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I am a 30 something mom and we have a blended family of five children. My husband and my children are non vegan. I had decided to challenge myself to a completely vegetarian diet for a month. I realized after researching there are different levels of what is considered a vegetarian. There are those that eat eggs and dairy, those that eat no products that come from animals and those that only eat raw veggies. I decided to ease into it slow and keep dairy and eggs in my diet. Initially my body did not adjust well to the diet change, or what I call the healthy eating lifestyle. My tummy was a bloated, painful mess. Not good at all...
About 2 weeks into this I discovered tummy helpers like herbal peppermint tea or herbal ginger tea. This seemed to help if I drank it a few times a day before and sometimes after eating. I have since gone to adding some meat back into my diet, but I do notice a distinct difference in how I feel. Some of the concerns or things I note are;
* I feel more sluggish having meat in my diet.
* I worry about getting enough Iron, I have a past history of Anemia.
* Having a vegetarian diet seems to be more expensive and creating a separate meal for myself is a challenge when making dinners for such a large family
* I don't stay full for very long on a vegetarian diet. I don't want to feel hungry at 10pm at night and go to the fridge and eat a salad it's just not appealing that often.
*I stuggle letting go of fast food habits and the limited choices there are for vegetarians when eating out.
Just some thoughts/issues I've been struggling with and maybe some thoughts from others that made the challenging transisition would help me. Maybe being vegetarian is right for me and I just need some support and motivation.
Glad to be part of this online community. I really enjoy reading all the important, informative discussions/post.
just shopped, am starting out too. a few tips that may help:
buy seasonal veggies, keeps costs down. also-dry beans are super cheap and taste better than canned. just soak overnite.
Dr. praeger veggie burgers are the bomb. quick and satisfying.
I cut up some radishes and carrots, and made some homemade pickles for noshing. not exciting, but better than nothing. Popcorn is great too. Ryvita toasts with avocado is good too.
i am going to try to make one vegan chil with some tvp crumbles and see if i can't fool my husband. (not vegan). i am curious how other marrieds are handling this. My vegan friend who has a child feeds him everything. meat products he asks for she uses organic and free range.
i hope you get a lot responses. Good luck., maybe try reading some material that can motivate you in making the right choice for you.
Johanna - have you read The Kind Diet? This is a great site, but it is partially designed as a companion to the book. What are you eating, what does a typical day look like? You may not be eating enough calories. However, you may also just be adjusting - for about two weeks I was ravenous all the time, then it leveled off. In terms of 'labels' - there are vegetarians who eat dairy and/or eggs and/or fish, there are vegans (who eat no animal products), and then you can start getting into raw foodists and macro diets and all sorts of other things. Many people find it easiest to start as vegetarian, and maybe stay there. I will say this - there is a lot of information out there about the detrimental health aspects of dairy. If you are primarily trying to be healthier in body, you may want to consider cutting out dairy at some point. Your bloating should decrease with time as your body adjusts, just like the hunger should, if you are eating a well-rounded diet. Vegetarian is actually often cheaper than an omnivore diet, but it does depend on what you are buying. I would suggest than you make some wonderful vegetarian or vegan sides for your family's meal, then add their animal portion. In reality, even people who eat animals should also be eating vegetable and grain sides and those certainly do not require meat or cheese or butter. Then, all you have to do is have an entree for yourself, which could be a soup or stew or bean dish or whatever. You could make a large bean dish that will last a few days, then cook veggie sides for everyone everyday. Iron - again, read the book, and check out food sources of iron. Given your history, I can't personally suggest how much iron you might need, but you should become familiar with plant sources of iron. Anyway, I hope this gives you some ideas.
Here are a couple links, but there's plenty more out there:
And it's not surprising you fell sluggish after adding meat back in. Animal products as a whole, but dairy in particular, are just not good for your overall health.
I agree with Hazel. Check out the book!
I think its also pretty easy to work the same elements of a veggie dinner with a non-veggie one. Maybe make a pasta dish with lots of veggies and add meat to the fam's. I make black bean quesadillas/burritos and my husband doesn't miss the meat in the dishes at all. If it's good they eat it!
