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UK Just becoming veggie

Discussion in 'The Vegetarian Forum' started by JD01, May 3, 2018.

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  1. JD01

    JD01 Well Known Member

    I'm generally pretty healthy and eat a relatively low-meat diet compared with people in general. However, I just ate what I hope to be my last sausage sarnie from the Cafe near the office while listening to a podcast about vegetarianism.

    I've been trying to do the whole only eat locally sourced "ethical meat" thing but I think that might be a bit of a blind alley - undecided on this as yet. My Mrs buys meat from our local farm.

    I generally feel better when I eat nice veggie food and don't eat stuff like sausage sarnies.
    But I do get that protein craving and end up doing things like having a sausage sarnie.

    I'm good friends with the guys at the cafe so I'm going to ask them to start getting nice veggie sausages.

    Two things that would make this easier:
    1. How do people generally cope with the "meat craving"? some of you guys must know what I mean. What alternatives do you have to kill it?
    2. Veggie options are generally crap and get repetitive 'cos they're limited. I don't mean at home, I can cook nice veggie stuff for myself easily (I even quite like Quorn). But I mean when I'm out with work, stopping at motorway services, supermarkets or local cafes for lunch. The veggie options are crap if you want a nice meal. But I reckon I must be missing something here. Some of you guys must have to deal with this? What do you do? I'm not organised enough to make myself a packed lunch when I know I'm going to be out for day.
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  2. PTree15

    PTree15 Beach bum

    Hi, JD01, and welcome to VeggieViews. Congrats on your veg*n efforts! You are making a great choice.
    Regarding your questions, some of this can be attributed to one's motivation for going veggie. I will preface my suggestions with the fact that everyone is different, and different things work for different people.

    I haven't had a meat craving since I gave it up almost 25 years ago, seriously. My initial motivation was health, but as I learned about the atrocities inherent in the production of dead flesh, and knowing that some poor creature would have to die to satisfy my tastebuds, I had no cravings whatsoever, and I still don't. It's a mindset for me, I guess. I can't look at a cow or a chicken or a pig and think "food." I think "sweet animals who don't deserve to be tortured for my tastebuds." If you can get through the films "Earthlings" and "Meet Your Meat," you won't have a lot of cravings, trust me. I couldn't finish "Earthlings" because I was sobbing throughout. And just my two cents on "ethical" or "happy" meat: The animal still has to die, so for me, that is deal-breaker.

    If you are motivated by health, there are a wealth of studies and books out there that hold that meat isn't really all that great for humans. It's not bad in small doses, but humans don't really need all the meat they eat. The China Study (which espouses a vegan diet) is a good read. The film "Forks Over Knives" is also worth watching.

    As far as protein replacements go, veggie meats are a good way to help you transition. You say you eat a healthy diet, so you might not be thrilled with the processed nature of them, but they work in a pinch when you want a meaty texture or flavor. Really, a lot of people's desire for meat is based more on the sauces and spices used to prepare it, rather than the meat itself. It's not as if people eat it plain all the time. Some good ones I have tried are Tofurky sausages and kielbasa links; Gardein 7-grain (faux chicken) tenders, fishless filets and black bean burgers (Gardein is a bit pricy, but they do a good job with texture and taste, and they are filling); and Boca vegan chik'n patties (they are great in a bun). Seitan is also a great substitute for meat-like dishes. It comes in many forms and textures, from slices to crumbles. I have actually taken to making my own because you can flavor it up so many ways. If you like tofu, incorporate that into stir-fries. It's great marinated and baked as well. There are a few tricks to getting it to absorb flavor, but once you get the hang of it, it's a piece of cake. Other great protein options are beans: kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, etc. Veggie chilis are easy to make and really filling. You can also add seitan or tofu to them if you want even more protein, but a good veggie chili is really satisfying.

