ASK MISS BLISS – MEAT MADE MY BODY SICK AND I NEED HELP BECOMING VEGETARIAN

by Miss Bliss

Dearly loved Bliss,

I recently became very ill and, as a result, had to have my body COMPLETELY flushed. As a result, I am having a really hard time dealing with “normal” food. Even before my illness, I had been considering becoming vegetarian for health reasons, but never really saw it as convenient. I was willing to tolerate my problems with food in exchange for yummy stuff! The more I research it, though, the more I am realizing I don’t have to trade taste for health, but can combine, thanks in part to your lovely blogs about a decadent and healthy lifestyle.

Now more than ever (and because of my illness) I am very seriously considering giving up meat. If you get a chance, I would love your opinion on it, tips on eating healthily, anything. Also…is your delightful husband health-conscious as well? My fiance is an amazing chef who delights in creating wonderful things with food, but he’s never tried cooking anything without meat. I think this could be a challenge for both us – more for him, honestly, because he does all that cooking (I know, I’m totally spoiled. :D ).

I guess all I’m asking for is your input. I know living in California and New York probably makes it easier for you because you have more top-quality produce available to you, but here in Atlanta, it seems people haven’t yet discovered the meaning of the word health. :)

I know you’re a terrifically busy woman, and if you never get a chance to get back to me, I understand. But I would love to hear your thoughts, maybe glean a bit of wisdom from you.

Love from afar!
Sick of Meat

Dearest Sick of Meat,

I very much understand how scary it must be to know that you no longer have a choice when it comes to food. Due to weak health, you have to dramatically change your diet to return to your vibrant self and the implications of this change do not only affect you, but affect your partner, as well. In a relationship, it can be hard to have different dietary needs, especially when one partner is the primary cook.

When I first became vegetarian six years ago last week (my veggie anniversary), my partner panicked. A dedicated carnivore, he liked very few fruits and vegetables and since I was the primary cook, he knew immediately, that my choice to stop eating animals would affect his life, too. At first, I thought it would be easy to continue as we had eaten before. When we stopped at Burger King, I ordered the veggie burger. At Subway, I ate the “veggie delight” sandwich (which basically is a cheese sandwich with lettuce, tomato, pickles, olives, etc.). I ordered pasta with marinara sauce at Italian restaurants and asked for salads without the meat in more traditional places. Basically, I tried to adapt without affecting the way my partner ate because I always saw my vegetarianism as “my choice” and never wanted to push it on my love or anyone else in my life.

But soon, I became bored of icky-tasting veggie burgers and cheese sandwiches. I didn’t want to get fat on carbs and dairy by making the mistake many vegetarians do of overindulging in macaroni and cheese and margherita pizzas. I knew that I had to learn how to cook if I was going to be a happy and healthy veggie girl. And, if I was going to be a vegetarian chef, my man’s diet would have no choice but to change, as well.

WAYS TO HELP TURN YOUR PARTNER ONTO A VEGGIE LIFESTYLE

1. FAKE MEAT HAS NO CHOLESTEROL AND DOES NOT CAUSE HEART DISEASE

Many transitional vegetarians feel confused as to what to eat to replace meat. In the beginning, I could not imagine a meal that did not have some kind of “protein”, so I tried to make my favorite dishes with “fake” soy meats because I had not learned to enjoy tofu and seitan yet (that took a good couple of years) and I also hadn’t realized how many marvelous dishes there are just veggies and grains. I made my man tacos with ground soy “meat”, and stir-fried veggies with soy “chicken” strips. For breakfast, we would make scrambled eggs with soy “bacon”. Even though it was not as satisfying as meat, we learned to enjoy how little cholesterol we were eating and my man got behind the idea that we were lowering our heart disease risk and losing weight. I encouraged him to continue cooking meat for himself, but he did not feel comfortable doing this, and so I tried to think of vegetarian dishes that were “almost” like his favorite foods – all with soy meats.

