Jump to content

Menu

vegetarian questions and musings


Recommended Posts

Because I have a deadline to hit today for my book and I'm procrastinating, lol

 

 

I've been vegetarian several times in my life, the longest was for over a decade. I was vegan for a few years. I am not looking to go vegan. I am not looking to go ultra low fat (done that before too and life isn't worth living without fat, lol. 

 

But, lately, and maybe it's my body telling me that since I'm done having babies I need less dense food, I'm considering going more vegetarian again. However....I've had bariatric surgery and lost a lot of weight. I need to keep that weight off. I need to keep my blood sugar steady (although to be fair I've never had diabetes or anything, just a tendency towards abdominal fat that probably signals some insulin resistance). I need to get enough protein in smaller volume do to my smaller stomach size. 

 

And I don't like weird food. I hate sprouts. Nutritional yeast does NOT taste like cheese. Etc. 

 

Any tips or reminders on how to do this, especially with kids? Like, a plate of spaghetti and sauce doesn't seem like a full meal to me at this point, i'm used to adding meat. Would you serve just noodles and sauce or would you add something? That kind of thing. 

 

I do LOVE vegetarian sausage patties, and chicken patties and such, lol. Tofu is okay. Tempeh is yummy. Oh and I like baked beans and black beans and red beans but hate kidney beans and black eyed peas and such. oh, and quinoa is a no go - it tastes like bitter dirt to me no matter how many times I rinse it, etc. (I'm a super taster)

Edited by ktgrok
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are vegetarian, you can have cheese. Pasta with sauce and cheese is a perfectly fine meal ;)  (Actually, if it's a good sauce, you don't even need the cheese)

With dairy, it's easy to get protein. Some vegetarians eat eggs.

 

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been vegetarian my entire adult life and even vegan at times.  The building blocks of the meals I prepare tend to start with whole grains which are higher in protein.  I try to limit pasta because we end up eating enough refined grains when out of the house, but in your example of spaghetti, I can make that a filling meal by using whole wheat pasta and adding red lentils to the sauce.  A typical dinner in my house will often include some whole grain as the base.  Brown rice and millet seems to appear the most often but in a given month barley, polenta, buckwheat, farro, spelt, etc... also make appearances.

 

Legumes are also a staple.  I would explore some of the other beans out there aside from the ones you have listed.  French and red lentils have a very different taste than plain brown ones.  Split peas, green and yellow, make great soups.  Chickpeas can be added to anything, including salads.  Then there are lots of others to explore, navy, pinto, adzuki, etc.....

 

The above makes inexpensive but nourishing starts.  Then I add the more expensive items in smaller quantities to compete the taste.  Nuts of all kinds, avocado, cheeses, eggs, dairy, etc....  

 

I don't follow recipes much anymore so just so of put together what I have and what I am in the mood for.  Tonight I am making millet as the base of the meal.  I am going to roast up some broccoli and sweet potatoes to put on top of the millet. Then top with an "asian" type vinaigrette.  This will keep me full all evening whereas I am usually looking for a snack a couple of hours after spaghetti....even with whole wheat pasta.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
Legumes are also a staple.  I would explore some of the other beans out there aside from the ones you have listed.  French and red lentils have a very different taste than plain brown ones.  Split peas, green and yellow, make great soups.  Chickpeas can be added to anything, including salads.  Then there are lots of others to explore, navy, pinto, adzuki, etc.....

 

Yeah, do you like chickpeas? Because I swear I could base my diet on them. Chickpeas are great added to pasta and sauce. Cannellini beans too, and they have a very mild flavor. I agree that a plate of pasta and tomato sauce is lacking a little something. Legumes can help a lot with that.

 

We aren't vegetarian, but we don't eat a lot of meat. I find if a meal is just vegetables and grains, we end up hungry again very soon. So we make sure to include legumes or nuts or some dairy. Last night, for example, we had a Tunisian vegetable stew that was cabbage and tomatoes and chickpeas with spices, served over whole wheat couscous, and topped with toasted almonds and feta cheese. Very yummy and plenty filling.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you just have to do what works for you.  It will be hard if something just doesn't seem or feel like a meal without meat.  That may be a mindset that needs to change.  I like spaghetti with added veggies.  To me, veggies are a perfect replacement for meat.  Add some sautéed onions and summer squash, shredded carrots  or just a lot of added peppers and onions.  Wow, I now want some gluten free vegetarian spaghetti  :laugh:   My dd is a vegetarian that doesn't love veggies.  She says "mom you are one of those weird vegans who actually like veggies"  :001_rolleyes:

 

Have you made actual cheese sauce out of nutritional yeast?  I just made a nacho cheese sauce from ohsheglows and it is pretty darn good but nutritional yeast isn't the primary ingredient.  But if you are not dairy free then have the real cheese.  

