Going vegetarian

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Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:05 pm

After a few years of mulling the decision, I've finally decided to give it a shot starting on Monday. I imagine I'm going to miss eating my tender, juicy chicken and those delicious steaks, but I might as well give this a shot. Me and my housemate are agreeing on going vegetarian together, we both share similiar views on the matter and having a support buddy can't hurt.

Do any fellow gerbils have any advice to share about going vegetarian? Any special TR recipes/dishes you recommend I sample? I'm all open for food suggestions.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:13 pm

Why would you go vegetarian? If you have some health problems like high cholesterol, its understandable. Otherwise what's wrong with a nice jucy tender piece of chicken? Crispy bacon?
Meat is part of a healthy diet.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:25 pm

BoBzeBuilder wrote:Why would you go vegetarian? Unless you have some health problems like high cholesterol, its understandable. But what's wrong with a nice jucy tender piece of chicken? Crispy bacon?
Meat is part of a healthy diet.


I fully agree that meat is part of a healthy diet. I haven't been mulling vegetarianism over the fact that animals are getting killed, I am actually quite content with that notion. However my reasoning is still very much environmentally oriented. I think our current practices for meat production are damaging towards the environment and really not very suitable. Likewise, from an energy perspective it is sometimes hard for me to justify eating a piece of meat when I consider how much energy it took just to create and deliver that piece of meat.

I want to keep this as far away from R&P territory so I request that nobody make an issue of my reasoning. My decision is final and I am not asking for debate on the matter. I'm asking for other TR vegetarians or those who have tried it for ideas/advice on maintaining this lifestyle. I have googled a lot, but I'm very much a fan of hearing opinions from people I digitally recognize.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:28 pm

I went completely vegan about 15 years ago but I was unhappily married at the time and I did it for the wrong reasons (my ex was one). My suggestion is to wean yourself off meat a little at a time. First drop red meat and pork, then poultry. Also, make sure you get enough protein from tofu and beans.

There are plenty of books on vegetarian cooking-I can't think of any titles at the moment-but I wish you good luck on your undertaking of healthier eating!
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:38 pm

Having been a veg for several years and now back to true omnivore status, I suggest that keeping your options open is a good way to wean yourself as previously suggested. Also, a slow transition will help prevent a sudden change in your own carbon footprint... methane emissions... gas.

As far as recipes go, I suggest finding traditionally veg recipes rather than ways to remove/replace meat from other recipes... you will get better food nutritionally and more interesting flavors overall. There are hundreds of great veg chinese, japanese, and indian cookbooks.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:47 pm

I have some advice.

I've been a vegetarian since 2003. When I say "vegetarian" I f__king mean it, too. There are some people out there who are so-called status-trolling vegetarians that will eat shellfish, fish, or even chicken. They want to be able to have their cake, and eat it too. If you're going vegetarian, you better mean it.

Now that I've got that out of the way; way to go man. Going vegetarian has some decent benefits that some people don't consider and you may discover some yourself. I used to have chronic bad breath and get cavities, for example. Now I don't, and the only correlation is my change in diet. This is probably because meat has a way of getting stuck in between my teeth and I don't bother to floss. It's also possible that meat brings with it a different kind of bacteria-soup in your mouth. Or maybe it's purely coincidence and strictly anecdotal. The point is, it might take a while but you may find some fringe benefits that go with being vegetarian. Though the core-morality issue is a good one, perhaps the best, I tend to under-emphasize or omit that reason altogether because I find that it alienates other people or makes them feel uncomfortable.

My advice to you is to stay away or avoid walking/driving past fast food chains that were previously habit/impulse buys for the next 6 to 8 months. The first six to eight months may be filled with temptation, but after getting over it, everything feels natural. The unmistakable stench of a McDonald's may even disgust you after a while. If you have friends or family you regularly dine with, you should probably disclose your decision to them so that they don't prepare/get food for you that would compromise your goals. Always read the ingredients. Some foods that you might think would be vegetarian are in fact not (Hostess pastry products, for example, contain animal fat).

Some good foods/cuisine you may want to look into: falafels, indian-style curry, vegetable samosas, pho, etc. I hope you like cheese pizza (I love it). I have a breadmaker and it is the bomb-diggity. Pasta is also good. I HIGHLY recommend a penne or regatta pasta smothered with Classico's Vodka Sauce. Vodka Sauce is the KING of all other pasta sauces (it's also the most fattening).

