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7/29/14 7:34 A

I have been vegan for a while now. I'm mostly (I'd say 80%) WFPBNO, which is whole foods, plant-based, no oil. I lost 15 pounds the first month I went vegan from vegetarian (I guess I was eating a lot of cheese.) There is a lot of talk about vegan diet vs vegan lifestyle, etc etc. Most people who follow a vegan diet tend to be slimmer and healthier (lower cholesterol, better heart health.) There are definitely benefits to it over the Standard American Diet (SAD.)
That said, I also know a lot of vegans that basically eat a vegan SAD-lots of processed foods and vegan junk food.
For me, I try to focus on not eating those vegan processed foods (like fake meats) as much as possible, There are times when I do use them, but they are limited because they are high fat and highly processed. They can be a good transition for some, though. I prefer to just eat whole foods.
You can make any style of eating unhealthy (although there are some I would suggest are unhealthy inherently)
I'd suggest focusing on whole, plant foods. The Happy Herbivore is one of my favorites for recipes and she has weekly meal plans that can help people (including a cleanse and reboot to get people started on WFPB eating.)

The McDougal plan is also very successful for people.

And there is the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine 21 day Vegan Kickstart which I found very helpful at times:

Hope this helps you on your journey to a healthier you!

Edited by: DHARMASCHOLAR at: 7/29/2014 (07:35)
LISAINCT SparkPoints: (17,753)
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7/29/14 6:42 A

I had an eating plan for years that worked well for me, it was mostly whole food, mostly vegetarian plan.
I slipped away from it, regained some weight, and started to feel really out of control. After a visit to some fast food drive through windows, I decided I needed more structure. I purged my home of all animal products, white flour, and white sugar. I started the Engine 2 diet plan, but on day 3 I am not sure I can keep it up.
I would appreciate support.

189KING Posts: 4
7/4/14 6:22 P

I've been a vegetarian since 2000. I'm 98% vegan. Good luck on your journey. Let me know if you need any tips

EMPRESSAMQ Posts: 5,077
5/5/14 11:01 A

I was an ovo lacto (eating eggs & dairy) vegetarian for many decades but have added meat & fish since approximately 2000. I find that works best for me. I thrived on vegetarianism for a long, long time, but realized at one point when some medical problems arose that I was no longer interested really in being a vegetarian and that I was eating too many processed foods. I was doing it because of valid ethical reasons having to do with love of animals and also because of social pressure from others. In those days I did not like vegetables much.

I still eat pretty much as an ovo lacto vegetarian and eat a lot of eggs and dairy (trying to reduce dairy), and I eat fish weekly. I just occasionally have a ground beef patty (no bun, I eat gluten free for medical reasons these days), sometimes a bit of chicken.

I love lentils and nowadays also love many more veggies than I used to.

I have no advice as my role in life is not to influence others as to how they should eat or live. Whatever path you take, be well. Namaste.

Edited by: EMPRESSAMQ at: 5/5/2014 (11:02)
MISSRUTH Posts: 4,292
5/5/14 8:51 A

I'm not vegetarian but DH and I started with "Meatless Mondays" and now are where we often go meatless 3 days a week. I think it's a little easier to find some recipes you like or combinations of food that provide the nutrients you need without meat, and start easing off the meat, than to go "cold turkey" and then start looking for vegetarian options.

One thing I'll add to what the pp's mentioned.... don't forget that some of the vegetarian stuff is processed food. Like a pp said, you can eat unhealthy even if it is vegetarian. You still need to look at the list of ingredients on stuff like vegetarian "bacon" or "burgers" or entrees or whatever, to see what-all is in it.

LULUBELLE65 SparkPoints: (37,106)
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5/5/14 8:49 A

Let's talk about beans. What is it you hate about them? I used to hate beans too. For years I refused chili or bean soup, or any other bean related dish, because in my mind they were gross. Then I accidentally ate refried beans in a burrito and thought that they were really good, and I realized that no, I don't really hate beans, I hate the texture of beans. Beans in puree form are actually quite good to me.

I still don't eat kidney beans, or any bean with a tough skin and a mushy interior, but I now eat bean soup where there beans a pureed, and make a black bean hummus with both chickpeas and black beans pureed with garlic, cumin and other yumminess.

I had a chocolate cake last week that a friend made that had black beans it it. You totally would have thought it was a traditional cake if you did not know.

So, I would say, think of ways that you can incorporate beans into your food. They are high protein, filling, inexpensive and good for you.

KBOORE SparkPoints: (5,371)
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5/4/14 5:14 P

Worthington vegetarian products are great!

5/4/14 1:03 P

I'd suggest going vegan/vegetarian one meal a day (or a couple days a week) in the beginning. It sounds like you first need to find foods you like to eat that are simple to prepare and that taste great. I found How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food by Mark Bittman to be an invaluable resource when at times my kids have become vegetarian. He also has How to Cook Everything.

5/4/14 11:51 A

thanks for the helpful post.

