Going to be a vegetarian soon! Should I change my eating habits, besides skipping on meat? I'm a bit clueless.



drbabs November 24, 2010
When I'm eating vegetarian, I know I haven't been getting enough protein because I'm gaining weight, no matter how much exercise I'm doing or what the calorie count is. I know this is counter-intuitive---you're supposed to lose weight on a veg diet, but that's my body's way of telling me I need more protein. I hope that helps you.
susan G. November 23, 2010
Think about places where vegetarian foods are traditional -- they have generally healthy populations and enjoy life as much as anyone, and eat delicious foods. When I started eating vegetarian in 1975, my reminder list was "beans and grains, nuts and seeds" -- plus fruits and vegetables, of course, and eggs and dairy too. Try to learn as much as you can about nutrition so that you understand what your body needs and where you get it. It can be pleasant and delicious as well as healthy, and money-saving too.
beyondcelery November 23, 2010
Yes, the multivitamin is to make sure you're getting enough of the vitamins you need. I take a multivitamin all the time just to be sure that things stay in balance.

Iron is a good thing to watch as well. If you're not getting enough of it, you'll be tired, you'll bruise easily, have trouble sleeping, your hair may shed excessively, and if you're really bad off, people might notice you being much paler than usual.

When you don't have enough protein, you'll probably be hungry more often but not quite feel satisfied. You'll notice fatigue, weakness, sometimes shakiness, muscle cramps, headaches. It might take a simple cut longer than usual to heal. When I'm lacking protein, I know almost immediately because I'll get a headache that will go away the minute I hit it with a glass of water and a plate of scrambled eggs (my I-don't-feel-well protein of choice).

drbabs is right: don't feel bad if you end up craving meat or fish and take a nibble. Your goal is to be healthy. I've been vegetarian for 12 years because I never liked meat, but I'll crave it every now and then. That's when I know I've been slipping on my diet and need to eat more protein and vegetables if I don't want to eat the meat. There's a reason your body will crave things and it's best to listen.
Matsy November 23, 2010
Ah, I didn't know meat was a source of B12! Good to think about that then, definitely.

Yeah, I already eat a bunch of eggs and cheese, and I really love using them in dishes, so I'll still continue to do that!
That book looks like a great resource indeed! Looks like I'll be ordering that soon enough!

What do you notice when you don't get enough protein?
Hah, I'm just a student, so I can still decide whatever I want to cook, it seems that that will be a major relief.

I just hope the Dutch stores will supply me with the ingredients I need for this... in here, everything is pretty much based on meat, so I'm assuming that that will be a bit more complicated.

Hah, I won't be dying for a great steak or salmon, I'm really looking forward to getting rid of them. So yeah. Hah. It's a lot to look out for! I'm going to have to be a bit careful with the transition, that's for sure.
drbabs November 23, 2010
You need vitamins, especially B12, and possibly iron, because you may not get enough, even with a lot of fruits and vegetables. (You may want to have your B12 level checked after a while of eating vegetarian.) It's great that you love beans and tofu. Eggs and cheese also are not off limits for vegetarians. I think Mark Bittman's "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" is a great resource. I've gone in and out of vegetarian eating. I find that the pitfalls for me are I don't get enough protein (I don't like tofu.), and I end up eating too much sugar. And that my husband has no desire to be a vegetarian, so it makes meal planning challenging. Good luck! And don't be too hard on yourself if you're dying for a great steak or wonderful piece of salmon. It's your body--take care of it.
Matsy November 23, 2010
Ah, right! Yeah, I was thinking of mixing beans / tofu in my meals, since I'm already a huge fan of their taste! But, I'm sure I'll notice some similarities between the recipes I'll be cooking.

Haha, this seems a bit more complicated than I thought. But, it'll be great! Seems I won't be experimenting on recipes any time soon though!

What I don't get however is: Why the multivitamins? Shouldn't you be getting heaps more of them, because you 'generally' eat more vegetables and the such?

I totally forgot about fruit! I currently don't use any fruit in my meals, but it sounds like a really tasty choice!
So, more colours on my plate. It would look better as well!

And, thanks! I'm looking forward to it.
beyondcelery November 23, 2010
Especially at the beginning, you should pay close attention to your eating habits and get plenty of protein from non-meat sources (beans, tofu, quinoa, nuts, etc). That's the biggest mistake a lot of people make when first going vegetarian and they end up making themselves a bit sickly for a few months until they find balance in their diet. Also make sure to take a multi-vitamin of some sort if you don't already. A varied diet, full of vegetables, fruit, protein, and healthy grains will be your best bet at being successfully vegetarian.

My mom was fond of noting that the more colors on your plate, the healthier your diet is likely to be.

Welcome to the veggie club!
Matsy November 23, 2010
Well, there was no medical reason for me to be a vegetarian. I'm just not really fond of the taste of any kind of meat, and it seems that I really eat a lot healthier whenever I make vegetarian dishes.

Going to start tomorrow, and see how it goes! Now to find some tasty recipes!

Thanks for your fast response!

yvonne_cdeg November 23, 2010
Depending on the reason for going vegetarian. But if it is only for not eating meat. No need to change any other eating habit. Always listen to your body, It's very wise.
Hope I helped ! Good day !
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