 

Maybe your tastes will have to flex until they are acclimated?   Maybe the vegetarian diet isn't the best for you? You say you were vegetarian and then quit. Ask yourself why did you quit?  Did you feel good but you just lost will power?  or was it not the best fit for you?  or maybe you weren't ready but now you are?  You'll just have to experiment and find out  :thumbup1:

Edited by Attolia
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, do you like chickpeas? Because I swear I could base my diet on them. Chickpeas are great added to pasta and sauce. Cannellini beans too, and they have a very mild flavor. I agree that a plate of pasta and tomato sauce is lacking a little something. Legumes can help a lot with that.

 

We aren't vegetarian, but we don't eat a lot of meat. I find if a meal is just vegetables and grains, we end up hungry again very soon. So we make sure to include legumes or nuts or some dairy. Last night, for example, we had a Tunisian vegetable stew that was cabbage and tomatoes and chickpeas with spices, served over whole wheat couscous, and topped with toasted almonds and feta cheese. Very yummy and plenty filling.

 

I don't like chick peas just regular. I like hummus. I like falafel. I like roasted chickpeas. Just not "regular", lol. It's a texture issue. Same with kidney beans....ugh!!!  Bleack beans are soft enough they are okay. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I quiet when I got pregnant and was very anemic and craving beef three times a week, lol. I think when carrying children I need meat. But that's past, and my hormones are shifting. 

 

My main reasons for being vegetarian are that I adore animals and feel bad eating them :) And some environmental issues. But I also am more practical and less sentimental in my old age, so not going vegan at this point. I think humans do better with some animal products to eat. 

 

I'm thinking about it, and whole grains, nuts, olives, good cheese, beans, I can see some things coming together here. 

 

Like, a meal of veggies, olives, good cheese and good bread is totally satisfying. bagel and cream cheese, peanut butter sandwich, etc are fine to me. Eggs and toast. Salad with some nuts and a sprinkle of cheese.

 

Hmm...maybe I do have some ideas already, lol. 

 

I also have a grain mill, bread machine, and stand mixer :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

You know what is good in pasta with tomato based sauce as a meat substitute?  Raisins.  Counterintuitive, I know, but I had a vegetarian roommate who always brought this with her to potlucks because the raisins were chewy like little bits of meat, but the sweetness was cooked out in the sauce so you couldn't tell what they were.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you looked at VB6 by Mark Bittman? In my ongoing quest to find a way of eating that I can sustain to lose weight and be healthy, I’ve been reading his book.....essentially, it’s being a vegan part-time(2 of 3 meals each day are vegan). He had both significant weight loss and blood work changes after changing his diet to this. I’ve been trying this along with still tracking with WW and have seen better weight loss the last two weeks (3 lbs, then 2 lbs), and I’m not feeling deprived or hungry. And, our dinners are still normal, so dc and dh haven’t complained. :)

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you just have to do what works for you.  It will be hard if something just doesn't seem or feel like a meal without meat.  That may be a mindset that needs to change.  I like spaghetti with added veggies.  To me, veggies are a perfect replacement for meat.  Add some sautéed onions and summer squash, shredded carrots  or just a lot of added peppers and onions.  Wow, I now want some gluten free vegetarian spaghetti  :laugh:   My dd is a vegetarian that doesn't love veggies.  She says "mom you are one of those weird vegans who actually like veggies"  :001_rolleyes:

 

I'm a weird vegan like you who actually loves veggies. My son on the other hand I call a "junkatarian" because his idea of being a vegetarian is eating cheese pizza, mac and cheese and then nacho cheese on everything else no veggies included.  :001_rolleyes:

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m not a fan of whole wheat pasta, but we all really like the Barilla Protein Plus products.

 

If you aren’t sensitive to wheat gluten, it’s easy to make your own seitan using vital wheat gluten. For the hypothetical spaghetti and sauce meal, I might accompany it with cottage cheese or make some seitan and pulse it in the food processor to resemble ground beef and add that to the sauce.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m not a fan of whole wheat pasta, but we all really like the Barilla Protein Plus products.

