! Greek yogurt & cottage cheese both have tons (if you're still eating dairy), nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, tofu. Im pretty new too, and my big worry is iron. So for that I eat tons of pumpkin seeds (also very protein-y!) beans, lentils, and lots of dark leafy greens!
 

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You should be protein conscious, but not worried. Maybe take a few days to log your food intake so you'll know if you need to adjust the diet. There are some good soy isolate protein supplements out there if you need to go that route. If you eat eggs, you should be set with a few every morning (super cheap too).

I agree with the above food options. I'm not big on supplements.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by SillySunshine View Post

Greek yogurt & cottage cheese both have tons (if you're still eating dairy)
Dairy isn't a very advisable source of protein; it contains no fiber and has a disproportionate amount of unhealthy saturated fat (which will raise your cholesterol levels). It's particularly bad for a college student, where it's inclined to spoil and not only waste your money, but potentially make you sick.

The dairy industry makes a lot of propaganda to make us think dairy is healthy, but really, not so much.

Even if you do not go vegan, I advise avoiding dairy products where they are avoidable- it's not as easy to avoid mixed in with some bread, etc. but if you value your health, don't buy them outright.

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Originally Posted by SillySunshine View Post

nuts and seeds, beans, lentils, tofu.
This is good advice, particularly the first two. For a college student, having a lot of of healthy raw and baked (don't get any with oil added to them) nuts is perfect to keep you healthy and your energy up.

Nuts contain important unsaturated fats (the good kind), and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Mix it up with as many types of nuts as you can find; shelled sunflower seeds are usually the cheapest along with peanuts (which are actually a legume).

It's hard to find peanuts that aren't soaked in oil, though, so your best bet there is peanut-butter (read the back, you can find 100% peanut butter with no sugar or oil).

Following that, pick up things like raw almonds and walnuts where you can.

With regards to grains, oats are your best bet- they're high in fiber and protein (unlike rice), and generally have little to no gluten in them.

If you get quick oats (the five minute kind, not the ones with sugar and flavours), you don't even need to cook them. Mix e'm up with raisins and nuts, and it's a pretty good dry trailmix. Just have plenty of water handy, as it can make one thirsty.

If you have access to a kitchen you can make oat and peanut butter cookies, bars, etc. (like solid trailmix, I guess). You can make bars sweet or savory, but I recommend savory because it's much healthier.

A little cayenne, garlic and onion powder, miso (if you can find that), tomato paste, nutritional yeast (if you can find it), molasses. You'd have to experiment a little. Make it with as little liquid as possible, then bake it on low for a long time to dry it out- you should be able to break it apart when it's done.

Get some good recipes that you like (different flavours to mix it up), and you'll only have to cook once a week.

Supplement that with some fresh veggies like carrots (which are great to dip in peanut butter), and you'll be doing pretty well.

If you have a freezer, get frozen berries to munch on while in your room (good vitamin C, antioxidants and others).

You should be able to find a vegetarian multivitamin in a health-food store, or order one online.

^By the way, I intentionally mentioned the cheapest options. Eat like that and you will spend under $2 a day on food.
 

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Get whole grains, in bulk if you can. They're super cheap, usually good sources of protein, and have other things like B vitamins. For example, 1 pound or organic millet at my Whole Foods is only 1.69. When I cook a cup it makes enough for three or four meals. I add other stuff like veggies to make it a grain salad. Most other grains are cheap as well. Brown rice, quinoa, amaranth...etc Beans and lentils are cheap and amazing as well.

Not sure about your college but mine has a nutrition program and there are school nutritionists you can go chat with about things like this.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vepurusg View Post

disproportionate amount of unhealthy saturated fat (which will raise your cholesterol levels).
Fat free, duh.
 

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Originally Posted by Envy View Post

Fat free, duh.
Sat fat won't raise cholesterol though.
 

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Originally Posted by Doktormartini View Post

Sat fat won't raise cholesterol though.
Well, that too.
 

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Originally Posted by Popeye View Post

I agree with the above food options. I'm not big on supplements.
There's some nutrients some vegans might need to think about taking supplements for anyway - like B12 and Vitamin D especially. There's no reason to gamble with one's health.
 

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A general rule: as long as you're getting enough calories, you're getting enough protein. You shouldn't need any supplements (I've been vegan for over 5 years and don't take any). If you're concerned about your diet have a blood test done in a few months.

