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  #1  
Old 12-04-2016, 08:16 PM
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Default Help me become a vegetarian!

So here's one of the last threads I ever thought I'd create.

I passed up free meat today because the thought made me want to vomit. I wanna be a vegetarian. I had an excruciatingly strange night last night. No long crazy story, just apparently, unbeknownst to me until it happened, it was time for me to Have A Bit Of A Fucking Think at 1 AM in the god damn morning.

The conclusion of that think was I don't wanna eat meat anymore. No fish or seafood of any kind included in that. Eggs and milk and cheese and stuff are still fair mainly because I realize the magnitude of this task and don't want to fail entirely.

Please Talking Time, help me not lose my fucking mind doing this.

It's not that I'm worried about craving meat believe it or not, it's more that meat has been a central part of my diet my entire life and so removing it while being able to bring an easy to fix lunch to work, or grab a quick snack from a drive through, or go out to eat in general, or grab this week's dinner groceries is going to not be hard to avoid the temptation of (that will be a lie in a week), but something I don't know how to do right.

So I ask you! What is good?

I'm mainly looking for advice on stuff I can make at home, but tips on what to look for as far as probably overlooked dishes at the good Indian place around the corner because it didn't have goat in it are also wanted! I'm not averse to much and allergic to anything, so give me your links, your cookbooks I can buy, your personal anecdotes, everything!
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Old 12-04-2016, 08:35 PM
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I would suggest approaching the change in stages. Cut one type of meat from your diet until you're used to not having it, then move on to the next. Find recipes that don't include the meat that you cut out. Incorporate them into a routine, and then phase them out when you're ready.

Decide where your line is. A lot of foods have animal products in them. Will you be cutting out gelatin? Soup stock? Suet? Fish oil? Make sure you have alternatives if you do or be prepared to cut them out. Which brings me to my next piece of advice...

Read. Learn about what contains what. Get to know what gets put into what you consume. When I was vegan I got into the habit of always checking ingredients for certain keywords. I still do it, but that's because I don't eat dairy, beef or pork.

As with any lifestyle change, there's a lot of habit-building and practice. Good luck!
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:18 PM
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i agree with all that, and i'm personally coming from an angle that, i've never cooked meat and have a pretty idiosyncratic cooking style i mostly learned from my mom so maybe i don't have a lot of very useful advice. like i can read almost any recipe and adapt it to work the way i'm used to doing things but that doesn't actually help unless you already cook like i do (which probably no one does at this point)

i generally find a lot of direct "meat substitutes" really unappealing, but i gather they're really effective for some people who are trying to get used to not eating meat. i remember thinking that some of the lunchmeat type stuff was fine for what it was ("turkey" slices and such that go easily on cheese sandwiches) and i'm pretty into certain things that aren't really designed to resemble meat but have similar uses. there's tons and tons of burger brands especially which are clearly just vegetable mashups. some of them are really good (and some are really not for me). at the very least some of this stuff might help you get started more easily while you start finding your footing. in a more comprehensively cooked meal (like a stir-fry or something) something like tofu or seitan is an easy replacement that works about the same mechanically (though tofu is WAY softer than meat and especially light on flavor, which can be a disadvantage or an advantage depending on how you use it).

cookbooks: from a practical standpoint laurel's kitchen is probably the most useful one i know. like, probably half the stuff that my mom and i make comes originally from it and it's our habit to go, "ok, wait, how do i make this?" and look it up there first. it even works for stuff we've never made, sometimes, like the first time i cooked minestrone soup a couple years ago. otherwise-and maybe this isn't very helpful-i tend to look up something i want to make (literally, type in "vegetarian/vegan [X]" on google), because i can compare like five different recipes and take the most useful/applicable/interesting aspects of each. as not-eating-meat has really picked up in america, you see people from every background trying to figure out the best ways to make whatever their favorite thing is, so you really can find recipes for anything at this point. and really, cooking vegetarian is so, so, so much easier i feel; if you have a vague idea of which vegetables take longer to cook than others you almost can't mess stuff up (and if you're not sure just be conservative and put in anything green that isn't like a pepper or something last)
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Old 12-05-2016, 07:51 AM
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You'd be surprised what you can make without meat. The trick is to change the way you think about shopping for food and what ingredients you can use to make a meal. Pasta, cabbage, spinach, and beans make good vegetarian staples but that's just to my taste.