 

If you aren’t sensitive to wheat gluten, it’s easy to make your own seitan using vital wheat gluten. For the hypothetical spaghetti and sauce meal, I might accompany it with cottage cheese or make some seitan and pulse it in the food processor to resemble ground beef and add that to the sauce.

 

Or I could do baked ziti instead, which I'm just thinking of. I don't think the littles have even had that. They'd like it I think. 

 

With a nice side salad. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a weird vegan like you who actually loves veggies. My son on the other hand I call a "junkatarian" because his idea of being a vegetarian is eating cheese pizza, mac and cheese and then nacho cheese on everything else no veggies included.  :001_rolleyes:

 

 

yep, my dd is this way.  She loves potato chips  :rolleyes:   She is skinny but she eats a diet that makes me  :banghead:

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

yep, my dd is this way.  She loves potato chips  :rolleyes:   She is skinny but she eats a diet that makes me  :banghead:

 

Oh, when I was vegetarian I ate way less veggies than I do now. A dinner of french fries dipped in creamy italian dressing was a common meal in college :)

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, when I was vegetarian I ate way less veggies than I do now. A dinner of french fries dipped in creamy italian dressing was a common meal in college :)

 

 

I had a friend when I was 19 who was quite overweight and a vegetarian and she drank whole milk in large amounts, ate tons of ice cream, and lived on potato chips.  Vegetarian definitely doesn't automatically equal healthy.   :lol:

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
If you are vegetarian, you can have cheese. Pasta with sauce and cheese is a perfectly fine meal ;)  (Actually, if it's a good sauce, you don't even need the cheese)

 

Most cheese is not vegetarian - it's made with rennet. And it can be hard to find cheese that IS vegetarian.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Most cheese is not vegetarian - it's made with rennet. And it can be hard to find cheese that IS vegetarian.

 

There are many cheeses which use vegetarian rennet alternatives.

http://vegetarian.lovetoknow.com/Are_There_Any_Cheeses_that_Do_Not_Contain_Rennet

http://cheese.joyousliving.com/

 

and there are also cheeses who are coagulated by acid, heat, or cultures.

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Most cheese is not vegetarian - it's made with rennet. And it can be hard to find cheese that IS vegetarian.

 

 

There are many cheeses which use vegetarian rennet alternatives.

http://vegetarian.lovetoknow.com/Are_There_Any_Cheeses_that_Do_Not_Contain_Rennet

http://cheese.joyousliving.com/

 

and there are also cheeses who are coagulated by acid, heat, or cultures.

 

 

 

I think that it easy (in the US at least) to find vegetarian cheese.  I am currently dairy free so I don't eat it, but I have at times been vegetarian and eaten cheese.  Most cheese use enzymes now rather than rennet.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

How about going "mediterranean" and just cutting back meat significantly until you can figure out what else to add in to round out your diet?

 

I was vegetarian for a long time, vegan for about 3 years, and I eat meat occasionally now.  I just try to make sure I'm mostly eating vegetables.  It doesn't have to be all or nothing. 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been moving towards vegetarian. I don't think I want to be vegan right now but I've cut way back on dairy too. Some of my kids are protesting but they shut up fast when I tell them that they are welcome to cook some dinners they'd prefer for the family. My kids are old enough for that to be a legitimate option. 

 

My vegan cookbook had me put lentils into the pasta sauce to make it meatier. I thought it was pretty good. It wasn't like meatballs or anything but if you make sauce with ground beef mixed in it was a fair approximation of that texture and didn't hurt the flavor. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, I'm not looking to be all or nothing, just move that way. Basically, I'd eat some really good steak or some fresh fish or whatever, but a lot of meat just isn't worth it to me right now, a nd doesn't seem yummy. 

 

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I put sautéed veggies in my pasta marinara (or arrabbiata - yum): bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, anything you like. Somehow it makes it a lot more interesting and filling. Lentils are an interesting idea - I’ll have to try that next time!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Instead of a red tomato based sauce for pasta, you can also make a white cream sauce. Works particularly well with mushrooms and leeks. If you use heavy cream, it is a very filling meal.

 

I also sometimes make sauces using pureed beans (cannelini or similar) with a good-flavoured stock and olive oil.  It's good protein and fibre with a satisfying mouth feel. Here's one version

 

https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/02/how-to-make-creamy-bean-sauce-for-pasta-chickpeas-garbanzos.html

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

So, still not wanting meat. It's so weird!  I really am wondering if it is hormonal, or maybe the weather getting hot again, or?

