How to get serious about becoming a vegetarian?

Because of moral qualms more than anything, I’ve long wanted to do this. However, in every case that I made the decision to actually do it, it only worked until I got hungry, because frankly I’m addicted to meat!

However, recently I was listening to an interview with Jane Goodall on her new book, Harvest for Hope : A Guide to Mindful Eating.

In this book, she discussed the horrors of animal ‘harvesting’ in modern meat factories, and I thought to myself, “F*** it - if I can quit smoking (which I did last year), then I can quit meating.”

Problem is, I don’t cook, I WON’T cook and I often need fast eating solutions. Does anyone have suggestions for a good book or website as to how to get started in a relatively pain-free way?

Give me a call when you’re hungry in Taipei and I’ll tell you where to go to get some good veggie food that you wouldn’t even know was meatless.

I make Bongos a regular eating place now (great veggie burgers), and Grandma Nitti’s (great falafel pita and bean burrito), and Curria (great veg curry) and Ruby Tuesday or Chili’s for another very big veggie burger. Or Sub Zone for a veggie-meat sandwic (better than any other veggie sub by far!).

I could go on, but being veggie is easy early in the evening, but more difficult as 8.30 ticks by (all the veggie buffets close).

There are some great veggie packaged dishes in all the good supermarkets, too. Fake chicken burgers, etc.

It’s easy, really. Don’t have to be skinny like me, just better organized and better at reading and speaking Chinese.

Call me wherever you are and I bet I know some good veggie food in your area (also, Bruce’s Kitchen Garden in AnKeng is a fantastic, romantic place to eat, and it’s all vegetarian - see! I could go on for ever!)

Animal cruelty never worked for me as an argument. I used to eat only vegetarian food for more than 2 years. What worked for me as arguments are more practical issues. Things like,

How many people can you feed with the food that a cow consumes each day, comparing that to the amount of people that the meat from this cow would feed. Eating meat is just inefficient.

The amount of protein that humans need each day can easily be covered by a glass of milk and a cheese sandwich in the morning.

The human digestive system is not as well suited for digesting meat, and our teeth look more like teeth of vegetarian animals than meat eaters.

I don’t have any references for this but I am sure one could find plentyful texts.

Are you serious???

Are you serious???[/quote]

Yeah, sure, you don’t need that much protein, unless you want to build up some serious muscle. Saw that long time ago in a scientific TV show with high reputation. But having more up-to-date info would be a good idea. It was probably meant as supplementing your regular protein intake from vegetarian sources.

This is taken from this webpage:

which seems to have a good summary of a couple of scientific studies. I am sure you can find plenty of other sources that either support or oppose these findings. It probably depends on who financed the study. :laughing:

I personally do not like to eat out alot, and traveling to Taipei just for a meal if you are not located there can be tiresome (on the mind and wallet). Maybe you can start slowly, just cut meat out of one or 2 meals, that in itself is an accomplishment.

In Welcome they have a small section for veggie food, like veggie steak patties, veggie sausages, and dumplings. Maybe you will like it, alot of meat eaters think these things are too dry. Just throw it in the pan and it is done. There are also instant noodles with the vegetarian symbol. I always eat in my hospital cafeteria and they have a special vegetarian place for gan mien, dumplings, and other noodles with tofu.

In taiwan they have alot of meat replacements for the vegetarians (I personally only want veggies), I think there is a street where they serve this pseudo stuff.

I was a vegetarian for a couple of years back in college. I didn’t find it that difficult at all. I’d say 1) don’t bother with meat substitutes like veggie burgers because they’re not only expensive, but they’ll probably remind you of the original. 2) if you’re not going vegan, I found that I ate enough cheese so that I never really had cravings for meat. I mean, with all the grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches and cheese pizzas I was eating, I don’t think I was eating much more healthier than when I was eating meat. 3.) This doesn’t really apply in Taiwan, but back in the States, I found a cookbook that had a whole bunch of great recipes that used canned black beans, which are really cheap.

In response to your original question … “How to get serious about going veggie” … I’d say different strokes for different folks. It’s a morals/values issue which is of course different for each of us. But if you want one book to tip the scales in your favor (cause it sounds like you’re 80% there), pick up ‘Diet for a New America’ (Robbins). This guy spells it out in black and white. Very powerful. Very informative. And no preaching.