LUCKYDINK7 SparkPoints: (62)
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4/29/14 12:40 P

I have been a vegetarian for 16 years. As I always tell people you can be a healthy or unhealthy vegetarian just as easily as a healthy or unhealthy carnivore. You could be a vegetarian and eat nothing but pizza, ice cream and fries- they are meatless items but not healthy. Or you could eat well and get the right mixture of vegetables/carbs and protein. That part is up the individual. Here are a few tips from a vegetarian -

*Tofu Is a great source of protein but be careful that it's not deep fried at restaurants. Often they do that to add flavor and it also adds tons of calories.
*If you are opposed to beans how about edamame? It is a soybean but has a much firmer texture than a soft bean. And it's tasty. You can put it in almost anything.
*Morning star farm and Boca are great for quick meals. I often do a morning star patty on a 100 calorie sandwich thin. Delicious!
*Check the organic section at your grocery store- Amy's and Kashi make great low cal vegetarian meals
*Ethnic food such as thai, indian, mediterranean, etc. often offer healthier meals than other places. I love eggplant parm from Italian places but try to limit myself to eating it only a few times each year. Again, a case of oil being a huge factor. I also cook alot of indian/mexican/thai at home.
*You can use nuts as a protein source. I often to a serving or pistachios or almonds or add sunflower seeds to my homemade granola bars. Peanut (or almond/cashew) butter is great too but again you need to watch portions.
*Hummus with olives, crackers and cheese is one of my favorite snacks. Also has protein.
*I often do those 100 cal packs of cottage cheese (with a little fruit on the side) because it is much more filling than something like baked chips.

That's all I can think of right now. Just be aware of calories- I have been a healthy weight as a vegetarian and also overweight. Calories are calories, if the are vegan,vegetarian, meat based, etc.

Good luck to you!

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
4/25/14 4:49 P

OMG. And ice cream, too!!

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
4/25/14 4:42 P

It sounds like 'Shipoopi,' the song from 'The Music Man,' or 'Tutti Frutti,' the song by Little Richard. So you can substitute Tofutti in either of those lyrics.

But it's just dairy-free soy cheese or sour cream.

Tastes like tofutti! Doesn't really taste exactly like the dairy equivalents.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
4/25/14 12:03 P

lol...what the heck is tofutti - and why does it sound so good??

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
4/25/14 11:43 A

Speaking of sour cream: I fell in love with Tofutti a couple of years ago. Addictive stuff. My daydream is to open a vegan restaurant and serve lots of tofutti. Weird.

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 4/25/2014 (11:43)
EELPIE Posts: 2,700
4/25/14 11:09 A

I love whole foods!! It's my favourite store! Everything is exceptional there.

I'm not vegetarian, however...but right now I am about 95% vegetarian. The last meat I had was monday, and I'm not having it today - it just doesn't figure into my menus much anymore.

Today I am making my infamous lentil, onion, garlic and carrot concoction - and yesterday I tired barely for the first time in my life (I FREAKEN LOVE IT!!! OMG!!!), so I have some leftover barely to add to it. I usually do the lentil concoction with butter, hot sauce and red pepper flakes, but I've been grooving on sour cream lately, so it's gonna be sour cream today with hot sauce and red pepper flakes!

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
4/25/14 11:02 A

Yes. I updated my reply to elaborate on that meat thing....

One thing that is lovely about Whole Foods is their vegan cheeses, I have made cashew cheese and it was quite delicious. However, I'd much rather buy it.

Definitely recommend Whole Foods if you're vegan. It's a great resource.

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 4/25/2014 (11:04)
EELPIE Posts: 2,700
4/25/14 10:56 A

What about their top-notch cheese department? Many a shopping trip there includes me gazing lovingly at their cheeses....

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
4/25/14 10:54 A

If I understand what you wrote correctly, your local Whole Foods wants to avoid anything animal-related. I wonder what their meat department looks like.

I'm joking, of course. I love my local Whole Foods. Meat department and all.

I find the best miso there (plant), tomatoes (plant), fresh fruit (plant) - in short, Whole Foods loves plant foods and plant-based foods. (They use the ANDI score, 'nuff said).

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 4/25/2014 (11:01)
BERRY4 SparkPoints: (268,601)
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4/25/14 3:50 A

Last night I found reason #2 to stay OUT of Whole Foods! -- I was seeking a supplement, and come to find out that our local store wants to avoid anything animal related. I had a useful conversation with a clerk who said people are "so out of balance" with both choices and what constitutes "good health". She felt fairly strongly that the science does NOT support adequate nutrition in attempting to sustain that lifestyle. always..."to each his/her own"!

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
4/24/14 3:42 P

Wow. ok.

To the vegetarian - please let me state this so you can understand it:

I am all for vegetarians/vegans/omnivores/paleos - whatever floats your boat.

Nowhere did I tell you to eat chicken. If you do not want to eat chicken....then do not eat chicken.

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
4/24/14 3:32 P

For low-fat vegans who AREN'T burly firefighters.

P.S. I own both books (on kindle) and both are good.

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 4/24/2014 (15:32)
ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
4/24/14 11:59 A

Yeah, I think it was the statement:

'I've nothing against vegetarinism (is that a word??), but to choose it as a way to lose weight doesn't make sense.