 

Went through the Burger King drive through today and nothing appealed. Got a veggie burger for the first time in forever and it was fine. 

 

I just have no urge to eat meat. It sounds yucky. And no, I'm not pregnant, I actually have my period right now. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

So, still not wanting meat. It's so weird!  I really am wondering if it is hormonal, or maybe the weather getting hot again, or?

 

Went through the Burger King drive through today and nothing appealed. Got a veggie burger for the first time in forever and it was fine. 

 

I just have no urge to eat meat. It sounds yucky. And no, I'm not pregnant, I actually have my period right now. 

 

BK has a veggie burger? I wonder how bad/good it is for you?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I'll agree that pasta and sauce is not a satisfying meal, with or without cheese, or cream or veggies or whatever. It's just carbs, basically. For me, that means I'm famished almost immediately, despite the relatively high calorie count. I've learned to stay clear.

 

We eat a lot of things like enchiladas/burritos/tacos, and a lot of veggie+ protein stir fries. Soups are easy to make vegetarian and still satisfying. If you like fish, your favorite+ veggies+ maybe a small side like ravioli or a grain is a complete meal.

 

It's funny, as I get older I am finding I need more dense meals. I've added in some meat (I don't cook it for the family) after being vegetarian for over 25 years. I do much better with, than without.

Link to post
Share on other sites

BK has a veggie burger? I wonder how bad/good it is for you?

Only some BKs have the veggie patty.

 

"The veggie burger from Burger King comes with a sesame bun, veggie patty, lettuce and tomatoes, ketchup and mayonnaise and has 410 calories.....

 

Burger King claims that its veggie burger has whole grains and that the burger provides 7 g dietary fiber....

 

Veggie Patty:

Morningstar Farms makes the veggie patty in Burger King’s veggie burger. The main ingredient is a vegetable mix with mushrooms, water chestnuts, onions, carrots and other vegetables. The next ingredient is textured vegetable protein. The patty is free from meat but it contains egg whites, so it is not vegan."

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as pasta goes, we eat the whole wheat kind, and always add some kind of legume, some dried and fresh mushrooms, some peppers, onions, garlic, other veggies that we have around like peas, corn, carrots. Sounds crazy, but a half can of pumpkin (not the sweet kind, just pumpkin) is good with the red sauce. Or some coconut milk with the red sauce, or avocado as a garnish.

 

Spices are the main thing with vegan food. LOTS of spices, peppers, and herbs are used around here (four adult long term vegans live here.)

 

We eat vegan whole plant foods: high carb, low salt, very little oil, little sugar except for treats. Organic produce when available.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Because I have a deadline to hit today for my book and I'm procrastinating, lol

 

 

I've been vegetarian several times in my life, the longest was for over a decade. I was vegan for a few years. I am not looking to go vegan. I am not looking to go ultra low fat (done that before too and life isn't worth living without fat, lol. 

 

But, lately, and maybe it's my body telling me that since I'm done having babies I need less dense food, I'm considering going more vegetarian again. However....I've had bariatric surgery and lost a lot of weight. I need to keep that weight off. I need to keep my blood sugar steady (although to be fair I've never had diabetes or anything, just a tendency towards abdominal fat that probably signals some insulin resistance). I need to get enough protein in smaller volume do to my smaller stomach size. 

 

And I don't like weird food. I hate sprouts. Nutritional yeast does NOT taste like cheese. Etc. 

 

Any tips or reminders on how to do this, especially with kids? Like, a plate of spaghetti and sauce doesn't seem like a full meal to me at this point, i'm used to adding meat. Would you serve just noodles and sauce or would you add something? That kind of thing. 

 

I do LOVE vegetarian sausage patties, and chicken patties and such, lol. Tofu is okay. Tempeh is yummy. Oh and I like baked beans and black beans and red beans but hate kidney beans and black eyed peas and such. oh, and quinoa is a no go - it tastes like bitter dirt to me no matter how many times I rinse it, etc. (I'm a super taster)

 

Mushrooms are a great add in spaghetti sauce.

 

I also love white beans in pasta with Italian herbs.

 

For burger nights, falafel rules the day. Yes it's exotic but it's a traditional food and very flavorful. 

 

Like you, I've done vegetarian and vegan and while I don't mind exotic foods I'm not up for substitutes and I don't like nutritional yeast either. :) 

 

You might also consider going pescatarian. Fish two or three times a week and eggs really makes a huge difference to me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...