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#1 Edited by deadmoscow (262 posts) -

So after some consideration this past weekend, I decided I would try switching over to a vegetarian diet. There were a lot of reasons for this. For one, I spent several months living in India after I graduated from college, and felt completely fantastic after three months on an all-veg diet. Second, meat is expensive! I'm a grad student now and I'm broke as a joke pretty much all the time, so I wouldn't mind saving money on the grocery bill month to month by buying lentils instead of pork, or whatever. Third, factory farming is kind of gross and unsustainable, but that topic is a huge can of worms I don't really feel like opening here. Really, the best ever reason to go vegetarian is this: the RZA is a noted vegetarian, and he's the sharpest motherfucker in the whole Clan. Think about it.

So hey, vegetarian duders! Help me out here - what's the most difficult part about transitioning to a vegetarian diet? I imagine I might take occasional jaunts into veganism here and there, but I don't know that I could ever give up yogurt and cheese, and I find a lot of dairy substitutes to be kind of weird and gross. Any good staple recipes to help maintain a healthy protein intake? I'm not terribly interested in imitation meats like faux turkey or faux ground beef, I'd rather just eat some dang beans and lentils or whatever.

Also, let's cut this off at the pass before a bunch of jerks come in and try to ruin this thread - I don't care if you think going vegetarian isn't "manly" or I should just quit crying about the planet and eat a damn steak or something. I also don't think this is the place for deep discussion about the ethics and environmental effects of factory farming. Let's keep both extremes out of here and just chill out and discuss meat-free lifestyles.

#2 Posted by Lysergica33 (523 posts) -

Nuts, beans and lentils should have you sorted for protein. Nuts are one of the greatest sources of protein out there. A handful of pistachio's or cashews every hour will see you through. Also I'd recommend going the whole hog and quitting dairy for a week at some point just to see how much better your body will feel for it. Then once you've done that, eat some super mature blue cheese just to see how fucking sick it makes you. Nasty, nasty poison!
Aside from that, eat more raw fruit and veg. A whole cucumber to yourself is one of the greatest breakfasts known to man. Totally gets your day off to a good start, can't recommend it enough!

I eat a lot of lentil and tomato based curries too with plenty of chilli and a variety of vegetables.

#3 Edited by Jams (2960 posts) -

@deadmoscow: don't worry, you didn't try to berate anyone who ate meat so you'll be safe here. The only time I have a problem is when someone try's to push their logic, morals and ideals on me

#4 Posted by bibamatt (1086 posts) -

Good work duder! I'll add to this discussion more thoroughly later when I'm not on the mobile site. But well done for making the change!

#5 Posted by Jay_Ray (1082 posts) -

I'd be a vegetarian if Steak and bacon weren't awesome tasting. So deadmoscow good luck, I couldn't do it.

#6 Posted by AiurFlux (902 posts) -

I don't know how you did it. I tried going vegetarian for a month a couple of years ago basically to improve my diet after my doctor recommended it for a stomach problem and I felt weak and lethargic during the entire time. I'm in good shape and take care of myself but it just did not work with me. Maybe I didn't get enough protein or something even though I was eating quite a bit of lentils and beans. But when working out I really felt like shit.

#7 Edited by EpicSteve (6483 posts) -

Meat isn't expensive. I just bought 5 pounds of chicken breasts for $9. Just mind you eating meat is how we were built to grow. But if you insist on weirdness, at least buy a 5lb jug of Whey Protein. They're about $50 and last a month if you do the suggested 3 servings a day.

#8 Posted by TooWalrus (13178 posts) -

I appreciate a vegetarian who is so due to just about any reason other than "animals have souls and are cute so how could you eat them." I've done it for a few months (well, I suppose I was still eating fish), and yeah, it felt pretty great. Lately though, I definitely think eating a lot of chicken breast, and steak once a week or so definitely works better for me.

Online
#9 Edited by Nightriff (5027 posts) -

Respect your decision but I love me a burger. Good luck to you sir

#10 Posted by deadmoscow (262 posts) -

@jams said:

@deadmoscow: don't worry, you didn't try to berate anyone who ate meat so you'll be safe here. The only time I have a problem is when someone try's to push their logic, morals and ideals on me

Right! I don't want to be a jerk to a dude who wants to eat a burger. I don't think anyone has ever been converted to being a vegetarian by PETA kooks - it just has to come to you on its own.

