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A good post for an Aang icon - A Sorta Fairytale
October 2013
 
 
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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Sun, Oct. 4th, 2009 10:34 pm
A good post for an Aang icon

This is something I've been thinking about for a while, but tonight, after reading this book, I've made up my mind, and I wanted to announce it to teh intarwebz as a form of accountability: I'm going vegetarian, and maybe vegan in the long run.

My main reasons for it are health and environmental concerns, but the animal cruelty involved in large-scale farming isn't cool either.

Any advice from vegetarians and vegans on my flist is TOTALLY WELCOME!

Joie

Tags: ,
Current Mood: determined determined

16CommentReply

peachespig
peachespig
peachespig
Mon, Oct. 5th, 2009 03:42 am (UTC)

Cool!

I've been vegetarian for 16 years. Advice..... um. I eat a lot of fake meat, which is pretty yummy these days. Mostly stuff from Quorn and Morningstar Farms. Assuming you like the taste of meat, they are pretty good substitutes. More and more restaurants are sensitive to vegetarian customers and will make veggie versions of their dishes. It's really pretty easy as long as you stay in the US. Other countries can be much harder.

Vegetarian is much "easier" than vegan because one doesn't have to be nearly as careful that you are getting all the nutrients you need when you're eating cheese and eggs and stuff. If you do go vegan, make sure you have a reliable book/nutritionist/whatever that gives you the reality of getting compete proteins and vitamins and all that, and not a fantasy/fad.

I started out with the animal cruelty motivation, but the environmental issues certainly have not hurt. I never really want to eat meat and haven't for a long time — though occasionally I wish I did just so certain fancy restaurants or other countries would become more convenient.

I can't think of anything else. Good luck!


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Mon, Oct. 5th, 2009 04:12 am (UTC)

Thanks for the advice. It will probably help that I'm not that crazy about a lot of meat dishes, and I like a lot of good vegetarian foods that are similar in nutritional value to meat (beans, soy/soy products, etc.).

I plan to go vegan eventually, but I want to take things one step at a time. So I'm starting with vegetarian, plus trying to cut back on dairy.


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major_dallas
major_dallas
Nate the Great
Mon, Oct. 5th, 2009 04:34 am (UTC)

gone over to the dark side eh? Good luck...


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codecompass
codecompass
Charcoal Territory
Mon, Oct. 5th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)

Basically, you need to have a four-hour conversation with Amber. Probably with alcohol involved.


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attaining
attaining
Kat
Mon, Oct. 5th, 2009 06:54 am (UTC)

I'm not a vegetarian but I eat a lot of vegetarian dishes because of my diet and a lot of my friends are vegetarian. Tofu is always awesome (but only when cooked the right way which is to say doesn't taste like mush), as are all the soy-based fake-meat products. I really like Gardenburgers and Morningstar when I can afford them and portobello mushrooms taste like meat when cooked long enough so a cap makes an awesome burger. Pita pizzas are healthy and delicious snacks. My friends eat a lot of hummus and beans, too. Just watch out for soups when you are in restaurants, because they might use chicken or beef stock. It's easy to load up on bad foods without meat, especially in restaurants with a lot of butter, oils and fats, but since you're doing this for health, you're probably pretty conscientious about it already. GOOD LUCK GOING VEGGIE! &hearts

Going vegan especially takes a lot of commitment because finding food/clothing/etc without any animal products takes a lot of research (my friend was crushed when she learned Stella was processed with animal fat!), but if you are committed, more power to you!


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ginny_t
ginny_t
Too cute for evil
Mon, Oct. 5th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)

Oh, yes! Seconding (most vehemently) the portobello recommendation. Omnomnom!


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ginny_t
ginny_t
Too cute for evil
Mon, Oct. 5th, 2009 12:17 pm (UTC)

Good luck!

A small warning: be prepared for all kinds of people to tell you that it's an unhealthy choice. There's a great cultural investment in animal husbandry. (I read somewhere a suggestion that it's because wealth was once [and in some ways still is] counted in the number of animals you own, so rejecting meat rejects the economic structure of society.) My aunt (whom I don't much like) said, quite decidedly, when she found out I'd gone vegetarian: "Then you'll never be healthy." It ain't true, but there are some people you'll never be able to convince of that. I've given up on them.

