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_Whitetigress's avatar

I'm going vegetarian possibly vegan: What is your weekly diet like and where do you shop to buy most of your foods?

Asked by _Whitetigress (4349 points ) October 24th, 2012

I need help setting up my new outlook on life and diet. So, I need help with breakfast, snacks, lunch, and dinner.

Thanks so much!

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24 Answers

snowberry's avatar

For starters, try downloading EWG’s 2012 Shopper’s Guide. It has the “Dirty Dozen” list (the 12 most pesticide laden foods available in the US. If you’re not in the US, perhaps you can find a similar link and ap in your country. Here’s a link to it on the computer. http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/

In addition, I eat whole foods (not processed). This means whole grains (rice, quinoa, etc.) beans, and lots of fresh and cooked veggies. When I eat meat, I eat only organic eggs, and wild meat, wild caught fish, or organic meat from the store, no dairy. Since I’ve been on this diet, my skin has improved greatly, and I’ve lost about 10 lbs.

All meals are pretty much the same: rice and veggies, with variations due to spices and herbs.

snowberry's avatar

I’ll also say that in spite of the meals being pretty much alike, I find them interesting (due to the variety of veggies) and quite tasty. I also eat as much as I want. It wouldn’t be hard to find a bunch of vegan recipes that would provide variety, but I’m a creature of habit, and I’m quite happy. For salad dressing, it’s always balsamic vinegar and olive oil (with spices/herbs)

Unbroken's avatar

It depends on where you live.
But actually most grocery stores should have the basic necessities for you.

I suggest you do some research so that are fulfilling all basic requirements. You will need a good source of iron; molasses, dark leafy greens are a place to start on that. I would incorporate a lot of mushrooms, you need a place to get amino acids, seeds hemp is probably the best but chia and flax also are benefical, a good source of b vitamin’s. Protein from beans is your best bet but vegies and nuts have protein too. Another necessity is probiotics, this can come from dairy substitute yogurt. There is coconut, soy, almond to choose from. All of these items except the hemp I get from the grocery store. Except the hemp seeds. If you shop in the health food section and don’t know where your best speciality place is I would ask the other shopper’s in that area. Most of the time barring extenuating circumstances they are really friendly and more helpful and knowledgable then the staff. As to recipes where to start there are tons.

bookish1's avatar

I’m not vegan and never have been, but I’ve been vegetarian since I was 13. I strongly recommend that you try vegetarian first. I’ve known some people to get sick from even trying to switch to vegetarian, which generally causes them to give up on the whole project, and the sudden transition to a vegan diet might be too difficult to adjust to all at once.

Here is an overview of my diet:

protein sources: tempeh (amazing fermented grain product. Much better than its description sounds, I promise. You can eat it raw, steam it, fry it, or even bread it and make vegetarian crab cakes or hot wings. VERY versatile, and also cost efficient. I get 4 servings’ worth for about 2 dollars), free range eggs, soy hot dogs if I’m feeling lazy, lentils, greek yogurt if you can get it for cheap has MAD protein in it, cheese with vegetable rennet (most kinds of cheese have enzymes from animals’ stomachs in them :-/ ), black/kidney/garbanzo beans, whole grain full protein bread, nuts and peanut butter, tofu (I’m trying to reduce my consumption of this because my favorite way to eat it is fried!)

-vegetables: I try to stick with non-starchy as much as possible. This means: onions, kale, broccoli (it’s got some starch but not too much), zucchini/squash, carrots, romaine lettuce, spinach

-starches: whole wheat high protein bread, egg noodles, brown rice, cous cous, pasta (yeah, yeah, whole wheat is better for you but I can’t learn to love it), potatoes

-FRUIT!

I’m lucky in that I live in a wealthy area, with a good variety of grocery stores that cater to yuppies. I shop at Harris Teeter and Trader Joe’s for things that I can’t find elsewhere (like tempeh or meat substitutes) and get everything else for cheaper at Food Lion and the farmer’s market.

FutureMemory's avatar

Trader Joes all the way.

The only things I buy at ‘normal’ grocery stores like Albertson’s are household supplies (paper towels, crap like that) and soda. I buy all my food from TJ’s.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Farmer’s markets. You can’t beat them. You just have to use the stuff fairly quickly compared to store bought stuff. Which just makes me wonder what the heck they put on that stuff.

JLeslie's avatar

I say ease into it. Maybe go vegetarian first, or have three vegan days a week. That way you don’t have to completely change every meal of your day every day. It can be overwhelming trying to come up with 20 new meals to prepare. Check out some vegan cookbooks and try some recipes that look interesting to you.

I am not vegetarian, but most vegetarians I know actually hung on to certain meats for a while, like still ate bacon as a treat when out for breakfast, or I know young people who went vegetarian, except for McDonald’s hamburgers. LOL. Eventually giving up all meat, and sometimes going on to be vegans.

At first you might want to look at foods that still feel very familiar to you. Mexican, Chinese, Italian, and Indian food easily can be vegetarian. What is your diet like now? Is it very “American” burgers, chicken, pork chops? Or, is it already very veggie oriented anyway?

gailcalled's avatar

Eliminating meat, the first step, I found effortless. I substitute the large selection of beans and lentils and some tofu. Occasionally I’ll have some fish, eggs and a little dairy.

