Friday, July 04, 2003

Very Good Research and something that I have been considering for awhile and which has become something that I have really started thinking about due to recent circumstances.

Source: How to Save the World; 7/4/2003; 9:56:27 AM.


veggies I'm not yet a vegetarian, but I'm getting there. I scoured the internet for inspiration and guidance on making the transition, and came up with these eight tips for new and aspiring vegetarians (those that eat no animal flesh including poultry and fish) and vegans (those that also eat no animal products, dairy products, milk, eggs or cheese).

  1. Know why you're doing it -- Your motivation: reducing animal cruelty, aesthetics, reducing ecological impact, health, and/or spiritual reasons, will determine how, how far, and how fast you go.
  2. Take it in stages -- Consider eliminating red meat first, then all meat, then fish, then dairy products, and at each stage use commercial substitutes that simulate the flavour you're giving up. 
  3. Start with the meals you eat at restaurants -- It's much easier than changing your (and your family's) cooking habits, and will help you find vegetarian and vegan foods and menus you especially like. Even fast food places have vegetarian options: Burger King's veggie burger is so good even PETA is praises them.
  4. Meeting nutritional needs is no big deal -- The nutrients you need to focus on are calcium, iron, vitamin B-12, and amino acids. A good mix of vegetables, juices, cereals/grains/breads, rice, pasta, nuts, soy and other beans and legumes will cover these nutritional needs easily.
  5. If you like ethnic foods, you're laughing -- Every non-Western cuisine has vegetarian specialties.
  6. The hardest part is handling social situations -- Don't be defensive or doctrinaire. Allow yourself an occasional lapse if the situation requires it to avoid discomfort, as long as it's something you like to eat . It's not like giving up smoking or alcohol; you can get back on the vegetarian/vegan wagon easily.
  7. The next hardest part is baking -- Egg substitutes exist, and as a backup you can always use a mixture of 4 parts water, 4 parts flour, 3 parts vegetable oil and 1 part baking powder as an egg substitute. But it's not easy or inexpensive to change baking-with-eggs habits, and if you're a vegan you may find many commercial bakery products are offside.
  8. If you're married to a meat-eater -- Find compromises that don't require separate meals -- Vegetarian and vegan foods you both like, and menus that allow you to add (or not) meats and dairy products separately.
Since I started on my modest and gradual journey six months ago, I've reduced my meat consumption by about 75%, my dairy by about 50% (cheese is the toughest thing for me to give up), and lost 15 pounds in the process without even trying. My wife's coming around slowly, thanks to our shared love of spicy foods, salads, wines, nuts, and raw fruits and vegetables.

Any other advice, anyone?
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