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I want to become a vegetarian.

(19 Posts)
BrightSkye Tue 23-Aug-11 23:08:20

I have always been an animal lover but recently I have very strong feelings about animal rights and I feel like such a hypocrite when I tuck into a lamb steak etc

I'm not very experienced with food though and only have a basic level of "Kitchen skills". If I wipe meat, eggs, milk and fish off my menu, I struggle to see what I could actually eat.

So vegetarians, what do you eat?

StealthPolarBear Tue 23-Aug-11 23:12:05

well if you're not having any animal products, you're a vegan
I eat a lot of lentils and beans, potatoes etc. But I do eat cheese and eggs.

StealthPolarBear Tue 23-Aug-11 23:12:57

pasta and rice - how did I forget those!

So - bean chilli, lasagne, veg dinner made with quorn (but only because I like it, plenty don't), stir fry with noodles, risotto....

BornSicky Tue 23-Aug-11 23:16:17

veg stews/casseroles/thick soups/dahls

salads

potato and veg bakes

curries

you can search the MN recipe section for veggie meals. there's loads of ideas there.

BrightSkye Tue 23-Aug-11 23:17:56

I didn't really want to become a vegan but I came across a video showing chicks being dropped into a mincer whilst still alive and I havn't been able to get the image out of my head sad it honestly makes me want to cry. Therefore I decided to stop eating eggs too but then I felt a hypocrite drinking milk if I wasn't eating eggs, but where do you draw the line?!

toomanyeasterbunnies Thu 25-Aug-11 11:12:29

I've been veggie since I was 7 when I realised what I was eating was once an animal in a field. I tried being vegan in my teens for a couple of years and just found it too restrictive. As you say where do you start drawing the line? If you are strictly giving up eggs and milk then that basically means you cannot have any processed food. No shop bought biscuits, cakes, chocolate, ice cream, cheese. So I ended up making the decision to eat organic free range eggs and organic milk. I excluded meat, fish, animal rennet, animal fats, gelatine and leather products. I am happy with this decision as I can still enjoy my food and still feel that I'm not being a hypocrite.

MrsTittleMouse Thu 25-Aug-11 11:23:57

In terms of protein you need
grains and seeds
nuts
pulses (beans and lentils).
You need to eat a variety from this list as each group lacks some essential amino acids, but it's different amino acids from each group, so by eating a mixture you will have "complete" protein. It used to be thought that you'd have to "combine" them i.e. eat two of them together at the same meal. Now it's thought that as long as you eat a reasonable diet over the course of a whole day then you are fine. To be honest, it's not really rocket science as every culture has done this anyway - beans on toast, hummus and pitta bread, dhal and rice and do on.

The other issue if you give up fish is essential fats - you can eat walnuts and flaxseed though. I buy flaxseed at the health food shop and grind it in a coffee grinder to put on my cereal.

I found that I was floundering a bit when I first became veggie, but you soon get the hang of it. There are a ton of veggie recipes out there and a lot more fun ingredients than 25 (!) years ago when I used to make sausages from a dried packet of Sosmix. smile

steamedtreaclesponge Thu 25-Aug-11 11:27:57

I've been veggie since the age of 11. I would like to become vegan but quite honestly am struggling slightly - I have come to a sort of compromise by deciding to have two vegan days a week and seeing how I go. There's no need to feel like a hypocrite - everyone has to start somewhere. I hardly ever eat eggs and I honestly haven't found it a problem when cooking.

Rather than jumping straight in, why not do it in phases? You obviously have strong feelings about meat and eggs, but maybe hang fire on the dairy for a bit until you've built up more of a meal repertoire. You'll find loads of recipes on here, and I have a food blog which has quite a lot of veggie recipes on it here. Plus there are loads on Delia's website.

What sort of things do you normally like eating? If you're used to meat & two veg it can be a bit daunting, maybe get hold of a couple of good veggie recipe books to give you some inspiration? The Cranks Bible is my favourite, but Delia's veggie book and Ottolenghi's Plenty are also brilliant.

Some of my everyday meals are:

Jacket potatoes with beans & cheese or salad
Veggie chilli/nachos/burritos/fajitas
Lasagne made with roast veg
Pasta bake or tortellini with pesto & spinach
Veggie sausages with mash & peas
Risotto
Rice & stir-fry
Curry
Stew made with pasta/lentils/dumplings/chickpeas
Roast veg with goats cheese and couscous

Honestly, there is so much exciting food out there that you can eat as a vegetarian!

exoticfruits Thu 25-Aug-11 11:28:09

Get a good cook book.
is my favourite-hereCranks Cookbook
and here Rose Eliot are the ones I use all the time. I am not vegetarian-just don't eat meat everyday.