    Regarding options outside the home: This one will require you to become better at being prepared if you really don't want to be frustrated all the time when you're out and about (it's even worse for vegans, like me :D). That said, things have improved greatly as far as finding a veggie option, say, at a rest stop. Sabra puts out a snack-size hummus and pretzels cup that you can find just about anywhere now, even in the gas station convenience stores. Still, being prepared is your best bet for those times when a bag of chips or a salad just won't cut it. I often carry protein bars (I try to find ones that don't have loads of sugar, but it's hard) like Clif Builder or the regular Clif bars if I know I'm going to end up somewhere with few veggie options. I keep a cooler in my car for packed lunches. I love peanut butter, so I'll make peanut butter sandwiches or bring crackers for peanut butter and crackers. I often will take half a portion of the previous night's dinner for lunch. Dried fruit is also a great thing to have on hand. It's tasty and filling, as are nuts. I keep pistachios or peanuts or almonds on hand. At work, there are always meetings with free lunches, but I rarely get to indulge, so I make sure I have an awesome lunch for that day. I'm lucky that I love to cook, so I usually have good lunches.

    Also, this site has a great recipe section and tips for new vegetarians on everything from navigating a restaurant menu to traveling as a veg*n (short for vegetarian or vegan). One tip I always give new veg*ns is don't be afraid to ask wait staff questions about the menu and even getting a tasty veggie meal that's not on the menu. Many places will accommodate you if they aren't crazy-busy. I recently got a chef to whip up a veggie wrap that was out of this world! I told them they should consider putting it on their menu, it was that good. With the internet, you can also find menus online to help you decide whether there will be something for you to eat. It's always good to check ahead if you can. I often email restaurants to ask about ingredients in their breads and meals, just to make sure they don't have animal products in them. It really is about preparation, and if you want it badly enough, you'll do what you need to do.

    I hope this doesn't sound too daunting. Just take it step by step and learn as you go. Oh, and there are lots of books out there that give good advice to becoming a veg*n. Take a spin on this site, as there are lots of recommendations.

    Once again, welcome! :)
    Last edited: May 3, 2018
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  3. MadamSarcastra

    MadamSarcastra MadamSarcastra, over & out.

    @JD01 :wave: Greetings! :welcome:

    There are so many helpful threads (and people! ^) here.... Take a good look around, never be afraid to ask questions.

    I come from an area with very few veg*an options as well... it can be frustrating. But don't give up! Enjoy the adventure! :up:
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  4. JD01

    JD01 Well Known Member

    Cheers guys - haven't had a look around yet so I hadn't noticed there were menu options on here. I like cooking anyway so its not the eating at home thing that I'm so worried about - although more recipes always help.

    I actually found a vegan chorizo wrap the other day, that was great. No idea what chemicals are in it, but it tasted nice. Would be great to find that for home as I do love Chorizo in an omelette.

    Regarding ethics - industrial farming is grim. I don't want anything to do with it. Hence the reason to definitely give up mass produced stuff. As I said though, I think this ethical meat thing is a bit of a blind alley - will just leave you (or me anyway) more open to stuffing a pork pie if I'm hungry in a petrol station.

    Aside from how grim industrial farming is, my other reasons for giving meat up is how resource intensive it is and its carbon footprint. There's probably going to be 10 billion of us in my lifetime and there's not enough space for us all to eat steak.

    I'm not so fussy about things like gelatin or maybe mussels/clams provided that they're not dredged, maybe I will be in future. At the moment I'm more keen to cut out the "normal" meats that seem to be in pretty much every sandwich.
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  5. JD01

    JD01 Well Known Member

    Went over the cafe this morning to ask him if he'd do veggie sausages for me... turns out they've always been available! I've been killing myself with greasey sausage sarnies for 3 years - never thought to ask before. One facepalm is not enough.
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  6. Nadezhda

    Nadezhda Star Member

    Before i bacame a vegetarian, i wondering what do they it. Then i found a lot of vegetarian recipes, some products i still can`t buy in supermarket, so i order them from other cities. And I found several vegetarian cafes in my city.
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  7. Brian

    Brian Mad Bard

    For me, it only causes tension to label myself Vegetarian or otherwise because it feels like a rule that I have to follow. Instead, I adopted a mindset that I will enjoy vegetarian and vegan food as often as possible. I found that by doing this, the number of veggie and vegan meals I eat has naturally increased over time. I have also found that my appetite for meat has diminished in favour of "cleaner" flavours. I think the addiction to meat is more to do with fat than with flavour or anything good. I think we become addicted to instant high energy - the same with sugar.
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  8. JD01

    JD01 Well Known Member

    I'm exactly the same way. I don't label myself a vegetarian, but I rarely eat meat. I just don't fancy it. I just generally prefer veggie food these days. In fact, my feelings on this have changed since I first started this thread about 6 weeks ago - I don't really have a meat craving at all anymore.
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