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What to know about being vegetarian (karma: 15)
By KayEllePremium member
On Mon Feb 05, 2007 08:09 PM
Made sticky by Lirit (28370) on 2007-02-07 18:14:40 That's a good bit of information and some decent research here. Thanks!

Okay, so I’ve noticed lately a huge influx of posts asking things like “I want to be vegetarian, how do I do it?” or “What do I need if I’ve stopped eating meat?” I figured maybe I could compile a few answers in one post, so people might be able to look in one place. If anybody has anything else to add, or any questions to ask, post them in here and we can hopefully help you answer them!

First off, the what and why of vegetarianism.

Why do people become vegetarian or vegan?
Lots of reasons. Some religions promote vegetarianism (such as Buddhism) for any one of hundreds of reasons. I won’t get into the seriously religious content, but suffice to say that it often involves the sanctity of life and/or kindness towards other creatures. Some people don’t like the taste of meat. Some people have been raised vegetarian from birth and now just don’t eat meat out of habit. Some people become vegetarian because it offers numerous health benefits, which I explain below. Finally, quite a few people are vegetarian or vegan because of the extreme cruelty meat animals suffer from during their often short lives. Again, I won’t get into too much detail, but the vast majority of animals we consume are grown on factory farms, lead disgusting, inhumane lives and then are killed cruelly and with no consideration for the fact that animals feel pain, fear and sadness. If other members feel like going into more detail, then feel free, and I’m sure several might.

So what are these amazing health benefits that vegetarianism offers?
First off, I would like to emphasize that just because you’re not eating meat, it doesn’t mean that you’re automatically healthier. A meal of french fries and ice cream, while meat-free, isn’t exactly nutritious. That being said, a balanced vegetarian diet does offer some benefits that an omnivorous diet does not. Some examples include:
- a 40% lower chance of developing cancer compared to meat-eaters (1-3)
- a vegetarian diet, with other lifestyle changes, can help reduce or eliminate atherosclerosis (4, 5)
- it can help significantly reduce blood pressure (6)
- with exercise, it can help control or even eliminate type-2 diabetes (7)
- vegetarians are less likely to develop kidney stones (8)
- in women, vegetarians are much less likely to develop gallstones (9)
- in nations with mainly vegetable diets, osteoporosis is less common than in the US (10)
- a Swedish study concluded that asthma sufferers who followed a vegan diet for a year needed less medication and suffered fewer attacks (11)
(note: the numbers refer to exactly which source I got this information from, listed at the end of this article)

What kinds of vegetarians are there?
There are several varieties of vegetarians.
1. Lacto-ovo vegetarians: eat dairy and eggs, but no meat, fish, poultry or by-products – lacto means milk, ovo means egg. Most vegetarians are this kind.
2. Lacto vegetarians: eat dairy, but no eggs or meat.
3. Ovo vegetarians: you guessed it – eggs but no dairy or meat.
4. Vegans: No dairy, no eggs, no meat, poultry or fish or by-products. The most restrictive kind of vegetarian.
Please keep in mind that vegetarians do not eat fish. Fish is an animal. Vegans also may not consume honey (a by-product of bees). Most vegetarians don’t eat gelatin or dairy products made with rennet, either. However, while the majority follow these guidelines, vegetarianism is a personal decision and what restrictions you place are up to you. Even if you choose to simply eliminate red meat and continue eating chicken and fish, that’s a step in the right direction, and one day you might choose to eliminate those two.

What sorts of nutrients do vegetarians need to keep a close watch on?
Meat is rich in certain nutrients that, while they are readily available from plant sources, may take a little extra looking around for outside of meat. They, and their plant sources include:
- Protein: available in dairy products, eggs, beans, tofu, lentils
- Iron: dried fruits, whole grains, nuts, leafy green vegetables
- Calcium: tofu prepared with calcium sulphate, green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts, fortified soy milk or orange juice
And especially for vegans:
- Vitamin D: sunlight, dairy products (non-vegan), fortified soy milk, breakfast cereals, foods containing yeast or other fungi
- Vitamin B12: dairy products and eggs (non-vegan), fortified soy milk, fortified cereals, supplements
Generally, lacto-ovo, lacto and ovo vegetarians will have no difficulty getting these nutrients without having to take supplements. Vegans may find they need to take a multi-vitamin daily in order to ensure an adequate supply of vitamins D and B12. It might be useful to consult a nutritionist or dietician if you’re considering going vegan. They’ll help you formulate a meal plan that will definitely have enough of all the nutrients you need.

