The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian

Overview

You're no idiot, of course. And you know exactly what it means to be a vegetarian—that you don't eat meat. It's that simple, right? Well then what is a lacto ovo vegetarian? Where do people fall who skip on beef and pork, but still eat fish and perhasp even the occasional piece of chicken? Even a food-savvy person could easily be confused by all of the distinctions. And what do each of them mean as a lifestyle choice? The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian is a complete guide-book to all of the ins and ...

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Overview

You're no idiot, of course. And you know exactly what it means to be a vegetarian—that you don't eat meat. It's that simple, right? Well then what is a lacto ovo vegetarian? Where do people fall who skip on beef and pork, but still eat fish and perhasp even the occasional piece of chicken? Even a food-savvy person could easily be confused by all of the distinctions. And what do each of them mean as a lifestyle choice? The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian is a complete guide-book to all of the ins and outs of a vegetarian lifestyle, whatever kind you decide to be. This book is a fascinating read for anyone considering making the switch as well as those interested in learning how to accommodate a vegetarian friend or family member. You'll learn everything from a nutritional standpoint, as well as a social stand-point, including what do I do when my date takes me to a steakhouse? In this Complete Idiot's Guide you get:

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780028628790
  • Publisher: Alpha Books
  • Publication date: 3/8/1999
  • Series: Complete Idiot's Guide Series
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 7.29 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Read an Excerpt




Chapter One

What's a
Vegetarian?


In This Chapter


* Who's who and what they will and won't eat

* About labels and why they really don't matter

* If you don't eat meat, what do you eat?


Are vegetarians members of a secret club? Seems like it. To gain admission, you have to shop at natural foods stores and eat strange foods such as tempeh and nutritional yeast. It helps if you're a celebrity. Maybe a rock star or an actor. They're into weird lifestyle alternatives. The rules are complicated and somewhat mysterious. Some people are lacto, and some are lacto ovo. Worse yet, some are vegans. What the heck is a vegan?

Not to worry. Sit back, relax, and read on. It'll all be very clear in just a few pages. And it's pretty simple and straightforward too.

In this chapter, you'll learn what the term "vegetarian" means and what different types of vegetarians eat.


Try This Label on for Size


Most of us are pretty good at describing the essence of a person in three words or less:

    "He's a liberal Democrat."

    "They're yuppie boomers."

    "She's a white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant."


It's like the saying goes: One picture (or label) says a thousand words.

We use other labels too. When people use labels to describe vegetarians, different terms correspond to different sets of eating habits. A lacto ovo vegetarian eats differentlythan a vegan eats. In some cases, the term used to describe a type of vegetarian refers to a whole range of lifestyle preferences, rather than to the diet alone. In general, though, the specific term used to describe a vegetarian has to do with the extent to which that person avoids foods of animal origin.


Label Lingo


In 1992, Vegetarian Times magazine sponsored a survey of vegetarianism in the United States. The results showed that almost 7 percent of the American public considered themselves vegetarians. At that time, that figure equated to about 12.4 million adults.

However, a closer look at the eating habits of those "vegetarians" found that most of them were eating chicken and fish occasionally, and many were eating red meat at least a few times each month. That finding prompted many of the more strident vegetarians—those who never ate meat, fish, or poultry—to pose the question, "Since when do chicken, fish, and cows grow in a garden?"

The fact is, many people today use the term "vegetarian" loosely to mean that they are consciously reducing their intake of animal products. The term has a positive connotation, especially among those who know that vegetarian diets confer health benefits.

What about the "real" vegetarians? Who are they and what do they eat (or not eat)?

According to a Roper Poll sponsored by the nonprofit Vegetarian Resource Group in 1994, the actual number of people who never eat meat, fish, or poultry is about 1 percent of the adult population. The poll was repeated in 1997, and the number remained the same.

The definition of a vegetarian most widely accepted by fellow vegetarians is this:

A vegetarian is a person who eats no meat, fish, or poultry. Not "I eat turkey only for Thanksgiving," or "I eat fish once in a while." A vegetarian consistently avoids all flesh foods as well as by-products of meat, fish, and poultry. A vegetarian avoids refried beans made with lard, soups made with meat stock, and foods made with gelatin (such as Jell-O), some kinds of candy, and most marshmallows.

