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Hello everyone. Let me start of my mentioning that, as of now, I am in no way a vegetarian. In fact, quite the opposite. While many of you shy away from eating meat or animal products for ethical reasons, it is in fact a HUGE part of my culture. I've been to slaughterhouses and I've seen people behead chickens, and while it may seem horrible to you (which I completely understand and can agree totally with arguments against big animal farms/processing, etc), it actually seems normal to me. That's just the culture I live in.<br><br>
I'm from a little area called "Acadiana" in the swamps of Louisiana. Our diets consist of anything that is available. Our ancestors cooked based on what they can grab because food was scarce in this unforgiving land. So animals are a big part of our everyday lives. Cows, chickens, alligators, fish, seafood, crawfish... the list goes on and on.<br><br>
While normally I probably wouldn't have ever considered giving up meats, I was diagnosed with a kidney stone at the age of 17. My high-sodium diet (you won't find food as seasoned anywhere else in this country), in combination with high amounts of animal proteins, lack of proper hydration thanks to our Hell-ish temperatures, and family genetics led to a terrible attack. I had to have an operation commonly known as a "lithotripsy" to shatter the 6mm stone (which, granted, isn't as big as some) into what I can best describe as sand. It was a horrible experience, and it left me out of commission for weeks. I was so drugged up thanks to the pain I didn't speak to anyone or get out of my bed for almost two weeks.<br><br>
Now, here is another fun story. My uncle recently had a triple bypass with what I think was about 95% blockage. Heart disease is not only rampant in my family, but our entire state. I think Louisiana has one of the highest numbers of heart hospitals in America. While I am doing well myself (regular blood pressure, good cholesterol, yadda yadda), both of my parents are on high blood pressure medications. I am also worried about my own health as I get older.<br><br>
I am now in college, living on my own, and I decided that now is a better time than any to consider looking into dietary changes that could better benefit me. It is a HUGE step for me, because this involves basically denouncing everything I have ever grown up with, and will make Thanksgiving a very awkward experience <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">. In fact, I'm not even sure if giving meat or other animal related products would even be entirely possible thanks to the social stigma back home. It would be embarrassing, to say the least.<br>
I have looked a little into pescetarianism, which, in moderation, I think would be a good compromise for me. Otherwise, it will be a tough conscious effort on my part.<br><br>
The things that concern me the most is what the heck am I going to eat, and how expensive this will all be. However, for the sake of my health, I am willing to try this out and give it my all.<br><br>
So, that's where you hopefully come in. Where do I go from here? I am so completely uninformed about where to start off or what to do. What are some of the basics I should know about living a vegetarian/pescetarian in order to protect my health and hopefully allow me to keep kidney stones and heart disease at bay.<br><br>
Thanks again, and I apologize if I sound like a complete idiot. This is, still, all very new to me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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what you eat should not be who you are so you really shouldn't care about what others think of you especially since that diet has caused you medical problems. Vegetarian diet is quite inexpensive compared to a high meat diet and it's much more healthy for you. Beans and lentils are also good at helping lower cholesterol.
 

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You might want to read "The China Study", written by T. Colin Campbell. It's a book about how animal products affect our health. He argues that anything beyond a bare minimum of animal protein in a diet can be detrimental.<br><br>
Otherwise, get yourself a couple of good vegetarian or vegan cookbooks. Most will have directions on how to stock a pantry and what ingredients to look for when you shop. You'll be surprised at how easy it is go go veg. Some cookbooks give recipes to make delicious mock meat - like sausage and burgers. You can adjust seasonings to make them lower-sodium.<br><br>
Basically look to eating as naturally as possible - beans & rice, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits! Use vegetable oils for cooking instead of butter. Stretch your eating repertoire to include non-American foods - Indian, Thai, Mediterranean, Mexican & Caribbean. There are even some vegan cookbooks on soul foods and southern cooking that might appeal to you. Amazon is your friend!<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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For kidney stones, I'd start with drinking a lot of water. Not cola, or juice, just plain, boring water. For a vegetarian diet, you might want to try quinoa (pronounced Keen-WAH)--which is a grain, you cook like rice. Or beans, black, red, pinto, etc. For Thanksgiving, you might want to be up front about this. "The kidney stone I, and Uncle Joe's triple bypass had this summer woke me up to our diet, and I want to change it so I have a happier, healthier life." You may want to take a nutrition class at college to help you out. If you google vegetarian recipes, you'll find veggieboards, vegweb, vegetarian times.com, all of which have a lot of excellent recipes. Good luck with everything, and I hope it goes well at Thanksgiving.
 