I've never heard anyone say " I just constantly feel like crap....bloated, tired" after eating a dinner of grilled chicken with green beans and carrots.'

I think it's a big step to go vegetarian or vegan, but if you want vegan:

For a low-fat vegan book, there is the Engine 2 diet. This was recommended to me by my doctor, who went on this diet after learning about veganism at a medical conference. He lost a ton of weight, he looked like a million bucks. He wasn't going to stay on the diet but I don't know what he is doing these days - he retired from the practice to enter the public health field.

These Texas firefighters (in Austin) eat together, work together, and so they have it all goin' on. Needless to say, they have all kinds of support from each other to keep eating their variation of 'clean.'

It's significant that the father of the author is a doctor who influenced Clinton to go vegan (then Al Gore apparently followed suit).

But there are many many more vegan cookbooks and vegan diets out there. The Engine 2 book just fills the 'low-fat and vegan' critera mentioned.

And vegetarian diets/cookbooks? There are many.

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 4/24/2014 (14:11)
EELPIE Posts: 2,700
4/24/14 11:16 A

Who told you to eat meat?

"it makes no good sense to try and tell me a vegan to just eat meat and carrots."

Did I miss something?

If I was a vegetarian, and someone told me to eat meat, I'd tell them to take hike.

BLUEEGG55 Posts: 5
4/23/14 9:53 P

it makes no good sense to try and tell me a vegan to just eat meat and carrots. I'll take the carrots great, but our cow makes my stomach want to flip and gives the urge to vomit. I spend many a rest meal with family and friends being a compassionate and good tablemate by saying nothing while you all enjoy your side of cow. THIS is a vegan veg board, why come on here and talk about chicken or cow? we make a personal (not the word personal) choice that for one reason or another I do not want: fish, cow, poultry, pork. you can fee me the carrots and a side of beans and a nice not common grain, amaranth will do, thanks and maybe another 2 or 3 vegetable choices that you steam for me and toss in walnuts. that is what i WANT not chicken.

yeah, no kidding ALL folks get fat and malnourished if their food choices are junk food but whether it is beef jerkey junk food with 12 different chemicals and cow or vegan junk food and some breakfast vegan cookie that has potato starch and 400 calories of flour and starch and beets, they are both junk food, that's already known.

but on a vegan/veg board i do not think we are cooking the chickens we are petting them. big difference.

and I do not consume animal dairy. I have an inflmmation response to it in my joints. hopefully i had human dairy as a baby and calves can have their mama cows dairy.

if some folks are lucky enough to go real clean on their eating and eat volumes of vegan and veg food and have weight come off more effortlessly, who am I to judge?

But most folks have pangs for crap food, it's the way of the world.

and I think the grease off a chicken is non vegan non veg food as well as the fat rolling around the chicken plate, and the skin.

LAMDA125 Posts: 112
3/25/14 3:13 P

My DD is vegan and it has always been an adventure cooking in our house, as my DS will not eat red meat, and I am always dieting! I have done the "21 Day Vegan Kickstart" with my DD and the recipes are very delicious. They do use beans in a lot of the recipes but there are many without. I still use many of them even though we are no longer following the plan per say. There is an app for iphone, and you may even find it for android. Otherwise here is a link to the three weeks of recipes:

WWREFUGEE1942 SparkPoints: (78,774)
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3/23/14 4:41 A

I just started being a vegetarian after a dream I had. I have had several of these dreams but this time I fully accept that I do not want to participate in eating meat. I notice that I eat a lot slower now that the meat has been removed because I don't want to tear through the delicious meat as fast as I can. I approach my food with hunger now, not lust.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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2/5/14 3:54 P

"When I became vegetarian I dropped weight like no other. I would sneeze and 5 pounds would fall of. "

I think this certainly can be true if the person doing it also seriously limits or cuts out most junk foods. LIke I said in another thread, it can actually take work to get to 2000 calories without those things, because the diet is simply lacking in most calorie-dense foods.

ALGEBRAGIRL Posts: 1,925
2/5/14 3:33 P

Vegetarians, as a group, tend to be slimmer. It does come down to what you eat instead of what you don't eat (that is it all comes down to calories, in any diet).

Make sure you get zinc and vitamin B-12 in your diet! I eat one hamburger in a week (and some weeks not even that) and the rest of the week, I'm all veg. My doctor found that I had a low ferritin level which never would have shown up in my other test results (I give blood regularly and my hemoglobin count is fine, for example). So, good idea: talk to your doctor about any concerns he might have.

My go to meal/snack is quorn. I love it (look in the health food section of your supermarket, in the freezer): in particular, a Quorn chile-lime burrito. Also, since I'm not vegan, a Quorn cutlet, breaded and stuffed with Gruyere cheese and baked in the oven for about 15 minutes. It's delicious.
Last night, a leftover: corn-potato-bean chowder with reduced fat tortilla chips crushed and cooked with the chowder. I discovered that reduced fat tortilla chips with 0 saturated fat make a soup taste just like tortilla chips. So I crush them up and cook them in the soup, which has a lot of other fiber-rich stuff.

