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Can a carnivore become a vegetarian?
June 2, 2005 12:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking about trying to go vegetarian, if only for a month's experimentation. But for a variety of reasons, I know it will be very difficult indeed. So: suggestions?

For one thing, right now, I'm basically a carnivore. I pound down fast-food burgers, fried chicken, etc. like nobody's business -- and I almost never eat fruits and vegetables. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I normally dislike them; but I've learned that if you force yourself to do something unpleasant quite regularly (get up early, for instance), you'll eventually come to appreciate it. For another thing, I'm going through some life turmoil at the moment. And for another another thing, I don't have unlimited cooking / shopping resources (i.e. I live in an apartment with a non-professional kitchen, and the grocery stores out here in Brooklyn don't rock one's socks clean off, though they're adequate).

What I need to hear are tips and suggestions from similar folks who've made the switch -- things to watch out for, tips to stop meat cravings, etc. -- plus ideas about things to eat / cook / etc. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this has been asked before, but I didn't see it when searching. Thanks!

(I'd be doing it primarily for reasons of health and general well-being; I'm not overweight at all, but I do silently fear that the effects of my sat-fat-filled diet are building up catastrophically inside my young body. Plus, it's just an interesting lifehacking challenge, and I haven't done nearly enough of those...)
posted by logovisual to Food & Drink (35 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
One important thing is to make sure the combination of vegetables you eat provide the protein you would normally get from eating meat. Most vegetables provide incomplete proteins but in combination form complete ones. For instance, rice is an incomplete protein, but when eaten in conjunction with beans, another incomplete protein, one provides what the other does not. Your body then combines the two to form a complete protein, like you would get from eating a steak. Did that make sense?
posted by Dallasfilm at 12:48 PM on June 2, 2005


My experience isn't exactly what you're looking for, but may help. On Jan 1, I started the South Beach Diet. While not a vegetarian diet, it is a change from normal American fare.

The first thing to do is get a book or other resource that can explain how to put a meal together (along with several sample meal plans and recipes). Do this long before you start and get familiar with the foods- what your "staples" will be, etc. If possible, find a single resource that you will can have complete faith in.

When you're ready to start, make a big grocery run to buy enough food to get started. Remember that much of your "normal" foods will no longer be on your menu, so you have to restock your pantry.

Plan on only eating food you've prepared for a week or two or three; no restaurant food allowed. This will teach you what to look for and ask for when you start going out to eat because you will learn the details of what food you can eat on a very practical level.

Follow your new diet as exactly as possible. If you make it through the first three weeks, you will find this gets much easier over time.

<CommercialPlug>If your primary concern is heart health, you may want to look into South Beach Diet. It is not vegetarian, but was designed more as a means of promoting heart health than as a weight loss plan. The weight loss is just a side benefit that happens to sell books</CommercialPlug>
posted by Doohickie at 12:51 PM on June 2, 2005


Giving up meat for someone with your eating habits will probably be difficult, but not impossible. As long as you're not making pre-packaged veggie products the base of your diet, any decent grocery with fresh produce and beans and grains will do right by you. I'd suggest strolling through the many online veggie recipe sites online, or maybe picking up a book with some nutrition tips too. Many friends of mine who've made the switch from a meat-heavy diet had a rough transition because they didn't really pay heed to meeting their protein and vitamin needs and that wore them down in time.

So do a little research, stock up your spice rack, and good luck! I've been meat free for 8 years, and dairy free for 4 years and I feel way better than my days of burgers.
posted by mrs.pants at 12:52 PM on June 2, 2005


Also, a good way to make cooking new recipes fun is to throw mini informal dinner parties. Invite your friends over and get a few bottles of wine and go nuts!
posted by mrs.pants at 12:53 PM on June 2, 2005


10 years now for me, though I can still remember the early days quite vividly. Lucky for you, the options are much better now than they were 10 years ago (and much MUCH better than 20 years ago).

So . . .

1. Buy some of the excellent Gardenburger, Boca, or Morningstar substitute meat products. They are generally low fat, and though not quite convincing, smothered in mustard, they're an adequate substitute, and should curb any meat cravings you might have. I'm fond of the Gardenburger chix patties and the Boca sausages.

2. If you're doing it for health reasons, truly embrace your vegetarianism, and eat vegetables. I get my 5 a day raw, like this:

- Blueberries at breakfast (with cereal)
- 2 apples for snacks throughout the day
- Raw carrots and a red bell pepper with lunch


Of course, I like fruits and vegetables, so for me, it's easy. If weight loss isn't a goal, dip in your favorite condiment.