It's good to have some friends that are vegetarians who can share foods and recipes with you. Or even better: find a vegetarian girlfriend who can cook. If you can muster that, it's smooooth sailing.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:49 pm

Well, I'm not vegetarian (not even close), but I can say this: If I had to go vegetarian, Indian/Thai/Vietnamese cuisine would probably be the way to go. Some middle eastern and Mediterranean stuff too (hummus, falafel, that kind of thing).
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:55 pm

I've been a vegetarian for, umm, close to 21 years now. As JBI said, there are plenty of Indian recipes you should look at.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:57 pm

Per the wean myself off meat suggestion:

I rarely eat red meat/pork and I dont eat fish so it shouldn't be too hard to do. All I eat is chicken and I don't eat much of it to be honest. I have a small pan-cooked chicken breast every night for dinner (They come like 6 in a pack and its like 1.15 lbs that I usually buy, so these things are small). I consider myself a relatively healthy eater FWIW. I can't recall the last time I've eaten fast food (although over the summer I ate Subway for lunch). I roughly spend $40/week on food for myself and I like to keep costs down as much as possible, so I tend to cut out nearly all the nonessentials and choose chicken because its cheaper.

I'm a huge fan of rice in general. All kinds of rice. I attribute that to my half hispanic ethnicity.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:59 pm

My best friend is a vegetarian. His favorite cook book is Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. You can pick up the hard cover from Amazon for $23. Well worth it, a huge book that not only has enough recipes to keep you satisfied for nearly ever but has a great introduction that will walk you through preparing your kitchen for your change.

The following is somewhat political: Might I also add that you stress buying from local farmers if at all possible and take a step further and try to buy from those who do not us Monsanto seed. Avoiding Monsanto products though is extremely hard and to do it consistently involves sticking to your own garden in many locations. While I understand your motivations I will say the best diet is one that values meat properly in all terms.

Best of luck!
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:28 pm

Good luck, man. I know I couldn't do it... I love barbecuing. I can't even think of a dish that doesn't have meat that I like... or at least something that wouldn't be better with a delicious cow/pig in it. Chicken isn't all that high on my list. But I do love my boneless pork country style ribs with brown sugar, fresh ground black pepper and kosher salt on em. Or a full pound hamburger, with about one third ground pork, dice some onions, mushrooms, salt, pepper and garlic on a potata bread roll with a slice of pepperjack and some barbecue sauce mixed with sour cream on it. You gotta just barely cook it so it ain't pink, the throw it on the hottest part of the grill and sear it, that really brings out the flavor if you're careful. Or when I make my spaghetti, you gotta take a half a stick of butter and brown a few pounds of italian sausage in it then pour the pan into a saucepan full of your own spaghetti sauce. You have to make sure to sear the sausage good though, with that butter its amazing. Or pan fry a steak (just use kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper for meat rub) with the help of some butter, then remove the steak, then dice some shallots and sautee them in the beef fat/butter remaining in the pan. After the diced shallots are sauteed, pour them over your steak. Delicious, especially after a beer. Good luck on your endeavor!
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:42 pm

SecretMaster wrote:I think our current practices for meat production are damaging towards the environment and really not very suitable.
Agreed. You should also ensure you stop driving a car, using electricity, avoid manufactured goods (like the computer you're typing this on, throw that in the trash RIGHT NOW), and of course, forget about running water and sewer. Send me a letter in a month, I'd be curious to know how that goes. But wait, letters are sent using trucks and planes that damage the environment, so....
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:02 pm

My wife is vegetarian, and I do most of the cooking around the house. I eat meat occasionally on my own, but family meals are veg. Legumes are always a good basis for a cheap veg meal. Lentil and kale stew is a good winter/autumn one-pot meal.

Lentil - Kale stew:

Dice up a Mirepoix of onion, celery and carrot (~3,1.5,1.5 cups). Heat a soup pot with a splash or two of oil over a medium flame. Add vegetables, salt. Saute until the onions have some color, but don't let them burn. Add lots of ground pepper and 2 or 3 dried bay leaves (other seasonings might be crushed red pepper and dried thyme), 2-6 cloves of garlic and a touch more oil. Stir for a few seconds (until they start to become fragrant). Add 4 cups of hot tap water, a pound of dried lentils, and cover. Bring to a boil, back off to a simmer, and cook for 40 min. While the lentils are getting tender, wash, de-stem and roughly chop a bunch of kale (.5 lbs should do). Taste the soup and add salt/pepper to taste. Add the kale to the soup and simmer until the kale and lentils are tender.

