View Full Version : Advice from vegetarians
Basically, DH and I have both decided to go vegetarian. We have just come back from a week in the Welsh countryside, surrounded by pigs, cows, sheep etc and we also went to a petting zoo where we stroked the most gorgeous lambs and other animals. The thought now of eating meat literally turns my stomach. I have been umming and ahhing about it for a while but seeing these animals has made my mind up for definite.
I wondered if anyone could give me advice about it because I am more or less clueless - recipe ideas, hidden ingredients to avoid, best way to ensure we eat a healthy, balanced diet etc.
I am still going to give the kids meat as I don't want to enforce a diet on them until they are old enough to make their own minds up, so it will just be for DH and I.
Many thanks :smile:
I stopped eating all red meat 8 years ago and have no problems at all eating out or in. I still eat chicken and fish though so I guess I'm cheating a little bit and I'm not an actual veggie.
I absolutely LOVE Quorn especially the sausages as they are lovely cooked on a BBQ. The mince is fab and very, very quick to cook and fools a lot of people. The shocked looks I've had from people when I've come clean and told them it isn't real mince is hilarious :smile: You can make a lovely bolognaise or chillie with it. I also like the Quorn creamy mushroom pies and the ready meals are all really lovely especially the shepards pie.
I eat lots of salads and baked potatoes, pasta, pizza with veg toppings. I think if you make sure you eat the recommended amounts of fruit and veg there isn't really any need to take supplements or anything (but I may be wrong).
Good luck with it all :thumb:
We're all veggie here, the kids too. I thought that it would be better to have them veggie then let them choose when they are older as it would be more difficult to explain why we give them one thing but do something different ourselves. I'm not saying the way you want to do it is wrong, it just seemed better the other way around for us. (hope that came out right!!)
A good place to start is the Vegetarian Society website. There are different types of vegetarian which does tend to confuse people as to what you do and don't eat http://www.vegsoc.org/info/definitions.html
The main hidden ingredients to watch out for are gelatine (in jellies, Haribo type sweets, chewy sweets, some ice creams and yoghurts- usually diet ones)
rennet - in cheese, most are labelled veggie, if not then they probably aren't.
Animal fats - in some biscuits (not so much these days as a few years back)
Fish derivatives - In the Omega 3 type milks, some probiotic drinks and yoghurts such as Muller Vitality.
There is some info on nurition too http://www.vegsoc.org/info/basic-nutrition.html
Its usually just a case of trying to fit in more meals with seeds and pulses. A lot of veggie food such as frozen burgers can be quite fatty and processed so it's best to check the ingredients. Cauldron foods and some Quorn ones tend to be healthiest.
My brain has gone rusty as it's been so long since I had to think about it, it just comes as second nature now.
Pancake01 has a fab lentil and butternut squash shepherds pie recipe, I'll see if I can find it.
2 onions, chopped
3 carrots or half a butternut squash, or a mixture, diced
100g red lentils
Tin of tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 pint stock
3 tbsp pesto
1 kg potatoes or sweet potatoes for the mash, or mix of both
Fry onions in oil for five mins, add carrots and fry for five more
minutes. Add lentils, tomatoes, puree and stock - simmer for 30 mins.
Stir pesto in at the end.
Make some mash. Whop it on the top with some yummy cheese.
It makes loads, enough for 2 days, or you could put it into two smaller dishes and freeze one. I make it with both butternut squash and carrots and it is fine without the pesto if you haven't got it. I don't add it as DH doesn't eat cheese (I make him a seperate smaller one)
Will have a think for more recipes
I can't add a great deal to what's been written here already.
I've been veggie for about 12 years now, and can't say I've ever found staying off meat difficult. The hardest thing I find about it is comments from other people, like 'but what do you eat then :shock: ' (as if once you've cut the meat out your diet you live on meals of boiled spuds and two vege :rolleyes: :lol: ). And I get the occasional, un-prompted, lecture on nutrition (from people who are overweight, unhealthy and know sweet FA about good diets!), even though I am slim, in good health, and obviously suffering no ill effects from being veggie. Oh, and according to oh's nan I only had morning sickness because I don't eat meat :yeahright:
The main thing I am paranoid in my diet about is iron intake. But you get 30% of your daily intake from a bowl of cereal (most are fortified) and you can get fortified pasta, etc. I also love lentil and spinach stew, which is full of iron - I put in lentils, onions, spinach (of the frozen variety!), sweet potato, peas, carrot and sweetcorn. Nice thing is that you can do a big batch and freeze it. Sometimes I add spices and homemade egg fried rice if I want a curry.
