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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After being convinced to go on a vegetarian diet, most people often feel lost. In fact, knowing the ?why?, but not knowing the ?how?, is a common obstacle for people stepping into the world of vegetarianism. What can I eat? Am I meeting my nutritional needs? To make matter worse, a lot of vegetarian food restaurants cater to people?s taste rather our nutrition. Moreover, the idea of vegetarianism here is still commonly associated to religion, when it should really be about our health and the well being of the world. This vegetarian starter kit is written in the common ways, which we hope will serve your needs. The information is summarised into the following points

(1) Know your Nutrition

(2) Go Shopping

(3) Food Preparation

(4) Handle your Relationships

(5) Get support

(1) Know your Nutrition

For anyone who is into healthy and compassionate living, a vegetarian diet is most powerful when combined with the appropriate knowledge of nutrition. But if you are one who cannot be bothered about technical facts like how protein is made up of different amino acids, the general guidelines given below should serve your needs.

A healthy vegetarian diet must consist of a wide variety of plant foods from the following groups:

Grains, Vegetables, Fruits, Legumes (beans and peas), Nuts and Seeds.

The Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) has recommended the following daily servings:

Grains: 5 or more servings (1 serving = ?cooker rice, 1 slice of bread)

Vegetables: 3 or more servings (1 serving = 1 cup raw or ? cooked vegetables)

Fruits: 3 or more servings (1 serving = 1 medium piece of fruit, ?fruit juice)

Legumes: 2 to 3 servings (1 serving = ?cooked beans, 250ml soymilk)

Eat a wide variety of plant foods

Cut down on highly processed/refined foods such as white sugar, white rice and white flour as they provide energy but with little or no nutrients

Cut down on high fat, high sugar food products that provide little other nutrients, such as deep-fried white flour products like doughsticks

Choose whole meal and natural food products such as brown rice and whole wheat flour

Limit intake of fats as all fats, saturated or unsaturated, will increase free-radical production and impair the immune system

Avoid hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable fats (read your food labels), as they increase the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease the level of good cholesterol (HDL) in your blood

Avoid smoking and alcohol as they a multitude of health problems

Avoid MSG and other unnatural flavourings or preservatives

Cut down on caffeine and tannin, found in coffee and tea, especially right before or after a meal, as they inhibit the absorption of nutrients by the body

Do not overcook your vegetables, and take your fruits as soon as they are cut open, to maximize the nutrients

Eat a low salt diet as salt is a significant factor for high blood pressure

Drink more water, at least 2 to 3 litres a day.

Take your vegetables raw every now and then (such as broccoli, carrot, celery, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, bell pepper, alfalfa)

Go organic, if possible, as they are much higher in nutrients and are free of harmful pesticides or chemicals

Get adequate direct sun exposure, at least 20 minutes 3 times per week, for your body to make vitamin D

Exercise regularly, at least 20 minutes 3 times per week

Learn about stress management and relaxation techniques

(2) Go Shopping

Go shopping and get in touch with the healthy food produce available in our local market, everything from beetroot to oats to rice drinks. Grab your kiwi fruit, alfalfa, and many other nutritious produce. Make sure your fridge is stocked up with fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits are not only highly nutritious, but great-tasting as well. Our local market has a wonderful selection of fresh fruits for you to enjoy through the season. Instead of snaking on chips or chocolates, snack on fruits, nuts or seeds. They come in handy when you are looking for quick bite. Almond nuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seed are highly recommended. Also, get your grains ready. Check out brown rice, oats, bran, couscous, whole-wheat spaghetti and many others. Stock up your convenient food as well. Canned soup, vegetarian baked beans, pasta sauces, cereals, etc, are all good ideas for quick meal preparation. Have more ready-to-eat food like wholemeal crackers or wholemeal bread for those lazy days. Cereals, especially, are most appropriate on your breakfast table as a quick and nutritious boost to your day. Get your calcium-fortified soymilk or orange juice. They are a great boost to your daily calcium intake. Check out your organic produce as they are so much higher in nutrients and are pesticides-free and environmental friendly.

Shopping is not limited to food. Check out pro-health equipment like water distiller, juice extractor and even a sprouting set. In your process of discovery, you will learn many things like how normal juicer will destroy nutrients in fruits and vegetables, and how your drinking water is doing harm to your body. But then again, these are costly equipments. The best gift you can give your body is to follow a vegan diet.

