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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(Not sure if this is the right forum -- my apologies if not!)<br><br><br><br>
I am not yet a vegetarian. I have decided to think of myself as a part-time vegetarian or vegetarian in training.<br><br><br><br>
Is there anyone else out there for whom becoming a vegetarian was a gradual process, rather than an overnight thing?
 

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It might be easier to decide which option is best for you, and help others make reccomendations if you told us a litte about why you've decided to become vegetarian? Ethical, spiritual, health, environmental reasons?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First of all, health. I began eating low fat 2 years ago. Meat is a big source of fat, especially saturated fat.<br><br><br><br>
Secondly, environmental reasons, sustainability, that kind of thing.<br><br><br><br>
Thirdly, personal preference. I truly don't really care for meat. I would rather eat lentils and brown rice than a big juicy steak. Even when I do eat meat I prefer it to be in tiny pieces as in a stir fry.<br><br><br><br>
Fourthly, I realize that modern methods of factory farming are cruel and I would rather not support that.<br><br><br><br>
Fifthly... I don't know, it just feels right. Like I'm "meant" to be a vegetarian. Thinking of myself as a vegetarian makes me feel good about myself.
 

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I think any cutting back is great. I started cutting back about a year ago, went vegetarian in January 03 and went vegan in June 03. When I first started cutting back, I was ignorant of the extent of the cruelty in the M & D industry. It wasn't really until around May / June 03 that I started getting informed about both the alternatives to M & D and the extent and severity of industry cruelty. That info coming at the same time made going vegan easy for me.<br><br><br><br>
I think your plan is good. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> Stick to it and primarily read about veg*n cooking and alternatives. Once you're more comfortable with the alternatives, maybe strengthen your motivation by reading a little about the M & D industry (if you don't know already, it's very depressing). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/mad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":mad:"><br><br><br><br>
Hang in there!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Hi Daisy -<br><br><br><br>
I think you have a good plan. My best wishes to you. I did something similar. Originally, my rule was that I would eat vegetarian whenever I made my own meal, or whenever I was at a restaurant that offered a reasonable vegetarian option. But if someone else prepared a meal for me, or if I had no choice, I would eat what was served.<br><br><br><br>
What this does, basically, is get you going on the dietary aspects first, and postpone the social aspects for awhile. It wasn't too long before my friends were all acquainted with my preference, and now it is only about once or twice a year that I find someone preparing a non-vegetarian meal for me.<br><br><br><br>
It may be hard with your husband. I was married to a non-vegetarian the first time I started eating vegetarian (she was away for the summer), and she was a very picky eater. At first, I thought we could accomodate each other (especially since I was agreeable to some exceptions) - she could prepare some substantial non-meat dishes when she cooked, I could prepare some meat separately for her when I cooked. But I didn't really have enough conviction at that time, so we slid back into eating meat rather than deal with the inconvenience.<br><br><br><br>
Is your husband agreeable to eating vegetarian meals if you find something he likes, or will he always insist on meat? If the latter, it will probably eventually become a source of friction for you, regardless of how carefully you approach it.<br><br><br><br>
Blessings, Tom
 