Also, I now tell you a story. I was at a dinner I wouldn't normally have chosen to be at except for particular circumstance, eating with people who have a lot more power and responsibility than I do. (I'm being purposely vague here because it's an open post.) While ordering, I mentioned being vegetarian to the waiter to justify not wanting shrimp in my pasta. One of the powerful people commented, but it flew right past me. (That's just how used to it I am.) Later in the meal, talking to someone on the other side of me, the subject of not eating meat and modern farm practices came up in the conversation. Another powerful person got quite offended (wine had flowed) and semi-attacked me with the fact that the vegetable industry is no better. Fortunately, from my reading I knew something about the rotten conditions migrant workers face. (It's really bad.) Again, I deflected. I'm still quite angry about this story because it's bad logic, and someone in a much more powerful position than I attacked me (verbally, yes, but quite ferociously) for my decision. With bad logic!

As for advice: lots of variety and moderation, your body will adjust to beans and tofu eventually (if it hasn't already), and many world cuisines can offer interesting meat-free dishes if you're getting bored.


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Tue, Oct. 6th, 2009 04:06 am (UTC)

So far most people I have talked to have been pretty supportive, so that's good. There has been a little skepticism, mostly along the lines of "You know being vegetarian doesn't guarantee you a healthy diet, right?" And that's perfectly fair, I think--it is quite possible to be vegetarian, and even vegan, and still eat a lot of junk.

Anyway, thanks for the warning. I suppose it's probably a good idea to arm myself with more information in case I run in to that sort of conversation.


ReplyThread Parent
ginny_t
ginny_t
Too cute for evil
Wed, Oct. 7th, 2009 01:05 am (UTC)

LOL. I'm walking, talking, potato-chip-eating proof that cutting out meat doesn't mean bringing the healthiness. *hides*

I hope your good luck talking to people on this holds up!


ReplyThread Parent
springdove
springdove
Kristi
Tue, Oct. 6th, 2009 12:22 am (UTC)

Did you read the comment/review by GadgetChick on this book (it's the third one down when I look at the link)? I'm not trying to dissuade you from your decision; I just want to be sure you are making it for the right reasons and not because you fear you have gained too much weight or something like that. I also want to second the people who say to make sure you have a book/nutritionist/etc. to make sure you're getting all the nutrients/protein you need. (Although, I'm positive there are PLENTY of meat-eaters who don't get all of the nutrients/minerals they need. :)

I'm on board with vegetarianism; I could probably go that way myself, as I eat lots of vegetarian dishes and like them. I think I would probably rather be a pescatarian, though, because I do like eating meat but prefer fish over other meats in general. I actually read an article today that described the way I eat as "flexitarian."

Anyway, good luck with sticking to your guns. And don't beat yourself up if you have trouble. :)
*hugs*


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Tue, Oct. 6th, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)

I'm not concerned with weight as much as with health. I have always been a rather self-indulgent eater (lots of sugar and junk), and I have come to believe that I have headaches, hypoglycemia, low energy, and poor sleep habits, largely because I eat junk. More than anything else, I want to have more energy and just feel better in general. And I want to do whatever is in my power (and I do understand and accept that my power has limits) to prevent untimely death or disability. Poor eating habits are well-known to be a huge cause of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and any number of health problems. Just because I'm not-quite-30 and most of those things are most likely a relatively long way off on the horizon doesn't mean I shouldn't do what I can do now to prevent them. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit--I want to treat mine well (just like I'm sure you do). I think this conviction will help me do that.

I would never recommend this book to a person with a food-deprivation type of eating disorder. The authors do talk tough, and they do use "gross out" talk about what they consider to be vice foods: meat, animal products, sugar/refined carbs, and artificial additives. OTOH, they use very positive and enticing language to describe their virtue foods: organic fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, and a few other things like herbal teas. The book is definitely high on loaded language of all kinds and is totally intended to manipulate your emotions. That's its job. And I picked it up to do that job. (I picked it up for the same reason that, when I have an airplane trip on the horizon, I put in my "Overcome Fear of Flying" hypnotism CD.) Anyone who reads a book with that title not expecting to be emotionally manipulated is being naive.

Here's an excerpt that is, I think, typical of the book's overall style and content:

Our brilliant bodies make all the essential fatty acids we need, except for two: linoleic and linolenic acids, also known as omega-3 and omega-6. These good fats are found in olive oil, sesame oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, hempseed oil, evening primrose oil, raw nuts and seeds, and avocados. So quit listening to all the stupid b**ches who boycott nuts, oils, and avocados because they think they're fattening. Even though they're high in fat, they will not make you fat (unless you totally overdose on them).