This seems like yet another opportunity for me to plug Budget Bytes.

Here's a good starter recipe: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2012/02/h...n-quesadillas/
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Old 12-05-2016, 07:57 AM
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I recently had to change my diet for medical reasons and I've basically had to cut out red meat because of it. I'm still eating poultry and seafood, mind you, but I'll be honest: it was pretty easy.

However, I'll add a caveat: it was pretty easy if you make all of your food yourself. The second you become reliant on a restaurant or another person, then it becomes pretty hard.
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Old 12-05-2016, 08:02 AM
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I legit prefer firm fried tofu to meat in a lot of meat dishes (stir fry, pasta, curry, etc). It's not always a good substitute, but it goes a long way.
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Old 12-05-2016, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBear View Post
I legit prefer firm fried tofu to meat in a lot of meat dishes (stir fry, pasta, curry, etc). It's not always a good substitute, but it goes a long way.
And make sure to press it! It makes it tougher, meatier, and tastier. Tofu is the bomb.
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Old 12-05-2016, 08:42 AM
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I love meat myself but I will say this. Don't limit yourself to making veggie versions of meat dishes. Call a spade a spade and embrace dishes intended as vegetarian from the beginning.
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Old 12-05-2016, 09:59 AM
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Also if you want protein staples you can just throw in a variety of dishes, in addition to tofu be sure to try out things like Seitan and Tempeh. You may end up liking one of them better, and some work better for certain applications than others.
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Old 12-05-2016, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tefari View Post
tips on what to look for as far as probably overlooked dishes at the good Indian place around the corner because it didn't have goat in it are also wanted!
navratan korma is at every indian place I've ever been to. it's not vegan, if you end up going that route though. other than that just look to anything that primarily has lentils or chickpeas.

and on that note, lentils own and are a good staple of a vegetarian diet. A big thing I try to do because 1. I'm a little lazy and 2. I have to have somewhat of a semblance of paying attention to macros is having huge slowcooker recipes of lentils, probably some decent protein-grain like black rice or quinoa or so, and seitan with whatever spices and sauces I want to use as a broth.

but whatever I'll suggest a couple of things. https://thegentlechef.com/ is pretty great for a relatively hardline vegan outlook, but you can still get some stuff from it even if you're ok with dairy and eggs and the like. a lot of what he does is about imitation though, but i never really expect it to come out as perfect mimicry, so it feels like it's a separate homage. Seitan and Beyond is pretty great, because even if you don't necessarily want to use it as just imitating meat-based dishes it has a lot of good ideas to get different textures out of it.

And yea tempah is also a great thing to build around. It's my number one sandwich filling. whatever grocery store you go to should have some packages in a fridge.

And just if you do get lazy there are plenty of pretty good frozen/packaged meatless meals. Idk about most of amy's stuff but i hear they're good (albeit expensive in comparison). gardein has some fun stuff or whatever, and the morning star and quorn veggie burgers/patties are pretty good fillers, though I don't really get them much anymore.

Anyway, I think as you may be expecting, the hardest part is just going to be when you're in a lot of places that are more or less surrounded by meat. I feel like vegetarian options are pretty well available most places these days. The real trouble will be going out to places if you decide to cut out dairy or eggs. Lots of "I'll take the ____ salad but hold the cheese and change the dressing" etc.
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  #11  
Old 12-05-2016, 10:23 AM
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I cook vegetarian during the week largely as an environmental compromise. The site that I get the most vegetarian recipes from is The Minimalist Baker. I find she's great because she recognizes that food has to be filling and have some joyful element. I cook this vegan fried rice every two to three weeks.
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  #12  
Old 12-05-2016, 12:20 PM
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Also, Taco Bell will sub refried beans for meat if you ask.
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Old 12-05-2016, 01:27 PM
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one of the main pieces of advice i'll give you is that you shouldn't try to replicate meat, or replace it with fakes. You'll never be happy that way, and it makes going veg that much harder. I encourage you to instead focus on foods that never needed meat in the first place, or on things that use tofu and stuff for their own virtues as opposed to being 'fake soyrizo' or whatever.

