I actually struggle to tell people I'm vegetarian. Technically, I'm probably not as I will eat whatever is offered if we go out. The last thing I want is for friends to go to extra effort and provide something vegetarian for me, when I think its healthier for me to just accept whatever is given.
I'm the same way. I'm a vegetarian when I eat at home and almost all the time when I'm away from home, but I also don't want to create difficulties for other people, so I sometimes will eat meat when I'm at parties or at other people's houses to avoid creating a fuss. I have read that the Dalai Lama does this as well. He eats vegetarian meals at home, but he occasionally eats meat while travelling.
Tex wrote:I only really "craved" meat once, in a sports bar/restaurant with a friend. The smell of buffalo wings was overwhelming.
Gah! You cut through my vegetarian defenses and gave me the first craving I've had for meat since I became a vegetarian! I currently live in Eastern Europe and I haven't thought about Buffalo wings in years! I remember one bar where they had 25 cent buffalo wings on Thursday nights...
*walks away, eats egg noodles with tomato sauce, red kidney beans, and mixed vegetables, an apple, and a plain yogurt with a small bit of apricot jam*
Okay, I've regained my composure.
Tex wrote:So I've made the decision and have done some research online, but I still have some questions, and I know we have quite a few vegetarians here, so I'd appreciate any guidance...
1) What about iron? Supplements? Do they get the iron that they put in the pills from animals?
I don't take iron supplements, but I do take a multivitamin which contains some iron. I also take vitamin D because the body needs it to absorb calcium and I eat a lot of dairy products.
Tex wrote:2) I think I've found a variety of rices, pastas, beans, whole grains, nuts, etc to keep my protein level fairly close to where it is now (I'm a big guy and I work out regularly, so I need around 80-100 grams a day), but do any of you use protein supplements, shakes, etc? I'm just leery of any "protein supplements" since the FDA tends to ban things after they've been on the market. Any recommendations here?
I've been using a whey protein powder, and I've been very happy with it except for the fact that it won't dissolve in milk. The recommended serving size is five scoops, but I find that just adding one scoop to a glass of milk makes me feel good like I'm "on the juice."
Tex wrote:3) Dairy? If I continue to eat dairy, this solves the protein dilemma easily. But would it be hypocritical for me to stop eating meat because I don't want animals killed for my consumption while still continuing to consume dairy from animals that often are treated very poorly in a dairy farm? Thoughts here?
I agree that being a vegan is very noble, but it's just not something I'm ready to do yet. I also lift weights regularly. Basically, I drink 1% milk like its going out of style. I tried 2% milk and I got fat, so I switched back to 1%. I also like to eat red kidney beans, baked beans, lentils, yogurt, nuts, and cheese for my other protein sources.
Something else you might find is that you may have to make a conscious effort to eat enough fat if you are a hard-exercising vegetarian since you are not getting the usual fat you previously would always get from meat. If you don't eat enough fat, you will feel weak. I get this extra fat from peanut butter, nuts, oils, cheese, and the occasional fattening pastries and potato chips.
Tex wrote:4) Are there any potential health changes or concerns that I need to be aware of in making this switch rather abruptly?
Farts. A vegetarian diet involves eating lots of beans and lots of fiber. Over time, your body will become more and more used to digesting these things, but if you eat too much of these things too early, massive (and LOUD!) gas may result. This happened to me about a year ago when I became a vegetarian (I actually created a thread about my experiences becoming a vegetarian at Dharma Wheel which contains links to articles about vegetarianism and athletes as well).http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f= ... 3&start=20
Good luck with your new diet, Tex!