Crusty bread and butter and a bowl of this stew is a nice dinner on a chilly night.
Last edited by Captain Ned on Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: EDIT BY MOD - Captain Ned - Fixed the tags.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:14 pm

I am a vegetarian (not vegan and I eat dairy products including eggs). Being vegetarian often means that it will be hard to get all the nutrients if you don't plan your diet. Three tips:

1. Eat beans regularly (chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans and so on) everyday as they are an important source of protein for vegetarians. Milk too.

2. Opt for multi-grain breads. They cover a lot of grains and often have decent amount of protein too!

3. Try making salad at home instead of buying it. Use a large variety of vegetables. Salads at many food places contains only a few nutrients and use unhealthy amounts of dressing.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:16 pm

codedivine wrote:I am a vegetarian (not vegan and I eat dairy products including eggs). Being vegetarian often means that it will be hard to get all the nutrients if you don't plan your diet. Three tips:

1. Eat beans regularly (chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans and so on) everyday as they are an important source of protein for vegetarians. Milk too.

2. Opt for multi-grain breads. They cover a lot of grains and often have decent amount of protein too!

3. Try making salad at home instead of buying it. Use a large variety of vegetables. Salads at many food places contains only a few nutrients and use unhealthy amounts of dressing.
Or, eat a little bit of meat now and then! It's amazing! What a concept! We have canines for a reason! Huzzah!
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:41 pm

I could never go all out veggie, I like meat too much. That said, though, there seems to be a directly proportional relationship between my waist size and my conscience. I used to be so skinny I could run through a bush and not touch anything; I have a fairly fast metabolism. Now nature has caught up a bit and I find myself thinking about what I eat. I don’t blame meat entirely, though I am certainly guilty of eating a lot of the awful reformed dog meat you often find in kebabs and pizzas etc.

Oddly I have a fairly high constitution and am often vexed by a couple of friends of mine who have an almost clinical level of attention to their diets and yet are perpetually bloody ill with some malady or other. I have broken more bones than have been sick from illness (alcohol doesn’t count) in memory.

I, on the other hand, know I have been healthier - regardless of others around me, and am becoming increasingly aware of it. I have considered and am increasing in desire towards eating types and cuts of meats that are more ‘pure’, and also avoiding so many dairy products. This will not be easy, since there’s just so much rubbish out there. Another problem for is I’m not much of a veg eater, except with meat. I’ve started eating more fish and seldom eat pork, and have always been fairly fussy about what chicken I eat. I still love a good and bloody fillet steak from time to time, and doubt I’d ever give that up.

Any advice? Well all I’d have said was to only bother with the attempt if you actually want to do it and not because you feel compelled to for whatever reason other than your health. That’s more or less the same advice I give to anyone attempting to give something (usually smokes) up. You seem fairly resolute though, so I wish you the best of health – which should be the main objective; the environment one you touch on I think is shaky at best.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:45 pm

Vrock wrote:
codedivine wrote:I am a vegetarian (not vegan and I eat dairy products including eggs). Being vegetarian often means that it will be hard to get all the nutrients if you don't plan your diet. Three tips:

1. Eat beans regularly (chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans and so on) everyday as they are an important source of protein for vegetarians. Milk too.

2. Opt for multi-grain breads. They cover a lot of grains and often have decent amount of protein too!

3. Try making salad at home instead of buying it. Use a large variety of vegetables. Salads at many food places contains only a few nutrients and use unhealthy amounts of dressing.
Or, eat a little bit of meat now and then! It's amazing! What a concept! We have canines for a reason! Huzzah!


I'll kindly ask you to stop thread crapping. If you take issue with the contents of the thread, send me a PM and we can talk there. Or start a R&P thread. I wasn't asking for opinions on whether or not I should go vegetarian. I was asking for advice in regards to adjusting to a vegetarian lifestyle.

My best friend is a vegetarian. His favorite cook book is Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. You can pick up the hard cover from Amazon for $23. Well worth it, a huge book that not only has enough recipes to keep you satisfied for nearly ever but has a great introduction that will walk you through preparing your kitchen for your change.


Thanks a bunch for the suggestion. I’ll definitely get around to looking for it at the bookstore tomorrow, or I’ll order it via amazon.

