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Retired Community Manager

Are you a vegetarian or vegan?

Are you a vegetarian or vegan? For how long? Why did you decide on this type of diet?

 

What tips or favorite foods/meal ideas can you give others who might be considering it?

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Regular Contributor

I first became aware of animals having feelings when as  a young child I spent the summers at my Grandparents ranch. This was a real working ranch were cattle were rounded up in the summer and branded. Pigs were castrated and chickens got their neck rung to become Sunday dinner. Those animals cried!!  Just writing this brings tears.

So, no I do not eat meat of any kind. But I do respect others rights to eat what they are comfortable eating. 

I have eaten healthy much of my life, have never had the flu and rarly have a cold. But several car accidents have done a number on my body so I feel my  healthy lifestyle helps to keep the pain under control.  

So glad to see I am in good company here!

 

Trusted Contributor

I never had a primary doctor until I was 28. In the meantime, I suffered with terrible headaches from the age of eight and apparently hypertension. I had two babies in military hospitals and no doctor asked me to follow up in spite of being hospitalized multiple times with hypertension and preeclampsia and deliveries with seizures. At 28, I saw a headache specialist and an Internist for the first time. To control the hypertension, medication and a NO salt diet were recommended. This wasn’t a radical change since I already had a good diet and avoided many processed foods anyway. I was surprised to learn that there was more salt in ice cream vs. canned beans. Following my research, I decided that I might as well be a vegetarian on a trial basis. Forty-five years later, I’ve added some fish for Omega-3. I literally skated through menopause symptomless and my doctor said that it was partly due to my diet and soy. Recently, she said that I may be her healthiest senior patient except for my BP that still randomly spikes. The other day it was 245/165 and now I have medication for those emergencies. Even a trip to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, could not determine a root cause. While I never imposed a vegetarian diet on my family, they ate a couple of meatless meals a week and no one ever asked, “Where’s the beef?”  Today, grocery stores and restaurants can accommodate nearly every person’s dietary needs. I’ve even enjoyed a few Gluten-free products. I can highly recommend Debbie Kay’s Kitchen GF Double Chocolate Chip Brownie Mix. 

Periodic Contributor

Marieteresa, I am like you. Vegan for years, no salt or anything unhealthy, Have high BP and can't find the cause. It's a mystery.

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Trusted Contributor

Thank you for your comment. It's a mystery for certain and pretty scary when it happens. Stay well.

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Periodic Contributor

I am vegan 99% of the time.  I do eat some fish when visiting a beach location which makes me a Pescatarian.

i chose this a part of my yoga practice as kindness to all living beings.

Newbie

   I have been a vegetarian for over 33 years.  I personally get grossed out by meat, flesh.  However, there are many benefits for not eating meat.  According to the book, "Drawdown, the Most Comprehensive Plan to Reversing Global Warming" states not eating meat is the number 4 out of 80  thing humans can do reduce carbon emissions. Being vegan is the 3.  Also, many studies say that not eating meat is so much better for us. 

  I make many stews and soups.  Quinoa, a chewy grain is good at thickening soups.  I usually some add sauted veges, garlic and onion, adding veges like brocolli last.  Basically using whatever I have in the refrig.  I also use many avocados, beans, and rice.  Spike is a good overall seasoning along with basil, oregano, and sometimes hot sauce. 

Contributor

I've been vegan for 25 years. I became vegan when I started to work in a kill shelter and I was also researching the effects of working in a slaughterhouse on humans. I ultimately wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on the topic. No one should have to work in a slaughterhouse. Also, I'm a believer in ahimsa--nonviolence toward self and others. I certainly don't want the product of violence on my dinner plate.

Regular Contributor

Would some one please define "vegan" and "vegetarian" so all of us who probably are not can know what you are talking about.  

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Newbie

I grew up near a Hormel slaughter house in Austin Minnesota.  My grandparents and uncles all took great pride in working at Hormel. I remember at the age of four going through the slaughter house on a tour.  I will never forget the frightened animals- and the inhumane treatment and death they suffered.......