Indian food is super easy, as like half of the food is natively veg anyway. Thai food is also really good, as there is a long vegetarian culture in thai cuisine already.

You'll find yourself craving protein. Things like peanut butter and eggs help with that. Cheese sticks. You'll also find that you're hungrier sooner after eating. Vegetables get processed a lot faster than meats do, so you don't have that 'full' feeling as long. Eating rice/carbs and lentil/beans helps with this, but its just something you have to get used to.
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Old 12-05-2016, 01:43 PM
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If you live with someone else, I highly recommend Blue Apron. Hito doesn't like most fish, so we usually order 2 meat + 1 veg meals per shipment, and the vegetarian meal is usually our favorite. It's also usually the easiest meal to cook, since you don't have to wash your hands a dozen times due to handling raw meat. It's great because you don't need to plan meals ahead of time or find recipes or go shopping. It's very impractical if you're just cooking for yourself, or want to spend less than $10 on a meal. Also, their weekly meal choices are 2 meat + 1 fish + 3 veg, choose 3, so as a vegetarian you don't get as many options as someone who can choose from all 6.

My vegetarian roommate in college pretty much lived on quesadillas at home (just cheese + beans + hot sauce, basically) + vegetarian chipotle (avocado instead of meat) on the go + a fifth of hard liquor every other evening. Maybe don't do that last part.

Even though I'm not vegetarian, my go-to meals to cook for myself at home are all meatless, because I can't be trusted to either plan meals ahead or just buy meat in bulk without it dying of three years of freezer burn. That means cereal for breakfast, peanut butter sandwich for lunch, cold pasta salad or garlic rice for dinner, although I recently fancied the latter up by learning to make delicious kim chi fried rice since we have a whole bunch of homemade kim chi to get through. Obviously not very healthy or sustainable long term, but it's good to have a bunch of nonperishable staples on hand for when you're too lazy to go shopping (which, for me, is almost always).
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Old 12-05-2016, 03:00 PM
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Meat substitutes

Frankfurters = excellent.
Regular sausages = ok, depends on brand. Try a few.
Sausage rolls = better than meat (no meat scrapings!)
Chicken = no.
Mince = good
Bacon = no.
Burgers = got the taste, not the texture.

For chicken I recommend replacing it with veg, like mushrooms. My biggest problem with attempting going veg was when it came to lunchtime and I needed to buy sandwiches. Vegetarian sandwiches are cheese or ASS.

NB. I am not a vegetarian, I just like trying things.
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Old 12-05-2016, 03:42 PM
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I'm gonna have so much to read when I get home!
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:12 PM
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Say no to Tofurky. I cannot stress this enough.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:36 AM
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I've been slowly taking meat out of my diet, similarly I've also been having more and more disgust towards animal products. I have no intention of going full vegan though; I love fish, and if someone hands me a cupcake I'm not going to question the ingredients because free cupcake.

I actually LOVE fake meat, but to be fair in most cases I have no experience with the meat version to compare it to. I adore fake sausage but I've never eaten a real one. Try some fake meat crumbles on nachos.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daikaiju View Post
Also, Taco Bell will sub refried beans for meat if you ask.
I've found that this usually confounds the employees and I've given up on trying to get a hassle-free order.
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:53 AM
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I like fake meat too, and so does my wife, who's been vegetarian for 18 years and says that it has improved by leaps and bounds during that timespan. I don't think of it as a substitute so much as its own thing, and a helpful texture agent. There's a fake ground beef that I like to use to give my ma po dou fu a nice, crispy consistency. I agree that Tofurkey is awful, though.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:44 AM
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Same. I've even had several Tofurkey-branded things that were okay - just not, like, their actual "turkey".