Another absolutely fascinating book that just came out is called ‘The China Study’ - this is one you really want to check out. They conducted the LONGEST nutritional study ever, over a 20-year period, mostly in China but other countries as well. Their findings? You guessed it … plant-based diets (vs meat) win hands-down for long-term health overall and reduced risk of death from the big three - heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

As for finding veggie food, that’s easy. Once you’ve made the switch, I think you’ll notice veggie restaurants ‘popping’ up all over the place. IMHO, it’s more a matter of mind set. The restaurants are there … but till now you’ve haven’t been ‘open’ to noticing them.

Oh, and then somebody mentioned protein. This is the grandest MYTH of them all… mostly propogated through the school systems with the infamous “Four Food Groups.” Ever wonder who came up with that scam? That’s right … the good ol’ National Dairy Council, together with their friends over at the National Livestock and Meat Board.

The truth is … if you ate nothing but broccoli, you’d get more than enough protein. According to the experts (American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, WHO, Food & Nutrition Board, and the National Research Council), and as outlined in Robbin’s book, our protein needs fall in the range of 2.5-8%.

Human (mother’s) milk, it seems, would agree with these figures. Human milk provides 5% of its calories from protein. If it’s good enough for a growing baby, should be good enough for growing adults (bodybuilders withstanding), right? So what’s all this about needing LOTS of protein? Basically, it’s a lie …one that we’ve been taught to believe since our very first days of primary school.

But hey, don’t listen to me. As a friend, I strongly recommend you read either of the two books mentioned above. Or if nothing else, read some of the reviews on amazon.

To your health!

Uh, well the truth is, if you ate enough of just about anything you would eventually get enough protein. The WHO says that a 75 kg man needs 56 grams of protein a day. The average cup of raw broccoli contains about 2 grams of protein, which means that a 75 kg man would need to eat about 28 cups of the stuff every day. Broccoli is an excellent source of many nutrients, but protein isn’t one of them.

“Vegetarian” = American Indian word for lousy hunter.

And no, a glass of milk and a cheese sandwich do not meet the HDR(human daily requirement) for protein. But there are many additional issues to meet eyonfprotein requirements.
Vitamin and mineral needs are foremost.
Also to be considered are the needed enzyme - both metabolic and digestive - reuirements of the human body.

B-12 is a nother factor. As are all the B-complex nutrients.

Is there a reason why so many of my vegetarian friends look overweight? Perhaps I should say they look bloated? I dunno how to say this really, but they look unhealthy to me.

Of course I won’t say anything to them, not brave enough.

Is it water retension, methane gas, …?

I don’t mean to offend anyone. Apologies if I do, but it is an honest question.

[quote=“TainanCowboy”]“Vegetarian” = American Indian word for lousy hunter.

You’re 100% old school American aintcha TC? :notworthy:

Awesome guys - thanks for the tips! I’ll hit up Taipei 101 for the books you recommended. No judgement on anyone elses’ choices, but my conscience demands I live up to my own ethical ideals.

[quote=“jdsmith”][quote=“TainanCowboy”]“Vegetarian” = American Indian word for lousy hunter.
You’re 100% old school American aintcha TC? :notworthy:[/quote][/quote]jds -
LOL…maybe…I just am of the belief that "vegetairiaism’ is not the best system when it comes to the nutrient requirements of the human body.

Its basis is in the need to quell “arousing thoughts” of religious disciples and it has somehow been corrupted into a political system.

But I’m the guy with the “Kiss the Cook” apron at the bar-b-que!

I tend to agree to some extent and the reason is carbohydrates. See quote below lifted from a Harvard site. The old food pyramid was big on grains, potato, rice and all the things that we now understand need to be eaten in moderation.

Newer diets have a greater emphasis on balanced carbs, protein and fat. It is just a little harder for vegetarians to balance this but it can of course be done.

[quote]What Should You Really Eat?

More than a decade ago, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a powerful and enduring icon - the Food Guide Pyramid. This simple illustration conveyed in a flash what the USDA said were the elements of a healthy diet. The Pyramid was taught in schools, appeared in countless media articles and brochures, and was plastered on cereal boxes and food labels.

Tragically, the information embodied in this pyramid didn’t point the way to healthy eating. Why not? I[color=red]ts blueprint was based on shaky scientific evidence, and it barely changed over the years to reflect major advances in our understanding of the connection between diet and health[/color].[/quote]