Dice up a [url=Mirepoix]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirepoix_%28cuisine%29[/url] of onion, celery and carrot (~3,1.5,1.5 cups). Heat a soup pot with a splash or two of oil over a medium flame. Add vegetables, salt. Saute until the onions have some color, but don't let them burn. Add lots of ground pepper and 2 or 3 dried bay leaves (other seasonings might be crushed red pepper and dried thyme), 2-6 cloves of garlic and a touch more oil. Stir for a few seconds (until they start to become fragrant). Add 4 cups of hot tap water, a pound of dried lentils, and cover. Bring to a boil, back off to a simmer, and cook for 40 min. While the lentils are getting tender, wash, de-stem and roughly chop a bunch of kale (.5 lbs should do). Taste the soup and add salt/pepper to taste. Add the kale to the soup and simmer until the kale and lentils are tender.


I’ll definitely be giving this a shot ASAP, it sounds quite good
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:04 pm

SecretMaster wrote:
BoBzeBuilder wrote:Why would you go vegetarian? Unless you have some health problems like high cholesterol, its understandable. But what's wrong with a nice jucy tender piece of chicken? Crispy bacon?
Meat is part of a healthy diet.


I fully agree that meat is part of a healthy diet. I haven't been mulling vegetarianism over the fact that animals are getting killed, I am actually quite content with that notion. However my reasoning is still very much environmentally oriented. I think our current practices for meat production are damaging towards the environment and really not very suitable. Likewise, from an energy perspective it is sometimes hard for me to justify eating a piece of meat when I consider how much energy it took just to create and deliver that piece of meat.

Why not just keep things in moderation and avoid meat produced in the manner you feel is unsustainable? Have some locally-grown free-range chicken every once in a while if you want.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:14 pm

My wife's been quasi-vegetarian during most of her pregnancy because up 'til recently meat's made her nauseous. I've tried most of the stuff she's had, and for meat-like substitutes, Quorn fake-chicken is pretty good stuff. It's even got a somewhat-similar texture.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:29 pm

If we weren't supposed to eat animals they wouldn't be made out of meat!
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:42 pm

I'm actually curious (honestly, not trying to sound sarcastic) how you have come to the conclusion that our means of meat production takes abnormally improper amounts of energy. I have heard some statistics, regarding how much water it takes to raise an animal etc, but it is always good to look around and keep your ears open. I always used how much something costs as a gauge for how many resources it took to create. Since we don't barter, when you go out and purchase something, you are paying for resources (whether it be steel, water, coal, electricity or someones hardwork/time). So taking into account price inflations for luxury items and what not, I always thought something's 'dollar value' gave me a good idea of how much time/effort/resources went into it. It may in the end be less energy efficient to consume meat than legumes or other protein hefty substitutes. Living in Oregon, I don't often get to speak with a level headed vegetarian, most of them have a chip on their shoulders, and seem to be in it for superiority rather than honest goodwill or being green minded.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:47 pm

I have been a vegetarian (technically ovo-lacto, but realistically as little lacto as practical) for 23 years now. Here's my opinion:

1) Turn vegetarian because you believe in it, not because it is yet another diet. If you do it for the beliefs, you will stick to it for the rest of your life. If you do it due to dietary concerns, unless that concern is medical related, you will probably end up dropping it after a few years due to...well...lack of determination. It requires a strength of will to push against the tide, push against the massive amounts of meats the America food industry will pass off around you, and without the solid determination of will you will probably give up sooner or later.

2) Ween yourself off meats. There is no rule that says you have to turn vegetarian, go "cold turkey", in one shot. As Deinagob said, drop off one thing at a time with poultry the last - you'll find doing things in this manner the least impactful on your taste buds and willpower.

3) MOST IMPORTANT - it is about sustainability. I chose ovo-lacto, and indeed Indian vegetarians are ovo-lacto, because it can still provide the body with the necessary complex amino acids that a stricter vegetarian diet (vegan) will almost always be lacking. My secret to eating health - I almost never take vitamins and pretty much almost never need to, either - is to balance your diet. Even though all food products you eat will be made from vegetable matter, when you build a meal you still need to count individual portions as the following:

- starch
- protein
- vegetable

So, even though everything will be "vegetable", because everything you eat will be made from vegetables, you must find some vegetable product that can count as a protein (beans, legumes, tofu, eggs, cheese, tempeh, soy / veggie patties, etc.) in the meal. Then a starch: for example, even though pasta can count as a protein as when cooked al dente the proteins do not break down, still try to count it as a starch. Then a vegetable cooked as a vegetable: carrots, broccoli, asparagus, etc.