But I really like my meat… how can I give it up?
It’s actually so easy to give up meat, it’s ridiculous. Meat analogs (substitutes like fake chicken nuggets, ground beef, veggie burgers, tofu dogs, “chicken” burgers, fake lunch meat, fake bacon, the list could go on forever) are very easily found in large supermarkets. In fact, Schneider’s (ironically) makes some of the best fake meats I’ve ever tried. I gave my little sister (a hardcore meat-eater) some of their chicken nuggets and she couldn’t even tell the difference. Tofu will absorb the flavours of absolutely anything you add it to – it goes great in stir fries, pasta sauces, soups, or just marinated and cooked somehow. You can even put it in desserts! Just whip a little silken tofu and add some melted chocolate and you’ve got some awesome chocolate mousse (I’m completely serious, it’s amazing). Vegan gelatin is pretty easy to find, as are tofu-based “dairy” products, like soy cheese, ice cream and milk. Basically what I’m saying is that you can give up meat without giving up meat! Just go have a look around your local supermarket and you’ll find that it’s SO easy to make the switch.

But… what will I eat? Give me a couple healthy sample menus!
Gladly. Here’s a vegan one:
½ multigrain bagel
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 cup calcium-fortified orange juice
1 apple
2 tbsp chopped almonds, mixed with
¼ cup dried fruits (like raisins or apricots) and
1 cup soy milk
1 ½ cup vegetable soup
1 medium orange
8 whole wheat crackers
8 small slices soy cheese
2 cups air-popped popcorn
½ cup brown rice, cooked
1 cup diced vegetables, stir fried in
2 tsp olive oil and
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/3 cup cubed extra-firm tofu, marinated in the soy sauce
See how easy that is? You can add or remove whatever snacks you want, add in some dairy if you’re going lacto-ovo, mess around with it however you want. Add more or less food. It’s really easy.

Okay, but my parents think I’ll die if I don’t eat meat! What do I do?
First of all, refer them to some of the resources at the bottom of this post. Do some research yourself, as well. Let them know how easy it is to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Not only that, but plant-based diets are generally less expensive and pose less of a strain on the environment! If your parents don’t want to make a whole separate meal for you, just learn some new ways to adapt the meals they’re making. If they’re making… I don’t know, tacos for example? Just don’t eat the beef and throw in a little tofu. Spaghetti? Have your mom cook the meat first, remove it from the pan, continue as usual with the tomatoes, and then take a bit of the meat-free sauce out for you and throw the rest of the meat in! It’s really very easy. You might also convince them to try a few vegetarian dishes of their own. Some things, like pasta with tomato sauce, you wouldn’t even notice meat missing from.

Alright, I hope that helped some people. If there are other questions, please post them here and someone (either I or another member) would be happy to answer them, I’m sure. Happy vegetarianism!

1. Thorogood M, Mann J, Appleby P, McPherson K. Risk of death from cancer and ischaemic heart disease in meat and non-meat eaters. Br Med J 1994;308:1667-70.
2. Chang-Claude J, Frentzel-Beyme R, Eilber U. Mortality patterns of German vegetarians after 11 years of follow-up. Epidemiology 1992;3:395-401.
3. Chang-Claude J, Frentzel-Beyme R. Dietary and lifestyle determinants of mortality among German vegetarians. Int J Epidemiol 1993;22:228-36.
4. Ornish D, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW. Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? Lancet 1990;336:129-33.
5. Esselstyn CB Jr, Ellis SG, Medendorp SV, Crowe TD. A strategy to arrest and reverse coronary artery disease: a 5-year longitudinal study of a single physician’s practice. J Fam Pract. 1995;41:560-8.
6. Donaldson AN. The relation of protein foods to hypertension. Calif West Med 1926;24:328-31.
7. Nicholson AS, Sklar M, Barnard ND, et al. Toward improved management of NIDDM: A randomized, controlled, pilot intervention using a low-fat, vegetarian diet. Prev Med 1999;29:87-91.
8. Robertson WG, Peacock M, Heyburn PJ. Should recurrent calcium oxalate stone formers become vegetarians? Br J Urol 1979;51:427-31.
9. Pixley F, Wilson D, McPherson K, Mann J. Effect of vegetarianism on development of gall stones in women. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;291:11-2.
10. Hegsted DM. Calcium and osteoporosis. J Nutr 1986;116:2316-9.
11. Lindahl O, Lindwall L, Spangberg A, Stenram A, Ockerman PA. Vegan regimen with reduced medication in the treatment of bronchial asthma. J Asthma 1985;22:45-55.

Other resources: . . . . . . . . .