Just get creative and make it tasty: I'm making miso soup with butter beans (I love beans, sorry!), sliced onion (scallions if you got 'em) and fried tofu. Fry the tofu after freezing it in small cubes and then thawing it and weighting it down with a plate and weight so that the tofu loses moisture. Either stir fry as is or roll in something starchy to give it a crisp crust and deep fry, drain, and add to other foods. I like to add fried tofu to soup. Especially a hot soup in cold weather. You only need a very small amount of sesame oil when serving to top the soup off. Make it taste very nutty, IMO.

Two words: eggplant parmesan.

Recently: some pineapple canned in juice + a bag of frozen raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries (pricey, actually), and.... a big handful of fresh parsley. I mean stems and all. Used the food processor to chop/blend the heck out of it all. It tasted fantastic, although I was picking tiny pieces of parsley stem and berry seeds out of my teeth for a while! I'm going to make that again - I just discovered that fresh herbs blended with fruit is my favorite way to eat fresh herbs. The taste is really something.

Pickled veggies. I've had a jar of pickled cukes going in my refrigerator (google 'refrigerator pickles' for recipes) for almost two weeks. My husband's been eating it, I've been eating it, and now I washed a big bunch of celery and sliced it all up thin and added that. Keep it tart, so I had been using salt and rice wine vinegar - now, I've added the juice of 3 lemons. It's a work in progress! Great crunchy taste - I added it to a sandwich because it's salty and tart which went well with the cheese.

De Boles pasta (spaghetti) with butter/canola mixture and vegan parmesan cheese. It's one of the quickest hot dinners I can make outside of heating up something in the microwave.

Make a stir fry of veggies (any you like) and don't season it - yet. Keep in the fridge. Then, heat some up in the microwave and season to your taste and stuff in an omelette. My favorite is potatoes and onions.

Potatoes: baked, some seasoning, some canola/butter mix and heap some non-fat cottage cheese (I'm a non-fat cottage cheese addict....)

One word: pizza.
You can make your own dough because there are so many recipes on the internet for every kind of dough, including the no-knead kind. Make the crust thin. Make the sauce simple. I put some artistically-arranged clumps of drained canned chopped tomatoes (mix in some chopped garlic, salt and pepper), shredded low-fat mozzarella, or just full-fat mozzarella if you watch the amount, some shredded fresh basil, and if you want pepperoni, there's pepperoni in the refrigerator case of the health food section of the store (Yves is just one brand) and it tastes just like pepperoni but is made with textured protein. It is not greasy. If you want the greasy feel that comes with pepperoni, dip the slices in some olive oil before putting them on the pie. Then bake.
(You can buy pizza dough now at the supermarket, ready to make into pizzas. Make calzones and stuff them with spinach, non-fat cottage cheese (or whatever variety of fat you prefer), some feta, maybe, some drained sun-dried tomatoes that you've soaked first and then cut into pieces. They tend to be dense and chewy if you just use them dry.)

Tofurky: sandwiches with tofuky bologna, cheese, spicy mayo - I use a pita bread that has 4 grams of fiber in half of a large pita.

Feta-olive sandwich: low-fat feta, cube it yourself, soak in olive oil with red pepper flakes, lemon pulp and some lemon zest, pitted olives, a few capers. Stuff it in pita with some crunchy lettuce. Pita just makes it easier to hold the stuff.
(substitute any cheese - except the very hard cheeses - and you can make the same thing with muenster, for example....)

I make my own vegetable stock but you can buy vegetable stock. Take a slice of rustic Italian (artisan type) bread that will fit in your bowl. Toast the bread. poach an egg in the steaming hot vegetable stock in a saucepan. Season the stock to your taste before or after poaching the egg - doesn't matter. Put the poached egg on top of the toast in a bowl. pour the steaming hot stock around the bread and egg. Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top of the toast or the poached egg - doesn't matter. Cover the egg and toast with the stock. Eat immediately. Delicious! (In Italy, they make it with beef stock but I'm sure in Italy, there are those who make it with plain seasoned water!)

Get some olive oil hot in a pan and start sauteeing some rice and some steel cut oats that you've soaked in water overnight. Stir and sautee until golden, not brown. Then add seasoned stock (vegetable stock might be too strong so you can just use water) As the hot stock is absorbed, wait until it is absorbed enough to add some more stock. Keep doing that until it's 'al dente,' just tender. At that point, add anything. Chopped toasted walnuts last. Some veggies you cooked in the microwave and are still hot, Some cooked mushrooms leftover from last night's dinner, some roasted garlic. Just one handful of fresh washed spinach that you've cut into strips (kitchen scissors, my favorite 'gadget'). Stir it all together and eat while hot. Get creative and if something tastes bland, remember to add salt. Salt is something you don't want to overdo (if you do overdo it, just rinse everything that you've done so far in a colander with water and pick up where you left off! At the same time, it's a matter of taste and salt, or the lack of it, is what makes something taste bland (see any 'Chopped' episode to hear a critique of salt!)

Edited by: ALGEBRAGIRL at: 2/5/2014 (21:18)
XRAPHIEX Posts: 12
2/5/14 11:45 A

When I went vegetarian, I lost 40 pounds without trying (meaning I wasn't watching my diet, I just cut out meat). When I later went vegan, I lost another 40 pounds without trying. Granted, I was near to 300 pounds, so I had that amount of weight that I could afford to lose.