Now today, I hear about and understand that animals all over our beautiful earth are losing their habitat and lives......many near extinction.   It makes my heart break. I wonder why people do not see the connection between the welfare of our planet (the plant life and the animals) to the welfare of their own children and grandchildren to come.

The First Nation of people on this continent seemed to understand that all life is sacred.

I so wish we had learned and adopted their spirituality.

No, I do not eat meat.

I am very healthy.

In these times, we must reach out and be kind.....

We must live with integrity, accountability, generosity and wisdom.

Reach out to this needy world......even little kindnesses and truth spoken to deaf ears can later make a difference.

Be Well!

 

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Contributor

Vegetarians eat plant based food as well as dairy and eggs. Vegans eat a plant based diet, but no animal by-products such as dairy, eggs and honey. Hope that explanation helps!

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Newbie

Vegan means you don't eat any meat or animal products of any kind. 

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Contributor

I have been vegan for almost 10 years. I have continually endeavored to eat more healthfully. I now live a WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based) lifestyle, having gradually eliminated processed foods, salt, oil, and sugar (SOS).

There are an incredible variety of greens, grains, beans/legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds available to choose from. 

Go vegan for the animals, the earth, and your health. Watch documentaries like “Forks Overs Knives”, “Plant Pure Nation”, the newly released “Game Changers”, and many others. Learn what a plant based diet can do for you!!!

Newbie

Hi everyone. I have been vegan for eleven years, vegetarian six years prior to that and flexitarian four years before that. I was a single mom of four. I "blame" it all on my eldest daughter who watched a film on the FDA in second grade and came home with the revelation that she would "never eat meat again"! That lasted for her until she was out with friends and a Meat Lovers Pizza came along. The kids were fine with no red meat at home. I haven't purchased it since the Clinton scandal. "No Meat Mondays" were a staple in our house three and four times a week. I did buy milk for my kids as they did not like soy nor almond milk. The options of today (oat, hemp, and flavored were not yet available twenty plus years ago).

I was raised on Italian and Mexican recipes. So I will be honest, finding a vegan cheese substitute was hard at first, until I started making my own from scratch. (Cashews are a must in a vegan lifestyle!) I'll never forget when I told my eldest son "look, the Daiya cheese melts just like yours." His reply,"Plastic melts too mom and it does not smell like feet!" 

My grandaughter asked me if I was on Pinterest. I love this media outlet! I get MANY of my recipes from here. My youngest daughter even made my birthday cake from a Pin 🙂 It was delicious.

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Conversationalist

I became vegetarian because every year of my physical exam, I gained 25 pounds yet, I always ate the same.  Plus, the doctor said my thyroid is giving me a problem and wanted to put me on medication.  I told the doctor, I have one year to find out why I'm gaining weight( she had no clue) and why my thyroid is problematic.

So, I researched, and went to Down to Earth cooking classes in Hawaii, they are free to the public and found that we don't have to have meat of any kind to get protein!  Plus, they talk about having B-12 which can only come from meat.  That's another lie!  

Vegetables, the green ones, are builders of so many vitamins!  Protein=Beans( all kinds) and Lentils, Tofu are your buddies. Plus, your cholesterol will disappear.  Dairy, clogs the system,especially cheese.

 Tofu tastes like nothing so get your spices out and experiment.  You have to trick your eyes, so example, you love scrambled eggs, take tofu, mash it up put tumeric, garlic, salt and stir fry with vegetables and your eyes see scrambled eggs.

Lentils, you make make a meatloaf, yes, and a stew that tastes like beef stew, yes, you make it the same but add more of your spices, you have no fat, and no cholesterol.

I don't eat eggs of any sort, it's cholesterol.

