Your journey to vegetarianism/vegani
sm. Please tell me about it.
Thanks to social media I've been aware for some time about what goes on in abbatoirs (even without the recent spate of cruelty incidents highlighted by the media), and over the last two years my diet has changed a lot and I rarely eat red meat or poultry any more, mainly fish and veg.
I've eaten meat all my life and mostly been blissfully (and wantonly) ignorant of the suffering it causes. Cutting back on eating meat has been so much easier than I thought it would be, simply because I cannot enjoy eating it any more.
It also helps that I now realise what a problem meat production causes for the planet (thank you Michael Mosley), and that it's better for my health to cut back, saves money etc.
I think I'm on the path to vegetarianism, but I'm not sure how long that journey will take. Does anyone have any stories they'd like to share please?
Hi I am a fairly recent vegan but I have found it fairly easy. It helps that I am not bothered by dairy anyway so that was fairly easy to cut out.
My advice would be to get some really good receipes for food to make. If you are cooking tasty food then you don't feel that you are cutting stuff out or missing anything.
you can get some books or there are loads of receipes and inspiration online. I find Instagram really good for this
Eating out can be a challenge I find Asian food more accommodating but still have to check occasionally.
If you are telling people about your decision be prepared for lots of eye rolling and lectures about how your diet will suffer. You can either have answers ready or I just rolled my eyes and moved on! I have never really got into vegan debates as such as I figure I am not out to convert anyone it's a decision I have made. But that's personal to you obviously.
Shopping wise for household items and grocery I found Ocado to be really good. (They have the most amazing vegan ice cream )
There are lots of websites if you have a Google that can tell you about beauty products and make up as well.
Overall I haven't found the translation too hard. I eat a really wide variety of food now and loads of veggies so feel so much better. I have always had bad skin and that is starting to clear as well.
Good luck with it all and feel free to PM me if you ever want to chat. There used to be a good vegan thread on here but it's died off a bit now.
Thank you Ellis that's interesting to read. I also have a problem with the ethics of dairy farming so am very interested in alternatives. I love almond milk
I was actually kind of worried that during conversations I'd be the one who sounded like the lecturer! I don't want to give the impression I'm judging people if they eat meat. I most certainly would not be. This is just a choice for me.
I've dipped in and out of vegetarianism for a while. I stopped eating red meat for a while when I was a teenager but my diet was terrible so my iron levels got very low. Then I tried again as a student but didn't last long. This time I went veggie in spring last year because I just ran out of reasons to eat meat.
The environmental aspect was a big influence for me, as is the effect of factory farming on animal welfare. My diet is loads better now so I don't have any problems with my iron levels. I'm a blood donor and everything
Like Ellis, I find that some people have an opinion on vegetarianism and they aren't afraid to share it. I don't bang on about not eating meat- I'm even happy to cook meat for my DH sometimes, although he's fine with eating all the veggie stuff I cook (he prefers Quorn mince to beef). For me it's a personal choice, not a political statement. What I eat is not up for debate and I extend that courtesy to everyone else. I think people expect you to lecture them on meat-eating if you are a vegetarian and get defensive before you can even tell them that you don't care what they eat.
It is annoying that some people offer fish as a veggie alternative, as if a fish isn't an animal. I just got back from France and in a couple of restaurants every 'veggie' option was fish. So if you go out to dinner then make sure that you're happy with what's on offer before you go. I've found most places in the UK are pretty good at veggie options, as long as you don't get bored of salad and ratatouille But we don't eat out that often anyway because I love to cook, so I get plenty of variety at home.
I use Pinterest for veggie recipes, there's loads on there.
Thanks Eau. I've already started selecting veggie options while eating out, and so far have been quite impressed with the choices available.
I can't wait to discover some amazing recipes. So far I've been happy with stuff from the freezer aisle, so I know there's a lot more enjoyable food to come!
hi. I'm a very recent vegetarian (only since the start of the year) but I hardly ate any meat for about a year before that.
I recommend getting some good cookbooks and reading the labels on everything as many things you would assume are vegetarian aren't.
I'm also trying to cut out as much dairy as I can but don't feel ready to go fully vegan yet.
my local supermarkets have pretty poor choices vegetarian/vegan wise but Holland and Barrett do a lot of vegan foods/dairy substitutes.
also check out the aisle for food in tolerances. There are a lot of vegan friendly foods there.