I'm still vegetarian now (going on almost 20 years) and i'd say the biggest thing will be to plan your meals in advance. There's all kinds of vegetarian and vegan options that are available via fast food / convenience foods, but you're not going to feel any better than you feel now if you're eating nothing but processed foods (as you alluded to).

My suggestion would be to try out any recipe that sounds good to you (some of my cold-weather favorites are oven-roasted tomatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, grilled asparagus... I made a tasty marinated tofu the other day that had a lemon-dijon marinade that was fantastic... I always like scrambled tofu (I use the fantastic foods mix for convenience), and I think all the Gardein frozen products are really tasty (but again, those are processed, so I'd limit them).

If you work a standard full-time job, I'd suggest soup or stew for lunch.It's easy to make a big batch in advance, and it can be as filling as you make it (just add more veggies).

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
2/4/14 7:15 P

Oh no, it's ok hunny :)

I just meant that someone thinking eating vegetarian will help them to lose weight isn't true.

Like, I could go vegetarian, and spend my day's eating doughnuts, doritos, pizza, cheetos, etc., and that is not going to help me lose any weight.

That's all I meant.


2/4/14 6:57 P

I think it depends on how you eat. I have been a vegetarian since I was 5 and I have had a weight problem as long as I can remember. I am not trying to discourage anyone from becoming a vegetarian, I am just saying that if you eat junk or if you eat too much food and don't exercise enough you will not lose weight.
I was vegan on and off during the last 27 years also, and the last time I gained weight (45 pounds in less than a year) came directly after I went from vegetarian to vegan because I was eating all the vegan junk food I could find.
The weight will not come off unless you work for it to by eating in moderation and exercising, at least for me.

KENTUCKYMEL14 SparkPoints: (41,432)
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2/4/14 6:41 P

EELPIE, I disagree with parts of your your post. When I became vegetarian I dropped weight like no other. I would sneeze and 5 pounds would fall of. While I agree that you can gain plenty of weight on a vegetarian diet (I certainly did), I also believe it can work as a catalyst to get the weight loss going. I lost 20 pounds in less than 2 months. I also feel SIGNIFICANTLY better as vegetarian than I ever did on my healthiest meat eating days. I don't feel bloated or slowed down anymore. I have a lot more energy. Partly from eating healthier, but also partly from cutting out meat. Eating meat just didn't work for me.

I do agree, however, that you still have to cut out the crap as that can slow you down too.

In the end, I think it just comes down to the individual person.

I apologize if my post came off as rude or snide. I did not mean for it to.

2/4/14 11:08 A

I don't know how you feel about fake meat products, but the brand tofurky has products that are really high in protein. The vegetarian sundried tomato Italian sausage is my favorite and it has 30 grams of protein in each sausage.
Greek yogurt is also very high in protein and most brands of Greek yogurt don't have gelatin in them, that is if you are going to eat dairy.

RENATARUNS SparkPoints: (4,367)
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2/4/14 10:53 A

Well if you hate beans and peas you're already a little behind the 8 ball with vegetarian in general and vegan specifically. Trying to get the protein you need as a vegan (not so much the amount, but the type) without legumes ... well, I don't know how you'd do it, exactly. Eat a ton of soy products mostly (which are legumes, but the products made from them like tofu may not trigger the same revulsion in you), or eat a ton of lentils (which I actually do myself, but it's in the context of a South Indian cuisine that uses tons of lentils naturally, not trying to shoehorn them into "normal" food everywhere). And I don't even like the kinds of lentils you normally get in the US.

Anyway. If you want to go mostly-vegetarian instead of vegan, it's quite a lot more realistic -- eat a lot of dairy and eggs and you'll be fine. I do suggest reading up on vegetarian ways of eating some if you've never ever considered it before, though -- both to ensure you're not missing something subtle nutritionally, and also (crucially) to get ideas for recipes, because "normal food without the meat" would be beyond dire after a while. You need to learn a different focus for cooking.

I like eating this way, personally, and would certainly recommend it to anyone who's truly interested, for health reasons or almost any other. However, I do want to caution that it is not a weight-loss guarantee. Vegetarian food includes most of the junk food in the American diet, minus most but not even all of the fast food (fries, pizza without meat). Even as a vegan you still get chips and soda, fries and a few other things.

So if your idea of how you will eat as a "vegetarian" is something like occasional fish, eggs, moderate dairy, lots and lots and lots of whole plant foods (vegetables, fruits, moderate nuts, etc) and enough grains to fill out your calories, with snack foods and processed foods only rarely or in small amounts? Then I'd guess you would almost certainly stop gaining weight, and perhaps/probably even lose some, though to see sustained/consistent weight loss I'd guess you'd have to pay some attention to appropriate portions/calories as well.

If it's "regular diet minus the meat, plus a little fish, with extra snack foods and starches when the lack of the meat calories inevitably makes me hungry" .. well that could be a problem.