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Good for you for making the transistion to a healthier way of living! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
I didn't make the overnight decision to be vegetarian, it took me 8 years to fully transition to Lacto/ovo vegetarian. I started at age 14 when I cut out red meat and chicken. I cut out seafood at 19. I occasionaly eat eggs and do consume dairy, whether or not I will be vegan is left TBD. Right now I am happy where I'm at.<br><br>
IMHO, going in stages will make you feel less "deprived". It will also give you the opportunity to learn how to "be vegetarian"<br><br><br><br>
Here's some advice I give to newbie veg*ns<br><br><br><br>
1. Really think about WHY you want to be a vegetarian, Are you sincerely trying to help the environment? Make a statement against factory farming? You want to be healthy? Losing weight is a benefit, BUT don't become a vegetarian just to lose a few pounds, the outcome will definatly be frusterating. Also, if you have suffered from disordered eating patterns, really think about your decision<br><br><br><br>
2. Learn to like vegetables.... Pick an interesting vegetable at the grocery store and make something yummy from it. Better yet, peel and eat it raw! Diet coke and mac n cheese is not a wise and nutritious choice.<br><br><br><br>
3. Get rid of the "Mercedes Benz" logo in your mind... The American dinner plate consists of something starchy, something green and front and center a meat object. Most people eat like this and in their mind you are taking away the "star of the show" per se. So thus the question.. "What do you eat?" When making a vegetarian meal, remember... create a meal that has something crunchy, something smooth, something chewy.<br><br><br><br>
4. Be prepared for people to turn on you, make fun of you, challenge you and ask you really dumb questions. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. If the thought of asking a waiter in a restaurant whether or not a soup has chicken broth frightens you... maybe this is not right for you..<br><br><br><br>
5. Talk to your husband about this, ease him into it. Start by making one meatless meal for him a week. Something familiar like spaghetti with Marinara or lasagna. Talk about how you will raise your children (If you have them or planning on them) Talk about your goals with your lifestyle and how he fits in. I have an Omni husband too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br><br><br>
6. Don't beat yourself up, if you find out a sauce had 'sneaky' meat or if you have a piece of chicken on your "meatless" day. It's not the end of the world. Becoming a vegetarian is a learning process, I have been fully vegetarian for 10 years now and I'm still learning.
 

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I did it gradually. I haven't had red meat for years, then last year I quit chicken, pork, turkey, and eventually fish was the last meat I ate (tuna was hard).<br><br><br><br>
For me, the more vegetables and whole grains and fruits I ate, the more I wanted them and the less I wanted meat. I was getting more complete vitamins by not eating meat, and I like feeling the way I do now. I really like being a veggie. I eat much more variety now than I ever have.<br><br><br><br>
Sounds like if you can get down to fish, and cut every other kind of meat out, then quit fish eventually (it took me a year to quit all meats) that seems like it would be best for you.<br><br><br><br>
Try the Morningstar Farms meat substitues before you quit all meats, and maybe the fact that they're so good, will help you make the switch. (I love the Grillers Prime Burgers. They're awesome)
 

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When I stopped eating eggs and dairy, I stopped buying those foods for myself to keep at home, and I stopped using them in any meals I prepared for myself, but I would make exceptions if someone else cooked for me (which did not happen often) or if I were at a place where I didn't have a lot of control over the food options (restaurant, college dining facility, etc.)<br><br><br><br>
How you want to give up meat and fish depends on your own preferences. If it were me, I think it would be simplest to just not prepare any meat when the meal is your choice, but if your husband cooks dinner, go ahead and eat what he cooks. Eventually you may be ready to cut out meat entirely.
 

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It was a gradual process for me. I initially cut out all beef and pork, then a year or so later, I stopped eating all poultry, then less than a year from that I cut out fish/seafood. I was vegetarian for about 4 years before I became vegan.
 

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Yep, mine was gradual too. I cut out red meat at 12, all other meat but fish and other sealife at 14/15, fish and sealife at 19, milk, eggs, leather and wool at 20/21 and everything else dietary related at 22. I'm now 23 <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"> I've never consciously used animal tested goods, but I'm much more careful to avoid all animal tested goods now, and anything else including animal products. As far as I can tell I'm now vegan in all sense of the word, but it took me 11 years to get here <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D"><br><br><br><br>
You mentioned that you usually use meat chopped up in a stir-fry. There are lots of substitutes that can be used in this way, and often people can't even tell the difference. My bf's grandmother, uncle and brother now eat 'veggiemince' instead of flesh-mince simply because they prefer it. Head on over to the recipe forum or vegweb.com and pick up some ideas for easy substitutions. Seitan, tofu, soya mince and chunks, and many commercial meat substitutes are available, and there are many, many ways to prepare them. Often they can be directly substituted for meat in a dish.<br><br><br><br>
Best of luck on your journey <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">
 

