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My general challenges with switching diets

Discussion in 'Support' started by Cheshire, Jan 19, 2018.

  1. Cheshire

    Cheshire Member

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    Hey everyone, as the title suggests I have a few problems in switching to a vegan, or even vegetarian diet, so let's get right to it:

    1. I'm an extremely picky eater
    By which I mean especially texture wise, but taste is also a big thing. I tried looking for some good meat free recipes and found much to my horror almost nothing without beans and nuts. Beans make me want to spit them out as soon as they are in my mouth with the additional urge to brush my teeth immediately.
    Nuts while edible in small doses have the annoying tendency to get stuck in my throat and stick everywhere, so when I eat nuts I usually end up breathing a few pieces in, and generally annoyed for the rest of the day because I feel them sticking in my throat.
    I tried tofu and I hate it, same problems as with beans.
    Some vegetables are fine, but most of them taste like ***.

    2. Even when I like something it doesn't necessarily mean I can eat it.
    Case in point avocado. Tried some, loved it, ate some more of it and there was my old friend nausea. This happens with a variety of food stuffs, like cream and sausage like stuff and apparently avocado.

    3. The meat and cheese supplements you can buy in my area are f*** expensive and I'm on a budget.

    4. Figuring out all of this stuff and making vegan alternatives in my own kitchen takes a lot of time. I have none.

    I generally eat rice, or noodles with some kind of delicious meat containing sauce, pizza, buns with ham, or more complex meat dishes, because I like them and they don't make me (want to) puke.

    The questions I have resulting from this are:
    -Does anyone have similar issues?
    -Does anyone have a few good recipes for delicious vegan sauce that I could use for my rice and noodles instead? I haven't found any.
    -How do I get affordable vegan food that's tasty, doesn't feel like sand, or tiny rubber balls in my mouth and doesn't take loads of time and effort to make?
    -Does anyone have solutions my questions so far haven't considered? And no, I don't consider "suck it up and get used to it" a solution.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  2. poivron

    poivron Member

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    Do you actually want to become vegan? If so, why do you want to become vegan? I think it would be helpful if you could answer, or at least ponder, these questions. Your post is such a passionate attack on vegan eating that it leads me to think that while a part of you wants to be vegan, another part may fear it's too big a sacrifice.

    When you go vegan, your tastes change. Vegetables taste very different when they're not served beside meat and when your mouth has not been in contact with any animal products for over a week. Something that tastes horrible to you now, like tofu or beans, might taste delicious after a week, a month, or a year of veganism. Moreover, living compassionately feels so good that after a while, you simply don't miss animal products; you actually stop seeing them as food, and it surprises you that anyone else would see them as food. I used to be a big meat eater. I used to like rare steak and raw fish so much that for many years, despite wishing I could be vegan, I didn't think I had the level of self-control I thought this required. I thought being vegan meant never eating anything tasty again. But once you decide you no longer want to contribute to animal suffering, and you're ready to start living your life differently, veganism doesn't feel like a sacrifice, at least not in the long run.

    If you're not open to the possibility that your tastes and thoughts might change over time, then I would suggest that you don't really want to go vegan yet. And that's OK. No one is forcing you. Veganism is a decision everyone makes for himself/herself. Give it time.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
  3. Cheshire

    Cheshire Member

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    Yes and a lot of reasons. Factory animal farming is so f**ked up on so many levels, I don't even wanna get into it. Meat consumption is inefficient in terms of energy, resources and space and it's absolutely terrible for humans and the environment also in more ways than I want to get into. Seeing how I'm hoping to be around for a while the destruction of our ecosystems and the rapid depletion of finite resources are things that concern me. Is my not using animal products gonna change the world? No. It is however something I can and should do right now.
    As for the sacrifice bit. Sure. There isn't a lot I can eat as it is and most of that has some animal products in it. That doesn't make it ok though, just really hard.

    I'm open to changing my tastes, it happened to me often enough, but never in a way where I went from "Kill it with fire" to "I can eat this", only from "Well this ain't great" to "You get used to it", so I'm more than skeptical I'll ever look at beans as something remotely edible.

    For the moment I'm going with a plan to slowly cut meat out of my diet and once I'm used to that I'll tackle other animal products. Wish me luck.
     
