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How does one become vegetarian?

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  • How does one become vegetarian?

    I've been having a great deal of difficulty lowering my sugar intake, and I have the horrible habit of eating downtown where everything is very expensive. I don't eat breakfast until late, rather than shortly after I awake, and frequently I arrive home without appetite when the efforts of my wife go to waste. We both work and have a kid to think of, and our grocery bills are insane, but not nearly as insane as the amount of money we spend dining. Everything we eat comes from boxes and cans, and I know I'm addicted to junk food, mostly starch and sugar. Since neither of us has much time for cooking, I'm home around 7 PM due to my commute, and she's home around 6 PM after picking up our son from work. I spend all day sitting in my commute and sitting in my work chair, I find I'm constantly lethargic and our family have a mere hour to be together and I never have the energy to do much outside, probably due to the extra 40 pounds I'm carting around.

    I'd like to eat lighter and healthier, start taking lunches to work (since there are no vegetarian choices downtown) and just not consume so much crap. I haven't got the slightest idea how to get there from here.

    I'm also aware of the moral question surrounding eating meat, though I admit that I don't feel strongly about it, I am willing to eliminate the vast majority of meat for vegetables, though I have no compunction about eating dairy, fish and eggs. I need a lot of protien, because when I don't eat it, I get the shakes. I was hoping there are some people among us knowledgeble so I can get some resources on how to figure this out. Can anyone help me get started? What websites are there? I don't want to become French fry vegetarian.
    Infinite complexity according to simple rules.

  • #2
    f you don' t feel strongly for the moral question and if you like it : Eat meat and try to balance your diet ....

    Try dietetary frozen food : no more expensive than junk food, better balanced and easy/fast to coock ....

    don' t forget fresh fruits ....


    • #3
      I'll dig around for you tomorrow, Mr. Fox.

      In the meantime...Try it for a couple of weeks--make it a goal. Experiment.

      Try soy products--Gardenburger stuff is great, and so is Boca. It is processed crap, too, but most Gardenburger products are at least all natural. Nuts are good, and peanut butter is a staple for me. (It's a bonus that I get to feel seven years old again having PB&Js). Egg tacos are another great, quick thing that satisfies your urge for crap, but are pretty healthy. Lentils are another really versitile part of a meatless diet.

      Another thing that the missus and I did when we gave up meat was pay attention to everything meatless that we ate when we were out. We tried to make everything we liked soon after we had it.

      I'll see if I can find you some links tomorrow when I have a little more time.


      • #4
        Berry, I've been eating roasted in the shell peanuts lately, they provide a hand ritual similar to smoking, a small handfull will hold off hunger well, they seem to stablilize blood sugar level, add half an apple and you should be able to avoid the shakes for quite a bit.
        Last edited by Talisant; 07-23-2006, 09:18 PM.
        "A man is no man who cannot have a fried mackerel when he has set his mind on it; and more especially when he has money in his pocket to pay for it." - E.A. Poe's NICHOLAS DUNKS; OR, FRIED MACKEREL FOR DINNER


        • #5
          Skinless chicken breasts have a lot of protein and are low in fat. Even shake&bake chicken in the oven has less fat than cooking in a grease laden frying pan. Those chicken breasts are quite good submerged in hotsauce. My kids wont eat beef or pork either because of the humanitarian thing. Broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach and brussel sprouts are tasty with melted cheese on top. I get energy from all these veggies. Another good way to cook chicken and veggies is on a G.Foreman grill, it browns the greens and cooks the meat virtually fat free (a trifle dry perhaps). Last options are bar-b-q chicken or chicken stir-fry with veggies and rice mixed in. We have a fresh salad on the side with pretty well all of our suppers also. For junk food we eat bagged popcorn not microwavable, and peanuts in the shell. We keep a fruit bowl on the counter with apples, oranges and the odd pear to snack on. I have always believed that chickens evolved from reptiles, but that doesnt deter me. Mmm... I wonder what Chuckwalla really tastes like?
          Last edited by voilodian ghagnasdiak; 07-24-2006, 09:47 AM.


          • #6
            Last year I lost 50 pounds in six months by limiting my caloric intake to 2000 per day. I started at 1800, but that was too low.

            Part of your lethargy comes from the extra weight, part from the high-fat diet.

