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Do you cook mostly or all vegetarian food? What are your tips for staying balanced?

Was anyone else raised eating meat, then switched to mostly or all vegetarian cooking? Any tips for how to shop, filling meals, and how to avoid eating too much starch and sugar (pasta & fruit)?

I'm thinking about limiting how much meat I eat, but I'm curious how to switch out of a meat-and-potatoes model I'm accustomed to from childhood. I love a good salad, have an enthusiastic passion for bean dishes, and have access to good vegetables.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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Moem4 years ago
I found it easiest to get rid of that potatoes-vegetables-meat (as we call it in Dutch) pattern altogether, and cook foreign dishes that are not based on that model at all.
You could easily do that on certain days of the week.

Shopping isn't really different, I don't think.
Filling meals are just as easy as they are now. I simply combine vegetables, a base (rice, pasta, potatos and so on) and a protein source in every meal.
I don't try to avoid starch, though. I don't see it as something to avoid. It's food. :o)
garnishrecipes (author) 4 years ago
Thank you to everyone who replied. You all raised great points.

Since I posted, I took a quick browse through our local natural foods store. They have bulk bin beans. There are nearly the same grams of protein per calorie in most beans; plus nearly the same grams in fiber. This confirmed the point made about protein; also, the cost per pound is much gentler on my wallet.

I'm looking forward to finding a good vegetarian cookbook or two, and testing out some new legume based recipes.

I'm going to check out everyone's recommendations. Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it greatly.

A note for those who are interested in cookbooks: my mom picked up a copy of the Greens Restaurant cookbook a few years ago, and mentioned it's a good one to try as well.
Goodhart4 years ago
I "prefer" as many veggies as I can get, supplimented by meat protien, lean (whether it be beef [containing vital CLA), or chicken or turkey. I start my meals with a salad most times.
ChrysN4 years ago
I grew up eating meat and potatoes then switched to vegetarian. I still eat dairy and eggs. It is a good idea to invest in some good vegetarian cookbooks. There are some that not only have recipes, but also give you advice on how to be vegetarian. My favorite is The Vegetarian Manifesto.  It has a lot of great information, introduces you to a lot of alternatives and has yummy recipes.

Also read up on complementary protiens, how to combine
  • Legumes with Grains, Legumes with Nuts, Legumes with Seeds to get a complete protein.

 
gollihughj4 years ago
Well, I'm a chef trained in RAW and vegan cuisine, and although I don't personally adhere to either of those diets, your choice is a great one. Limiting the amount of meat we intake is a very healthy way to eat. The best thing that you can do to maintain a healthy diet is to have as much variety as possible. This does include starches and sugars (both simple and complex). The vegetarian diet is hard for most people because they don't know how to maintain enough protien in their diet. As most of us are taught that meat=protien, most of us assume that vegetables and grains don't give us protien. This is simply not true. Most foods we consume contain protien, they just don't have complete protiens. Without going into to much detail, I'll just give you a quick link:
http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/dietarytherapy/a/Vegetarian.htm
Also, do a quick google search for "complimentary protiens" for tons of info.
At the end, variety is this best thing you can do for yourself with this diet.
Good luck and have fun.
Good advice... although it should be noted that it's "protein". (Important in the Google search). :-)
thank you for the correction :) Whatever happened to "i before e"? lol
Its one of those weird rules... ;-)