I know what you mean about feeling sluggish after eating meat. Once going vegetarian and vegan you feel so much more light. When I was trying it out I'd have a piece of meat occasionally and the next day I'd feel gross.
And if you want to let go of fast food habits watch Fast Food Nation. After seeing that movie I never had a burger again!
Best of luck!
Hi Johanna- I understand the challange of cooking vegan with a non-vegan family. I suggest making meals where meat is not the center of the meal, but instead a add on for the other members of the family. I usually make my meals centered around lots of veggies and grains, and if the meat eaters want a small piece of meat to go with it that is thier choice. In my family we have lots of tostadas where others can add beef if they choose, or a veggie pasta dish and your family can have meat on the side if they want. Also, my family has really cut down on thier meat consumtion since I have become vegan. Good luck and I definately agree with the other coments that you should read The Kind Life!
As far as your anemia is concerned, I have been anemic my entire life. One month after going vegan, I had a dr.'s appointment and the usual tests, etc. For the first time in 25 years, I was NOT anemic! The iron that I was getting from plant sources was able to be absorbed and used so much better than iron from meat, which is apparently the case for many people. So don't be concerned about anemia, because your body may just take better to plant iron!
Kat - I did add in all the dry beans at first, lentils also. I'm certain this added to my painful, bloating issue the first few weeks. So I cut back. Where do you buy the Dr Preager Veggie Burgers at?
Hazel - I hadn't read the book yet and I will definitely go get it and start reading it.
Today was a pretty typical start. Breakfast: oatmeal with almond butter and cinnamon, brown sugar. Lunch: Salad w/ tomatoes, cucumber, mushrooms, onion. Dijon honey dressing. Veggie soup with pasta in it. Dinner: Thinking pasta with mixture of veggies and alfredo sauce.
Does that sound like good choices? I feel like I'm just running out of good sounding ideas for meals. Wondering if maybe I'm not making well-rounded choices consistantly enough. I think it's also a bit of a challenge to change the mind set that I was raised with in viewing vegtable and grain dishes not as a main entree but only a side dish to the main entree. My mom always raised me stating every meal needed to include three catagories. Meat, Veggie, and starch. I guess it's kind of a sense of having to undo past brain-washing??
June - The black bean burritos sound pretty good. Going to have to watch Fast Food Nation. It's sound familiar, I just haven't seen it yet. Wonder if Netflix has it...
Ashley - I can definitely tell we have cut down on our household meat consumption. If I do add poultry or fish to meal it's actually what a serving size should be, not a huge portion of the meal and I haven't purchased or had any beef or pork products in our household in over a month. Plus my hubby now brings a salad to work everyday to eat with his lunch. So this transition I started has definitely help the family on the whole eat more healthy.
Dani - The biggest item I try to have everyday is spinach, because I know it's higher in Iron. I defintiely need to research for certain and find more variety of iron sources. I would think it would be easier for your body to process the iron found in plant sources then the iron from meat sources though.
I'll say "Ditto" to Dani's post about anemia. Had it for years and years and tried to take the traditional iron tablets. Boy, talk about messing up the body...those things are harsh! I had blood work done last year and SURPRISE....not anemic anymore. I told my doctor I had simply gone to an plant based diet and even often eat greens like spinach and kale in my morning smoothies. You will get all the iron you need from legumes, beans and veggies. It seems our culture is plagued with the idea that we can't get enough vitamins and minerals without eating meat and dairy/eggs. Simply NOT true! Most of the suggested requirements are too high also....I seriously think it's to sell the trillions of vitamins consumed by Americans that would totally unnecessary if they ate whole real food. Due to my age, sex and family history, I do add "Green Calcium" and hydrilla verticillta green powder to my smoothies for extra calcium. One tablespoon gives 62.4% of the daily suggested requirement. I also like "Amazing Meal"...another protein/greens/ fruit and veggie powder. I add them to my smoothies, sprinkle it on my fruit, or just stir it in later or juice. Both available at Whole Foods.