3. More about cravings: I'm not sure a month away from meat will actually be long enough to cause many. I didn't start dreaming about meat until about 6 months after I quit. Even today I have dreams . . .

4. Avoid carb-heavy meals. It's easy to do as a vegetarian, but always make sure you have protein as well. Good sources:

- fake meat
- black beans
- peanut butter
- tofu (it really can be prepared quite well)
- yogurt, cheese

Good luck!
posted by kables at 12:53 PM on June 2, 2005


There are loads of really great meat substitutes on the market. My girlfriend is vegan and, since we live together and eat all of our meals together, as a continuing omnivore, I've become quite a conesseur of the faux-meat products.

Lightlife
makes a line of faux-meat products called "Smart (fillintheblank)." I'd reccomend them. They've got products for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all of which satisfy not only your body's need for protein but your mind's craving for steak. Make all of your favorite meals. Just substitute in the faux-meat.

You can easily get them at places like Whole Foods and Trader Joes. Other regular supermarkets often carry these products also.
posted by Jon-o at 1:01 PM on June 2, 2005


Your body then combines the two to form a complete protein, like you would get from eating a steak.

Ahem, while this is true, there is no need to worry about combining these proteins in a single meal, or even in a day. Eat a VARIED diet, and you should have no problems. I've been veggie for 14+ years and have been exercising and weightlifting regularly the past few years, so I have learned a bit more about protein in particular.

If you want more (I could take up a whole page), please feel free to e-mail me, address in profile.
posted by tr33hggr at 1:08 PM on June 2, 2005


I became a vegetarian about 5 or so years ago, and I think I was in a pretty similar boat. I had never been a really healthy eater, I loved a good burger or fried chicken, and I've never been a big fan of frequent vegetables. Plus, I don't do much cooking. But, there was a big mad cow disease scare at the time and I read one article too many and decided I just didn't feel like eating meat anymore. I have always planned to start again if I ever really want to, but so far I have felt so much healthier since I stopped eating meat that I haven't had much of a desire to return to my carnivore ways. By the way, I stopped eating fish and seafood about 3 months after I stopped eating all other kinds of meat, not sure if the gradual stepdown helped the transition any, but just a thought. As far as not eating a lot of vegetables or worrying about protein, I have always found that my body tells me when I am lacking something I need - I will get a craving for peanut butter or eggs if I haven't had any protein in a few days, the same with veggies. Speaking of which I eat a TON of peanut butter and eggs (not together, mind you) - there is no need for a fancy supermarket just because you are a vegetarian. And as far as restaurants, I ALWAYS find something to eat in a restaurant. There may not always be a ton of options, but you won't starve.
posted by amro at 1:08 PM on June 2, 2005


I was a fairly strict vegetarian for a few years. I still rarely eat flesh, but I've discovered sushi and I just can't get enough.

Anyway, a vegetarian lifestyle is much, much easier if you live in an area which is conducive to it. I live and work in Atlanta now, and, not surprisingly, the J. P. McPickleShitter chain restaurants in the 'burbs don't really cater to the veg diet. When I lived in Athens, though, nearly every restaurant had a vegetarian menu. I'd assume that Brooklyn would have quite a few veg-friendly places.

Snacking: My favourite snacks are fruits and nuts. Buy a pound of salted mixed nuts and eat a handful whenever you have a craving. Keep a few apples, oranges, peaches, bananas, etc. in stock and force yourself to eat at least one each day. Pretty soon, you'll like it.

Cooking: Grains like rice and pasta are a staple. Tofu is overrated, since it takes so long to cook and it takes some practice to get it right. Tempeh is wonderful. One of my favourite recipes goes like this: While you're boiling some farafelle pasta, stir-fry some peppers, onions, tempeh and carrots, seasoned with garlic, dill and lemon. Just before the pasta is done, throw some spinach into the water. Drain the pasta, put it back into the pot, add the tempeh and carrots, some avocado, and some tahini and soy sauce. Heat this mixture until the tahini coats everything and serve.

There are also lots of choices for ready-made vegetarian frozen dinners. I really like Boca lasagna and Morning Star corn dogs. They both also make vegetarian burgers. The Boca spicy black bean patties are awesome.

If you have a Whole Foods or a co-op grocery nearby, you'll generally find that they have the best selection for vegetarian fare and some of the best produce, although you pay a little more for it. If not, most of the corporate groceries are stocking a natural foods section these days.

