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Becoming Vegetarian

Last post Thu, Apr 9 2009 1:52 AM by jimhicks36. 22 replies.
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  • Sat, Mar 28 2009 6:11 PM

    • Kim_150
    • Top 150 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Sun, Oct 5 2008
    • Green Bay, WI
    • Posts 525

    Becoming Vegetarian

    Lately I've been giving serious thought to becoming vegetarian, and I'm looking for advice on how to make the transition. I know there are vegetarians and vegans around here- has anyone made the transition from meat eater to veg?

    I know it can't be done quickly. I tried to go "cold turkey" (no pun intended) a few months ago, and it didn't go well. I was tired, dizzy, and cranky for days, and just gave up because it wasn't working. I found a pretty good site called Savvy Vegetarian, which recommended taking months to completely make the change, so I guess I was doing it wrong. 

    As it is, I don't eat a whole lot of meat. When I do it's 2 or 3 ounces at a time, and almost no red meat. I don't know whether I'd give up eggs and dairy. I still have some thinking and research to do, but I'm wondering if anyone has any words of wisdom! Big Smile

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  • Sat, Mar 28 2009 6:35 PM In reply to

    • swedluv
    • Top 50 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Sun, Jun 8 2008
    • North Carolina
    • Posts 1,713

    Re: Becoming Vegetarian

    Kim, I love eating meat, but a couple friends of mine went veggie for a while and the biggest thing to be sure of is to get your iron in, that could have caused some of your "symptoms" last time. Please be sure to balance the iron out with vitamin c since they work as a team to make us feel good.

    Lynn


  • Sat, Mar 28 2009 8:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Becoming Vegetarian

    swedluv:
    Please be sure to balance the iron out with vitamin c since they work as a team to make us feel good.
    I second that. I'm on a permanent regiment of iron...I take a Bcomplex+C vitamin with it. Super great energy concoction!

    A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature. -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Sat, Mar 28 2009 8:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Becoming Vegetarian

     Hi,

     

    I've been a vegetarian for 48 years now. I do drink milk and eat joghurt. No eggs. I don't remember making the transition, but it's probably harder for an adult than a child.

    As far as iron goes, I've never had a problem, probably because I eat a lot of beans combined with a grain, peanut butter. The idea of going gradually does sound good, since you felt so bad trying to cut off your meat all at once.

    Also, there are some people who just need meat. I have a friend who wants to be a vegetarian, and she can't do it physically. She has to have chicken and red meat, or she gets very weak.

    If I were you, I'd go to my doctor or a nutritionist, just to check yourself checked out, do a blood test, and get advice there. You'd know you were safe, then.

    May I ask why you are wanting to become a vegetarian?

    Seaturtle

    Seaturtle

  • Sat, Mar 28 2009 9:33 PM In reply to

    • Kim_150
    • Top 150 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Sun, Oct 5 2008
    • Green Bay, WI
    • Posts 525

    Re: Becoming Vegetarian

    seaturtle:
    May I ask why you are wanting to become a vegetarian?
     

    I agree about the switch being harder for an adult! I was raised in a "meat and potatoes" family and it took me a long time to get used to reducing the starches and meat, and loading up on vegetables instead. 

    And yes, you can definitely ask! Although there are politcal/economic reasons for it, so I'll just keep it simple and ask anyone who reads this not to be offended if they disagree. Anyone can PM if they want to discuss in more detail! Smile 

    The big reason is for health. I used to be very overweight, and now after a lot of work I'm... still overweight, but getting there. Since I started eating healthier and exercising, I have a better feel for what my body likes and doesn't like, and in general I feel better when I reduce my meats. My skin clears up, etc... I won't go into more detail, or it'll be WAY more than anyone wanted to know! I do like the idea of talking to a doctor though- I have a physical next month and I'll be sure to bring it up and see if I need any tests. I have been working with a nutritionist, and she supported my cutting back on meat, but I haven't brought vegetarianism up to her yet. 

    Also, I've been trying to support local and sustainable resources, and grocery store-packaged meat doesn't fit into that philosophy. I don't much mind eating meat from local farms, where the animals are raised in 'happier' and more natural conditions, but I don't really like supporting factory 'farms', and also don't want any of the side effects from the extra hormones and whatever else goes into those animals. I can't afford much of the local organic meats though, so just going meatless seems like a better option.

    I also have an education in ahthropology, and have traveled and worked in some places where there is a lot of poverty and hungry people. I read some numbers on how much grain and corn (and clean water!) goes into feeding the livestock on factory farms, and I think more of it should go to impoverished people and places. I know that just one person's money won't make much of a difference in such a huge industry, but it would make me feel like I'm making a tiny bit of difference. 

    Finally, in the DS theme, meat is just SO much more expensive per pound than most legumes and nuts. And while I'm trying to save up money and pay off student loans, anything that saves me moey is great! 

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  • Sat, Mar 28 2009 11:02 PM In reply to

    Re: Becoming Vegetarian

     What excellent thinking, Kim! You have looked at it from so many aspects, and I agree with them all.

    By the way, you mentioned the antibiotics and hormone our meat are laced with these days. The friend I mentioned is well-off enough to be able to afford only organic meat and locally-killed venison, organic fish. She does find that grocery store meat does not agree with her.