Like I said, I do think that near-veg* (where I fit in myself) is a great way to eat and very compatible with weight control. But it's not a cure-all on its own; nothing is.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
2/4/14 10:48 A

It's really not going to help you lose weight. Wise food choices will help you lose weight.

I've nothing against vegetarinism (is that a word??), but to choose it as a way to lose weight doesn't make sense.

I've never heard anyone say " I just constantly feel like crap....bloated, tired" after eating a dinner of grilled chicken with green beans and carrots.

What you describe with the boating, etc. sounds a lot more to do with eating too much crap. Wean yourself off of it, and start incorporating whole foods, including a lot of fiber rich veggies - and drink your 8 glasses of water a day.

Stop eating chips or cookies as a snack..instead opt for nuts, or seeds, fruit, etc.

I noticed a big change when I did that - and not just weight loss either. My hair is thicker and more lustrous, and my nails are now long and strong (no more short and brittle nails). My sister-in-law actually thought I had fake nails :)

How many calories, carbs and fat a day do you eat? How many does your tracker recommend you eat daily?

A lot of people feel they way you describe when they get carbs from bad sources - refined flour products; pasta, white rice, white bread, cookies, etc. Where are your carbs coming from?

RUSSELL_40 Posts: 16,826
2/4/14 10:38 A

I eat low carb, and with any diet that cuts out certain foods, you need to start making smarter choices with what you DO eat. I would see your doctor, and ask if there is anything in particular that you should eat, or a particular vitamin/nutrient/mineral that people on your diet tend to be low in. For example, since I don't drink milk, I have to get calcium from other sources, like cheese, or kale. Almost anything can be replaced, as long as we make sure to do so.

Other than that, I think it is a great diet, and you should try every vegetable/fruit/nut etc., and may be surprised at the selection available, as well as all the other foods you are allowed to have. I know I eat lots of veggies on low carb, and while one is cutting out stuff from the diet, you can start to feel like there is nothing to eat, but I stopped, and said.. I can have veggies, so why am I eating 4-5 kinds, when there are dozens/hundreds? Expanding what you can eat, takes the focus off what you have cut, so you don't miss it any more. You may end up with more variety than you had before. It is funny how we cut 20 % of our current diet out, and it feels like deprivation, when we still have the 80% left, and only eat a narrow selection of these foods. I found out that there are a lot more vegetables, fruits, nuts, and cheeses than I ever thought. Vegan/vegetarian is even less restrictive, so with some exploration, you should have a wonderful time eating this way.

I hope it all works well for you. I think any diet that cuts sugar, salt, and processed foods, as well as fast food will be a huge help health-wise. Quality is as important as quantity.

EMMASMART SparkPoints: (25,618)
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2/4/14 10:16 A

I've been vegetarian for years and I am really not sure it helps you lose weight as I gained most of mine vegetarian. If I was attempting this i would do it in stages. Step one would be cooking food in my own kitchen and Meatless Mondays. If you are cooking for yourself it really helps the nutrition. if you are eating eggs you shouldn't have to worry about b12. The Daniel plan suggests, half of your plate should be vegetables, 1/4 "meat" 1/4 fruit. Nuts are great sources of protein and if you are bloating try avoiding wheat. I eat some wheat but when I have a choice I choose brown rice as a grain and Quinoa as well. I like my garden burgers. They are loaded with soy which has advantages and drawbacks. Try Meatless mondays and see how that goes, if that's easy just add a day. For me the biggest difficulty is eating out. Stealth meat on my plate. I'm vegeatarian for over 30 years and lack the enzymes to digest it any more. So if some slips into my plate it comes right back up or worse I can feel it going though (UGGG) So if you are not sure about vegetarianism consider not doing it. I suggest instead a flexitarian attitude or an avoids red meat diet. That's easier to get along with in society.


LETSGO222 SparkPoints: (15)
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2/4/14 10:02 A

I am a vegetarian and had a hard time switching of at first because I was so used to planning my meals around meat. Because I also don't want to eat a ton of carbs, I eat a ton of veggies. Here are some of my go-to vegetarian main dishes:

Enchiladas with black beans and sweet potatoes. You could just make sweet potato or butternut squash enchiladas.

Pizza with a very thin crust, cheese for protein, and lots of veggies. Mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, and roasts red peppers is a favorite combo of mine

Mushroom. Eggplant, and zucchini sautéed in olive oil with Italian dressing, served over a tiny bit of pasta and topped with mozzarella cheese with a side italiaian salad.

Indian dishes- palak paneer or potatoes/cauliflower

Omelettes with tons of veggies

Vegetable purée soups. Look for ones with avocado to make it filling.

Lettuce or tortilla wraps with brown rice, corn, and salsa

Broccoli/cheese/rice casserole, with tons of broccoli and half cauliflower instead of rice.

Hope that gives you some ideas!

LEC358 SparkPoints: (11,135)
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2/4/14 8:55 A

Vegan diets are a PITA, IMO. You have to be *very* careful about your nutrients because as other posters have said, there are certain essential nutrients that only come from animal products. Not enough B vitamins and your energy level plummets. Depending on how far you take it, any processed food is out of the picture because they contain gelatin and that comes from animal bones.