            Most mornings my breakfast was Cream of Wheat or oatmeal(2-300 calories). I didn't use milk or sugar, but adding both in moderataion might make this more palatable. Lunch was either a single can of chicken noodle soup (200 calories) with most days 100 calories worth of low-fat microwave popcorn. No soda, sugar-free lemonade or sugar-free iced tea instead. Some days a salad.
            Note that this freed up a big shot of calories for dinner. I kept it sensible, though. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts come in big bags, and thaw under hot water in minutes. Broiled with seasoned salt, lemon peel and dill, with green beans (very low calories) and a salad, and a glass of wine still left me enough calories for a small sensible snack.

            I wasn't miserable, though there were things I missed, and twice a month my wife and I went to dinner someplace nice. I just was careful not to overdo it.

            BTW, it has been over a year, and 35 pounds of it has stayed off. By taking six months and making it sensible, I made eating habit changes that allowed me to stablize at a weight 35 pounds less than I did before.


            • #7
              There is a local maniac that someone gave a doctoral degree to in Denver (try very into vegetarianism and health, and the dude IS healthy enough he climbed Everest last year. Recently he took a challenge to get a healthy meal out of a rack of vending machines. Couldn't do it. Failed.

              I'm rather an anti-nutritionist (I just think most are whackos, and ask what you eat so they can punce and whatever you say that's the bad thing! - and this is knowing hundreds of the folks), but there are sound scientific priciples most people can follow easily. Basically, eat a balanced diet, lots of veggies (fresh if you can get/tolerate them), low amounts of fat. I eat pretty much that way (most veggies are canned, and I am an undisputed carnivore), but I've knocked my cholesterol into really good shape over the past two years by paying attention to keeping the visits to any type of fast food down to absolute emergency basis. I'd guess Subway is about the best around (despite the despicable Jaret). I guess it's a case of seek and ye shall find.

              But that's all I can help with. Read any fast food ingredients, it should scare you silly. Know what the worst offenders are? French fries and chicken strips. Yep, they take perfectly nice chickens and make 'em deadly.

              Good luck, my friend. It is a worthy battle!

              ... just another sailor on the seas of Fate, dogpaddling desperately ...


              • #8
                A little physical exercise helps greatly .......

                each week one hour swimming and one golf course ....


                • #9
                  Hi Reinart. It could take quite a while before you find a balance that is compatible with your constitution and lifestyle. Science is finding out more and more that there are significant health advantages in a vegetarian diet so it's definitely a good option to be looking into. I aspire to be fully lacto-vegetarian and am still working towards that goal, but haven't got there yet because I still eat fish occasionally and stuff with egg in it like salad cream and cakes.

                  Until we can dig up some more in depth links for you there's an article over at wikipedia which might be a reasonable start point:


                  You mentioned protein intake being a concern and here's an article which deals with that point in more detail:


                  Many nuts have almost as much protein per gram as meat, pulses (peas and beans) are another good source, as are lentils and soya and seeds like sunflower and sesame and wheat grains. The article above provides protein content tables for a variety of vegetarian sources of protein.


                  • #10
                    Seven years ago I quit eating meats not because of moral reasons but due to the fact that after eating meats I'd cramp up so badly I'd end up on the floor crying in pain. Sometimes I do cheat and eat the skin off Popeyes fried chicken and end up paying for it but darn it was my favorite!

                    What I do is while cooking save back some of the sauce i'm using for family's dinner and serve it over the veggies i've grilled or sauteed for myself like instead of the beeftips for stroganoff i use lots of mushrooms. Personal vegetarian favorite are eggplant parmesan, spinache lasagna, baked spaghetti squash, palek paneer and dahl (especially my best friend's I could gleefully eat it by the bucketful all the while sweat is pouring down my face) Ok,I'm hungry now.......oh! Paramjit where are you?!?!


                    • #11
                      Spinach lasagne is a very satisfying meal completely on its own. Baked greenpeppers stuffed with rice, onions, mushrooms and covered with tomato sauce is another filling meal. If you search around you can usually find fresh shrimp on special to put on the side of any dish. Fish is very healthy although not too filling for the majority of carnivorous men.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by voilodian ghagnasdiak
                        Spinach lasagne is a very satisfying meal completely on its own.

                        I was raised vegetarian (hence I have little advice on how to become one)... and this has always been my absolute favorite meal!!