I've had a few people go on and on about protein intake as well, but veggies are rarely deficient in this, as long as they are eating plenty of eggs, pulses and dairy products. Infact, veggie diets are healthier than meat eaters in this respect as too much protein from meat can contribute to certain cancers.
Anyway, to sum up, if you're eating your daily requirement of fruit and vege and eating plenty of pulses then you are getting everything you need. Sorry to have gone a bit moany and soap-boxy, have had a lot of people nagging me over the years about how unhealthy a veggie diet is, which wouldn't bother me so much if it wasn't from people whose diets were far from ideal!
ETA: this site has some good recipes: http://vegweb.com/ . I especially like the stuffed peppers!
Here is something I read about protein which has helped me understand a bit better how they work, it relates to babies and children as I got it from a baby book but still quite useful. I posted it on HB a while ago so copied and pasted from there.
Protein is essential for the growth and repair of body tissue. Many misconceptions surround the ability of a vegetarian diet to supply adequate amounts of protein for a growing child. This confusion arises because proteins are made up of some 20 amino acids, roughly half of which the body can make itself and the remainder of which (known as essential amino acids) need to be supplied by food. While animal proteins contain all of the essential amino acids, individual plant proteins may contain lower amounts of some of them and therefore need to be eaten in a combination.
For vegetarians who eat dairy products this is not a problem and even those who do not eat dairy foods receive more than adequate supplies of amino acids simply by eating a variety of protein foods. In fact, be reassured that it is almost impossible not to eat sufficient protein (assuming sufficient food is eaten) and that most western diets contain more protein than is needed, which could place a strain on the kidneys. Good vegetarian sources of protein include milk and milk products (cheese and yoghurt) eggs, soya products such as tofu, all nuts and seeds, beans and pulses (lentils, kidney beans etc) and grains such as barley wheat and rice.
There was a time when people thought it necessary to balance the vegetable proteins so the exact amounts of each amino acid was present at each meal. This view of 'food combining' is nutritionally out of date, as it is known that the body has a short term store of essentail amino acids and so a balance of amino acids can be consumed over the course of a day rather than at each meal. Vegetarians and vegans eating a mixture of grains, pulses, seeds, nuts and vegetables will be consuming a balance of amino acids without any planning.
For vegetarian babies and children, breast milk, formula or cows milk, eggs and milk products such as cheese and yoghurt and milk puddings (NOT cream or butter) provide complete protein.
Meals such as beans on toast, nut butter or cheese sandwiches, cereal with milk and rice with peas, beans or lentils are good examples of simple meals which contain a reasonable balance of amino acids
If you are after a good veggie cook book, my fave of all time is Cranks Fast Food. There are some beautiful quick healthy recipes in there which are dead easy to make. I'm not a veggie, but I would say that 70% of our meals are veggie and this cook book gets used about twice a week.
I got that one last week, haven't used it yet though.
That's really useful, AG. Think I will print it out, ready to shove under MIL's nose next time she goes on about me being protein deficient.
I eat fish, so I'm not a proper veggie, but I haven't eaten red or white meat for 20 years.
Some of the tastiest veggie food I think is not European - we eat lots of Turkish (humous, aubergine salad, dolma, halloumi etc.), Thai (coconut milk based veggie curries) and South American (burritos, tacos etc.).
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for your advice, it's really helpful. I need to go shopping to get some more ingredients so I can cook properly, at the moment we've just been eating what veggie stuff we already had in so I need to be a bit more adventurous in the cooking department. But that's fine, I like cooking (even though I'm not very good at it!).
I have decided to eat no red or white meat and no fish and haven't found this week hard at all. DH has decided to still eat fish but that's his choice. I am going to give the kids white meat and fish but no red meat, although I might change that soon, I'll see what I think.
Thanks again everyone :smile:
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