#11 Posted by Flacracker (1661 posts) -

#12 Posted by Animasta (14675 posts) -

@flacracker:actually if they eat only meat than they should be a part of a support group because that shit aint healthy either.

or you were just trying to be funny because vegetarians care about their diet and you don't O:

but OP, rock on dude! wish I could but my diet is so shit that I don't think I could give up the one thing that's actually mildly healthy about it :P

#13 Edited by Jams (2960 posts) -

A whole cucumber to yourself is one of the greatest man.

WHAT?

#14 Edited by FunkasaurasRex (847 posts) -

@deadmoscow said:

Really, the best ever reason to go vegetarian is this: the RZA is a noted vegetarian, and he's the sharpest motherfucker in the whole Clan.

If anyone ever asks you why you're a vegetarian, this is the answer.

Or if you wanna be real hardcore, tell 'em it's because of Masta Killa and perform the final verse of Da Mystery of Chessboxin' in its entirety.

#15 Posted by Tomorrowman (150 posts) -

Hummus is the best, man. And I know you're not into the faux stuff, but the spicey chicken patties in the fake meat section are pretty banging. The heat covers up the soy. Same with fake buffalo chicken.

#16 Edited by Lysergica33 (523 posts) -

@jams said:

@lysergica33 said:

A whole cucumber to yourself is one of the greatest man.

WHAT?

Mm, phallic symbolism! Delicious!

Hummus is the best, man.

Seconding this for great justice!

#18 Posted by deadmoscow (262 posts) -

Hummus is the best, man.

I will annihilate some hummus. daaaaaaaaaamn

#19 Posted by Apparatus_Unearth (3149 posts) -

Hummus.

Rice.

Beans.

Grapefruit.

You're set.

#21 Edited by gla55jAw (2688 posts) -

I'm not a vegetarian, but make sure you're getting enough protein. The vegetable sources of protein are no where near that of meat, chicken and poultry. I think you'll be okay since you're not going vegan. Eat alot of cottage cheese, and maybe buy some whey protein. The only thing that worries me is soy. Some say it's good some say it's bad. Plus it's expensive as hell, and so are vegetables. You might wind up spending more, but good luck duder!

Nuts, beans and lentils should have you sorted for protein. Nuts are one of the greatest sources of protein out there. A handful of pistachio's or cashews every hour will see you through. Also I'd recommend going the whole hog and quitting dairy for a week at some point just to see how much better your body will feel for it. Then once you've done that, eat some super mature blue cheese just to see how fucking sick it makes you. Nasty, nasty poison!

Aside from that, eat more raw fruit and veg. A whole cucumber to yourself is one of the greatest breakfasts known to man. Totally gets your day off to a good start, can't recommend it enough!

I eat a lot of lentil and tomato based curries too with plenty of chilli and a variety of vegetables.

Nuts are a good source, but are not the greatest. You have to eat a half a cup of them to get about 10 grams of protein, which is OK. Also, you have to eat raw unsalted, otherwise it's not good for you.

A whole cucumber sounds great to me, but as breakfast? Doesn't that make you hungry 20 minutes later? You're starting your day and metabolism off with maybe 50 calories and a small amount of carbs.

#22 Posted by bombedyermom (228 posts) -

I've been vegetarian for six weeks. I miss a good steak, but the sweet juices of dead animal pale in comparison to how much better I feel. Raw produce does amazing things. Spinach, carrots, apples, etc. Just chow down. Be wary of sudden shifts in your food sources. I had poutine last week and felt like I got run over by a truck. Good luck, and persevere.

#23 Posted by RPGee (759 posts) -

I've thought about giving it a try, implementing more fruit and veg into my diet and less snack foods. It's been doing alright recently, making me feel a bunch healthier, although I don't think I'll personally give up meat anytime soon. I think I'll need to start exploring the front of my supermarket/Google, seeing what I could start substituting in for other junk.