Eating out: Thai and Chinese restaurants almost always have tofu, even if it isn't on the menu. Some places call it bean curd. Most of the time, they'll substitute the bean curd into any meat dish if you ask.

Stop eating fast food. This may be the hardest part, but it's probably the most important.

Do you have any vegetarian friends? Ask them to take you to their favourite restaurants or to cook for you.
posted by ijoshua at 1:10 PM on June 2, 2005


Let me amend my statement about restaurants - unless you like salads, you won't find much to eat at most chain fast food restaurants (although I believe Burger King has a veggie burger now). However, although no longer eating at fast food chains was a big adjustment for me when I made the switch, it made me feel healthy and self-disciplined.
posted by amro at 1:13 PM on June 2, 2005


If you're craving meat, Quorn fake-chicken nuggets are SO good. Oh. man are they good. I've heard other Quorn products are great as well, but I haven't gotten past the nuggets in the freezer case. They're packed with protein and easy to make in the microwave or oven.
posted by bonheur at 1:15 PM on June 2, 2005


I've been a vegetarian for about 7 years, and to be honest, it wasn't nearly as hard as I had expected. I thought it was going to be extremely difficult, since I LOVED fastfood/burgers/hotdogs/etc, and I'm not exactly a salad kind of guy. But after I found that fake meat tastes just as good as the real thing, and realizing how much healthier I felt after about a month having not eaten fast food, there was no looking back. The Lightlife stuff is great, Smart Dogs, Smart Bacon, and the Smart deli slices are quite tasty. I'm also partial to the Morningstar farms veggie chicken patties. Basically, there are a ton of different options, most of which they sell at normal grocery stores. You can certainly find more exotic (and excellent) veggie foods at Whole Foods, but it's rare that I am able to make it to one, and I don't have any problem finding plenty of things to eat at the normal supermarket.

Going out to eat can be hard sometimes, especially when all of your friends are going to the steakhouse, but you can usually find something to eat (mashed potatoes, mmmm)

Good luck!
posted by ilovebicuspids at 1:32 PM on June 2, 2005


I'll second whoever mentioned fruits and nuts for snacking. Nuts are good for protein, and I even like the unsalted ones from the baking aisle of the grocery. I always have a pound of walnuts in my cupboard. I also crushed nuts, fruit, and granola to some yogurt for a good veggie breakfast.

Also if you're as lazy a cook as I am, keep a lot of frozen veggies in your freezer. Not quite as healthy as fresh ones, but they're already cut, and you can buy them pre-mixed for different styles, then just season and throw on pasta, ramen, etc..
posted by p3t3 at 1:35 PM on June 2, 2005


the "complete protein" idea that Dallasfilm mentions dates back to the 60s, and has been completely discredited and was recanted by the original author. anyone who tries to tell you that they understand human nutrition passed the point of "eat a varied and moderate diet" is selling you something expensive. perhaps the one exception is that strict vegans need to take b12.

going vegetarian is a great way to discover the variously fantastic cuisines of the world. just walk into pretty much any ethnic restaurant and have a look. indian and thai are especially wonderful. if you enjoy cooking, vegweb is a good start for recipes.

don't rush the transition and soon you will start feeling healthier.
posted by paradroid at 1:38 PM on June 2, 2005


Tofu is overrated, since it takes so long to cook

Huh? Tofu cooks very quickly. Put it in stir fry with veggies or your pasta sauce or whatever... it's ready in minutes just like anything else in the pot. Or, put it on a grill in half-inch thick strips and it cooks about the same rata as a burger, though it's best marinated.

Hell, I could be wrong, but I don't even think tofu has to be cooked. You can eat it raw though it doesn't taste that great.
posted by dobbs at 1:42 PM on June 2, 2005


I also want to go vegetarian but decided to do it in steps because I am a lousy cook and I knew if I got rid of all meat at once (I'm also a major carnivore) I would have a difficult time coming up with substitutes every day. It's really not easy because I hate tofu.

In January I stopped consuming dairy (except for ranch dressing), then in March I cut out all meats except chicken and fish. Hopefully by the end of summer those will be gone too. I've been eating more beans and I wholeheartedly second Jon-o with the Smart foods. I loooove the Smart bacon and soy crumbles. I'm also very big on soy cheese. I've tried seitan and didn't like it much but that could be due to my cooking limitations... I'll look into the Quorn, though.
posted by superkim at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2005


It's important to remember that vegetarian food is not automatically healthy or low fat. Eating cream-based sauces with pasta is less healthy than two ounces of lean meat with vegetables and rice. When I first became vegetarian (for health reasons) I was still eating pretty unhealthily. Now that I am mostly vegetarian (5-7 days a week) but focus more on cooking my own meals, I am eating much more healthily.