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Not to be rude, but this board isn't for pescetarians. It is for people who are veg*n, or who are seriously considering becoming veg*n. Eating fish only is not in any way a form of vegetarianism. Fish is meat.
 

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just curious and not trying to cause trouble. If you catch a wild fish on your own and eat it, is it any worse than the fish getting eaten by anther one? I read some bad stuff about fish farming and on it's affects to the environment, but just curious about my question? I know everyone on here has different opinions and eat veg for their own reasons. I am doing it for health reasons and get the added benefit that I am contributing less to hurting the environment or supporting the cruelty of farms.
 

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It's great that you're willing to understand the role diet plays in your health!<br>
The change to plant based eating probably won't be the easiest thing in the beginning. I recommend immersing yourself in the recipes, and vegetarian and vegan sites available.<br>
You'll get great advice, and encouragement here if you understand this is a site for vegetarians, and we don't allow talk of eating animals, except in the context of changing habits.<br>
Give it your best shot! Books by Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Esselstyn, The pcrm.orm- Physicians commited to responsible medicine, veganhealth.com
 

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o_O My dad had a stone that was 10mm, and was out of the hospital that night and back to work the next day. I wonder what was so different about yours where you were laid up for so long o_O
 

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It may seem embarrassing for you to go veg now, but maybe others will start thinking about their own health and you'll start a trend and change the health of Acadiana for the better. Somebody has to be first. It may as well be you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br>
Here are some recipes which may be somewhat familiar to you to get you started.<br><br>
Creole and Cajun recipes<br><a href="http://vegweb.com/index.php?board=373.0" target="_blank">http://vegweb.com/index.php?board=373.0</a><br><br>
Creole Stuffed Peppers<br><a href="http://sarahghee.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/creole-stuffed-peppers/" target="_blank">http://sarahghee.wordpress.com/2010/...uffed-peppers/</a><br><br>
The stuffed peppers are from the cookbook, Veganomicon, which I highly recommend. I thought the mixture was kind of dry, but it could be fixed by adding tomato sauce. You might like them, as is, but have some tomato sauce on hand, just in case.<br><br>
Black-eyed Pea Collard rolls (another Veganomicon recipe)<br><a href="http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegan-bbq-sauce/" target="_blank">http://www.nomeatathlete.com/vegan-bbq-sauce/</a>
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>ocrob37</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2984625"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
just curious and not trying to cause trouble. If you catch a wild fish on your own and eat it, is it any worse than the fish getting eaten by anther one? I read some bad stuff about fish farming and on it's affects to the environment, but just curious about my question? I know everyone on here has different opinions and eat veg for their own reasons. I am doing it for health reasons and get the added benefit that I am contributing less to hurting the environment or supporting the cruelty of farms.</div>
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I don't want another animal to have to die and sacrifice their life for my eating pleasure. If a fish gets eaten by another fish, fine. They don't have the access to the fruits and vegetables, and grains that we do, and they can't think through alternatives and choices the way I can. Basically, if since I have the free will to choose not to eat another animal, I'm not going to. As soon as fish develop that free will, we can talk about fish eating fish.
 

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If you have a tendency toward forming kidney stones you may also want to investigate the possibility of following a <i>low oxalate</i> diet.<br>
Most kidney stones are made of calcium oxalate, the calcium can come from your food or bones, the oxalate can come from the metabolism of meat (or yeast) and as free oxalate in some green veggies and root crops. Those veggies include some down home classics like collard greens and poke salat.<br>
Small amounts may be trivial because if oxalate binds with calcium in the stew pot the calcium oxalate passes straight through you, but rich sources (including rich sources of DNA like meat and yeast which turn into oxalate inside your body) will let oxalate get into your blood where the kidneys filter it and it can bind with calcium in the kidneys to form stones.<br>
Heres a handy list to give you an idea of higher risk vegetables<br><a href="http://www.petsnails.co.uk/documents/oxalates.html" target="_blank">[Link]</a><br><br>
Low oxalate diets complicate plant based diets but its better than increasing risk for more kidney stones!
 

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You got some good advice from Poppy and Purp. There are so many common misconceptions about diet and The China Study is a very readable book that backs it's results with scientific facts. I went veg over 6 months ago and have lost 20+ lbs. I no longer look puffy/swollen and feel much better. You will discover so many new delicious foods!<br><br>
Good Luck!!
 