Like Ellis I would suggest starting with recipes and with foods you like or want to try. Just start working through aubergines and turnips and fennel and cauliflower and spinach or whatever looks and sounds yummy to you. You will find wonderful new ways to pepare them. You will very soon be a million miles from Quorn mince! There is so much out there to experiment with.
Also, people plenty of people will give you grief. They feel you are judging their ethical worth as you have come to a different decision than most people on eating meat. Shrug it off - it is their problem and not yours.
Oh, and I wouldn't read labels yet. You will get there when you are ready. There is nothing wrong with just avoiding the very obvious (meat/chicken/fish) at the start!
I'm vegetarian but if it wasn't for cheese and desserts, I'd be vegan/plant-based.
What I find very hard is going to dinner parties as most of our friends are French or Italian.
I watched Forks over Knives with my husband (he's French) after a year of being a vegetarian/part-time vegan (two months solid, but then needed food allergy testing, so had to eat certain foods). It helped a LOT to have him on board. He still eats meat and fish, but he's aware that health wise he doesn't need to, so doesn't look for it in meals.
I'm at a place now where I only cook vegan/plant-based food and then add some cheese for the kids (helps with them eating), nutritional yeast for myself and my husband will have it with some sliced ham or something. If I go out, I'll eat vegetarian, but prefer vegan..but will definitely eat a non-vegan dessert, because I enjoy dessert and I know it'll change too at some point.
For recipes I look on Pintrest, because there's usually mouthwatering photos too, which helps me a lot! I also search for "raw" recipes, because they're often easy to make, although over the winter, I like warm meals.
I've found that it's really a totally different way of making meals than a typical meat and two veg type of dinner and I set my goals too high to start off. What worked for me (and still does) is planning the meals ahead, making sure I have the ingredients - especially herbs and spices - in advance and not trying to do it every day. I started with a couple of days and two recipes and did them for a couple of weeks before adding in a third day. Now I have Mon, Wed and Fri "nice" vegan meals with Tues and Thurs pasta with simple veg sauce (steamed butternut squash and carrots puréed or steamed spinach and any other greens I have, then puréed - DD can't eat tomatoes), so that I'm not overwhelmed by it. I also make larger portions for me so I definitely don't feel hungry.
And I try to make vegan cakes too, although I don't always - essentially I know I'm on the path I want to be on and I'll get where I want to be in the end!
Changing eating habits is a massive deal and can be a stress if family is involved, so the best way to reach the goal is to reduce that stress in whatever way works best for you.
I'm slowing going from vegetarian to vegan. I've slipped up tonight and eaten chocolate but I blame the wine.
Had a fantastic spinach and lentil curry for dinner tonight as well
try and reduce the fish intake if you can, true vegetarians eat nothing with a pair of eyes.
Interesting thread. I'm starting on the road to veggie too. For the last couple of months I've been mainly eating veggie. I've been making some of our basic family regular meals with qourn mince (great when the family didn't even notice!). I've been making loads of new recipes for soups for lunch (again the family has loved them). Best of all, I'm doing weight watchers, and find I'm losing weight better now I'm eating less meat!
Thanks so much to everyone who has replied. I lost sight of this thread for a while there, sorry!
Interesting about looking at raw recipes hadn't thought of that, definitely appeals to me too.
I have made a couple of veggie meals from scratch for the family, bought the meat free Monday cook book. I did find them really time consuming to make though, and I already struggle for time so I can see this being an obstacle to making the food more interesting. However I hope that life will slow down a bit in the next year or so and I can dedicate more time to this.