Good resources are important. Becoming Vegetarian is a fantastic resource with nutritional information, serving guides, and getting-started recipies. I recommend getting it and some other cookbooks from your public library, rather than investing right away. You can search around for some recipes that are easy, learn about bean and grain cooking, and find the book that you keep coming back to without outlaying lots of cash on what is essentially an experiment.

Amazing Grains, The New Laurel's Kitchen, and any of the Moosewood books will get you underway with your standard North-American veggie fare.
posted by carmen at 2:00 PM on June 2, 2005


you may be extra gassy or constipated, and not feel as full as you used to...let us know what happens--it's a healthy experiment (and if you eat more salads and roughage it'll clean you out a little)
posted by amberglow at 2:35 PM on June 2, 2005


Be wary of veggie hotdogs, my friend. Very wary. There's abundant ickiness out there masquerading as faux hotdog.
Now, the good news is that Morningstar Farms mini corn dogs are marvelous. Not just the best veggie corn dogs I ever encountered; they're among the best corn dogs I've ever had, veggie or otherwise. And I love me some corn dogs.
Other tips: start looking for other places to eat. There are loads of little ethnic joints all around NYC where you can find all sorts of new, exciting food with no meat.
Find a vegetarian Indian place; they are abundant and delicious (samosas are your friends).
Find a Jamaican bakery (just walk down Flatbush Ave) and ask them for a veggie patty sandwiched between two pieces of coco bread (seriously, don't miss that combo. and if you go back to the carnivoring, try it with a beef patty).
Chinatown has a great many dumplings that you can enjoy.
Find a Greek place that makes spinach pies in phyllo dough.
Go to Pommes Frittes on 2nd ave (I think; it's been a while) and get some kickass french fries.
The possibilities are endless.
posted by willpie at 2:48 PM on June 2, 2005


Don't underestimate the possibility of eating the same kinds of things you eat now, only in vegetarian form. I live in New Mexico, and between veggie chorizo (Melissa's makes some called "soyrizo", it's quite affordable and convincing) and homemade black bean filling for tacos/enchiladas/burritos/etc, I am able to eat most of my favorite foods. Spaghetti and Texas-style chili are some other foods that are just as good (if not better) when made the vegetarian way.

Also, learn to make some vegetarian staples: soups, curries, stir-fry, and pasta dishes all lend themselves to vegetarian preparation, and they're quick and easy to make. Staple ingredients also make life a lot easier. I keep lots of canned tomatoes and beans (garbanzo, black, red, and pinto) in the pantry at all times, along with rice, pasta, dried red lentils, potatoes, onion, olive oil, and garlic. I can think of probably twenty great dishes I can make from just these ingredients and some spices. Add a few fresh veggies, and you've got a lot of potential variety, with very little cost.
posted by vorfeed at 2:57 PM on June 2, 2005


I don't know why so many people think it's hard to be vegetarian. It isn't. There's always something to eat at restaurants and there are plenty of things to cook at home.

Just give up meat for a while, and then when eat it again and you'll notice how shitty your body feels and how your stomach will hurt for like three days afterwards. Then you'll give up meat for good, and not look back.
posted by elisabeth r at 3:17 PM on June 2, 2005


Unlike everyone else in this thread I despise fake meat and soy cheese, they taste nothing like the originals IMHO. I still have no problem eating a primarily vegetarian diet though. It sounds like you don't cook much, so my tips assume you won't be preparing three hot meals a day.
- Eat plenty of fat. You are accustomed to eating food that takes a long time to digest, so you're bound to feel hungry more on a vegetarian diet unless you include a lot of fat. That means nuts, olive oil, avocado, etc. plus eggs and dairy if you're including that. Go crazy on the vegetable-based fats, you're still probably getting less fat than you would eating fast food and they're heart-healthy.
- Eat snacks. Handfuls of cocktail nuts, chips and guac, edamame, hummus and pita, trail mix, peanut butter pretzels, fruits, bean dip, toast. Having something quick and easy on hand will help you stay away from fast food.
- When you crave meat, take a multivitamin (for the B vitamins and iron) and eat a hunk of protein, like eggs or tofu.
- If you love junk food, it will be much easier if you sometimes eat veggie junk food. Chili cheese fries can be vegetarian, so can pizza or burritos.
- Soups are easy, filling, often include a variety of vegetables and can be heated in minutes. Stock up on some good canned ones.
Good luck.
posted by cali at 3:19 PM on June 2, 2005


Morning Star breaded Chik patties are pretty much indistinguishable from the real thing. Quorn is pretty good too.
posted by abcde at 3:21 PM on June 2, 2005


Francis Moore Lappe's characterization of it being difficult and complicated for vegetarians to get complete proteins in Diet for a Small Planet in 1971 was bunkum and has been widely discredited. Lappe himself renounced it by 1982.