Of course, vegetarian diets vary in the extent to which they exclude animal products. The major types are:


Lacto Ovo Vegetarian Diet

A lacto ovo vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry but includes dairy products and eggs. Most vegetarians in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe fall into this category. Lacto ovo vegetarians eat such foods as cheese, ice cream, yogurt, milk, and eggs and foods made with these ingredients.


Lacto Vegetarian Diet

A lacto vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, and poultry, as well as eggs and any foods containing eggs. So, a lacto vegetarian, for instance, would not eat the pancakes at most restaurants, because they contain eggs. Some veggie burger patties are made with egg whites, and many brands of ice cream contain eggs. A lacto vegetarian would not eat these foods. A lacto vegetarian would, however, eat other dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese.


Vegan

Technically, the term vegan refers to more than just the diet alone. A vegan is a vegetarian who avoids eating or using all animal products, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, any foods containing by-products of these ingredients, wool, silk, leather, and any nonfood items made with animal by-products. Some vegans avoid honey.

So in addition to avoiding foods containing animal products, vegans also avoid animal products in all other areas of their lives.

Are vegans from the planet Vegan? No, but they'll think you're from another planet if you don't pronounce the word correctly. It's pronounced VEE-gun. Never mind what Webster's says. This is the accepted pronunciation within the vegetarian community.

The term strict vegetarian is the correct term to use to mean those who avoid all animal products in their diet but who don't carry animal product avoidance into other areas of their lives. In practice, however, the term vegan is usually used by both strict vegetarians as well as vegans, even among those in the know. Call it a bad habit. Rather than calling themselves vegans, though, strict vegetarians will often say that they "eat a vegan diet."

So, a vegan, for instance, would not use hand lotion that contains lanolin, a by-product of wool. A vegan would not use margarine that contains casein, a milk protein, and a vegan would not carry luggage trimmed in leather. Vegans (as well as many other vegetarians) also avoid products that have been tested on animals, such as many cosmetics and personal care products. Many vegans avoid using regular, white granulated sugar, since much of it has been processed using char from animal bones (for whitening).

It can be difficult to maintain a vegan lifestyle in our culture. Most vegans are strongly motivated by ethics, however, and rise to the challenge. It's not as difficult as you might think, either, once you get the hang of it. A large part of maintaining a vegan lifestyle has to do with being aware of where animals products are used and knowing about alternatives. Vegetarian and animal-rights organizations have many materials to help people maintain a vegan lifestyle. Sometimes vegans unwittingly use a product or eat a food that contains an animal by-product. There are times when it's hard to know if a product is free of all animal ingredients. However, the intention is to strive for the vegan ideal.

Those are the three primary types of vegetarian diets. Of course, we could go on from there.

Question: What do you call a person who generally avoids red meat but eats chicken and fish, though less frequently than most people?

Answer: A semi-vegetarian. ("Why not a semi-omnivore?" you might ask, but we're talking about the vegetarian lifestyle here.)

Question: What do you call a person who avoids red meat and poultry but eats fish or seafood?

Answer: A pesco vegetarian.

Question: What do you call a person who avoids red meat but eats poultry and fish or seafood?

Answer: A pesco pollo vegetarian.


More Lingo


The list actually goes even further. One adaptation of a vegetarian diet is a raw foods diet, in which adherents eat a diet that consists primarily of uncooked foods. Practitioners of a raw foods diet believe that cooking causes undesirable changes in foods and that humans were designed to eat foods in their natural, raw state. Another adaptation, the fruitarian diet, consists only of fruits; vegetables that are botanically classified as fruits, such as tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and avocados; and seeds and nuts. Planning a nutritionally adequate fruitarian diet is difficult, and the diet is not recommended for children.

This book will focus on the most common forms of vegetarian diets—vegan, lacto, and lacto ovo vegetarian diets. These types of vegetarian diets are nutritionally adequate and are associated with health advantages.

