View Full Version : Silvermoonstone's Vegetarian Starter Guide!! (For those that don't have time to cook)


Silvermoonstone
10-12-13, 12:57 AM
So you wanna become a vegetarian. Are you ready to give up all the tasty meaty goodness of chicken, bacon, pork, and beef? Well good luck! You’ll need it.

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1. What’s a vegetarian?
Short answer, vegetarians are people who don’t eat meat. Long answer, vegetarians are people who don’t eat meat – wait…that’s the same thing, isn’t it…?

2. What’s the difference between vegan and vegetarian?
A vegan is an ‘extreme’ vegetarian. Not only do they cut out meat, but animal by-products as well. This includes eggs and milk. But this is a vegetarian guide, not a vegan guide. Do you know what milk and eggs are a common ingredient of? Pastries. Do you think I’m gonna give up the sweet and yummy treats like cookies, cake, and pie? Heck no. And I have complete respect for those that manged to live off a healthy vegan diet. If you think being vegetarian is tough, try to be a vegan.

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Being a vegetarian is not as clean cut as it first sounds. It’s not a simple ‘don’t eat meat’. You want to be a healthy vegetarian, right? Not one who goes to the store and loads up on processed vegetarian knock-offs that might not be as nutritious as eating a meal made with a free ranged chicken.

Some other healthy alternatives are:

1. Tofu – the backbone of vegetarian alternative. You want to make sure you get a brand of tofu that is not highly processed. Firm tofu cooks well, and you can just fry them in olive oil.

2. Quinoa - This grain cooks just like rice. They’re a little pricey, but they can go a long way.

3. Beans – Lots of protein. And good for Mexican dishes. Go more for the dried/fresh beans, instead of the canned ones. Mongo beans, kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas, etc.

4. Fresh fruits – it’s not just vegetables and grains you need to add.

5. Dietary supplements – Sometimes it’s hard to get all the good stuff you need in the day (even with meat). This can help close the gap. Iron, vitamins, the like. Don't hate them and shun them, but also don't rely on them.

6. Mushrooms – also rich in nutrition.

7. Fish – Ok, this is cheating. But there are a lot of health benefits in fish, especially if you’re having trouble meeting your nutrition quota for the day. Fish is my last resort option, when no other (healthy) choices are available. There are only so much salads and veggie burgers on the menu one can put up with on a daily basis…

8. Soy milk – it’s made of soy, and in my humble honest opinion, tastes a lot better than regular milk. It’s a good source of calcium, more so than milk itself…because the human body has trouble extracting the calcium from cow’s milk.

9. Egg – aka ‘protein bomb’. Hardboiled egg is the healthiest (albeit boring) way to go. Frying it is also good, if you use the healthy oils (olive oil and the likes).

10. Vegetables – what being a vegetarian relies on! Do your research, and get the nice, green, organic goodies. Lettuce, broccoli, carrots (avoid baby carrots, they’re icky once you do your research), tomatoes (even if scientifically they’re fruits, not vegetables), green beans, alfalfa, bell peppers, and so on. There’s different ways of cooking and preparing each item to bring out the best quality of nutrition. I personally like to cook them so that they’re still crunchy, and not a soggy mess mashed into your meal. It’s also faster that way.

Read the labels of food! I mean it. Avoid things that list MSG or enriched wheat/flour. A general good rule of thumb is to check how fast the food spoils. If they spoil quickly, there’s less preservatives, and usually less processed. You can’t stock up on these kinds of food, since you usually have to eat them the moment you bought them. If you don’t think you can eat them in time, stick them in the freezer for later.

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Snack foods are another good thing. While most snack foods are already meet the rules of 'vegetarian', you’ll want to tally them into your nutritional requirements.

Some good alternatives are:

1. Nuts – almonds, cashews, peanuts.
2. Corn chips – better than potato chips
3. Yogurt – another source of calcium
4. Dried/fresh fruits – yummy.
5. Chocolate – get the GOOD stuff! Not the cheap ones, okay?! Those fancy named ones with 72% cacao and imported from a random European country…mmmm~
6. Kettle chips - They're tasty and don't have the artificial junk. A little more expensive than regular chips though.