There's a whole chapter at the end of the book with recommended food/menus. They make everything from cantaloupe to kelp sound totally delicious. This book is NOT about demonizing food in general--just the unhealthy junk (or at least, what the authors consider unhealthy junk).

As for the issues about PCOS, soy products, etc., I admit that that is more than I know and possibly deserves more research. For my part, I will say that as far as I know I have no allergies or special dietary needs that would contraindicate a high-soy/high-legume diet. Personally, I've always liked those foods anyway, so really, avoiding meat and eating somewhat more of those foods is probably not going to make a huge difference for me. What is going to make a difference, I expect, is giving up dairy and refined sugar/carbs, which I'm planning to do eventually. (The book recommends giving up one vice at a time, and I think that's a good strategy. I'm starting with meat and "obvious" dairy products like milk and cheese, and plan to move on to other things later on.) Right now, I think I have every reason to believe these changes will have a positive effect on my health overall. (And, granted, they will probably also result in the loss of a few pounds that I think I can probably do without.)


ReplyThread Parent
springdove
springdove
Kristi
Tue, Oct. 6th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)

Okay. It sounds like you've got it pretty well thought out. :) I guess I'm just overly sensitive to those issues since college.

As for the PCOS stuff, this is my understanding (which is really only partial as I'm not actually a physician or dietitian): it really has more to do with the fact that many of the protein substitutes also have a lot of carbs in them. For instance, beans are a good source of protein, but they also have carbs in them. Carbs are converted into sugars in your body, and sugars raise your blood sugar. So foods with carbs, even if they're healthy carbs, raise your blood sugar. That's hard for a lot of my patients to understand. They think "I ate strawberries instead of chocolate, and my blood sugar was still high!" They don't realize that even though strawberries are healthier because they have natural sugars, they still have SUGARS in them. So...it's tough as a diabetic/pre-diabetic (which is what PCOS is) to understand how sugars work in foods and in your body. And I guess the fact is that it all gets converted into glucose in your body, but animal proteins take longer to convert than carbohydrates, so they don't raise your blood sugar as quickly, allowing it the chance to stay more normalized. Anyway, it's not something to worry about unless you become diabetic or prediabetic. However, if you ever do, I would recommend talking to the dietitian about how your vegetarian lifestyle should be managed along with it.

Anywho, you need to do what you feel is the right thing for you, your body, and your faith. :)
Good luck. I'll look forward to exploring some new vegetarian dishes with you when we see each other again. :)


ReplyThread Parent
hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Tue, Oct. 6th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)

Good luck. I'll look forward to exploring some new vegetarian dishes with you when we see each other again. :)

Hee. Well, so far, I've had the same thing for lunch and dinner two days in a row (rice and/or miso soup), and that's getting boring. (Of course, this is largely because I haven't had time to go to the store and shop with the new diet in mind yet. I do have plenty of ideas for good vegetarian meals, I just need to buy the stuff to make them.) But yeah, I look forward to it. Oh, speaking of meals, my family loves those couscous packets. We've made them a bunch since I came home. And even though I won't be eating shrimp anymore, I still plan on making couscous packets once in a while--maybe just sans shrimp and cheese, or maybe with some tofu added.


ReplyThread Parent
springdove
springdove
Kristi
Sat, Oct. 10th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)

I remembered a recipe I used for my Japanese eggplant that I grew this summer. It's from a vegan website, so you may like this recipe and have fun searching for more. :)
Nasu-Degaku

I also have a wonderful recipe for Tuscan Bean Salad that can be very slightly modified to make it vegetarian/vegan. (It has mozzarella in it, but that can be replaced with tofu crumbles or the like or not at all and still be a wonderful salad.) I'll have to get the recipe together and send it to you. (I have it on a website, but I've made some changes to the recipe.)

Have fun with it!


ReplyThread Parent
hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Tue, Oct. 13th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)

Mmm...those both sound good. Thank you!


ReplyThread Parent
piperx
piperx
The magpie's nemesis
Tue, Oct. 6th, 2009 02:31 am (UTC)

That book is a great motivator to go vegetarian. It's hard to read in some spots though. I've considered going vegetarian myself but haven't taken the step yet.

Have to third the recommendation for Portabellas. They're thick and "meaty". They make a great substitute for meat in many meals (lasagna, for example). For fast food, nothing beats Amy's. :)


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