  4. Lux
    Cheerful

    Lux Member

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    Can't say I can relate to any of your issues, as I've never been a picky eater but if you don't care much about variation or hitting certain macros it shouldn't be too difficult. An example is the pasta dish I made for dinner tonight... I had a busy day and didn't feel like spending much time in the kitchen (usually I prioritise it as I think it's fun to experiment) so I literally boiled pasta, drained it, mixed it with a couple of spoonfuls of vegan pesto (costs the same as any other pesto in the supermarket - just cheese free), threw some green peas on top and sliced up a tomato to eat on the side. Not the most nutritious but very filling and VERY easy and cheap.

    From your post it sounds like you're spending more time on identifying what you don't like than thinking about what you do like. Sit down and list what you like and then put together meals out of that and see how you go. You might end up eating the same thing multiple times a week but if being vegan means a lot to you and you're not open to trying new things or combinations then I can't see what else you can do really.

    I would keep in mind though that when you cut out certain things, your taste in food tends to change over time. So something you think you don't like could be a new favourite after you've consumed less sugar or animal fats for a while. Just as a sidenote.
     
  5. poivron

    poivron Member

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    Thank you, Cheshire, for explaining that you have thought about this and really do want to be vegan. I think you will be able to do this. Many people go vegan by cutting out animal products one at a time.

    My husband used to hate vegetables. He used to make bitter jokes about how doctors always say, "Eat more vegetables" in response to any problem. But he's managed to go vegan, and he doesn't complain about vegetables any more. Animal products have so much saturated fat in them that when you put them next to vegetables, they overwhelm everything, so that you can't actually taste the vegetables, which tend to have subtler flavors. When you remove the animal product completely, once your taste buds get used to the change, vegetables taste very different. So I wouldn't assume that you won't one day actually start to like beans and tofu. Tofu has almost no taste, which is its strong point because you can season it many different ways. And if you find that you don't like tofu after trying the different textures seasoned different ways, you don't have to eat it.

    Also, eating nuts doesn't necessarily mean eating raw walnuts and hazelnuts. I've found, for example, that almond milk is an excellent substitute for milk in puddings. My husband puts pine nuts into all kinds of dishes like vegan paella. (But make sure to always roast or fry pine nuts before eating them. Otherwise, you can get "pine mouth", which makes everything you eat taste bad for a week.)

    In addition to nuts and tofu, there is so much more you can eat, especially if you look at the cuisine of Mediterranean cultures, which have historically not had the right conditions to raise animals. There are delicious vegan Middle Eastern dishes made with bulgur or lentils, for example. Also, try putting green bell peppers and lemon juice into things; they can really add a lot of flavor.

    There is no rule that says you have to eat expensive meat and cheese alternatives. In fact, it's best for your health to limit such processed foods to once or twice a week. In general, meat, fish, eggs, milk and cheese are much more expensive than vegetables and grains, so a vegan diet, in practice, tends to be a lot less expensive than an omnivorous diet. In my case, vegan butter and soymilk (for coffee and cereal) are absolutely essential. Other than that, meat and cheese substitutes are occasional luxuries.

    Good luck! If you have any challenges, many people here will be happy to try to help.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018
  6. poivron

    poivron Member

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    Here is my husband's recipe for "Spaghetti Chicken sans poulet". (It was originally a chicken recipe, but he simply left out the chicken.)

    Ingredients for four servings:
    Spaghetti
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 medium green bell peppers, chopped or sliced
    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    1 medium onion, chopped
    4 cups tomatoes, chopped
    1 tablespoon capers, drained
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté bell peppers, garlic, and onion. Stir in tomatoes and capers. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add to pasta, which you have prepared according to the directions on the box while the sauce was heating. (If you first toss the drained pasta with some vegan butter before adding the sauce, it will be a little richer.)

    And here is his recipe for Scrambled Tofu (originally from the Nutritional Yeast Cookbook by Joanne Stepaniak), which is good for brunch, or at any other time.

    Ingredients for four servings (or two very hungry people):
    2 teaspoons canola oil
    1/2 cup grated carrot
    1/2 cup finely chopped onions or scallions
    1 medium tomato, finely chopped
    1/4 teaspoon turmeric
    1 lb firm tofu, rinsed, drained, and crumbled
    1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
    2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
    salt or seasoned salt
    black pepper

    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it's hot, add the carrot, scallions and onions, and turmeric. Sauté for 2 minutes.

    Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, and stir. Add the tomato. Mix well and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 7 minutes or until hot.

    Stir in the parsley and mix well. Serve at once.
     
  7. Cheshire

    Cheshire Member

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    Thanks for the tips, I'll be sure to give them a shoot.
     
  8. Cheshire

    Cheshire Member

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    Short update for anyone who cares, I went vegetarian shortly after this post and I'm so happy I did. I try to keep animal products low, but I'm not quite at the point where I can cut them out altogether. I still hate beans and tofu by the way, but let's hope that'll change at some point.
    Mock meat really helps me to keep it up, though I use less and less of it and since my main reason for going vegetarian in the first place is efficiency, I also eat fish, since not using 2/3 of the surface of the planet doesn't strike me as efficient. I keep it to a minimum though, no more than small amounts once or twice a week.
    Thanks again to everyone who responded. You helped more than you probably realize.
     
  9. Veganite
    Sunshine

    Veganite Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, first of all, congrats on your first transition to being vegetarian.

    Learning to cook vegan meals was my first step in my own transition. While I am not as picky as you are, I do believe with some practice, and willingness to expand your culinary horizons, you will in fact succeed.

    I too used to strongly dislike tofu. The fact was that I wasn't cooking it properly. If you ask anyone what they dislike about tofu they usually say the texture, and it lacks flavour. Youtube has some excellent methods for cooking tofu, but essentially it just needs texture, and flavour. I now love tofu, but limit it in my diet, as it is still considered a processed food.

    A person could practically live on rice. If you were to eat approx. 2000 calories worth of rice a day, it would take a very long time to fall deficient, nutritionally. So what I am trying to say is, build on what you DO like.

    Beans are really healthy, but how do you make someone like them that hates them? Again, this could be because you're not cooking them properly or in recipes that taste good. I love beans, myself, but eating them plain on salads and such is not something I like very much. Learning to cook these new foods is going to help a lot. Beans are so affordable, so it would be ashame if you can't find a recipe you like.

    Here's a few recipes for beans that might change your mind: http://theveggiemama.com/31-bean-recipes-for-people-who-hate-beans/

    Homemade vegan pizza is one of my favorite things. You can either buy pre-made vegan friendly pizza shells and doctor them up the way you like, or you can browse YouTube for one of the kazillion pizza dough recipes and try to do it yourself. Store bought vegan cheeses can be expensive, but think of this as a treat. We all need a treat, and especially pizza....in my humble opinion, of course.

    Lastly, for your noodles I have just the recipe. I don't make this very often, but wow is it ever delicious. I got this recipe from a friend that worked at this local Thai noodle restaurant. It's done like a stir-fry and served over Thai style rice noodles, or rice if you like. I know people that would kill for this recipe. lol

    Sauce Ingredients:

    1 cup natural peanut butter

    1 can organic coconut milk (whole, full fat)

    4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    3 tablespoons soy sauce

    1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger root

    1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    * hot sauce (sriracha) 1 tbsp for mild, 2 tbsp for medium, 3 tbsp for spicy, 4 tbsp for HOT, etc.

    In a bowl, mix (whisk) the peanut butter, coconut milk, lime juice, soy sauce, hot sauce, ginger, and garlic. No cooking necessary. Taste and add more sriracha according to heat level preferences.

    The veggies they use are: onions, carrots, red peppers, broccoli and bok choy. Stir-fry them on high heat with high-heat oil (oil is optional, as I don’t use oil). They also offer a choice of protein, including tofu. I prefer mine with just veggies.

    I also prefer Thai rice noodles, but any noodles will work, or serve it on rice if you like. The noodles will clump if you cook them ahead of time. Either hold them in cold water after cooking, and then drain thoroughly before adding them, or cook the stir-fry first, then add the noodles last, tossing everything together. Either way, when your veggies are soft enough for your tastes, thoroughly drain noodles and add a healthy amount of this delicious sauce. Thoroughly mix/toss, heating all together, and serve with garnish toppings below. Be careful no additional water from the noodles or veggies weaken the sauce. Drain everything well before adding the sauce.

    *Garnish with chopped roasted peanuts, bean sprouts (uncooked and thoroughly rinsed), chopped cilantro and lime wedges. Delicious!

    Enjoy!
     

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