I think it's still worth mentioning that one of the reasons it's key for vegetarians to eat a varied diet is to get complete proteins. I think calling for no mention of the concept is a backlash going too far.

One thing to watch out for that people haven't mentioned: socializing. If you want to go wholly without meat for a month, and your friends are omnivores, realize that your diet can complicate dining plans and a hell of a lot of socializing is tied to food. You're going to have to plan ahead in a way you're not used to. (And don't trust any non-vegetarians who assure you there are plenty of vegetarian options, because those options could be all starch all the time.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:21 PM on June 2, 2005


I was vegetarian for about 3 years in my 20s, and I reverted back to my meat-eating ways -- I never, ever, ever lost my meat cravings, even though I've always liked fruits and vegs and grains just fine. Part of this I think is just how my appetite is wired; part of it, however, is that I didn't plan my meals (and specifically my protein intake) particularly well for myself, as Zed and others have made it clear is so important. My main sources of protein were eggs, beans & rice, and peanut butter (not at the same time!), and occasionally veggie burgers, lentils, or tofu. So yeah, technically there were always plenty of options to eat in the short run that didn't include meat (when in doubt, there's always salad or baked potatoes!), but in the long run I was really missing something nutritionally in terms of adequate protein/fats, as well as experientially in terms of substituting for the tastes/textures of meat/fish.

None of which means I'm trying to tell you not to go vegetarian (though I would argue it's certainly possible to have a perfectly healthy diet that includes lean meat and fish and avoids fast food, which is how I eat now) -- just wanted to give you a sense of the pitfalls I faced when I gave up meat entirely.
posted by scody at 5:04 PM on June 2, 2005


I think access to good food is important when going veg. You mention that you live in Brooklyn. Do you have access to Park Slope? The food coop there has the freshest fruits and vegetables that I've had in this city. It's inexpensive, the produce is locally grown, and they have no lack of veggie food there. You WILL eat healthy if you shop there. Go check it out. Its worth it even if you have to drive/ride to get there.
posted by lovejones at 5:58 PM on June 2, 2005


I'm in the process of going vegan (after several years as a lacto-ovo vegetarian). This is a tougher transition for me because I've always liked cheese and other dairy products. I've found a few things really helped:

* Buy a couple of good cookbooks. I like How It All Vegan. Don't be scared off from this because it's vegan and you don't plan to give up dairy/eggs. It contains tons of hearty recipes and the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever made.

* Stock your kitchen with the staples from your cookbooks. I always keep flour, olive oil, brown rice, soy milk, pasta, a variety of nuts, garlic, onion, potato and carrots around, for example. This helps me cook on the spur of the moment. If I decide I want pancakes right now dammit, I can have them in 20 minutes. This reduces my temptation to go out and eat convenience food, which tends not to fit the parameters of my diet.

* Focus on all the good stuff you can cook or buy to eat. Don't focus on what you aren't going to eat. Doing that just makes you feel deprived, but if you do your research you really won't be depriving yourself healthwise or tastewise.
posted by rhiannon at 7:10 PM on June 2, 2005


Someone may have already mentioned it but you also want to do a somewhat gradual transition not only to ease cravings. If you go straight from your current diet to vegetarian you digestive system will be thrown into havoc. I believe this is also the reason vegetarians feel bad after eating meat. I was a near vegetarian for a number of years but would crave pizza about once every three months and down a large pepperoni. Soon after I would pass out cold. I figure my system was just overwhelmed by the sudden fat infusion.
posted by Carbolic at 7:10 PM on June 2, 2005


Before I went vegetarian 20 years ago I also loved the taste of meat and hated fruits and vegetables. My mantra was "I can't be a vegetarian, I love meat and hate vegetables." But I finally decided to live according to what was important to me, and my stomach followed suit. I still have trouble getting as much fruit as I should, but I love vegetables now - except for eggplant, which is horrid - and never feel any urge to taste meat again. The "irony" is that my diet was much more restricted when I was eating meat than it is now - I eat a greater variety of foods today.