Pasta= who doesn't love pasta?!  But, there are all kinds so get vegetable kind, yes, there are and taste so good with your awesome Spaghetti sauce you made.  Get away from store bought additives. Make and freeze for later.

Garlic, Ginger, Tumeric, Will become your friends if not already!

Vegetables are a big part of your plate, get to know them, and experiment, yes you become a detective overnight.  Try and even it doesn't taste good, keep experimenting on recipes, go online, YouTube for cooking tips, yes, it works!

My world opened up big time and found out what you've been told since a kid is lies about Meat and Dairy!

when, I returned to my doctor, a year later, my doctor looked at me and said" What have you been doing?"  I said " Is it good or bad?"  She said " Your thyroid problem disappeared, your cholesterol is normal, you lost 50 pounds!" So, what did you do?  I became a vegetarian but haven't eaten meat in a year or ate dairy.  She said " Keep up the good work!"  She said " Since ,your not eating meat,you should take B-12 supplements.

 I'm still on this regime for 15 years and will never go back.

I asked my new doctor about my B-12 and she said it was elevated because I was taking B-12 supplements when I moved and found out that this is why- I eat more hummus and it's made with Tahini, that is loaded with B-12 and B vitamins.  

I also don't take flu shots because they don't say what's in it.  I only get colds.

I don't drink Milk, because my son almost DIED from it, yes, it's so true. So, what can you drink?  I drink Hemp, Almond, and Tahini Milk for calcium.  I don't take supplements because of side effects.

I don't take any medications, nor want to ever.

So, want to better yourself and don't take medications, it's your choice!

Periodic Contributor

I am vegan for ethical reasons. I do not use any animal products. My diet is mostly whole foods and plant based. 

Newbie

Eating as a vegetarian or vegan is the healthiest way to go!  There are so many recipes and cookbooks to help you with your decision to stop eating meat or at the least cut way back on your animal protein intake. The more healthy veggies and fruits you eat, the more your body will thank you. It helps you lose weight as you will have more nutrients with less calories. This makes our bodies full faster and less likely to overeat. You can start by eating a big salad every day with romaine, shredded red cabbage and carrots and any other salad veggies you wish. Add some nuts or seeds on top for crunch. Have fun!

Contributor

I have been a lacto-ovo vegetarian for the past 10 years, and am phasing out dairy and sugar. Focusing my diet on fresh fruits and vegetables has been most helpful. Avoiding baked goods also helps, especially with weight management.

Newbie

VEGETARIAN ! Almost there to Vegan.  I did a complete re haul on my diet when I had Cancer 19 years ago! Never did Chemo or Radiation, the Cancer was removed, and I have had no issues since! Prior to the Cancer I was getting Cysts and Tumors. They would be removed and a bigger one would return until Cancer itself formed.  All Meat and Dairy has been removed from my diet . Veggies & Fruits are number one. I have Tofu , and many tofu products which all are seriously, good! I do not drink soda.  No alcohol and no drugs of any kind, ever ! I drink lots of water, mineral water and my number one go to for any ailment is: Coconut Water. It helps for everything. It can help with a cold / flu , stomach bug especially! Even food poisoning. I use Ginger Root in a lot of my food dishes. I try to eat Kimchi with added Garlic, Onions and Ginger Root. This stabilizes my system and keeps my Immune System at it's best! I have 3 grown sons with families of their own. Only one of my sons and his family follow on the same path as me. I watch as my other 2 sons and their familes have wieght issues and smaller health problems, which worries me, of course! They will not give up Meat! I have warned them of the health prroblems that come from it. My brother too, he is another one who will not switch, he tries at times. But, will not stay away from Meat! Carbs are not even as dangerous as Meat !  But, what I call " White Carbs " [ Sugar, Flour , White Rice ] they are nothing but glue, and plug ones system up to not work correctly, so how is that good ? I highly advise any one to make the siwtch for better health ! 

Regular Contributor

Not either but I never eat red meat, just fish and a little chicken, lots of dairy, tons of vegetables, and good carbs. Works for me.