MrsTittleMouse Thu 25-Aug-11 13:03:16

Another vote here for Rose Elliot. The BBC Good Food website has a lot of good stuff too. I can personally vouch for these smile -

www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1364/spicy-root-and-lentil-casserole (vegan)
www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4382/veggie-shepherds-pie-with-sweet-potato-mash (vegan)
www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/412629/ginger-sweet-tofu-with-pak-choi (vegan)
www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/11632/southwesternstyle-salad- (contains a small amount of cheese)

But to be honest, there are also days when we just have veggie sausages, potato wedges and baked beans. No need these days to cook a complete veggie meal from scratch every day unless that's what floats your boat. grin

I agree that it might be easier to do it in stages until you have a bit more practice - it's all steps in the right direction. smile

MrsTittleMouse Thu 25-Aug-11 13:04:40

Whoops! Just realised that the shepherds pie has a small amount of cheese on top. blush It's not an integral part of the dish though, you could use a sprinkling of oil to get the same crispy effect if you liked.

ppeatfruit Thu 25-Aug-11 13:52:04

IMO the industrially raised meat and dairy is a no no. But if the animals are farmed carefully and humanely (have happy lives) they would die eventually anyway. The traditional farms had both livestock and arable because everything the animal produces goes back on the land so no need to buy petroleum based fertilisers and feed that have caused all the trouble.

I also eat organic eggs in a basic veggie diet and think it's more important for the environment that we do this than not eat any at all because it encourages the good farmers and stops supermkts getting away with selling -shit- everything for cheapness.

UnSerpentQuiCourt Fri 26-Aug-11 20:30:29

We keep chickens and eat loads of eggs, with never a minced chick. Also organic milk and beef from a neighbour's farm, where the animal is killed on the farm and never knows what has happened; probably far less suffering than is involved in the 'hidden' animal products in a shop-bought cake. Would always buy local organic products and cook from scratch to minimise animal welfare issues. The worst products are probably cakes in cafes etc, where ingredients will be cheaply sourced.

livvylouis Fri 26-Aug-11 21:16:19

Like you BrightSkye I have recentely become a vegetarian, a few months now. I do want to progress to vegan one day but as others have said it is best to take one step at a time. I love cooking so it has been a fun experience for me trying new recipes and being inventive with food, so much so that I am soon starting my own vegetarian catering business. I have also started a blog and will be putting some of my vegetarian and vegan recipes on there Mama Earth's Kitchen. Good luck and keep at it you are doing a great thing smile

UnSerpentQuiCourt Fri 26-Aug-11 21:48:41

Just realised that it looks as if am against vegetarianism - not at all! I have been vege off and on all my life. Just saying that I fnd that eating 'ethically' is not as easy as it at first appeared. Avoiding eating steak seems to be the least of the issues.

SquigglePigs Sat 27-Aug-11 09:18:25

If you want to eat eggs but are worried about industry practices you could look at keeping a couple of chickens of your own.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 27-Aug-11 10:38:55

I have soya milk because I'm allergic to milk (not intolerant properly allergic) and it hasnt done me any harm healthwise, in fact in the past 6 years I've only had one cold not one a year.

I have eggs from my local farm shop which does battery eggs (boo) but also free range eggs from the chickens that run around the yard. I'd love chickens but we rent and were lucky to get the cat here really.

I dont have any margarine spreads or anything with palm oil in it due to de-forestation destroying orangatangs habitat and what they do to any mother and baby orangutangs (sp?) they find when logging (dont ask. Just dont).

If you go vegan quorn has lactose which is derived from milk so you might want to avoid that. A lot of medicines have lactose in them as well, anti histamine tablets (not the syrups) ibuprofen and asprin in particular. I check the labels on everything now.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 27-Aug-11 10:44:40

You can make pastry with oil as well so im not using palm oil, its easier than proper pastry.

SparklyCloud Mon 29-Aug-11 19:12:34

Someone further up said vegans can't eat processed shop bought biscuits etc, this is rubbish.
surprising foods that are vegan - Mcvities Hobnobs, Pink wafers, bourbons from most shops, some rich tea and fig rolls. Co-op jam and custard doughnuts. Just check labels.

Look here at the pages and pages of user submitted vegan food photos and you will see that the possibilities of what to eat are endless smile:

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