However, if it's for a short-term experiment, I wouldn't expect your tastes to change too quickly. You may want to lean on the meat analogues earlier on, but if you continue with this, you'll find that the whole notion of a meal centered around one major protein source is kind of a silly tradition - there are many other ways to create meals.

Zed_Lopez is right about the complete proteins thing - while Lappe originally made it out to be much more difficult to do, with the every-single-meal nonsense, the basic fact does still remain that plant proteins ultimately need to be combined, and there's nothing wrong with saying so - but it bears mentioning that it's Frances, not Francis.
posted by soyjoy at 7:27 PM on June 2, 2005


You may find this Ask MeFi thread of great use to you.
posted by WCityMike at 8:18 PM on June 2, 2005


I went veggie 5 years ago, and I still don't like vegetables. I eat lots of fake meat and it's probably terrible for me. Good luck :)
posted by sdis at 8:22 PM on June 2, 2005


-Eat vegtarian Indian food. It's so good you won't miss the meat.

-If you eat so much fast food for the convenience, you could try Amy's Kitchen products. They're frozen and canned organic vegetarian food and some of it is really good. Of special recommendation: the canned chili, and the lasagna. Plus most of the frozen things have vegetables in them.

-You can make a fine sandwich with mayo, cheese, avocado slices, bean sprouts, onions and tomato. I've also heard people say that grilling a portabella mushroom and putting it on a bun seems like a hamburger, but you won't be fooled. But do learn the love of mushrooms.

-I used to make a good salad with just lettuce, tomatos, those florescent yellow canned banana pepper slices, a little shredded mozzarella and this fake meat from horizon that resembled spicy chicken nuggets. (But the non-spicy ones are pretty terrible, imho.
posted by leapingsheep at 1:42 AM on June 3, 2005


yeah, I definitely agree with the endorsement of Amy's frozen foods. or, heck, even their canned soups and the like. i've had great success with just about all of their products.

really, not eating meat isn't that hard so long as you don't think of meat as an option. don't think about what you're not eating; just concentrate on what you can. when i stopped eating the animals 13 years ago, i found that i expanded my diet into new foods just by default, and obviously i was much better off for it.

ethnic cuisines are really where it's at. if you want fast food, you can get veggie sushi or a samosa or a bean burrito or falafel -- so on and so forth.

people have said a lot about fake meat on here. while i think the idea is pretty gross, a lot of my veggie (and non-veggie) friends are big fans. just be willing to try stuff, and don't get discouraged if you don't like it. personally, i've never once had the desire to eat meat again. but then, i do love a good pb&j. :)
posted by 5500 at 9:54 AM on June 3, 2005


If you are willing to give the sim-meat a shot, there are several stores in chinatown that sell an incerdible variety of stuff, from fake beef jerky to roast pork. My all time favorite is the fake duck. It comes remarkably close...
posted by lovejones at 10:26 AM on June 3, 2005


Until a few years ago I was a carnivore, and fake meat helped me make the switch. A note about Quorn products - these all used to be made using battery eggs. They seem to have started to switch to free range, but check the label, as the majority still seem to be battery.
I put on weight, presumably through increased dairy and egg consumption, pasta too, so watch out for that.
I'd suggest going to a dedicated veg restaurant, or maybe go to a decent Chinese restaurant and have the veggy menu, as this will open you up to the posibilities of what can be done sans meat. The Chinese can do incredible things with tofu!
In the home, I don't crave meat at all any more. I don't even bother with meat substitutes these days. I only crave meat when eating with non-veggy people - e.g. Sunday Roast, someone having a nice steak in a restaurant. The flip side of that though is when I see someone eating a really dodgy burger or kebab and I thank god that I no longer crave that sort of crap.

Making the switch has really opened me up to a huge range of dishes that I'd never have bothered with had I still been meat obsessed, and for that I don't regret it one bit. It is only ever a problem when you go to a restaurant where their idea of having vegetarian options on the menu is to have a dish consisting of pasta and some bland tomato sauce.

I should mention the single most annoying and frustrating thing about veggy - having to explain to people, seemingly every fucking day, why it is that you are vegetarian. Having to justify it all the time. Explaining why I don't eat organic meat, why I don't eat fish; and now that I do eat fish I have to explain why it is that I do eat fish and not other animals. It gets on your tits.
posted by chill at 3:56 PM on June 3, 2005


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