Becoming Vegetarian and Learning What to Eat 

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What Do You Like? 

When my son was young, he came to me one day and said, "Mom, people are always asking me what I eat. Do they think we don't eat?" I can assure you, vegetarians eat! If you are planning on becoming vegetarian, you need to know what to eat.

Right now, you probably make meat the focus of your meals. If your brain can't wrap itself around the idea of making vegetables the focus, start replacing meat with meat substitutes available at your supermarket. The ground meat-type granules can be used in sauces, casseroles and stews. Tube type faux ground "meat" and "pork" are great for loafs (like meatloaf), burgers and patties. I have used vegetarian faux meat products at meals when no one suspected I wasn't serving the real thing.

Vegetarian Meals

On becoming a vegetarian here are some meals you can make or purchase.

Breakfasts might consist of fruit, cereal with soy, almond, rice, or coconut beverage, meatless links and patties, breads and biscuits, waffles or pancakes (with egg substitute), or soy yogurt.

Lunches could be bean burritos or tostadas, meatless veggie pizza, soup and salad, baked potato, veggie sandwich with or without faux lunchmeat and faux cheese, falafel pitas, or vegetable spring rolls.

Dinners could include pastas, spaghetti squash, vegetable stews, chili, stir fry with rice, baked eggplant, casseroles, and Spanish rice. Any of these can be made with or without a faux meat product.



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Veggie Pizza 

Coping with Vegetarianism in a  Meat-Eating World

Have you been thinking about becoming a vegetarian but don't know how you will survive in a meat eating world? Unless some of your friends and family are vegetarians, getting started can be challenging. There are a few things that you can do to make it easier.

Do you do the grocery shopping and cooking or does someone else?

  • If you shop and cook, your effort towards becoming a vegetarian just got easier. There are beaucoup vegetarian cookbooks, websites, and videos full of help.
  • Meat substitutes are great during the transition period. Many of the favorite recipes you use right now can be made with faux meat products from your local store. If your store doesn't carry them, ask them to.

Does someone else do the cooking at your house? When other people are involved during the time when you are becoming a vegetarian, some type of understanding needs to be reached.

  • Be honest with the cook. Give your reasons for wanting to change your eating habits. Then, ask for consideration of your wishes when he or she is preparing a meal.
  • You may need to do some of the food preparation yourself to get what you want.

Help with Dinner

Polo Morales

Do you often eat out with friends and business associates? When I was becoming a vegetarian, I would sometimes fudge.

  • If you find yourself in a difficult situation, do what you have to do. Then, get back on track.
  • You will probably fall off the wagon at some point (pepperoni pizza, dinner with in-laws). After a few vegetarian months under your belt, sticking to it won't be so difficult.
  • Whenever possible, choose restaurants with options for you. You can look at menus on-line. When you're becoming a vegetarian someone is sure to ask why you're not eating meat. You can respond with something like, "I'm trying to eat healthier."

"If you want a place in the sun, you must leave the shade of the family tree."  Osage Saying

Invite a Vegan Friend to a Family Dinner

What if you have a parent or spouse who insists that you eat meat? You may find yourself in a situation where someone who controls what you eat can't be convinced that becoming a vegetarian is a good choice for you.

  • If insisting on eating the way you choose isn't an option, then accept your situation in the presence of the other person, but load up on the good stuff (vegetables) and decrease the bad (meat).
  • Get hold of some literature (books, fliers, website info.) and leave it lying around.
  • Invite a vegetarian friend to your house for dinner. Find one you think they will like.

Vegetarian Challenges

Becoming a vegetarian can be challenging. Old temptations draw you in. If you eat something off target once a month or even once a week, you can still consider yourself a vegetarian. Like smoking, to fully escape the old meat habits you have to stop eating meat at some point. Rest assured, you will love your new way of eating as much as the old once you get used to it. Someday you'll smell meat cooking and think, "That smells disgusting."

Copyright © 2012 The Perfect Diet Cookbook, LLC.  All rights reserved. 


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