Vegetarianism is a bit easier, but again processed foods are things to watch out for. I've gone a week or two unintentionally eating vegetarian. Eggs, dairy products, and tofu were my main sources of protein. I'm not a big bean person either, but I can see how long term they would be a useful change from more processed sources of protein or eggs.

As a first step, I'd focus on eating only whole, unprocessed foods. As you do that, you'll understand where different flavors and nutrients come from and can start adapting your diet to exclude meat.

WDIPIM Posts: 1,389
2/4/14 7:28 A

I'm trying to do more 'meatless' meals. Not too hard. use lots of spices and finding it gives me more options.

EX-PRESSO Posts: 478
2/4/14 1:36 A

I think you should start cutting out processed meals and soda, too.

there are a lot of really good vegan and vegetarian books on the market.
Like the "thrive diet".
one of my fav cook books is from Leon, a london restaurant. they just wrote a vegetarian book.
And from nicola graimes new vegetarian kitchen.

I like vegan food, but I know my body wants fish and meat too. so I eat meat and fish occasionally and the rest vegan. My body feels better.

HEIDIELYA80 SparkPoints: (39)
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2/4/14 12:35 A

thank you very much for you advice. I think the hardest part for me will be wrapping my mind around the fact that a complete meal does not need to include an actual meat in it. I haven't decided if I'm going to try incorparating the meat substitues or just leaving them out all together. It seems like a lot of them are heavily processed and chemical laden. Which is the opposite of what im trying to achieve. I would like to adopt a very clean, low chemical/preservative diet if i can. Of course I may change my mind as I get farther into it.I love portabella mushrooms so they will probably stand in for the majority of my "meat" needs and Quinoa to help supplement protein. Then of course there is peanut butter and nuts, thankfully I do not have any type of nut allergy. Maybe I could try dishes where the beans remain whole and I can just swallow them down without chewing. lol.
I will start looking into different B12 supplements and see what i find

HEIDIELYA80 SparkPoints: (39)
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2/4/14 12:22 A

I'm not having difficulty cutting out the soda but I do have to go about it slower than I would other things because I am susceptible to migraines. Even though in most people too much caffeine triggers a migraine my body works the opposite, not enough caffeine and bam I'm bed ridden for half a day (if I'm lucky) Right now I have to consume a certain amount because my body has grown accustom to it, but I am working on weaning my body off of it. And the processed foods...well they are just easy. I have cut them out of my diet before with pretty decent success. I got back into a slump and haven't really tried working them out completely but when I make a conscious effort to limit them I do very well. I just have to figure out a goal and stick with it.

I'm not looking to label myself this or that, only looking for dietary tips on integrating this into my lifestyle. I'm aware that if I include fish in my diet I would technically be considered "Pescetarian" but for brevity's sake I decided to not list every type of "vegetarianism" I was considering since I am naturally long winded. LOL. Like I stated this is purely health motivated. I have no ethical issues with eating any type of meat so I'm not hung up on a label. I just want to find something that works for my body. whether I become full vegan or part time vegetarian makes no difference to me as long as at the end of the day I feel better and look healthier.

KENTUCKYMEL14 SparkPoints: (41,432)
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2/3/14 11:51 P

I became vegetarian cold turkey (no pun intended) and it sucked. It was hard and I was hungry all the time. Now, I absolutely LOVE being vegetarian and will only ever go back to eating meat if I absolutely have to. It does make you feel great health wise, in my opinion. It did for me, anyway. My biggest advice is to look for reputable websites that will give you good vegetarian/vegan information. Take things slowly. With a dietary change of any kind, usually the slower the better so your body gets adequate time to adjust. I didn't do that and I regret that decision. On days that you cut out meat you may feel a lot hungrier. That's part of your body getting used to switching. Once you start getting more acclimated to a more plant based diet take some time to think about how you feel and if your body reacts favorably. Some people do not do well being vegetarian/vegan. I tried becoming vegetarian 4 different times before my body would finally let me. I'm not sure what changed that 5th time. Being vegetarian/vegan is not for everyone and it's certainly not always easy. In my opinion, there are a lot more foods that will get cut out of your diet than are apparent at first.

As a veggie you don't *have* to eat beans but in my opinion it may make being vegetarian more difficult just because there are so many nutrients in beans that vegetarians/vegans use to supplement what we don't get from meat. My biggest suggestion there is to ALWAYS read nutrition labels. I don't know how many veggie meats you'll like since they're made from soy beans but since they don't taste like beans you may like them. There are also some veggie meats that are made from fungi like mushrooms so that's another option.

The biggest challenge many vegetarians/vegans face is getting enough protein and B vitamins. I had to start taking a B vitamin supplement because, as much as I hate to admit, some B vitamins come exclusively from animals. There's no way around it. No plant based anything produces some of the B vitamins so just be aware of those two things. Not everyone needs to go on supplements but I wanted to just to ensure I got everything I needed in my diet.

As another poster already stated, while being vegetarian/vegan can be incredibly healthy when done correctly, it can also be incredibly unhealthy. I still gained 30 pounds from being vegetarian due to the same reason that anyone gains 30 pounds: poor choices and lack of exercise. So it will still be incredibly important to be mindful of the food you're consuming if you want to lose weight.