107 Replies to What to know about being vegetarian

re: What to know about being vegetarian
By hylndlasmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Feb 05, 2007 08:20 PM
Thanks for posting this.

I recently have started to wean meat out of my diet.

I normally eat Free range meat from my Amish butcher.....but lately due to health concerns I have decided to try to go back to being a veggie.....I may go all the way or I may just limit my meat intake to once a week....not sure yet.

If someone can post a link for more meals I would appreciate it.
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By Peridotmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Feb 05, 2007 08:21 PM
Edited by AdagioGirl (117408) on 2007-02-05 20:27:26
Edited by AdagioGirl (117408) on 2007-02-05 20:32:17
Edited by AdagioGirl (117408) on 2007-02-05 20:34:57
Edited by AdagioGirl (117408) on 2007-02-05 20:45:48
This should definitely be a sticky! I seriously love you, panic_. This will hopefully cut down on the repetitive vegetarian posts out there. The information was accurate and presented very nicely. As a vegetarian myself, I think you did a great job!

Here are some more recipes: . . . . . . . . . . . .

And if you are worried about eating out, try these:
-Jason's Deli has purely vegetarian options available! My personal favorite is the Spinach Veggie Wrap. Plus, the whole place is trans fat free and they have a lot of organic items.
-Subway has veggie subs!
-Chili's has a black bean veggie burger.
-Almost anywhere you go, you can find a suitable option. Italian restaurants offer pastas that usually come without meat, OR you can just ask for no meat.
-If you go to a restaurant, ask them what is in their food... for example, most vegetable soups are made with beef broth- so ASK.

(For hylyndlas:) This site has a sample meal plan with sufficient protein: . . .

I also want to add something about forming complete proteins. It's important to combine proteins in order to get all of the amino acids you need. So you can combine grains and legumes, legumes and nuts/seeds, or grains and nuts/seeds. So for example, peanut butter on whole wheat bread would be a complete protein (grains and legumes- yes, pb is a legume). Or rice and beans would be grain and legumes.

re: What to know about being vegetarian
By emilytheprincess
On Tue Feb 06, 2007 08:52 PM
Oh thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!

I tried being a vegeterian once, and it only lasted a week. The more I think about it the better it sounds and I definatly want to try it again.

My only problem was that the fake meat products were expensive and having my parents buy all the food, well, it just didn't work.

Thanks so much for this information.

re: What to know about being vegetarian
By JoyNoellePremium member
On Wed Feb 07, 2007 04:47 PM
Good job! This should definitely be a sticky. :D I'd like to see people add to it to make it an ongoing source of information on veg*nism.
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By onmybleedingfeet
On Wed Feb 07, 2007 06:33 PM
Thanks a lot for this. I've been veg for about a month now.. and I'm trying to be only lacto-ovo veg, but I really really don't want to drink or eat anything with milk in it. I've learned the truth, and it's absolutely disgusting. I just chug down about five cups of soy milk a day, and a protein shake or two, and I'm fine. :). Again, thanks for this. I should try that menu sometime.
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By KayEllePremium member
On Wed Feb 07, 2007 07:47 PM
^^ That's what I was hoping for. I definitely don't know everything about the subject, I don't even know a significant amount about it, I just hoped to get some discussion going and maybe answer some really simple questions.

So if anybody has any more information they find super interesting or useful or whatever... let's see it!
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By Gwyneth17member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Fri Feb 09, 2007 07:30 PM
thank you so much! This post was really informative (I think especially for people like me who have been considering becoming vegetarian).
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By Ballet_Baibemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Feb 12, 2007 04:46 AM
Great post, if any new veggies or vegans would like any more advice or recepies feel free to pm me, I have been veggie for about 13 years, and I'm allergic to dairy, so any questions just ask, I'm allways willing to help.

re: What to know about being vegetarian
By sweetyface17
On Tue Feb 13, 2007 09:20 AM
Wow, you are my hero. Thank you so much for posting this. I'm a lacto-ovo veg. I try not to intake much dairy, though. I actually like soymilk better. The chocolate is freaking amazing. ;)
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By DancingAngel925member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Feb 17, 2007 12:52 PM
Thanks! This is really helpful. I just became vegetarian about a month ago.
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Feb 20, 2007 04:17 PM
I've thought about becoming a vegetarian. A friend of mine was a lacto-ovo for 10 years and just recently went to non-strict (eats chicken and fish, for those who don't know) due to anemia. I don't eat a lot of red meat, pork, or fish to begin with, so I call myself a pseudo-vegitarian :).
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By alleycatmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Feb 27, 2007 06:58 AM
Please keep in mind that vegetarians do not eat fish. Fish is an animal. Vegans also may not consume honey (a by-product of bees). Most vegetarians don’t eat gelatin or dairy products made with rennet, either