#24 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

A guy I work with just went vegan. After a couple weeks he looks like shit. His face has a grayish tinge and he always looks exhausted. Whatever he's doing, he aint doing it right.

#25 Posted by deadmoscow (262 posts) -

@gla55jaw: I can get down on some whey protein powder for sure. Some people can't stand the taste, but I don't mind it mixed into milk. You can also make some pretty excellent homemade protein bars with them as well, that aren't nearly as bad for you as some of that powerbar stuff can be.

@mcghee: The dude is definitely missing some nutrients. It is absolutely possible to get every nutrient a body needs and then some with a vegan diet, as long as you're not a dummy about it.

#26 Posted by Turtlebird95 (2365 posts) -

I'd consider myself mostly a vegetarian, I do eat McDonald's chicken but hey that probably isn't real chicken anyway. Good luck on your diet, I don't know much about foods so I can't really be of assistance.

#27 Edited by mordukai (7150 posts) -

what's the most difficult part about transitioning to a vegetarian diet?

I just recently went back on my vegetarian diet after 7 years of eating meat and I found out, to my surprise, that it's much more difficult for the people around me to coup with that change.

#28 Posted by Unilad (559 posts) -

Alright...I was a vegetarian for 3 years. I lost a lot of weight, but continued nonetheless as I was passionate about committing to it. However, I started playing Hockey and simply found it impossible to grow (never mind maintain) suitable muscle mass or simply sustain energy levels. My brother (who loves his meat) is a serious athlete and from the very beginning was against me going vegetarian. I insisted he was wrong, but in the end had to submit to his wiser word. It wasn't just sport either. I was always sluggish in every manner of daily activity compared to my carnivorous brethren.

Therefore I stopped. I started eating meat again and have never looked back. Not only did I grow suitable muscle mass for all manner of sports, but I just look healthier. My body naturally maintains more muscle and (to not put to finer point of it) I just look far more manly . As a side note, friends I know did find it difficult when wanting to eat out. The whole 'you gotta remember he's a vegetarian' situation. My friends always accommodated it, but I felt bad. Beer and wings was impossible. Also, this same principle applied when going out with girls.

Best of luck to you mate.

#29 Posted by Lysergica33 (523 posts) -

@gla55jaw said:

I'm not a vegetarian, but make sure you're getting enough protein. The vegetable sources of protein are no where near that of meat, chicken and poultry. I think you'll be okay since you're not going vegan. Eat alot of cottage cheese, and maybe buy some whey protein. The only thing that worries me is soy. Some say it's good some say it's bad. Plus it's expensive as hell, and so are vegetables. You might wind up spending more, but good luck duder!

@lysergica33 said:

Nuts, beans and lentils should have you sorted for protein. Nuts are one of the greatest sources of protein out there. A handful of pistachio's or cashews every hour will see you through. Also I'd recommend going the whole hog and quitting dairy for a week at some point just to see how much better your body will feel for it. Then once you've done that, eat some super mature blue cheese just to see how fucking sick it makes you. Nasty, nasty poison!

Aside from that, eat more raw fruit and veg. A whole cucumber to yourself is one of the greatest breakfasts known to man. Totally gets your day off to a good start, can't recommend it enough!

I eat a lot of lentil and tomato based curries too with plenty of chilli and a variety of vegetables.

Nuts are a good source, but are not the greatest. You have to eat a half a cup of them to get about 10 grams of protein, which is OK. Also, you have to eat raw unsalted, otherwise it's not good for you.

A whole cucumber sounds great to me, but as breakfast? Doesn't that make you hungry 20 minutes later? You're starting your day and metabolism off with maybe 50 calories and a small amount of carbs.

As breakfast, sure, in combination with some nuts, a glass of juice/smoothie and a bowl of cereal. Seriously though, cucumbers are the fucking greatest holy shit.

#30 Edited by Icemael (6317 posts) -

Rely mainly on soy products for your protein intake. Beans and lentils can be delicious but you don't want to eat that all the time, and there's a large variety of great soy products. Soy dogs, soy "meat"balls", soy schnitzel and soy nuggets all taste great, at least the brand that exists here in Sweden. I'm not vegetarian and never have been, and I still eat that shit constantly (way more often than their meat counterparts, in fact) just because I find it delicious.