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Vegetarian meat is a lot trickier. Most of it is frozen soy-based veggie meat. It’s really important you read the labels for these. My two personal favorite brands are Boca and GardenBurger. But most meatless burgers won’t cover your dietary needs. I usually chop them up and cook them into whatever meal I’m making. But what I really like about vegetarian meat is that it’s already prepared for you. You can just heat it in the microwave, and voila! You’re done. No need to deal with the bloody mess meat gives. I don’t even remember how to cook meat since I became a vegetarian.

Veggie chicken, veggie beef, and veggie burger patties are quite tasty. I don’t even like the taste or regular meat anymore. But, I’m sorry to say I have not found a veggie bacon that comes close to real bacon… *sigh* Or salami. Veggie salami tastes like baloney...

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Now, to enhance the taste, you can use herbs and spices. But remember - everything in moderation. Don't load up on salt! Sprinkle it onto the palm of your hand so you can see how much you're adding, before you toss it into the pot or pan.

A few ideas are:

1. Herbs - your general go-to goodies. Parsley, cloves, chives, nutmeg, etc.
2. Onions - try not to get the juice in your eyes.
3. Garlic - eat a breath mint afterwards, okay?
4. Soy sauce - another alternative is amino acid. Looks the same, tastes a bit diffferent. Amino acid is also a good alternative to salt.
5. Salt and Pepper - the most basics of all. Just don't overdo it. Sea salt is popular.
6. Butter - There's plenty of healthy alternatives to the real thing. You only need a little to enhance flavor - truth be told, when a recipe calls for butter, I usually only use half of what it asks for. Comes out just as good.
7. Vegetable base - You should be able to find these at a local store. Like always, check what it's made of. They're usually healthier than the your little packaged soup base. Again, just use a little - about half a teaspoon (or less) per serving.
8. Sugar - Get cane sugar or brown sugar instead of the white sugar. White sugar is white because it's been bleached.

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Now, to get some recipes, because this is a recipe thread, no?

Okay, um….uuuuuuuh……

Your instant vegetarian recipe is:

Take choice of vegetables. Cook until still crunchy. Choice of starch – noodles, rice, bread, etc. Cook/heat it like you usually do. Get veggie meat. Chop it or not, microwave for 1-2 minutes. Add in a bit of spice if you want. Add a boiled egg if you wish. Put them all together on a plate or bowl. Add a side dish of fresh fruits. Done.



…What? I’m a college student…I live off of instant ramen. What more did you expect?

Silvermoonstone
10-12-13, 08:58 PM
Well, I conveniently 'forgot' to add in one more section. I'll just post it here:


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Right off on the surface, a healthy vegetarian organic-based diet is gonna be a little pricier at the supermarket. The good stuff ain’t cheap. My methods of cooking are closer to the eastern style, and eastern dishes are usually in smaller proportions than western dishes. This helps compensates for the cost, since more meals can be made out of the same amount of ingredients. You’ll have to measure out the proportions yourself, and gauge how much you want to put into a dish. But I’ll ask you this – what would you rather pick, a large meal with little nutrition, or a moderate meal packed with nutrition?

Accept that you’re going to be doing most of the food preparing for yourself. Healthy vegetarian dishes that are already prepared are hard to come by, or pricey. And most places can’t seem to understand that there should be more variety than salad and veggie burger…

Most of this food, unless dried, will go bad fairly quickly. If you don’t have time to prepare a new dish every single day, my advice is to ‘mass produce’ a large pot or pan of the meal. It doesn’t take that long, and it’s only one time for preparation. Once it’s cooked, you can portion it out, wrap them up, and put it in the freezer. This works well for the veggie meat (it was already frozen in the first place) and the starchy parts of the meal (noodles, rice, potato, etc). When lunch or dinner comes, take the meal out of the freezer, heat it up, and add in the vegetables. The microwave can run while you cook the rest of the meal on the stove. Or if you want, you can use the oven instead of the microwave – ovens make the food taste better, but it’ll take longer to prepare.

For frozen veggies themselves, I’m a bit on the fence. They’re okay, nutrition wise, but they’re just not going to taste as good as the ones bought fresh. And once again, the nutritional frozen vegetables are going to be pricey. But on the offhand, vegetables really don’t need that much preparation. Just chop them up and toss it into the pan/dish.
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