Contributor

I'm vegan and have been for nine years. I was vegetarian for four years before that. It was primarily for health reasons since my cholesterol was high. Knowing what I know now from all the scientific literature, I would never go back to following the Standard American Diet (SAD). Here are the books that got me started (and all of them have acompanying websites): Skinny **bleep** by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, Eat to Live by Joel Furhman, MD, The China Study by T. Colin Campbell, and Crazy, Sexy Diet by Kris Carr. There are lots of other good books out there by Drs. Neal Barnard, John McDougall, Michael Greger, and others. They all have the same message -  a whole food, plant-based diet is healthy; other diets are not.  

Contributor

Oh BTW this is Dr. John McDougall's site https://drmcdougall.com

Very easy to navigate, tons of recepies and lectures. Enjoy!

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Periodic Contributor

I am Vegan and have been off and on for decades. This year I began a no turning back practice of all Vegan, mainly veggies, fruit and beans. I do it for health primarily but also because of the production practices in the animal products industry.  By saying off and on I mean I did eat ice cream but not anymore. I learned alot from all of the books and online videos available. I mak I highly recommend it.e all my own food and am absultely fine with it.

Bronze Conversationalist

I'm a lacto-ovo-vegetarian -  I don't eat meat, but I do eat some organic dairy (yogurt and an occasional hot chocolate from Starbucks), and fresh eggs from my own chickens, plus fruits, vegetables and some whole grains at every meal.  I've been eating like this for about 35 years, first because I don't like killing animals, and second because I think it's a healthy way to eat.  My protein comes mostly from eggs, nut butters, yogurt, nuts, and organic tofu.  I also drink organic soy milk and organic unsweetened almond milk for more protein and other nutrients.  My blood tests come out excellent, so I must be getting all the nutrients my body needs from the way I eat.  And when I go down to my chicken coop, I don't have to look at some of my younger chickens and tell them that I ate their mother for dinner!

Retired Community Manager

Hi @ip3285,

 

I'm also a lacto-ovo vegetarian for ethical reasons. I've been eating this way for 39 years. I try to eat healthy and feel that being a vegetarian helps in this. But the reason has always been for animal welfare reasons.

 

Vicki 

Newbie

My Health and Animal Rights are my MAIN reason for my complete re haul switch! 

Contributor

I have been a lacto- ovo vegetarian for about 10 years. I enjoy excellent health. I am very rarely sick. I believe in kindness to all animals.

Bronze Conversationalist

@VOYAGER vicki: Hi! I agree about the animal welfare. I have chickens, goats, two dogs and one husband. The husband and the German Shepherd need to change their attitudes about killing other animals; the rest of us are fine with vegetarian diets.
Iris
Periodic Contributor

I've been vegetarian by budget. I don't think I've had any meat, chicken, seafood for eight years or so. I'd get some quality chicken like I've seen at Whole Foods, but my budget just doesn't allow it. I make many dishes with beans. For instance, cooked up beans in the slow cooker, then "refried" them in olive oil, then made a 7-layer casserole with the beans on the bottom, layers of chopped pepper, onion, salsa, cheeses and chopped black olives.

 

I have chickpeas in the slow cooker now, I'm going to make a big batch of hummus. I mash and then use a stick blender right in the slow cooker, and add tahini, salt, lemon juice, olive oil, some cumin. It thickens more as it cools, too.

 

I make lentil soup, and use smoked paprika (instead of a meaty ham bone). I look to ensure I'm getting enough protein. I only get veggies or fruits on sale, or in the reduced produce section. I do eat eggs, so sometimes make pudding with eggs (like tapioca). I try to eat healthy, and buy what is on sale. A package of chicken is a huge portion of my whole budget. Do I miss it? Yes, but at this point, I know it is OK for me healthwise, so try to not think about it.   

Newbie

Thank you for the tip on cooking hummus with a crock pot.  Smart.