Ok, so I've gone vegetarian-ish. Not for any moral reason, for health. I voted no on Prop 2 in CA and would do it again.

Anyway, I've decided to limit my actual meat intake to once every week. Eggs and dairy, however, are still on the table, literally.

I have two problems:
1) I'm a weight lifter so that means I still need to eat a good amount of protein. Now that I'm not eating meat I need something to fill that. I'm not doing soy for health reasons. So far, egg whites for breakfast and dinner with peanut butter for lunch has been doing pretty good for me. Are there any other particularly high protein vegetables that I should be looking at?

2) I've pretty much cooked only meat for as long as I've cooked. The limit of my veggie cooking is boiling and stir-fry. I need some ideas for recipes for veggies. Also, egg whites are still ok with me.

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I heart egg-whites... Egg drop soup is awesome, I've made it with only egg whites and it's good, and with the addition of low-sodium chicken broth is very low-cal but extra filling.

Beans are good for protein. I think people who eat beans alone are kind of insane though, usually they're really tasty in soups, with rice, or in other dishes. Black-bean soup is a good bean-isolated choice, and black beans are a healthy choice even among beans.

Anything whole grain should have a little more protein than anything just white. I'm in love with brown rice, though some people don't like the obviously more awesome taste and texture when compared to white rice. Although of course, these are carbohydrates at heart. Dairy also has more protein than some people realize. But go with skim milk if you like it, no protein or nutrients are taken aside from fat.

For vegetables, one of the things I do is add them to smoothies. This is good if you're ever just wanting something different. You can grab a handful of baby spinach (freezing it beforehand is good-- and spinach is decently high in protein as veggies go) and then throw in some water and frozen fruits (berries will cover up the green color) and it's great. No weird taste or anything.

Soups are great for adding veggies. You might try a tomato-based soup, broth-based soup, or a vegetable curry, etc. These can be very healthy in general as long as you're watching out for fat and sodium. Also, if you like pasta in soups, some are enriched with vegetables, and they're actually quite good, although definitely shouldn't be the primary source of veggies.

I think it's worth mentioning that for meat, tuna canned in water is very low-fat. Some cholesterol though.
Whole grain has a lot of protein. I didn't know what. Though now that I think about it, I probably should have. Thanks for that ;)

I could probably do a half-decent tuna salad. I'm getting closer to the perfect egg salad.

I've been spooning out the egg yolks after boiling and putting them in the garden, at least that way they don't go to waste.
I can't prove this, but people in health food stores look unhealthy to me ... sallow skin color, kind of yellowish-green. They expound as enthusiastic advocates of meat free meals, even as they look sick. Personally, I feel better when I eat 3 or 4 ounces of meat a day and lots of fruits and vegetables. Fresh vegetables from my garden taste better than grocery store or farmer's markets, but our growing season is relatively short (northern Washington state).

I generally don't put much on fruits and vegetables because fresh produce tastes really delightful. I use fresh lemon juice and oil for salad dressings with fresh herbs. Tonight's dinner salad was fresh pears with shredded sharp cheddar cheese made from hormone free cheese. I chose fresh vegetables from the garden, tomatoes, celery, carrots, and served them raw.

There is a trend that I like called "raw foods". The internet has lots of ideas for different ways of preparing fruits and vegetables. Some vegetables, green beans and brassicas, taste better to me when I steam them lightly and then pour fresh lemon juice over them.
Oh, no, I'm not cutting meat out totally. Like with watching the rest of my diet, I have a cheat day every week or so. I'm not sure if this is going to be a permanent thing for me, I'm just trying out.

So far it hasn't been too hard to do, just boring. Egg white omelets gets old really fast. Even with light fried onions and broccoli, it's still just an omelet.

I've tried making chili in the past but it's been less than awesome, I'm probably making a mistake somewhere along the way.

As for why I'm doing this at all, I've heard that it'll be easier for me to keep my fat intake under control this way so I'm going to give it a month and see how I feel about it.
I'm glad your not going vegetarian; even the most knowledgeable vegetarians need the protein of meats and other protein foods, in my opinion. I agree, eating the same thing every day gets old very fast. I like the ideas Jezzy offered and I am sure there will be others who can offer things you haven't thought of yet. I love hummus, a creamy paste made of chickpeas and tahini and an excellent source of protein and vitamins. I grow my own garlic and it makes it really good. Your friends may not appreciate it, but offer it to them and you will have friends for life. I don't like soy, but many do ... it is worth a try.

 

Hi Joan,

 

I take issue with your statement that "..even the most knowledgeable vegetarians need the protein of meats and other protein foods...". It appears you have bought into the 'protein myth' 100%. Please support your above statement with your sources of information.

And Louis, congrats on your veggie experiment, I am sure that when you have obtained all the facts (rather than unsubstantiated opinions) and experienced the benefits of a meat reduced diet you will find that you are able to meet your nutritional and protein requirements quite easily on a vegetarian diet.

 

I suggest a little research to support your new endeavour, Schwarzzenegger's book "Pumping Iron" gives a formula for protein intake for bodybuilders/weightlifters, the amounts might surprise you in that they are a lot less than 'conventional wisdom'. There are also several world class weightlifters/powerlifters who follow vegan/vegetarian diets, just 'Google' vegan body builders. Additionally, Dave Scott who won the Hawaii Ironman more than anyone else - including 5 in a row, if memory serves - is a vegan.  I also recommend 'Diet for a Small Planet' by Francis Lappe and Diet for a New America' by Robbins. Lots of great nutritional info and in depth analysis of human protein needs, from sedentary to super athlete.

 

In closing, I note that when I decided to go veggie over 25 years ago I relied on eggs (chicken fetus') a great deal for the first year until I learned that there are preferable sources of non-animal protein. The elimination of meat and dairy foods did nothing to impede, but in fact enhanced my sporting endeavours in both rugby and martial arts, both fairly robust activities requiring strength, health and fitness.

 

 

 

Good luck

 

 

Michael

Michael, a great response to my comment.  Perhaps my resources aren't in agreement with yours, however, Francis Lappe made a great impression on me and  my group of friends some 35 years ago. It sounds as though you have found a diet that works for you and keeps you healthy and happy.  Great News!

Steam your veggies. My favorite method is to cut potatoes and carrots and put these onto boil, as they get slightly tender I put over the top of them one of those metal steamers with broccoli, zucchini, squash maybe some sliced onion or what ever I have around. I lightly steam them till they are softened but still crunchy. Not only am I cooking a complete veggie assortment but I am doing it in one pot. I make my own chicken stock and add this to the water I boil the potatoes and carrots in for extra flavor.

I am not a vegetarian but I do own vegetarian cookbooks in which to make side dishes etc.

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