Not sure if this thread has died a death, but in case the OP is still around I'm a life long veggie who became complacent and gave little thought to the reasons I was vegetarian, I just was. I had a conflict of conscience about the fact that I cooked meat for my husband, friends and family. Not every day, but often. I felt this was hypocritical and decided to revisit the reasons I was veggie and 2015 was to be the year I became a 'better vegetarian'. So I started educating myself and once I found out about the cruelty and slaughter inherent in dairy/eggs I went vegan. It's great, I'm eating really clean and trying out new recipes. My skin glows, I've lost weight. It's a truly exciting food journey for me and I'm cooking in a much more imaginative way. The Deliciously Ella blog has some nice (healthy, veggie) recipes and i'll list a few other blogs and food sites I've come across below. Also if you want to inform yourself about veggie stuff there are some good movies. Vegucated was catalytic in my decision as it exposes the dark side of dairy and chicken farming, Earthlings is powerful, there's an interesting Ted Talk entitled Carnism by Melanie Joy. Someone upthread mentioned Forks over Knifes already I think.
A general point about cooking, I find Asian cuisine (Japanese, Indian, Thai etc) generally just lends itself better to veggie eating because it is not as inherently reliant on meat or dairy as a protein source.
Vegan Life there are a few recipes on the site, lots more if you subscribe. Vegetarian Living is good too and widely available to buy.
Jamieoliver.com has an ever expanding list of veggie recipes, I've tried a few. Jamie veggie recipes
The Whole Ingredient
Sorry I've bombarded this thread with too much info already so I'll stop there. Can you tell I'm excited about the whole thing! Good luck with your veggie journey.
PS if there's no current vegan thread, anyone interested in resurrecting it?
Hi Peniston and thanks for all the fab links. The thread hasn't died, I revisit every so often as I know this is (sadly) quite a slow board. A new colleague of mine is veggie so I'm hoping to chat with him about this too.
I'd be really interested in reading a vegan thread if there was one.
This is a great great thread, thanks OP.
I’ve been a vegetarian but eat chicken and fish now due to being the family chef and I want a rounded diet for DS 2y/o but I realise there’s no limit for this on a vegetarian diet you just need to plan ahead.
He’s big on eggs and dairy so no chance of being vegan but considering doing at least 2 meat free days a week to start.
Any tips for meal prep or planning? I feel like it requires more time to cook veggie meals but actually it’s the meat element of thawing and cooking that takes time.
Also wanting to cut down on plastic consumption so may have to reconsider quorn products as it’s all plastic
I've been contemplating on going vegan but reading all the comments I think It's not easy transitioning from my diet to vegan and it involves a lot of discipline, truly it takes more than a plan.
Jackfruit has been a lifesaver in veggie cooking for me, it shreds like meat, absorbs flavour and is packed with vitamins. Loads of recipes online. I also made vegan cheesecakes this week which two meat-eaters said were better than the real thing! Enjoying cooking is a massive bonus for me, I love trying new recipes.
I see a few people have been talking on this thread recently. I'll need to go back and read all the links properly.
I'm really considering becoming vegetarian to help live my environmental ideals a bit more fully. Any tips and suggestions appreciated.
I don't like mushrooms or nuts
I love the taste of meat
I can't eat any fish or shellfish (allergy)
I went vegetarian about a year ago. I eat vegan at home, but sometimes have a little dairy or eggs at restaurants/other people's homes.
We didn't eat much meat, and when my husband worked away for a while I realised I could cut it out all together. Since then going plant-based has been fantastic - we both feel better, have more energy and have discovered loads of great recipes. To be honest, I didn't love cooking before, but this has made it more interesting and creative. I found the book 'Becoming Vegetarian' useful as it has lots of nutritional information. There are lots of great pages on FB that share recipes for free.
I only really talk about this with people who show interest, and then try to be restrained and listen to their point of view. After all, I was a meat eater until a year ago! I haven't received any grief at all (though the odd stupid joke), but I figure anyone reading this thread is interested, so I'll share a little more...
What helped most was strengthening my motivation. For me this was primarily about no longer taking part in the suffering caused to animals. The environmental impacts are also important. There are some great documentaries about this. I enjoyed Cowspiracy (on Netflix). Forks Over Knives (also Netflix) was convincing about the health benefits, which was important for DH. I recommend the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, which looks at our farming methods and the moral questions about eating meat, but is less sensational and more considered than some of the documentaries.
One other good resource is 7dayvegan.com, which has meal plans and simple recipes for trying going plant-based for a week.
(BTW, anyone who is cutting out meat etc., please remember to take a B12 supplement!)
It may sound strange but when I stopped eating meat I just felt happier. It was like a source of suffering in my life was simply gone. I would suggest try it and see!
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