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Wow, thanks for starting this thread. It looks like everyone else is just like me!<br><br><br><br>
I tried going veg cold turkey, TWICE, about 3 and 2 years ago. I didn't last more than 2 weeks either time and I felt such guilt that I turned my back on it completely. I decided to give it another try but was hesitant about my past experience....the thing that helped the most was finding these boards. Once I heard people saying things like "There is no such thing as the food police" and "Veg*nism is a journey", I decided to take it as slow as I needed.<br><br><br><br>
I decided to cut out all meat except chicken at the beginning of May. I cheated a few times (but refused to feel guilty). I have not had any red meat since the end of May. I've also not had any seafood, but I really detest seafood anyway so that was easy.<br><br><br><br>
Since the end of May, I have cheated about 5 times on the non chicken rule (still refusing to feel guilty!) and had to remind myself what it was all about, so I am not letting myself cheat anymore. Taking the leap off chicken may be awhile, since I'm still unacquainted with vegetarian cooking from scratch. I DO love the Morningstar stuff and our full freezer is half full with their products. They've helped a lot.<br><br><br><br>
I'm also trying to decide when to wean myself off dairy (as in cereal milk), soon, even though I'm still eating chicken. I can't remember the last time I had a meal where eggs were an obvious ingredient, although they're still in my bread and things like that.<br><br><br><br>
My eventual goal is to be strict vegetarian at home, but allow myself to eat ovo-lacto when dining out. When I am at that point, I will review going truly vegan.<br><br><br><br>
2 years ago I never would have thought I could have made it this far. Giving myself permission to take as long as I needed made ALL the difference. It's also incredibly helpful that my hubby is not a picky eater, and has no problem eating a veg meal if I make one, even though he has no plans to give up meat. In addition, his sister is also semi veg, two of our best friends are veg, and I have a veg cousin.<br><br><br><br>
From what you describe, you sound like you were born to be a veg! Giving up one meat at a time, or all meats except the 2 you really like, are probably ideal. And if you like to cook, I highly recommend the Betty Crocker vegetarian cookbook. Everything in it is so good, I don't know where to start!<br><br><br><br>
And one of the best things about the cookbook is that there are 40 recipies that allow for the addition of some type of meat, if desired, after the main part of the dish is prepared. An easy answer to feeding a veg and an omni.
 

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I went gradual, too. Stopped eating pork b/c I thought it was gross. Then a couple of years later, I stopped eating red meat. About a year after that, gave up chicken and turkey and only ate seafood. Did that for a year until I went to Epcot and saw a film on how the shrimp boats are killing sea turtles, so out went fish.<br><br><br><br>
The weird thing is I never considered myself a vegetarian or even to be moving towards vegetarianism until I gave up fish. So, yeah, it was a very gradual process, even though I wasn't aware of the process at the time.<br><br><br><br>
The most important thing about going veg is to not beat yourself up if you make a mistake now and again.
 

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I took the cold turkey approach and found it really easy, probably because I only have to cook for myself. Meat 'imitation' products made the transistion smooth. Also I just took what I liked and switched to a vegetarian version<br><br><br><br>
eg hawaiian to vegetarian for pizza, cheeseburger to veggie burger for burgers, chicken curry to vegetable curry, chicken tikka masala to vegetable biriani etc<br><br><br><br>
That way I never viewed it as giving something up, just really trying new things. I feel a lot healthier and better about myself. Everyone is different and yeah it is a journey. For me a gradual change would not have worked (I like to get things done quickly) and besides I prefer the "vegetarian weirdo" label to being called a "fussy eater" <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/pimp.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":tame:"><br><br><br><br>
Be prepared for some stick from people, just read all the big threads here and you'll be able to shoot down all their arguments in seconds (most omni rants are so ridiculous you won't have to though). You shouldn't have to justify your vegetarianism but if people are obnoxious enough to call you out on it or disrespect you, they deserve to have their paper thin arguments ripped to shreds. Just keep your cool and don't get angry <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
Anyway whatever you choose to do, good luck and keep at it.
 

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The first time I went vegetarian, I went cold turkey. But after living in the dorms and eating nothing but pasta and pizza, I went back to my carnivorous ways. Now I'm transitioning back to veg, this time for good. Seems I'm doing it backwards from everyone else though.<br><br><br><br>
First I gave up fish and seafood. Now I am working on giving up eggs and milk. Next will be poultry, then other dairy products, then red meat, and finally hidden ingredients.
 

