Thinking about going Veg? Letter to a student.

We had senior exit project presentations yesterday.  One student did hers on going vegetarian.  She even mentioned the differences between vegan, lacto-ovo, pescatarian and even macrobiotic!  Excitement!  (Vegan was even the first one… and she said it’s “true vegetarian” mmmm hmmm.)  She’s going to try to say lacto-ovo, so this letter is guided toward that.  Enjoy.

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Vegetarian resources are a lot easier to find than Vegan ones.. but a lot of times they’re one in the same.  A lot of the cooking seems really scary at first, but it gets SO much easier over time.  I didn’t cook much before I went vegan and now I seriously LOVE it.  LOVE.

#1: Consider taking a B12 supplement.  This is important.  There are things on what is best (sub-lingual is technically better. (disintegrates under your tongue).. but whatever.  as long as you’re taking something.  I actually use a spray… (it’s all absorption stuff.)  You can never have too much.  B12 is water (not fat) soluble, so any extra just flushes out of your body.  So B12. Yes.  …and maybe a multi. (people get iron from meat, too.  but it’s also in dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.  I cook with cast iron as well.)

Random:

  • If you are vegan, you do not consume cholesterol.  Cholesterol is an animal byproduct only.  (You will still produce it, you just won’t be eating the stuff that has clogged something else’s arteries…. If you’re still worried about cholesterol, watch your saturated fat intake.)

Resources:

  • http://www.veganoutreach.org/ – They have a free starter guide.  I think they have the guide at Health Plus.
  • Health Plus (In Sandusky, Ohio): In the Hammer Huber plaza… where wild birds unlimited and all of that is… by the mall…  Good place.  They have a lot of stuff you can’t find at Kroger and other places (vegan ice cream…. mmmm…. Kroger has a lot of that, though!)

Things to watch:

  • Forks over Knives.
  • Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
  • Food Inc.
  • “Check out the Meatrix. Its an online cartoon. About the awfulness of factory pig farming.”-Zach

Things to read:

  • In Defense of Food (Easy to read, and very informative.  Not totally veg, but interesting nonetheless)
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma (I have not read, but is by the same author as above)
  • The China Study – T Colin Campbell
  • How to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease – Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.
  • “In terms of books, I’d recommend The China Study too.” –T.M. Göttl
  • “I’d recommend the book The Kind Diet.  That book turned it all around for me”-Angie.love
  • “Read the China Study.” –Zach
  • Veggie Threads, another blogger on the same topic

Things to EAT!

  • I’ll post a really easy, really good tofu recipe at the end of this e-mail.  It doesn’t take long either… just don’t burn your house down (please)
  • Fast food veg options.
    • Burger king has a veg burger that is not promised to be veg?!  Yeah I don’t know…  It’s not vegan, though.
    • Wendy’s will make you a “veggie burger” …but it’s just a burger with no meat and only veggies…. that and baked potatoes
    • ARBY’S TURNOVERS ARE VEGAN!!!! (yeah!)
    • Subway veggie delight…. vegan if no cheese… veg otherwise… with wheat bread.
    • Ruby Tuesdays has veggie burgers that USED to be vegan… now they changed them and made them just vegetarian.  So you can eat them… and even get a mini side of them for your salad bar I believe.
    • Johnny Rockets has an AMAZING veggie burger.. it’s called like the Steamliner or something…. Very good.  and it’s vegan with no cheese or mayo.
    • Taco bell: 7 layer burrito has no meat… their beans are vegetarian (no lard… learn the spanish word “manteca”… they use it in some mexican restaurants’ beans) I get it with no sour cream or cheese…. or “fresco” style.. so they put that other awesome pico de gallo-type-stuff on it.  that and a fresco bean burrito.  Their guacamole is questionable, I avoid it.
    • Olive garden… pasta is vegetarian… only their really cheap pasta is vegan (last I checked).
    • Panera Mediterranean Veggie sandwich. MMMMMM. They also mark their veg soups.  There are usually two.  Their low fat veg one is usually vegan.  They have a book that lists their products and allergens in them under the counter.
    • Carrabba’s has a vegan pasta.  I think it’s linguine with lots of garlic and basil and tomatoey stuff.  Mmmmm.
    • Salads
  • Don’t only eat carbs.
  • Find a good veg cookbook that’s easy/fun to read.  My favorite FAVORITE vegan chefs are these fine ladies: http://www.theppk.com/ They’re amazing and fun (I mostly use their books… not website.  Otherwise I usually just surf the net.  Like vegan tofu stuffed shells! SO good.  (I know you’re not vegan.. but they ARE much lower in fat and cholesterol than regular ones)  Vegan with a vengeance is mi favorito!
  • “Don’t forget gardein in grocery stores. Very tastey. & most asian/indian places have lots of vegan deliciousness.
    Fatfreevegan.com is a good site for starting points of recepies.” –Zach

Tofu sucks if you don’t make it right.

Tofu 101:

  • Silken tofu typically comes in vacuum sealed packages.  It’s really smooth and doesn’t crumble well.  It’s good for making creams (like, I make cream sauce for pasta and dips and spreads and the like)
  • Fresh tofu typically comes in water.  This is good for cutting, marinating and/or crumbling.
  • Softer: Better for creams/puddings
  • Firmer: Better for marinading, slicing, crumbling.
  • If you freeze it it gets a different consistency…. firmer, crumblier.
  • I have used it beyond it’s expiration date…
  • Don’t try to save it.  Just use it all.  You’re more likely to eat something you prepared and are heating up than use the rest for another purpose.
  • I pretty much only buy firm tofu.  If I need it to be thinner I just add a little soy milk.
  • I Have a tofu press, it squishes the water out of the tofu so it’s firmer (easier to marinade, grill, etcetera)
  • If you go vegan, buy a food processor.  It will be a good friend.

Tofu ala Tempehst:

This is really easy and fast-ish.  I like it. (Tell me what you think if you actually make it)

  • Equal parts (about 1tbsp each):
  • Lemon juice
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or Soy Sauce
  • garlic (I use a LOT of garlic in everything.. use at will)

Mix those up in a cup and slice the tofu long ways (or short ways… whatever)
Lay those on a pan and use a spoon to spoon the sauce over all of the tofu
Broil in oven until brown on edges (10ish minutes?  watch this closely…. it’ll steam a little.)

Take it out and serve.  I like this, myself:

Tortilla
sliced tomatoes
avocado (essential!)
alfalfa sprouts
sometimes I even add some sauteed baby portobellas… but that’s not necessary.

Enjoy!  (Seriously with the avocado.)

Really, let me know if you have any questions/concerns or whatever.  When I went vegan I did some psycho research because I knew my family would grill me on EVERY aspect (because most of them are farmers and I wanted to have my facts straight).

Take your vitamins!

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Anyone wanting to add more suggestions, please do!

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