Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Trouble on a vegetarian diet?

I recently became a vegetarian and my friends constantly tease me about it, and it's slightly annoying. I'm proud to be doing this and I want to continue but it's becoming slightly troublesome.

See, I live in a small southern town and my sources are limited and I find myself having difficulty finding anything to eat without becoming bored. I especially don't want to quit this diet because my friends would just act like jerks about it.

Help? Advice? Tips? Recipes? Anything!

Answer on Trouble on a vegetarian diet?

It's annoying that you have to face that kind of discrimination.

I promise you, though, you won't get bored on a veg'n diet if you open your mind to all the available foods out there. I've been vegan for many, many years, and I can't wait for meal time.

The quickest way to food knowledge is probably to buy a good veg'n cookbook. Try the different recipes, and find out what you like. Yes, there's a lot of trial and error, and you won't like everything. But that's true of any cookbook.

Try ethnic restaurants you haven't tried before. Half a billion Indians are vegetarian, so an Indian restaurant is ideal for you. But there are vegetarian options at Thai, Japanese, Hakka, and other restaurants. The soup of the day at most middle-eastern restaurants & Jewish delis is usually vegan.

Don't rely on processed foods. They're not good for you. They're fine, once in a while, but not every day, much less every meal. You want to eat foods as much as possible the way they grow in nature. My vegan diet consists mostly of vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruit. The good processed foods are things like almond milk, hummus, oatmeal/steel cut oats, vegan bread products, guacamole, etc.

The "fine in moderation" processed vegan foods are things like meat replacements, frozen vegan meals, vegan marshmallows, coconut milk "ice cream", etc.

Don't forget that most dark chocolate is vegan. Many plain chips are vegan. Frito-Lay pretzels are vegan. Coke (and many other sodas) are vegan. There are lots of regular ol' snack foods you can enjoy with your friends. You'll know they're vegan. They probably don't.

And you're not even trying to be vegan...just vegetarian. There are infinitely more options when you're vegetarian. You can eat vegetarian cheese on things like pizza or pasta dishes. Milkshakes are typically vegetarian (unless the ice cream contains gelatin). You can make all kinds of egg dishes.

If you want to convert a recipe to vegan, it's often simply a matter of replacing the butter with vegan margerine, the milk with soy/almond/rice milk, the egg with egg replacer, the chocolate with dark chocolate, the whipped cream with soy/rice whip, and on and on. I make many delicious 100% vegan desserts.

Good luck!

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