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I was a little different than most of y'all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)">. I didn't start cutting out red meat then chicken, fish... It wasn't for health reasons, and I don't think any of them have less feelings than another..well maybe fish...but anywho, what I did was I gradually started refusing to eat meat. I immediately started eliminating all kinds of meats and gelatin when it was my choice (when alone or given an option.) Then, I starting having to make separate dishes for myself when I ate dinner with my family. Then, I began eliminating meat when it was very inconvenient, such as at fancy restraunts where there isnt a damn thing without dead animal in it, and at large family gatherings where food is shared...and my parents would give me a mean look for not taking anything, and refusing past favorite foods. I hope that helps.
 

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Good idea.<br><br>
A book to recommend: Dr Ballentine: Transition to Vegetarianism. Himalaya Institute. (Sorry, I´ll have to check for correctness).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks so much for all the supportive comments! Im glad to see that becoming a vegetarian was a gradual process for many other people.<br><br><br><br>
Im not worried about anyone elses reaction or any other difficulties because I dont mind being a non-conformist or going agains the dominant trends in society (I dont drive a car, I bike to work, I dont watch TV, I am critical of consumerism and materialism, etc.)<br><br><br><br>
I have been thinking about this more. I have come up with a list of meatless meals that my husband will eat (macaroni and cheese, quiche, etc.) and a list of meals that would be relatively easy to adapt for me to eat vegetarian while my husband would have meat (stir fry, pizza, spaghetti with meatballs cooked separately, etc.). I will try to cook from these lists when it is my turn to cook.<br><br><br><br>
My husband is not one of the no meal is complete without meat people. Its just that the list of things he wont eat is so restrictive. (One of the first meals I cooked for him was meatloaf, figuring that this was one of those traditional, comfort food, everyone likes it kind of meals. Wrong! My meatloaf had oatmeal in it... he took a few bites and left the rest on his plate. I had to learn to make meatloaf using bread crumbs instead of oatmeal).<br><br><br><br>
He has been getting used to me cooking separate things for myself because over the past two years I have been gradually eating a more varied, healthy diet. At dinner I often cook a second vegetable for myself, so that we both eat a vegetable that my husband likes (e.g. broccoli) and in addition I eat a vegetable that he doesnt like (e.g. zucchini). I often cook white rice for him and brown rice for me, and also white pasta for him and whole wheat for me (he will occasionally eat brown rice or whole wheat pasta if theres a sauce to cover it up). I eat whole wheat bread and he eats white. I often cook weird side dishes for myself (zucchini and apple bulgur, lemon and garlic quinoa salad, etc.) while he has boring rice or potatoes. So maybe its not such a huge step to move toward not having meat in my main dish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for the book suggestion (Transition to Vegetarianism). I found it on Amazon and added it to my wish list so I won't forget about it.<br><br><br><br>
Someone mentioned the "Mercedes Benz" style of meal with protein, starch, vegetable. This is not the way I prefer to eat, but my husband does often cook like this. Is there any way to adapt this to me being a vegetarian? What could I have instead of a chicken breast or pork chop? I've thought of bean burgers/patties... anything else?
 

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Tofu is a good substitute for meat in the protein-starch-vegetable scheme. One of the tastiest ways of cooking it (in my opinion) is to marinate it in barbecue sauce and saute it in garlic margarine or oil. You can also make sweet and sour tofu -- marinate it in a mixture of garlic, chiles, soy sauce, rice vinegar and sugar; saute the tofu in oil; mix the marinade with a bit of corn starch, pour it over the tofu and cook until it thickens.<br><br><br><br>
You might also try So Soya Slices. I buy them in bulk but they also come in boxes. I soak them in boiling water and bouillon (use twice as much as the package says or they will be bland) then drain them and saute them with garlic, oil and chiles.
 

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Vegetarianism was a gradual process for me. A year before I decided to eliminate all meat, I quit eating beef due to BSE concerns.<br><br><br><br>
And once I did eliminate the more obvious animal ingredients, it was a few years before I became aware of soem things (i.e. rennet)
 
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