#31 Posted by gla55jAw (2688 posts) -

@gla55jaw said:

I'm not a vegetarian, but make sure you're getting enough protein. The vegetable sources of protein are no where near that of meat, chicken and poultry. I think you'll be okay since you're not going vegan. Eat alot of cottage cheese, and maybe buy some whey protein. The only thing that worries me is soy. Some say it's good some say it's bad. Plus it's expensive as hell, and so are vegetables. You might wind up spending more, but good luck duder!

@lysergica33 said:

Nuts, beans and lentils should have you sorted for protein. Nuts are one of the greatest sources of protein out there. A handful of pistachio's or cashews every hour will see you through. Also I'd recommend going the whole hog and quitting dairy for a week at some point just to see how much better your body will feel for it. Then once you've done that, eat some super mature blue cheese just to see how fucking sick it makes you. Nasty, nasty poison!

Aside from that, eat more raw fruit and veg. A whole cucumber to yourself is one of the greatest breakfasts known to man. Totally gets your day off to a good start, can't recommend it enough!

I eat a lot of lentil and tomato based curries too with plenty of chilli and a variety of vegetables.

Nuts are a good source, but are not the greatest. You have to eat a half a cup of them to get about 10 grams of protein, which is OK. Also, you have to eat raw unsalted, otherwise it's not good for you.

A whole cucumber sounds great to me, but as breakfast? Doesn't that make you hungry 20 minutes later? You're starting your day and metabolism off with maybe 50 calories and a small amount of carbs.

As breakfast, sure, in combination with some nuts, a glass of juice/smoothie and a bowl of cereal. Seriously though, cucumbers are the fucking greatest holy shit.

OK, in a combination, I gottchya. That does sound like an awesome breakfast.

#32 Posted by gla55jAw (2688 posts) -

@gla55jaw: I can get down on some whey protein powder for sure. Some people can't stand the taste, but I don't mind it mixed into milk. You can also make some pretty excellent homemade protein bars with them as well, that aren't nearly as bad for you as some of that powerbar stuff can be.

@mcghee: The dude is definitely missing some nutrients. It is absolutely possible to get every nutrient a body needs and then some with a vegan diet, as long as you're not a dummy about it.

The taste really depends on the brand. I usually do half milk, half water if Ii'm just doing a straight up protein shake. I agree with you on the protein bars. I've made these a few times and they are awesome!

#33 Posted by Village_Guy (2546 posts) -

Meat was made for eating, you fools!

...

Good luck with your endeavor duder!

#34 Edited by matti00 (668 posts) -

My lady's a vegetarian, so since we moved I'm vegetarian by proxy, and I really haven't found it difficult at all. I could probably stand to get more protein, but I don't feel any different than before to be honest. I don't understand people who say they couldn't live without meat - nothing against them, perfectly valid thing to say - it just isn't how I've felt at all.

The only time it gets difficult is in foreign countries, just because it's hard to find stuff. Then I'll get my meat on.

#35 Posted by Davvyk (694 posts) -

I tried a "low meat" diet a while ago and lost a ton of weight but i think that was just because i struggled with changing my meals from the usual templates. The net result was i ate less.

#36 Posted by NinjaBerd (221 posts) -

I am not Lactase Persistant, so I consider myself 50% vegan. I've never tried going all the way, but I have to imagine the hardest part will be finding something to eat while you are out to dinner. But since you said you are broke you probably wont go out a lot.

Anyway, best of luck!

#37 Posted by Marcsman (3180 posts) -

I couldn't do it.

#38 Edited by crusader8463 (14419 posts) -

Best of luck to ya. I could never stop eating cheeseburgers and a pizza is not a pizza unless three different animals had to die for me to have all the toppings I like on it.

#39 Edited by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Is gin vegetarian? If so, I'm totally a vegetarian from 6PM Friday to 3PM Saturday.