                        • #13
                          Hi Reinart, I’ve cherry picked some sites from the net that look to have a good overview of vegetarianism in general with an emphasis on the how to become factor. I’d advise the gradual approach so you can gauge how far you want to take it. I started by halving my meat intake (wasn’t easy at first), then cutting out red meat entirely, then all meat, until currently I’m a cross between a pesco-vegetarian and a lacto-vegetarian. I guess you have to find the right balance for your constitution, lifestyle, and ethics. I’ve got a lot of respect for people who take the trouble to eat vegetarian even one or two days a week or for those who become partial vegetarians. And I think the health benefits of emphasising the vegetarian aspects of diet are on record. Slowly building up a small repertoire of vegetarian recipies that you like would also help avoid the ‘French fry’ factor.

                          Types of vegetarians
                          Vegetarians avoid all meat and fish products.
                          Vegans eat fruit, grains, nuts, legumes and vegetables but avoid all food that comes from animals including meat, eggs, and dairy foods (such as milk and cheese).
                          A lacto-vegetarian eats fruit, vegetables, etc and dairy foods.
                          An ovo-vegetarian eats eggs as well as fruit, vegetables, legumes etc.
                          A lacto-ovo-vegetarian eats dairy foods, eggs and fruit, vegetables legumes etc.
                          Pesco-vegetarians eat fish, dairy foods, eggs and fruit, vegetables, legumes etc.
                          Semi-vegetarians eat dairy foods, eggs, fish and chicken, fruit, vegetables, etc but no red meat.

                          Some things to be careful of:
                          If your vegetarian diet is not well planned and well balanced, your health can be affected. Some of the ill-effects can be:
                          not enough iron (means little or no energy to get out and have fun)
                          not enough vitamin B12 (essential for healthy blood and nerves)
                          not enough calcium (essential for strong bones)

                          A well planned diet is important for your health now and throughout your life. A vegan diet (no animal protein at all eg. fish, chicken, eggs, dairy foods) is more likely to cause health problems than other types of vegetarian diets.

                          Staying healthy
                          To make up for some of the things that could be lacking in a vegetarian diet follow these guidelines.

                          Make sure you eat protein (legumes such as lentils, chick peas, red kidney beans, nuts, eggs, dairy, chicken or fish) every day.

                          Eat foods that are rich in iron (lentils, baked beans, some breakfast cereals eg muesli, branflakes , sesame paste, dried peaches, figs and apricots, broccoli, spinach, wholemeal bread, iron-fortified cereal).

                          Iron from fruit and vegetables is digested more easily when combined with foods rich in Vitamin C (fruit juices, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, mangoes, bananas, pineapple, capsicum, and broccoli). Bread and breakfast cereals often have added iron. If you make a salad of baby spinach and tomatoes or oranges you'll get the iron (in the bread and spinach) and Vitamin C (in the tomato) which helps digest the iron.

                          Eat foods rich in calcium such as milk or calcium enriched soy milk, yoghurts or cheese.

                          You may need some vitamin supplements, most commonly vitamin B12 if you don't have any animal products at all.

                          If you are only eating plant based foods you need to combine certain protein foods together to get enough protein eg combine:

                          grains with legumes
                          nuts with legumes
                          seeds with legumes.

                          Some examples are:

                          baked beans on multi grain bread
                          peanut butter on multi grain toast
                          breakfast cereal with milk
                          hommous dip with bread.

                          Daily food guide
                          This is an approximate guide, remembering that different people have different needs.
                          Calcium: 3 serves daily
                          Examples - milk, yogurt, cheese, calcium fortified soy milk. Other good sources are: sardines or tinned salmon, nuts, legumes.
                          Protein: 2-3 serves daily
                          Examples - legumes, (soya beans, lentils or other beans) soy milk, egg or egg whites, nuts or seeds, tofu, peanut butter.
                          Vegetables: 4-6 serves daily
                          Examples - cooked or raw vegetables,
                          Fruit: 2 -4 serves daily
                          Examples- raw fruit, juice, dried fruit, canned fruit.
                          Bread, Rice, Pasta and Cereal: 5 - 11 serves daily
                          Examples- bread, cereal, pasta, rice.
                          A good general vegetarian FAQ:

                          Some introductory info:

                          Some more info here, focusing on vegetarianism for the young. Site is slow to load:

                          This site has more of a focus on the suffering of animals:

                          A good book on the subject on (and very cheap):
                          Last edited by Grey Mouser; 07-28-2006, 09:59 AM.


                          • #14
                            Any progress to speak of, Berry?


                            • #15
                              I've known a few lacto-ovo vegetarians that in trying to get the protein and calcium they need end up eating way too many cheeses, yogurts and eggs resulting in weight gain.