Same proper food group balancing as a omnivore, simply all products will be fundamentally based from plant sources. Too many vegetarians will miss this and say "I'm a vegetarian so I'm always eating well because I am always eating my veggies!", but they miss the bodily requirements that the "food groups" grant you.

What does this mean? It means that, properly done, you must treat food unlike the average carnivore / omnivore - you must actually know what you are eating. Know foods - the good, the bad, what they are to the body in terms of fats, calories and nutrition, etc. In other words, once you become a good (sustainable, long-term) vegetarian you will be something a lot of people are not nowadays - an educated food consumer (just as Skrying's hidden comment suggests). And then you'll realize the CRAP that most people eat!! :o :P And why so many people are in poor health now :evil: :wink:

For some personal comments: I personally almost never eat a salad as a meal. The mass (weight / volume) versus nutrition giveback is too low for my personal tastes. Yes, it is mostly roughage and fiber, a good thing, but unless you make a really complex salad (which I do, when I break that "almost never" rule) you generally have little, or none, of the proteins and other things I just told you pay attention to. So, IMHO, for salad as meals for vegetarians as a frequent occurrence: just say "no".

And the most important comment IMHO...just wait until you try good vegetarian cooking! You're head will EXPLODE! :lol: EVERY carnivore that I have given vegetarian cooking to - either my own or the best when I go out with friend and find a place that will serve both styles of food - has told me that my vegetarian food tastes BETTER than their meats. EVERY ONE. Vegetarian cooking demands more skill in balancing flavors - there isn't one main flavor (meat). So it is more complex, almost as a rule, than most meat dishes. Much more flavor complexity and balance is important, and the food is lighter (not greasy, as a rule) to boot, so grease does not get in the way of tasting the flavorings.

Good luck!
Last edited by Snake on Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:50 pm

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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:01 pm

SpotTheCat wrote:If we weren't supposed to eat animals they wouldn't be made out of meat!

:lol: LOL!!

Actually, not kidding around...if we were supposed to eat meat at the levels that the modern agriculture industrial complex would like us to believe we should, we wouldn't have a mouth filled with 8 premolars & 12 molars designed for flat grinding...and only 4 cutting/tearing canines.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 7:28 pm

You can do far more for the planet simply going to the store half as often then you can via diet. Learn to cook rice and buy it in bulk and season it with cheap local meat and veg you get in bulk.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:11 pm

Wintermane wrote:You can do far more for the planet simply going to the store half as often then you can via diet. Learn to cook rice and buy it in bulk and season it with cheap local meat and veg you get in bulk.

Probably quite true - buy local, etc. - but there are more causes to turn vegetarian besides environmental impact.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:25 pm

BoBzeBuilder wrote:http://www.bbqaddicts.com/blog/recipes/bacon-explosion/

lol. Sorry.

That's actually an argument FOR going on a vegetarian diet, IMO.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Fri Oct 02, 2009 9:19 pm

As I mentioned in the OP, this is something I have been contemplating for several years now. It wasn't a spur of the moment "hey, I want to be a vegetarian!" decision. This is something I would like to do, and I certainly don't feel any pressure to just do it. That being said, the rationale as to why I want to do it stays the same. I consider myself already a healthy eater, so I'm not doing it for health reasons. I'm going this route because its something I believe in. I've pondered this numerous times, and there have been many times where I've actually analyzed my food consumption and realized I might want to change things. I've decided to give it a shot, because i want to.


I'm actually curious (honestly, not trying to sound sarcastic) how you have come to the conclusion that our means of meat production takes abnormally improper amounts of energy. I have heard some statistics, regarding how much water it takes to raise an animal etc, but it is always good to look around and keep your ears open. I always used how much something costs as a gauge for how many resources it took to create. Since we don't barter, when you go out and purchase something, you are paying for resources (whether it be steel, water, coal, electricity or someones hardwork/time). So taking into account price inflations for luxury items and what not, I always thought something's 'dollar value' gave me a good idea of how much time/effort/resources went into it. It may in the end be less energy efficient to consume meat than legumes or other protein hefty substitutes. Living in Oregon, I don't often get to speak with a level headed vegetarian, most of them have a chip on their shoulders, and seem to be in it for superiority rather than honest goodwill or being green minded.