#40 Edited by oraknabo (1457 posts) -

I've been vegan for 20 years. My advice to you is to cook a lot of your own foods and find a few restaurants you like and try to stick to whole foods as much as you can. Don't get roped into all of the vegetarian junk foods they sell at health food stores. If your diet is mainly fruits, vegetables, whole grains beans, nuts & seeds and you're getting enough calories, you really don't need to worry about protein at all.

I tracked all my food for 3 months on cronometer.com last year just to prove it to myself and even though my diet is about 75% carbs I not only got more than enough protein every day, I went over on every micronutrient requirement every single day.

I ate a lot of processed junk in the past even as a vegan and was consistently gaining 5-10 lbs a year. I finally cut out most oils and sugar and I lost 50 lbs in the last 6 months. Refined carbs and fats are really the worst thing about mass produced foods today and going vegetarian can really increase your intake of that kind of stuff if you're not careful.

EDIT: Also, I avoid vitamin supplements, but look into taking B12. It's an important vitamin from bacteria in dirt and meat eaters get more of it because animals still eat that bacteria. Human environments are too sterile these days for us to get it in our diets without meat, but if you're deficient in B12 it can fuck up your nervous system. Also get as much sun as you can to make sure you're getting vitamin D.

@flacracker: In 20 years I've never needed a support group, but you need to realize there is a ton of social pressure from your own friends and family when you first change your diet and I can see why those kinds of groups exist.

#41 Posted by deadmoscow (262 posts) -

Most of my friends are either vegetarian already, or they just aren't the type to go running around yelling "STEAK IS AWESOME WHOO SUCK IT DOWN" as soon as someone mentions not wanting to eat meat. Also, anybody with access to a decent-sized grocery store has abundant options for any possible dietary need, outside of stuff like gluten intolerances or whatever.

I have a pretty serious pet peeve for people who say things like "studies have shown such and such" without backing anything up. This has gotten worse since I started grad school for library and information science. Therefore! Here are two studies from the Cambridge Nutritional Society and the Georgetown University Medical Center that link a vegetarian or vegan diet with improved BMI, reduced mortality from heart disease, and improved management of non insuline dependent diabetes (NIDDM). Both should be available from Google Scholar in full-text.

@ravenlight: Gin is totally vegetarian, as long as you're not drinking Beefeater.

#42 Posted by Nekroskop (2786 posts) -

Whale is a vegetable, right?

#43 Edited by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

@ravenlight: Gin is totally vegetarian, as long as you're not drinking Beefeater.

Ahahahahaha xD

Followed.

#44 Posted by pyromagnestir (4301 posts) -

For a second I thought this was the Giant Bomb Vegeta Appreciation Station.

A meal is not complete without some sort of dead animal flesh involved, I say! (I'm partial to chicken and pig, myself. Cow also, but I've never been a big fan of steak. Hamburger is alright though.) I dare any vegan out there to prove me wrong! RZA be damned!

But hey, if it works for you then good luck!

#45 Posted by theguy (796 posts) -

Why would going vegetarian make you feel better? Is is just that you're getting the amount of fruit and veg you should be anyway? I mean we're supposed to eat meat.

#46 Posted by psylah (2170 posts) -

I'm a highly active vegetarian.

My secret is that I eat the animals that eat all of the plants.

Works great.

#47 Posted by deadmoscow (262 posts) -

@theguy: Why are we "supposed" to eat meat? As animals we originally adapted to an omnivorous diet, but nowadays we have the capability to easily get all the nutrients we need without eating other animals. Just because I can do something doesn't mean I'm supposed to. Personally I believe there are health benefits to a vegetarian diet, and the studies I linked to in my previous post can confirm that, and with a great deal of authority to back them up.

@psylah: Great job! Good post! Ron Swanson, am I right guys?