For the really committed, you might want to transit into ethical consumerism, where everyday products like toiletries come into picture.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
(3) Food Preparation

For anyone committed on the path of vegetarianism, it is important to learn about food preparation. We are not talking about restaurant dishes, but everyday homemade dishes that can be prepared in ten to fifteen minutes, that are not just nutritious but palatable as well. All it takes is your willingness to explore the wide variety of plant food and food preparation techniques. The possibilities are virtually unlimited. You can try preparing your vegetarian meals the Chinese way, the Indian way, the western way, the Italian way, or even the raw way. Experiment with herbs and spices like basil, rosemary, cinnamon and turmeric. Food preparation is indeed a lot of fun when you follow your own heart instead of following recipes to the very amount of seasonings used. Listen to yourself as different people often have different preferences for taste at different times. A general introduction to food preparation is given below. For more direct assistance, you can attend the food preparation classes organised by the society, where we will show you the way to healthy and delicious vegan food. Check out the recipes over the net.


Anyone can dish up a salad. The endless possibilities are up to you to explore. Your vegetables can either be cooked or raw. Some common salad vegetables are broccoli, lettuce, alfalfa, tomato, carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, celery, avocado, etc. Nuts and seeds can also be added. Put some raisins for that touch of sweetness. Try experimenting with fruits as well. If dressing is desired, try lemon juice, vinegar, or soy mayonnaise. This is definitely a quick, easy and nutritious meal, and can be combined with potatoes or tofu for the carbohydrates.


There is a wide variety of vegetables and cooking methods. You can steam, stir-fry, bake, boil or grill them. Experiment with how vegetables go with nuts and seeds. Broccoli and pine nuts make a good combination, and so are Brussels sprouts and almonds. Mix your vegetables and see how they complement one another. Briefly cooked your vegetables, if necessary at all, to minimise loss of nutrients.


Grains are not just all rice. There is a wide variety of grains such as barley, millet, quinoa, bran, oats, and many forms of wheat like spaghetti, lasagna, couscous, etc. Even for rice alone, we have brown rice, basmati rice, Japanese rice etc. You can toss up your grains with nut-based sauce, vegetable-based sauce or even olive oil.


Other than bread, preferably whole meal, there is also bagel, pita, flour tortilla, etc. There are endless possibilities as to what you can put inside. Try vegetables like lettuce, alfalfa, tomato, and spread like olive oil spread, nut and seed butters. You can also mash up your beans like kidney beans and baked beans to stuff inside. Veggie meat analogs are also easily available in the market.


Cereals are often well fortified with minerals and vitamins, and are a good nutritional boost to your day. And they are far from boring! It is up to your creativity to create your special cereal. Pour in some soymilk and mix in some fruits like bananas, blueberries or even nuts like almonds for a truly delicious and nutritious meal. By experimenting with the endless possibilities, you will never be having the same cereal meal everyday.


This is another interesting dish with many possibilities. The main ingredient is rolled oats. Soak them for hours in soymilk and you are ready. You can put in raisins, nuts, seeds, and fruits like bananas and blueberries or anything you can imagine.

(4) Handle your Relationships

Always remember that what you choose to eat plays only a minor role in your relationships with people, but a BIG role in your own health and the well being of the world. This is your life and you should live it the way you believe. Your attitude towards objections from others should be firm but not aggressive. Even if initial arguments are inevitable, they will eventually reach a new balance where things begin to fall in place. Some people just need more time to adjust to changes. No one is going to fall out with you forever just because you refuse to put something into your mouth. You have to make your statement before others can come to understand and accept it. But before you can handle objections, you need to convince yourself on the path of vegetarianism. Get yourself informed. When you have the conviction, you will find a way to make other people understand, and likely even be a positive influence on them. There are numerous restaurants you can visit with family and friends that serve both a good selection of vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods, if they insist on eating their way. Most non-vegetarians however, are happy to have a vegetarian meal. In the case of mealtime in the family, offering to cook up some quick and nutritious vegetarian dishes for all to share is an excellent way to show your conviction and smoothen their initial displeasure at the same time. Seeing you eating and thriving happily on a vegetarian diet is the best motivation for them to take a second look at vegetarianism. Seeing the interesting and innovative vegetarian meals you prepared is the best way to dispel the belief that vegetarian meals are boring.

(5) Get Support

Most of us need some sort of support to sustain our beliefs or interests, be it religion, sports, or a vegetarian diet. By joining a vegetarian group, you will reinforce your decision on vegetarianism. Interaction with like-minded individuals is also possible through our very own forum.


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Interesting picture if one follows your link.

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