But basically, opinions on meat-substitute processed veg protein products is all over the map, so there's really not much recourse but to try a bunch and see what you like personally. I've often just gotten whatever's on sale a given week to check it out.
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooMoo View Post
Chicken = no.
Going to have to disagree with this. Quorn is a pretty good sub when you want some "chicken texture" and the Bocca chicken patties have a consistency and taste which match - almost exactly - Wendy's chicken patties. Obviously YMMV on the Wendy's thing but that's like one of my only guilty fast food pleasures, and you can make your own tasty ol' Spicy Chicken sandwich at home with the Bocca Spicy Chicken patties. When I was 90% veg, that was a lifesaver whenever I'd get a craving for shitty fast food.

Shivam is right about Indian food. Home-cooked is quite different from restaurant food and it will be hard to find a recipe that will serve fewer than 6 people (so be prepared to do a lot of proportion adjusting), but if you want a steady rotation of a variety of vegetarian food, it's pretty hard to beat.
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Old 12-07-2016, 12:55 PM
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Most home-cooked Indian recipes I've read online leave out the ghee, which is bullshit. Use ghee!
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Old 12-07-2016, 02:18 PM
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Is there a term for someone who doesn't eat eggs or dairy, but does eat meat? Besides picky, that is. I've taken to calling myself an Arbitrarian.
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Old 12-07-2016, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kate or Die! View Post
Is there a term for someone who doesn't eat eggs or dairy, but does eat meat? Besides picky, that is. I've taken to calling myself an Arbitrarian.
Meat + vegan = Megan.
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Old 12-07-2016, 02:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MooMoo View Post
Meat substitutes

Frankfurters = excellent.
Regular sausages = ok, depends on brand. Try a few.
Yeah, hot dogs and sausages are pretty easy to make meatless. Be careful if you have any gluten sensitivity though, that's pretty much their #1 ingredient.
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Old 12-07-2016, 03:27 PM
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I've spent the past few months as a pescatarian (vegetarian + seafood), and, as a lifelong carnivore, I've found it to be pretty easy to maintain with little to no meat cravings.

The key for me is a lot of food variety. I've been doing the Blue Apron meal kit thing for a few months and they have a lot of delicious and varied vegetarian recipes. If you PM me I would be more than happy to send some of the recipes your way, if you don't mind cooking.
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Old 12-07-2016, 06:52 PM
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tofurkey is great and y'all can go to hell
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:57 AM
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I made a crazy good veg soup that's in the crock pot and smells AMAZING.
2 cans rotel
1 med onion
1 lb carrots
16 oz white beans (i used great northern)
16 oz black beans
16 oz white corn
12 oz spicy veg juice (V8)
12 oz veg soup stock
1 clove of garlic minced (I used a big clove)
salt to taste

crock pot 8 hrs on low or 4 hrs on high

it is nice and spicy and i can't wait to eat it.
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stiv View Post
Quorn is a pretty good sub when you want some "chicken texture"
Repeated for emphasis. I am not a vegetarian, but Bride of Dracula is, and has been for more than a decade, and she is the cook. We both love the Quorn line, and it makes a great addition to stuff like stir fry.

The nuggets they make are chillingly like the real thing, and come without the general unease of their origins.

Anyway I'll also say that beans are a huge staple in our house. Probably the easiest and most filling thing you can make without meat is Frito pie or nachos. Throw some beans in a pot, nuke a bowl of tortilla chips and cheese, then throw on a bunch of salsa, olives, sour cream, and the like.

But yeah, if you have local Indian or Mediterranean grocers, look for ghee. It will also be cheaper from them than buying it from Whole Paycheck or wherever.
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:24 PM
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I appreciate this juxtaposition.
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