Sending you a PM ;)

As Skyring and Mattsteg have both suggested, I have consider local buying as an option in regards to meat. As a rule of thumb I buy local as much as possible. Attending school in Upstate NY, it almost becomes a way of life. Buying local is huuuuge up here, and I've certainly been hooked on farmers markets. The produce is infinitely better than anything I've ever bought in a grocery store. If this vegetarian route doesn't work out, I'll go into locally grown meat. There are all sorts of co-op programs work really well up here, I might just invest in one. I considered doing this method originally, but I figure I'll give vegetarianism a shot first. It's something I've wanted to do. But I'm a huge local advocate, I think its a great way to support the local economy while getting some of the best tasting foods.

Also a lot of people have been recommending Asian variant cuisine (indian, thai, japanese, etc). Don't get me wrong, I think it is quite tasty. But I certainly couldn't eat that stuff every day. I'm personally more attracted to European and Latin American styled meals. Rice and beans, while extremely basic, is one of my favorite meals (I eat it every day for lunch). Does anyone have any good Hispanic dishes they want to share that are vegetarian?
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Sat Oct 03, 2009 10:23 am

shaq_mobile wrote:I'm actually curious (honestly, not trying to sound sarcastic) how you have come to the conclusion that our means of meat production takes abnormally improper amounts of energy.
Meat production, in general, uses a lot of energy. If you think back to elementary school biology, it takes an awful lot of plants and vegetarian animals to support a single apex predator. Each animal expends energy both building its structure and going about its daily routine. The only energy you get out of that animal when you eat it is the portion of the energy that went towards meat.

I won't get into specifics regarding modern agriculture, but a meat-heavy diet will always require more resources. To some degree those resources would not be utilized otherwise - it's not like we're going to go out and have a grass salad after all. Most modern agriculture has moved away from that model, although the local foods movement is often a way to return to it.

SecretMaster: the reason people are recommending more Asian foods is that there is often a much more significant vegetarian tradition and more flavor flexibility, leading to more and more varied vegetarian options. They also have more veggies that are "worthy" of being the centerpiece of a meal. A lot of European cuisine in particular is very meat-centric. At the very least even dishes that lack meat will often have chicken or beef broth for flavor.

I guess if you eat rice and beans "every day for lunch" and a small pan-cooked chicken breast "every night for dinner" variety isn't really your thing. I'm not sure if that level of consistency is necessarily healthy (depending on what else you eat).

At the end of the day, you know what you like food-wise. I'm normally not much of a recipe person for everyday stovetop cooking unless I'm trying out something new that I don't have a lot of experience with or something that requires a fair bit of precision. I know what flavors I like (most) and have a pretty good idea how they integrate with other flavors, so normally I can just work with what I have to make something tasty. At other times I'll work from a basic recipe to get textures in the right area, and then go from there.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ever ... index.html is really good. A vegetarian friend of ours recommended it highly to my wife and I (and we agree). I imagine she subs in veggie broth or something.
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Re: Going vegetarian

Postposted on Sat Oct 03, 2009 1:18 pm

Not gonna try & change your mind because we all have our own reasons for things we do, and this is one of them that people make for a bunch of different reasons. Myself...I'm a meat lover and it would take a lot for that to change. Although I do love meat I cook this recipe once in a while & it's really good (you can use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock for obvious reasons :wink: ).....

Portabella Bolognese

* 1 ounce dried mushrooms, such as porcini or mixed wild mushrooms
* 2 cups water or chicken stock
* 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
* 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
* 4 portabella mushrooms, cut into 1/4-inch dice
* 1 medium onion, chopped
* 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
* 1 small celery rib, chopped
* 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
* 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
* Salt and pepper
* Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
* 2 tablespoons tomato paste
* 1 cup dry red wine
* 1 can crushed tomatoes (14 ounces) or tomato puree
* 1 cup whole milk
* 1 pound fettuccine pasta
* A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
* Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Preparation

Place the dried mushrooms in a small pot and cover with water or chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and steep.

Heat a heavy pot over medium to medium-high heat with two turns of the pan EVOO. When hot, add the butter and melt into the EVOO, then add the portabellas, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaf. Sauté until tender, 15 minutes, then season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and reduce for 2 minutes to evaporate. Add the crushed or pureed tomatoes and stir. Reduce the heat.

Remove the dried mushrooms from the steeping liquid and chop. Stir into the sauce. Add the steeping liquid, reserving the last few spoonfuls in the pot, as any grit on the mushrooms will have settled there. Stir in the milk. Simmer over low heat for 20-30 minutes to thicken.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve in shallow bowls, topped with the parsley and Pecorino Romano cheese.
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