I beg to differ. I've followed a vegetarian diet+fish the past ten years. And while i agree that fish is not a vegetarian choise, i will not have rennet and gelatine-consumers think of me as less vegetarian than them. (not saying that you are one) Atleast i am not supporting the slaugher-industry or consuming any mammals or birds. There are plenty of good, ethical and echological reasons to why the fishing industry isn't as bad as the meatindustry, espessially when wild-caught, and when it comes to health and nutrition it's superb. When i stopped eating meat i would i would fit the category "pesci-vegetarian", now most vegetarian societies prefere the term "pescitarians" when they want to label us. However, try using that word in a restaurant and see what kind of food you're given.

When it comes to rennet and gelatin, i'm a strict say-no-er. Why do you think of me as less vegetarian than someone who will consume these by-products from mamals? I don't like these labels at all.
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By KayEllePremium member
On Tue Feb 27, 2007 01:53 PM
Edited by panic_ (136120) on 2007-02-27 13:55:46
I strongly believe that it's not possible for someone to be more or less vegetarian than anyone else. That's why I followed up that comment with "However, vegetarianism is a personal decision and what restrictions you place are up to you."

As for the gelatin and rennet debacle... well, quite a few vegetarians I know do consume gelatin simply because it's in a whole lot of foods, and alternatives are often difficult to find and/or afford. Especially in my situation, I'm living in residence and eating out of the dining hall, where my choices are severely limited. As for rennet, the food industry is moving in the right direction at least, as "only about 35% of worldwide cheese production uses animal rennet." ( . . .) Although, it's frequently difficult to tell if the cheese I'm eating contains animal or vegetable rennet. But again, whether or not you choose to consume it is up to you.

I probably should have specified that pescitarians (pesci-vegetarians, whatever) do consume fish, and semi-vegetarians might consume poultry and fish. In my personal opinion though, vegetarianism means no animal flesh, but again, I would like to re-emphasize:

However, vegetarianism is a personal decision and what restrictions you place are up to you.
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By pirouettes77
On Mon Mar 05, 2007 06:58 PM
yea-yuh! I am like the only vegetarian in my town, and it is so hard to get veggie food! (We have to drive into the city to the giant whole foods)
This is awesome! I could totally show this to people and then they would understand..
love ya lots,
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By Odessamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Mar 05, 2007 07:13 PM

Beans are the vegetarian wonder-food. Feel like tacos? Beans. Feel like spag bol? Beans. Need a meat stand-in in your veggie stir fry? Beans.

Seriously. And they're a great source of protein, which you'll be missing from not eating meat.

Last night I made bean enchiladas. Two cans of four-bean mix, and one can of refried beans to hold it together, as well as the enchilada sauce, tortillas and vegetables and there's dinner.


::righteous babe::
re: What to know about being vegetarian (karma: 2)
By JoyNoellePremium member
On Mon Mar 05, 2007 11:08 PM
I really don't want to start a war, but here goes. Sorry, but if you eat fish, you're not vegetarian. You can CALL yourself a vegetarian, or a pescetarian, or...whatever, but you're still not! And this comes from someone who did just that--I continued eating fish for a long time after giving up meat, gelatin, leather, and everything else derived from mammalian animals. But I justified continuing to eat fish pretty much the same way alleycat does...and then I realized I was kidding myself.

If you're eating something that used to be a living animal, you're not vegetarian, plain and simple. Call yourself a "semi-vegetarian" or an "almost vegetarian" or something, but don't change science by pretending that animals are part of the plant world. :?

(I do agree, however, that the fishing industry isn't NEARLY as heinous as factory farms.)

Image hotlink - ''
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By DutchDancer
On Wed Mar 07, 2007 11:43 AM
^Totally agree! My mom keeps telling me "all vegetarians eat fish!"

I think she expects this from me because fish don't have big puppy eyes that say "don't eat me" like for example cows do. No, I don't think Nemo was real and was insecure and sad because he missed his dad, but fish do have a nervous system, thus they have feelings!

So no, real vegetarians don't eat fish.
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By alleycatmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Mar 07, 2007 01:00 PM
I'm not getting into that war here, this isn't the debateforum. I don't mind not calling myself a vegetarian, i rarely do, and if people ask if i am, i will always answer "no i eat fish". Even in restaurants i ask for "a vegetarian dish" i don't say that i'm a vegetarian, because frankly, it's none of their buisness.