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I think going veg is a fantastic step for your health.<br>
One of the hardest things for me when I first went veg (>4 years ago now) was knowing what to cook and how to do so. I started with a lot of simple stirfrys - sometimes adding tofu for protein. It took me a while to discover how amazing beans and lentils are and I would highly recommend using them as much as possible. Things like lentil casserole, bean soup, chickpea salads, hummus, falafel are all simple and delicious. I would recommend maybe getting a veggie recipe book, even from the library so you can get some simple ideas. I frequently google recipes based on one ingredient.... i.e. "vegetarian black bean recipe". I find this works well and often gives me new exciting ideas.<br>
If you miss the taste of meat, which is particularly difficult for some people, particularly in the beginning then there are many meat alternatives available. Some of these are not very healthy but there are alternatives out there (particularly in the US (and europe) where you have much more choice - lucky you) that can be healthy and as long as you have them once in a while it is fine.<br>
As for the embarrassment. I found that the beginning is the hardest. I tried just telling small groups of people at once. So first my immediate family, several months before xmas. Then at xmas of course the rest of them all noticed. However it was made easier that only my extended family was asking questions. That way it didn't feel like everyone in the room was quizzing me about my weirdness <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">. Another tip is that once they get used to it (whether they like it or not) they tend to stop asking so many questions and stop mentioning it all the time. And as time goes on you will of course feel more confident in your own decision and so will feel less attacked.<br>
And as someone else has mentioned.... people here will be very supportive if you have any questions, any at all. Just be careful how you mention meat (this includes fish) as you are not allowed to talk about it on this forum except in the context of giving it up.<br><br>
It's worth it.... so stick by vegetarianism <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/grin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":D">
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Poppy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2983882"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><b>You might want to read "The China Study", written by T. Colin Campbell. It's a book about how animal products affect our health. He argues that anything beyond a bare minimum of animal protein in a diet can be detrimental.</b><br><br>
Otherwise, get yourself a couple of good vegetarian or vegan cookbooks. Most will have directions on how to stock a pantry and what ingredients to look for when you shop. You'll be surprised at how easy it is go go veg. Some cookbooks give recipes to make delicious mock meat - like sausage and burgers. You can adjust seasonings to make them lower-sodium.<br><br>
Basically look to eating as naturally as possible - beans & rice, legumes, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits! Use vegetable oils for cooking instead of butter. Stretch your eating repertoire to include non-American foods - Indian, Thai, Mediterranean, Mexican & Caribbean. There are even some vegan cookbooks on soul foods and southern cooking that might appeal to you. Amazon is your friend!<br><br>
Good luck!</div>
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I love that book it really helped me transition as well.<br>
Good advice.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Cajun</strong> <a href="/forum/post/2983523"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
I'm from a little area called "Acadiana" in the swamps of Louisiana. Our diets consist of anything that is available. Our ancestors cooked based on what they can grab because food was scarce in this unforgiving land. So animals are a big part of our everyday lives. Cows, chickens, alligators, fish, seafood, crawfish... the list goes on and on.<br></div>
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Luckily, there are faux versions of beef, chicken, fish and seafood that you can buy which are available from health food stores, major supermarkets and asian supermarkets. You mentioned you are now at college so it shouldn't be too difficult for you to find these somewhere close to where you are living. When you go back to Acadiana, you can order these products from online stores like <a href="http://www.vegecyber.com/cgi-bin/vege_item.cgi?detail=10238" target="_blank"><span style="color:#9932CC;">vegecyber.com</span></a> or <a href="http://www.veganstore.com/category/vegan-meat-alternatives" target="_blank"><span style="color:#9932CC;">veganstore.com</span></a> who will deliver it out there to you.<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">It is a HUGE step for me, because this involves basically denouncing everything I have ever grown up with, and will make Thanksgiving a very awkward experience . In fact, I'm not even sure if giving meat or other animal related products would even be entirely possible thanks to the social stigma back home. It would be embarrassing, to say the least.</div>
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At the beginning of your vegetarianism, especially at family gatherings, it might be easier for you to use the traditional meat-based Cajun recipes that you are used to and replace the real meat with faux meat. I'm quite fond of cajun cooking myself, and a favourite recipe of mine is Creamy Cajun Chicken. I just follow a normal recipe but use faux chicken and the animal cream I swap for a can of coconut cream.<br><br>
At thanksgiving, you could buy a faux Turkey product (such as Tofutti company's ToFurkey) and have that with the rest of the veggies that you family eat. That's very easy and quick to cook and it won't look too much like embarassing "weird food" to your family. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/tongue3.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":p">
 
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