As you can see, there's a label to suit practically everyone.


The Vegetarian Continuum (Or Why Labels Have Limitations]


Now that you know the criteria for the different types of vegetarian diets, which label would you affix to your own eating style?

What would you call a person who avoids all flesh foods and only occasionally eats eggs and dairy products, and then usually as a minor ingredient in a baked good or dish, such as a muffin, cookie, or veggie burger?

Technically, the person is a lacto ovo vegetarian, right? But that person's diet seems as though it's leaning toward the vegan end of the spectrum.

As a nutritionist, I see this kind of variation—even within the same category of vegetarian diet—all the time. One lacto ovo vegetarian may eat heaping helpings of cheese and eggs and have a high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol as a result. In fact, this type of vegetarian may have a nutrient intake similar to the typical nonvegetarian American's—not so hot. Another lacto ovo vegetarian may use eggs and dairy products but only in a very limited fashion—as a condiment or minor ingredient in foods. This person's nutrient intake could more closely resemble that of a vegan's. That is, of course, assuming that the vegan isn't a Coke and French fries vegetarian.

What am I getting at? That labels are only a starting point, and they have their limitations. Even if you know what type of vegetarian a person is, there can be a lot of variation in the degree to which he or she includes or avoids animal products.

Many new vegetarians find that their diets evolve over time. At the start, for example, many vegetarians rely heavily on cheese and eggs to replace meat. Over time, they learn to cook with grains, beans, and vegetables, and they experiment with cuisines of other cultures. They decrease their reliance on foods of animal origin. Gradually, they consume fewer eggs and dairy products. One day, they might even find themselves eating a mostly vegan (or strict vegetarian) diet.

You might say that vegetarian diets are on a continuum, starting from the typical American, meat-centered diet, to the vegan ideal. Most vegetarians fall somewhere in between. Some may be content with wherever they land on the continuum. For others, their diets will continue to evolve as they hone their skills and develop new traditions, moving from semi-vegetarian, or lacto ovo vegetarian, closer and closer to the vegan end of the spectrum.


If You Don't Eat Meat ... What's Left to Eat?


Your eating style is a mindset. Here's proof:

Ask your neighbor or coworker what he's having for dinner tonight. The chances are good he's going to say ...

    "We're grilling steaks tonight."

    "I'm having fish tonight."

    "Chicken."


Or he might be going out to eat at a restaurant that serves a Western-style, meat-centered meal, such as a 32-ounce steak, for example.

Ever notice how no one mentions the rice, the potato, or the salad, vegetables, bread, or anything else besides the meat? Those are the incidentals, the "side dishes." They're less important than the "main course." We live in a society in which meals revolve around meat as the focal point of the plate. It's just a habit. Our tradition.

A semi-vegetarian might push the meat to the side of the plate, move the vegetables and grains and legumes to the center, and double their portion sizes. They might eat more meatless meals more often. Other vegetarians push the meat off the plate altogether and build an entirely different kind of meal.

When people think of vegetarian diets, they often visualize a plate with a big hole in the center—a gaping bare spot where the meat used to be. They get a little hungry.

"What's left to eat?" they wonder.

"Rabbit food," they figure, thinking about the stuff that is usually relegated to the side of the plate, or maybe the little bit of fruit garnish teetering on the edge.

And they get a little hungrier.

Just the opposite is true, however.

That's because the variety is actually in the plant world. The abundant, colorful, flavorful, fragrant, delicious, and nutritious varied plant world.

When you think about it, most people really only eat a few types of meat. They cook it in a bunch of different ways, and they usually doctor it up with spices and condiments to give it some variation in flavor. The lament I hear most often from people trying to improve their diets is "Chicken and fish, chicken and fish. I know a 1,001 ways to cook chicken and fish. I'm going to overdose on chicken and fish."

Because our diet traditionally centers on meat (and puts heavy reliance on eggs and dairy products too), the diet can be fairly monotonous. Once you make the switch to a vegetarian diet, however, lots of options open up. There are hundreds of different types of fruits, vegetables, grains and grain products, legumes, and other vegetarian foods. There is an endless number of ways that you can fix them. Many of those dishes originated in cultures other than our own. Some examples are listed in the table that follows. Some of them may be familiar to you; you'll find that others open a window to the world.