#48 Posted by Conzed92 (166 posts) -

@deadmoscow:

Hey dude, awesome that you are taking a stance on what you are willing to eat. I assume that you are american, and yes, god, you have an awful, industrialized food system which is more of a danger to public health than a service. However, going vegetarian is not something one just does, cutting out animal products has some serious ramifications on ones health. First of all, are you playing on continuing the consumption of grains? Grains... Well, you could call them the downfall of man really, they are not something you want to consume all to readily. They contain phytic acid, lectins and gluten, each component is something that has a detrimental effect on your health. A good step when going vegetarian is cutting out these. Why? Well because a vegetarian will have less nutrition per gram of food ingested, animal foods are more nutritious per gram than plants, that is just the way it is, no way around it. Therefore, you will have to maximize your nutrient absorption, which if you consume grains as a part of dietary stables, will be impaired. This is mostly caused by lectins and phytic acid, IF you do not have any kind of gluten intolerance or celiac disease. IF you do have this, then you really MUST avoid grains at all costs, meaning wheat, rye, barley, spelt etc. Rice is also a grain, it just does not fall into the same family of grains, therefore making it much more optimal for regular consumption (actually, rice are, in moderation, an excellent carbohydrate). Same goes for quinoa.

Being vegetarian does also pose a potential risk for a serious deficiency in vital fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin A, D, E and K. Some people argue that beta-caroten (found in plants), the precursor to retinol (vitamin A) can will provide sufficient material for a person to convert readily amount of vitamin A inside the body. However, studies are unfortunately showing that this process is often impaired in a wide variety of people, therefore exposing them to the risk of developing retinol deficiency, which is running rampant in the third world and causing child blindness etc. Vitamin A is deadly important, not only for good eye sight, but for general health. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin which is not a vitamin but actually a pro-hormone has around 3000 vitamin-D dependent receptors in the body, that is a lot, and you seriously do not want to risk running low on this vitamin. Why? I assume you are a male, and that you treasure your manhood. Low vitamin D levels are directly linked with low testosterone levels, possibly due to the fact that vitamin D acts as a pro-hormone when synthesized in the body, and playing a role in testosterone production. Also vitamin D is essential for keeping calcium in your bones and not in your blood vessels (so is vitamin K). Many cancers are also being linked to a deficiency of vitamin D. Vitamin D is obtained through sunshine exposure and eggs primarily. You CANNOT find vitamin D in plant foods. Period. Vitamin D supplementation also aids people in managing their MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and has shown to be beneficial in helping people cope with other neurological diseases, likely due to the fact that vitamin D also aids in blood sugar control, which is often impaired in these individuals, causing a disruption in steady energy supply for the cells in the brain. This is why some medical professionals refer to Alzheimer's, dementia etc. as diabetes 3 (What? Yeah, true enough). GET SOME VITAMIN D, it is more important than most people realize.

Vitamin E also plays into the role of testosterone production etc. Synthetic vitamin E has been shown to cause heart problems, so if you want to get this right, go the natural way and eat some delicious nuts or so.

Vitamin K is crucial to keeping calcium deposited in the places where it is supposed to be, and not in your arteries, brain or other soft tissue. It is primarily found in butter and kimchi, but butter is the easiest way of getting to this nutrient. So eat some butter! Preferably grass-fed which is really cheap I hear.

Finally, protein. Protein is a serious issue for vegetarians. Okay so the deal here is that people claim that you can mix different proteins from plants sources and make complete proteins by synthesizing. Again arises the problem of trusting the process that makes this happen. It can be impaired, who knows, maybe you carry a gene which messes with this ability, or maybe you are possessed by a protein hating demon, who knows?! Plant proteins are often surrounded by cellulose, something that humans are pretty much morons at digesting, this is why we are not herbivores :D Gotta let cow eat grass, man something else. I would never, in a million years go vegetarian without eggs! NEVER! :D And eggs are cheap. They are life ampules. In an egg there is everything needed to create that baby chick. Go eat some eggs, even if you are vegetarian.

It is a lengthy discussion, I just wanted to point out some potential dangers in the vegetarian diet. However the veggie thing is still a 10000x times better than SAD, so way to go man, way to go. My financial situation permits me to eat meat, which I am grateful for, however I understand that not everyone has such fortune. Vegetarian diets are cool, can be insanely inexpensive and if you do them right, healthy (to a point).

Good luck with you experiment man!

#49 Posted by Sackmanjones (4688 posts) -

After reading this thread I really want a juicy steak. Prime rib to be exact.

#50 Posted by FiestaUnicorn (1577 posts) -

I became a vegan almost 4 years ago. Feel better have more energy my allergies have gone away.