    I'll be interested to know what your doctor says. I didn't find a single thing in your post to offend anyone.And you are right: it does save some money, wisely done.

    Seaturtle

  • Sun, Mar 29 2009 9:30 AM In reply to

    Re: Becoming Vegetarian

    Dear Kim & All, There is a website that addresses in detail nutrition for vegans, & gives scads of vegan recipes that aer tasty & balanced.  See http://www.vrg.org/recipes/  This is the site of teh Vegetarian Resource Group.  They put out a wonderful quarterly magazine -- ordering info is on the website, togetehr with back issues, so that you can see what they are like.  Even though I buy Kosher foods that are not vegan, I mainly eat vegan foods, although I do also eat eggs +fish.  SO, I'm not vegetarian, BUT I've used Ener-G egg substitute in the past, & haven't eaten fish for long periods, as I have a background for long periods of truly being vegan.

    As you'llll see on the site, it's a certaiiin B vitamin (I THINK BUT AM NOT SURE THAT IT IS B12) that are most important to supplement if you are strictly vegan, either by eating certain foods like fortified cereal, or by taking a special tablet/capsule.

    I'm one who feels that it is plain horrific to take intelllligent beings -- & I think of mammmals as being intelligent -- thinkk of dogs & pigs, for example -- & slaughter & eat them.  It's a personal thing.  I don't plan to proselytize.

    Yorus in Him, Deb

    Officially Recognized Stretchpert in Government & Charity Assistance

    Proud guardian of Heart, a black female Miniature Poodle, a Psychiatric Service Dog

    Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with praise; give thanks to Him, bless His Name. (Psalm 100)

    Yours in thrift, Deborah



  • Sun, Mar 29 2009 2:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Becoming Vegetarian

    I've been a vegetarian for 15 years or more and don't really remember a transition.  My DH became fully vegetarian almost a year ago-prior to that he ate meat when we were out but I only cooked veggie at home.  He did have a transition, even though he wasn't eating a lot of meat before cutting it out.  He did some research and found that it can take the digestive system up to 8 weeks or even longer to adjust to not digesting meat.  His symptoms were generally an upset stomach and it did take him about 2 months to lost that.

    I 2nd going slowly if the transition is too sudden and too much to adjust to so quickly.  Reducing and eliminating things from your diet can be done one item at a time to let your body adjust.  Also, keeping an eye on nutrients is very important as others have mentioned and that goes for any kind of diet!

    When I was younger I was an unhealthy vegetarian-eating lots of simple starches, not too much in the way of beans, veggies, etc.  Mostly, like many college kids, I ate lots of things like macaroni and cheese (boxed), ramen, . . . easy, cheap stuff.  When I got older and taught myself how to cook, I started eating a lot healthier . . . now my diet is based on mostly whole grains, beans, lots of veggies, fruits, etc  I do eat dairy, mainly nonfat yogurt and cheeses and I do eat eggs (though I don't like them on their own-taste preference-wish I did!).  I have to say I feel significantly better in my health these days than I used to, and I know it's based on my much improved diet.  Doesn't sound like you are eating a lot of processed/junk food but I thought I would share my experience.

    One last thing . . . if you made the switch and added a lot of soy to replace your meats, that could also be a problem.  Personally, soy isn't my favorite.  I don't eat much tofu or soy based products . . . I don't particularly enjoy them and also eating a lot of soy doesn't agree with me very much.  I tend to get my protein from things like beans, grains, cheese/yogurt, egg dishes like quiches, etc.  If you were eating a lot of soy based products, you might try going slower on adding those to give your body time to adjust to them.

    Good luck!  A vegetarian diet can be delicious, varied, and fun to cook-plus WAY less expensive!  I too grew up in a meat and potatoes family and MUCH prefer the diet I have now.  (My family still doesn't understand but that's another story.)

  • Sun, Mar 29 2009 3:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Becoming Vegetarian

     Deb is correct: B12 is most easily found in animal sources, but it can also be from ferentation.

     I supplement with it.

    I've been veg since 1980.

    I was a gradual but in 6 months transition.

     My mistakes:

     subbing cheese for meat in a couple years

    refined flour. Once you go veg, you NEED the micronutrients in whole food, esp. grains.

    not developing tastes for more vegetables (is that an oh, duh  comment or what?)

    thinking lettuce has any value whatsoever

    not learning to cook straightaway. I was still assembling my meals (I was 13)

     

  • Sun, Mar 29 2009 10:24 PM In reply to

    Re: Becoming Vegetarian

     Deb,

    I feel the same way. To take a life of any living thing is anathema to me. This includes insects, worms, all living creatures. I have to make an exception when it comes to flies, mosquitoes, fleas and ticks, or any other parasitic insects which carry disease.

     

    To me, even the smallest creature is a miracle, as are plants. We do not need to kill to eat now.

    We see our meat in the nice packages in the stores, and we do not see the animal at slaughter.

    I hope I've not offended anyone here, again, these are my own feelings, not anything else. I hope that whatever we are eating, we all live in good health and love.

    Setaurtle

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