For breakfast today I had steel-cut oatmeal (I cook a week’s supply at a time) with 2. T ground flax seed, some cinnamon, chopped walnuts and a dribble of maple syrup. Plus freshly brewed Earl Gray tea with an 1/8 t. sugar.

Lunch was a white bean and veggie soup.

Supper will probably be a large salad with a little bit of canned wild salmon (Milo gets the juice) or tomato and cheese on serious whole wheat bread…the whole thing toasted.

There are no rules. Do the best you can.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled So you don’t consider fish, meat? That sounds very Catholic of you. LOL. I always find it surprising when someone says I don’t eat meat, and other people think that means they still eat fish.

gailcalled's avatar

Warm-blooded animals produce meat.

JLeslie's avatar

I just think of vegetarian and meatless as synonomous. For me meat means a living animal, it doesn’t have to be warm blooded in my book. Others don’t, I understand that. fish is parve, so even under kosher law I guess one could say fish and dairy is not mixing “meat” and dairy. I just never had heard a non Catholic say they are vegetarians and then say they eat fish basically in the same sentence. You did not actually call yourself a vegetarian I realize, but it was implied you consider yourself one by your answer.

SpatzieLover's avatar

For groceries we only shop at Whole Foods @_Whitetigress, that is until a Trader Joe’s finally opens in a couple weeks here.

As much as possible, we get our fresh veggies at local farms & farmer’s markets.

If you’re interested in going vegan, I highly recommend watching Forks Over Knives and following up at their website. A related cookbook, Engine 2 Diet also has a documentary with the positive life altering effects of veganism. Both are powerful motivators.

Unbroken's avatar

I think the fish consuming folk are called flexatarian’s. Just to be properly politicallly correct about it.

Read ingredient label’s at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s just because they claim to be healthy doesn’t mean they don’t carry a lot of unhealthy choices. Especially since there is such a disparate view of what is healthy. For example many of their products have GMO’s, they also subscribe to brands that have creative labeling. It is best to know where you want the line drawn and go in knowing what to look for as opposed to facing the store hungry and busy and having no idea of where you want that line drawn.. If that line is just simply vegan and nothing else it relatively easy, You should however take time to consider everything from wine to your condiments, and since replacing food often comes with an ick factor they may or may not choose to add stuff like msg, or a lot of sugar to compensate for what their standards are as a taste factor. That is why it is extremely helpful to shop mostly for whole foods.

I should have said I am not vegan. But I do purchase some vegan food as I don’t consume dairy in any form or eggs. I don’t have resources but they are definitely out there. I subscribe to blogs from people with a similar diet and choices from mine. Often they repost other’s ideas for creative recipes and often advice that you can either take or leave, I end up with a stack that is quite large. So just spend some time looking for one that you feel you connect to in style. Even if you don’t end up liking them in the long term they may be linked to others you like better.

Good luck.

gailcalled's avatar

“Pescatarian”:

A person who does not eat meat but does eat fish.

“Lacto-ovo-vegetarian”:

A person who eats vegetables, eggs, and dairy products but who does not eat meat.

The definitions of “meat” and “fish” are not synonymous, unless saying so makes it so.

One could certainly say that mixing fish and dairy is not the same as mixing meat and dairy. (See bagels, cream cheese and lox.)

And what do the Kosher laws and food that is pareve have to do with this question anyway?

JLeslie's avatar

Just that the OP said they were going vegetarian, so we need to know how they define vegetarian to make sure we are all on the same page.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

How do you know someone is a vegan?...

Brian1946's avatar

@Crashsequence2012

Vegans don’t consume any animal flesh or products, such as eggs, dairy, fish, chicken, or honey.

For some vegans, this also includes not wearing or otherwise using any animal products, such as leather.

Crashsequence2012's avatar

@Brian1946

The correct answer is:

Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

_Whitetigress's avatar

To me, meat is any muscle coming from any animal.

JLeslie's avatar

@_Whitetigress Me too, that is how I define it. Let us know how the transition goes. Good luck, I think it is very healthy and humane to reduce your meat intake.

gailcalled's avatar

Two more easy dinners are a baked potato filled with salsa and rice or soba noodles with a tomato, mushroom, garlic and whatever sauce. Grated cheese if you are eating some dairy products. A side salad is always nice.

Decide what you want to no longer eat and forget the labels.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
gailcalled's avatar

This AM;

Ancient grains dried cereal, 2.T ground flax seed, cinnamon, some chopped walnuts, ½ sliced banana and rice milk.

Pot of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea wiht 1/8 t. sugar.

Lunch at a local cafĂ© will be a naked burrito (without the wrap), black beans, rice, ½ the normal amount of cheese and double salsa. I’ll skip the sour cream and guac., much as I am trying to like avocados.

florican's avatar

My resources for buying in bulk: amazon’s food section (some amazing multi-pack deals, surprisingly big selection), bulkfoods.com (really old school site but some great prices), nuts.com (good site, not just nuts), and great-eastern-sun.com (multi-packs of asian health food, can be a lot cheaper than stores).

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