Learn to love dried beans, they are your friends. One of my favorite cheap meals is beans and sauteed kale on top of mashed potatoes. Get a pound of dried pinto beans, let them soak overnight in water with a few tablespoons of salt (you rinse the salt off so you can't add too much), drain and rinse beans, cover with water and let cook in a slow cooker all day (you can add garlic cloves and chunks of onion if you want) and salt to taste. For breakfast I'll heat up a small cast iron pan, add some corn oil, add some beans to the pan with some of the cooking liquid, add salt and pepper, tear up some kale and throw it on the beans when they come up to temperature, cover for two minutes to let the kale steam, mix the kale into the beans and eat along side some sauteed mushrooms or a buttered flour tortilla. It's shocking how incredibly flavorful dried beans are just with some oil, s&p. It's like some perverse miscarriage of justice that more people don't eat dried beans.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doktormartini View Post

Sat fat won't raise cholesterol though.
What makes you think that?

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Originally Posted by AlainWinthrope View Post

A general rule: as long as you're getting enough calories, you're getting enough protein.
Yes. Although the exceptions to this rule are important to remember- particularly foods like rice.

Both white and Brown rice should be avoided (brown is not really significantly better than white), no matter if they're organic or what. Instead, if you want rice, substitute black rice or wild rice.

A mixture of 50% black or wild rice and 50% brown or white rice is OK (the extra protein in the black or wild rice compensates for the lack of it in white or brown rice).

Just about every other whole food grain and nut is A-OK.

Corn is a special case. For one, it should always be prepared with lime (Calcium hydroxide); look for that on any corn-flour/tortillas or corn chip packages.
In the case of corn, it's also a good idea to mix that with beans. Most other grains are not as unbalanced as corn, so you won't really suffer from not mixing them.

Eat fruits in moderation, particularly sweet fruits. Things like dates are out; they might as well be globs of corn syrup candy.

Non-sweet fruits like tomatoes and peppers are fantastic, and I can not recommend them enough.
 

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Originally Posted by vepurusg View Post

What makes you think that?
Maybe they do raise cholesterol but they don't contribute to heart problems.
 

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Originally Posted by Doktormartini View Post

Maybe they do raise cholesterol but they don't contribute to heart problems.
What makes you think that?
 

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Originally Posted by ecadnac View Post

hi there! i'm a new vegetarian. i started about three weeks ago and am having a few concerns. i'm a broke college student living on campus and (surprise surprise) my school doesn't offer too many appealing vegetarian options. as a result, i've taken to doing my own grocery shopping and i'm slowly coming up with creative ways to feed myself. i'm worried about my overall nutrition now, though. how can i keep protein in my diet? also, can anyone suggest any dietary supplements i may need to consider now that i've cut out meat altogether?

any help would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance.
Despite the well intentioned advice you are getting to "Not worry" about your daily protein intake, I would strongly advise against taking that advice. As a reasonably good guideline for a nutritious diet, the USDA recommends that about 20% of your daily caloric intake be made up of protein and about 30% of that be from fats. That is to say, about half of your daily intake should be made up of components which are traditionally more difficult to obtain without going to meats, eggs and/or dairy. As a vegetarian or vegan, you are going to have to be more conscious about what you are eating and generally more aware of how proteins, fats, carbs, etc are divided up in your diet. My personal recommendation is to keep a food log/diary for the first few months (I generally like using an online service like DailyBurn of Livestrong) to monitor your nutrition. You may be surprised to see just how easy it is to neglect some essential aspects of your diet when you starting cutting meats out of your diet.
 

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Originally Posted by AlainWinthrope View Post

A general rule: as long as you're getting enough calories, you're getting enough protein. You shouldn't need any supplements (I've been vegan for over 5 years and don't take any). If you're concerned about your diet have a blood test done in a few months.
I honestly can't imagine worse advice than this for someone approaching vegetarianism for the first time. I've generally always kept a food log and I've reviewed my own eating habits enough to know that even during times when I wasn't a vegetarian, it was still often a struggle to get the right amounts of daily protein and, additionally, during my undergraduate college years it was doubly hard. Again, I would strongly advise against these recommendations in which we advocate ignoring concerns of protein deficiency. Knowing how to be a healthy vegetarian takes time and dealing with the initial health aspects is an important part of the process.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vepurusg View Post

Things like dates are out; they might as well be globs of corn syrup candy.
Say what......?
You're forgetting the nutrition and fiber in fruit.
 
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