(Continues...)

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Table of Contents

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Being Vegetarian

Part 1 - Vegetarianism 101: The Basics Before We Begin

  • Chapter 1 - What's a Vegetarian?
    • Try This Label on for Size
    • If You Don't Eat Meat...What's Left to Eat?

  • Chapter 2 - Why Go Vegetarian?
    • The Health Connection
    • Keeping Our Planet Fit
    • Hunger Hurts
    • A Voice for the Voiceless
    • Meat's Too Tough to Chew and Other Complaints
    • Miso Soup for the Spirit

Part 2 - Nutshell Nutrition

  • Chapter 3 - Protein Power
    • Plant Proteins Reign Supreme
    • A Protein Primer
    • No "Combining" Necessary
    • So How Much Protein Is Enough?
    • Too Much of a Good Thing?

  • Chapter 4 - Boning Up on Calcium
    • Doesn't Everyone Drink Cow's Milk?
    • Why Drink Cow's Milk?
    • The Politics of Your Plate
    • What? No Milk Mustache?
    • Bushels and Bushels of Broccoli
    • The Protein Factor
    • Getting Enough

  • Chapter 5 - What About Iron?
    • Iron Is Everywhere
    • The Nuts and Bolts About Iron in Plants
    • Ironing Out the Facts
    • Getting Enough
    • ...But Not Getting Too Much

  • Chapter 6 - And Vitamin B12?
    • Much Ado About So Little
    • Vitamin B12 Factories
    • Who Needs to Care?
    • More About Sources of Vitamin B12
    • Reliable Vegan Sources of Vitamin B12

  • Chapter 7 - The Other Suspects: Riboflavin, Vitamin D, and Zinc
    • Riboflavin Round-Up
    • Vegetarians and Vitamin D
    • Get into the Zinc Zone
    • To Supplement or Not to Supplement?

Part 3 - You're Special

  • Chapter 8 - Vegetarian Mommy-to-Be
    • Planning Your Pregnancy
    • Nine Months and Counting!
    • Meal Planning Made Easier
    • Troubleshooting the Queasies and the Munchies
    • After the Baby--Breast-Feeding

  • Chapter 9 - Vegetarian Baby and Toddler
    • Baby's First Vegetarian Food
    • A Solid Start
    • Smart Starts

  • Chapter 10 - Kids' Stuff or Adults Only? Vegetarian Diets for Children and Teens
    • The Growth Factor
    • So, What's a Normal Rate of Growth, Anyway?
    • What Are Your Expectations?
    • How to Make Your Child Grow Like a Weed
    • Count on Snacks
    • A Nutrition Reminder
    • A Meal-Planning Guide for School-Aged Children
    • Making Fruits and Vegetables Your Child's Best Friends
    • Extra Special Challenges

  • Chapter 11 - Vegetarian Diets for Older Adults (New Tricks for Old Dogs!)
    • Nutritional Needs Change with Age
    • Getting What You Need (and Avoiding What You Don't Need)
    • Move It or Lose It
    • Who's Old? Me??
    • Constipated and Cranky?
    • Heartburn Heartache
    • The Goods on Gas
    • Excuses, Excuses...
    • Make It Easy on Yourself
    • Getting Motivated

  • Chapter 12 - Vegetarian Athletes and Sportsmeisters
    • Gaining the Competitive Edge
    • Protein Pointers
    • Getting Enough Protein
    • Loading Up on Carbs
    • Some Fat Can Be Okay
    • Meeting Your Vitamin and Mineral Needs
    • Meal Planning Before, During, and After Events
    • Tips of the Trade

Part 4 - Making the Switch

  • Chapter 13 - Choosing the Approach: Gradual or Cold-Tofu?
    • The Overnight Approach
    • The Gradual Approach
    • Steps for Making the Change
    • More Tips for Getting from Here to There

  • C hapter 14 - Are We in This Together?
    • Odds Are You're Going It Alone
    • Keeping the Peace at the Family Table
    • Get Them in the Mood
    • Rules of the House
    • Vegetarian PR, or How Not to Be a Nut Among the Berries

  • Chapter 15 - Avoiding the Coke and French Fries Trap: Assorted Practical Pointers
    • You Can Be Your Own Nutritionist
    • Do You Have the Time?
    • Do Your Own Thing
    • Am I Weird, or What?
    • Going All the Way
    • Vegan versus Vegetarian
    • The Vegan Ideal
    • Which Is Better--Vegan or Vegetarian?