I just think it's a very conteminated debate and i find it rather careless of you express yourself so directly with your opinion if this is supposed to be a fac. post. Because i is after all, a matter of opinion, and if you look at the posts above mine you'll probably see why i'm fed up with "real" vegetarians feeling holier than me thinking that i just haven't seen the light. Newsflash; We're on the same side here!

And it pisses me of even more when people who won't avoid animal byproducts are not concidered "to be kidding themselves" more than i am. "Real" vegetarians won't support the industry, if you ask me, and people eating gelatin and rennet definately do, so in my book it makes them just as little of vegetarians as i am. Which is absolutely fine, as long as they don't go around calling themselves vegetarian and denying me the same.

If i had a choise i would never call myself a vegetarian, but sometimes people will push you up the wall about it and it's easier to say you are one to make sure you don't get any animal ingredients. It just seems like an easier thing to respect for people, which i guess is a sign that we're moving in the right direction.

I face the same problems you do; people rolling their eyes when you ask about rennet, enchansers, gelatine or other things, having to defend my views to people who need to worry about their own buisness, trying to find suited meals at restaurants, eating rice and vegetables when my friends are throwing dinners. I may not be a vegetarian, and frankly i could care less what i'm named, but if others are to make that decition for me, i think they should clean up in their own lines first.

Psst; "vegeta" means life/lively/lifeful.
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By JoyNoellePremium member
On Wed Mar 07, 2007 06:53 PM
Hey, alleycat, I'm sorry my post seemed defensive or something, because I know we're on the same side and I really didn't mean to make you mad. I merely pointed out that eating fish disqualifies one from calling themselves vegetarian--if they're honest with themselves! Again, I'm sorry it came out sounding nasty because that wasn't my intent.
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By alleycatmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Mar 07, 2007 07:13 PM
No, i'm sorry, i'm the one who should step down here, it's just a supersensitive topic for me, and i tend to overeact, i'm sorry. It's just like, we get all the vegetarian-haters at us, and then we get all the hating vegetarians at us too, and i just end up being pissed and defensive about it and post things like; "I won't debate this", and then try and debate it. It's something that's really important to me and it just gets to m when i fel like what i am doing isn't valid. It's like bumping into those McDcustomers who will call you a hypocrite for having a leather-patch on your jeans or something.

I guess i just find it unfair that the vegetarian societies embrace people who aren't picky about by-products but not me-me-me. But i don't dissagree with the term vegetarian not fitting me, I just dislike labels on a general basis, espessially when i have to turn to dumbandstupid-labels like "pescitarian". They could atleast have given us pecsi-vegetarians!

Ok, rant over. Hugs and kisses for all tree-huggers and other sexy people. I'm sorry!
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By JoyNoellePremium member
On Wed Mar 07, 2007 08:25 PM
You're such a sweetheart, alleycat. :) It's all cool!
re: What to know about being vegetarian
By Brazil
On Tue Mar 13, 2007 07:54 AM
Nice thread.
I know that panic specifically avoided this in her explanations to avoid strife, but for me religion plays an enormous role.
Me being Orthodox (Christian, not Jewish) I'm Vegetarian for up to 2/3 of the year (it changes every year) So, for the rest of the time, I love meat, eggs, cheese, milk anything!!!

Just to add to the fish dispute, would like to bring up the topic of Xeophagy

"Literally this means dry eating. Strictly interpreted, it signifies that we may eat only vegetables cooked with water and salt, and also such things as fruit, nuts, bread and honey. In practice, octopus and shell—fish are also allowed on days of xerophagy: likewise vegetable margarine and corn or other vegetable oil, not made from olives. But the following categories of food are definitely excluded:

# (i) meat;
# (ii) animal products (cheese. milk, butter, eggs. lard,
# (iii) fish (i.e. fish with backbones):
# (iv) oil (i.e. olive oil) and wine (i.e. all alcoholic

The quote from . . .

Anyway, whatever you decide about your diet, it's up to you, so don't let anyone tell you that you're wrong...

What to know about being a vegetarian
By paigec
On Fri Mar 23, 2007 09:27 AM
My daughter is a vegetarian she is 13 and has been now for 10 years, this post has made me realise the good points about being a vegetarian and has made me think about becoming one myself. thank you
re: what to know about being vegitarian
By dancingforjoy
On Sun Apr 15, 2007 07:17 PM
thank you so much! i am a lacto-ovo myself and its nice to know that someone else knows about the cruelty to animals the most factories just overlook. Thank you for this amazing post!
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