I think that's all I have for now. If I think of anything else I'll let you know. Welcome to the world of being a veg head. :)

SIMPLELIFE2 Posts: 707
2/3/14 11:39 P

"I do eat some processed food and drink a lot of soda :( which I'm working on eliminating both of those as well."

I would start here. And if you are having trouble with just ditching soda and processed food, you certainly aren't ready for a complete dietary overhaul. Just getting rid of these will go a long way to making you feel better.

BTW, ff you eat fish, you are not vegetarian and if you eat fish or dairy, you are not vegan. Many who follow these diets are precise about the terminology.

HEIDIELYA80 SparkPoints: (39)
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2/3/14 10:29 P

NIRERIN thanks for the advice. I have gone to a doctor for my bloating issues but we haven't been able to pin it down to anything medically related. So I'm going to try to get a handle on it with my diet before trying any type of medication. I'm fully healthy otherwise. I realize there are certainly unhealthy ways to be vegan just as there is in any other diet. Its all in how you prepare it and everything in moderation. Just because peanut butter can be vegan doest mean i should feel good about scarfing down a huge portion.
I've been kicking this around for a while and from everything I've found it works wonderfully for people health-wise and its paid off in the weigh management side too...again as long as they do it smart.
Thank you for the tip to check my local library for cookbooks. I was looking online at some vegan versions and it was very daunting trying to figure out which one would fit with my food preferences. I never even though of checking with my library. Its sad I cant even remember the last time I was there even though I'm an avid reader. I've just become used to buying what I want to read.

HEIDIELYA80 SparkPoints: (39)
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2/3/14 10:17 P

ELLGEEBEE thanks so much for the input. I will probably try and slowly transition over though I tend to have an all or nothing personality. LOL. I do eat some processed food and drink a lot of soda :( which I'm working on eliminating both of those as well.
I do love meat and its hard for me to wrap my head around a meal plan that isn't based off of a meat. But I also love roasted veggies and trying new things. I just worry about being even more limited because i don't like any type of Bean other than Green Beans and Edamame. And most recipes and restaurant options seem to be based off of a bean or legume of some sort. I can stomach chickpeas in small doses. But I'm super excited to try things like Farro and different types of tofu.
I just want to cleanse my body and really look at fueling it from a natural perspective not a chemical/processed one but at the same time I don't want to bind my system up more. lol.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,275
2/3/14 10:07 P

when it comes to weightloss vegan/vegetarian has no advantage over omnivore. way back in the day there might have been some advantage, but today some oreos are vegan. there are plenty of vegan junk foods on the market, whether by chance or by design. so the same things that apply to omnivores [eat less junk food] apply to vegans and vegetarians as well.
i would say the best thing that you can do is to get to your local library and start checking out cookbooks. it's way cheaper than buying them and you can find some authors you really like [i love robin robertson, but don't much care for isa chandra moskowitz] before you actually purchase the books you love and would use most. mediterranean vegan kitchen is another of my favorites, but it might rely somewhat heavily on beans, though that might also be that the bean and pea recipes are my favorites.
vegetarian and vegan diets can be fairly low in fat to begin with and getting enough fat can be more of an issue than not enough if you're relying heavily on vegetables. so if that's the way that you're planning on doing the veg of your choice, track the fat, but to make sure that it's enough. don't sweat making it low fat until you track for a while and see that you're high unless you're planning on going veg by deep frying every veggie you can find and topping it with avocado and nuts.
and if you haven't already gotten checked out by your doc, do so. if there is another medical reason why you're bloating and feeling tired, fixing that issue is going to do more for you than switching up what you eat.

ELLGEEBEE SparkPoints: (1,038)
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2/3/14 9:52 P

I tried it, and it wasn't for me. Going completely vegan is a huge change for your diet, so I would recommend cutting out foods slowly rather than all at once.

Also, do you currently incorporate processed foods into your diet? I really try to limit the processed food that I eat and I found myself having a lot more energy and feeling better and healthier after making that change.

HEIDIELYA80 SparkPoints: (39)
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2/3/14 9:43 P

I'm looking for advise from anyone on here has ever done a vegan/vegetarian based diet? What tips and recipes would you of loved to have known about when you started? keep in mind I absolutely HATE HATE HATE beans and peas. I will not eat them Sam I Am. I'm seriously considering switching to a vegan/vegetarian based diet very soon. I'm not sure how much exactly I'm going to cut out. I would love to do 100% vegan the majority of the time but in all honesty I will probably still eat dairy and some fish but in very limited amounts. I'm thinking about switching to this purely for health reasons not ethical ones so I have no issues with eating anything. I just constantly feel like crap....bloated, tired...every thing I've read about a vegan diet is that is amazing for a system reset. Plus its supposed to be great for weight loss and management and to be honest I got a little fluffy over the holiday season so I would be looking for low fat recipes as well. Just looking for any help or advice from those who have been there done that, even if your no longer maintaining that lifestyle. Or if you've only researched it but haven't done it chime in too. Would love to hear anything anyone has to share.

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