Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Basics of Switching Over

Don't let the meat-eaters confuse you: there is plenty for vegetarians to eat. This includes:
Soups- any soup is good with the meat left out. Vegetable stew is good too.
Pastas- spaghetti, lasagna, linguine, ravioli, etc. are all great- just don't throw in hamburger.
Salads- lettuce based, fruit combos, pasta and vegetable mixes; even bean salads can be made.
Mushrooms- can be made into many concoctions including burger-like patties, 
Beans- many types of beans can be made into various dishes.
Fruits- many fruits can be made up many ways
Vegetables- steaming is best; stir-frying is next best. There are so many kinds and combinations, and they can be added to anything. I like to bake squash in the oven, for example.
Casseroles- mixture dishes made in oven. Can find in most cookbooks.

There are also many vegetarian cookbooks, if you really need one. Altering recipes to make them vegetarian is simple as well. First, leave out the meat. If recipe says to put in eggs, replace each egg with one- half banana - it will bind ingredients just as well and not be noticeably tasted. Replace milk with soymilk. Be aware that most 'vegetarian' cookbooks have recipes with animal ingredients in them. Alter accordingly. 
Soymilk comes in several brands and flavors. It is fine for cooking and has real flavor, making cow milk seem like water. It comes in several flavors, as well as unsweetened for diabetics. Besides soymilk, you can also try 'milk' made from almonds, pecans, hemp, rice, flaxseed, cashews, or coconut. Check notmilk.com.
Soy cheese is actually gross and rubbery, and will not melt. Just try to ween yourself off of cheese as much as possible. Do not replace meat with lots of cheesy stuff like some people do - it is no better for your health.

Keep in mind that the campaign to smear soy products as carcinogenic is nothing but a lie concocted by the meat industry. Absurd, as if meat does not cause cancer?? If soybeans contribute to cancer in any way, it is surely do to the glyphosate sprayed on them in the field, which is why organic grains are important. 
Fake meat is expensive, but can be a good snack sometimes. Soy meat can taste a lot like real meat. Veggie-meat does not. Fake hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken patties, bbq riblets, and polish sausages all taste very real. Other items do not usually. You can also get soy crumbles to cook as ground hamburger. This is good for chili or tacos. 
Eating fish is not vegetarian; some people just can't understand that fish are not plants. They are supposedly good for the heart because of omega oils. However, flaxseed oil and some vitamin E pills have it too. Fish have high concentrations of toxins and heavy metals in them anyway, so they are not worth the minimal arterial lubrication anticipated by the trace amounts of omega oils in them. (This blogger once had very high triglycerides due to untreated diabetes. Not able to afford the prescription for it, I took flaxseed oil pills instead. My doctor was amazed that this worked better and faster than the fenofibrate would have, had I taken it.)

Eggs are extremely high in cholesterol and animal proteins and therefore should be avoided as well.
Also be careful to avoid gelatin, mayonnaise, and other unhealthy animal products. See the animal ingredients list linked to in sidebar. 
This still leaves lots of different foods to eat. Start by trying anything without meat in it. Find stuff you like and expand on it, making them into larger and more detailed dishes. Also try boxed and package dinners such as tuna helpers and instant rice meals - just don't add meat like they suggest.
Following these basics will have you well on your way to a healthier, more responsible lifestyle. 

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