  • Chapter 16 - Assembling Your Vegetarian Kitchen
    • Getting Started
    • Breads, Cereals, and Other Grain Products
    • Fruits and Vegetables
    • Meat Substitutes
    • Dairy Products and Dairy Substitutes
    • Convenience Foods
    • Top 10 List of Convenient Vegetarian Specialty Products

  • Chapter 17 - Shopping for a Vegetarian Kitchen
    • What Are Natural Foods?
    • Natural Foods Stores versus Conventional Stores: Which Is Best?
    • Try Ethnic Markets
    • Co-Ops
    • Let's Go Shopping!
    • About the Lists
    • Weekly Vegetarian Shopping Lists
    • Monthly Vegetarian Shopping Lists

Part 5 - Meal Planning Made Easy

  • Chapter 1 8 - A Daily Vegetarian Food Guide
    • A Simple, Daily Vegetarian Food Guide
    • How Many Servings Do I Need?
    • Choosing Breads, Cereals, Pasta, and Other Grain Products
    • Choosing Vegetables
    • Choosing Fruits
    • Choosing Legumes and Meat Substitutes
    • About Nuts and Seeds
    • If You Use Dairy Products or Eggs...
    • Finding Room for Sweets, Treats, and Other Extras

  • Chapter 19 - When There's No Time to Cook: Quick and Easy Meals and Snacks
    • Rise and Shine: Breakfast Time
    • A Week of Breakfasts
    • A Week of Light Meals
    • A Week of Main Meals
    • Anytime Snacks
    • For the Sunday Cook

  • Chapter 20 - Recipe Magic!
    • Cookbook Logic
    • Replacing Eggs in Recipes
    • Replacing Milk and Other Dairy Products in Recipes
    • Replacing Meat in Recipes
    • Replacements for Gelatin

  • Chapter 21 - Holidays and Entertaining
    • A New View
    • Planning Is Important
    • Think Ethnic
    • Spread Out the Work
    • Presentation Counts
    • Set the Mood

Part 6 - Taking the Show on the Road

  • Chapter 22 - Veggie Etiquette
    • The Dinner Invitation
    • If You Choose to Stay Mum
    • The Dating G ame
    • On the Job

  • Chapter 23 - Restaurant Dining and Other Venues
    • Natural Foods and Vegetarian Restaurants
    • Great Vegetarian Choices at Other Restaurants
    • When the Restaurant's Not Veg Friendly
    • More Tips for Restaurant Survival
    • Sidestepping Animal Ingredients
    • Teaching Johnny About Good Food? School Lunch
    • At the Company Cafeteria

  • Chapter 24 - Staying Vegetarian from Sea Level to 35,000 Feet
    • You're on the Road Again
    • Cruisin'
    • Flying Friendly Vegetarian Skies

Part 7 - Veggie Survival Strategies

  • Chapter 25 - Getting Involved in the Veg Scene
    • Why Bother Getting Involved?
    • Connecting with Local Vegetarian Groups
    • What Do National Groups Have to Offer?
    • Other Community Groups
    • Add These Businesses to Your List
    • Become an Advocate for Good Food and a Vegetarian Lifestyle

  • Chapter 26 - Getting Educated About Everything Vegetarian
    • Great Organizations to Get to Know
    • Books
    • Cookbooks
    • Magazines and Newsletters
    • Materials for Health Professionals
    • Internet Resources

Appendix A - Recommended Dietary Allowances and Dietary Reference Intakes
Appendix B - Terms and Definitions

<<BR>Index

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