2. BEING VEGETARIAN IS THE BEST WAY YOU CAN FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING

Goveg.com reports that “A 2006 United Nations report found that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, Hummers, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined.”
So tell your man if you both reduce your meat intake, you can help stop global warming and ensure there is a beautiful world for your future children and grandchildren. To read Fight Climate Change with Diet Change, CLICK HERE.

3. LEARN TO ENJOY VEGETARIAN MEALS BY EATING IN ETHNIC RESTAURANTS

For some transitioning vegetarians with meat-eating partners, the best way to find new veggie dishes you like (and that he may like, too) is to visit ethnic restaurants that serve both veggie and non-veggie entrees. Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Italian restaurants all have vegetarian options. He can order the flesh meal, and you can try veggie entrees and have him taste them. He might just prefer the meal you chose!

4. ASK HIM TO KEEP THE MEAT ON THE SIDE

Many home-cooked meals can easily be modified to be vegetarian. If he cooks pasta with meatballs, ask him to keep the meatballs on the side so you can have veggie pasta with marinara sauce. If he’s making chicken with a salad, ask him to make an extra large salad for you and augment its protein by adding nuts or cheese. Or, have him pull a soy chicken breast from the fridge and cook that for you. At first, this can seem like a drag, but soon enough, it will get you helping him in the kitchen which can be a lot more fun and good for your relationship.

5. THE BEST PRODUCE IS AT THE FARMER’S MARKET

Even in California and New York, the best produce is not found in the grocery store, but at the Farmer’s Market. And, guess what, darling reader? There are Farmers’ Markets even in Atlanta, Georgia. CLICK HERE to see the many markets in Georgia. Shopping in Farmers’ Markets supports local farmers and also helps stop global warming because you are purchasing food that was not packaged or shipped, wasting precious natural materials, gas and oil. Plus, at the Farmers’ Markets, the prices are cheaper, the produce is fresher, and you get to taste food before you buy it. I personally find it moving to meet the people who make and harvest my food and it is easier to get good, non-pesticide-sprayed organic foods at the Farmer’s Market. Many markets also have musicians, fresh flowers and are a wonderful way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning with the person you love.

6. WHEN HE FEELS MORE COMFORTABLE, GO TO VEGETARIAN RESTAURANTS TO FIND NEW ENTREES YOU BOTH LIKE

When I did a quick google search of vegetarian restaurants in Atlanta, Georgia, many options came up. So, when you are feeling ready, do a search and explore some new places and new foods in your area.

7. GET ONE NEW BIG VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK

I rarely cooked before I became vegetarian. But when I grew bored of the three or four veggie dishes I knew how to make, I finally purchased Marilyn Diamond’s massive cookbook, The American Vegetarian Cookbook From The Fit For Life Kitchen. With over 400 pages of recipes, you can find some dishes you will both like. And, since they are healthy for you, your new entrees will help you both be thinner, fitter and healthier while not denying you yummy taste.

7. BE GENTLE HELPING YOUR PARTNER TO ACCEPT YOUR NEW DIETARY HABITS

After six years of my being vegetarian, my man is now a vegetarian 26 days of the month. I have never tried to force him to be veggie and understand that sometimes his body needs meat. When it does, we try to purchase clean, organic meat in restaurants we trust. He understands that I will not cook meat and he does not feel comfortable bringing animal flesh into our home, but that is his choice, not mine. The number one thing to being successfully vegetarian is to notice how your body feels when you eat veggie dishes. As your body becomes healthier, you will naturally reach your ideal weight and trust me, your partner will want to be more like you!

XOXXOXOXOXO
BLISS WARRIOR

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

danielle May 15, 2008 at 9:43 am

As always… great advice!
LOVE!

Reply

Gretch May 15, 2008 at 9:43 am

GO YOU!!!
Vegetarianism is the best!!
The American government wants you to slather your lips with rotten animal carcasses… to make more $$$ for the war fund.. sick.
nasty.
if you eat meat , it should be wild, healthy animals, not sick diseased cancer ridden carcasses from the slaughter houses….
Did you know… why all the 13 year old girls now-adays get big titties at their age…. because they are ingesting BOVINE GROWTH HORMONES from the chemical ingected cows/cattle that are fed to the mass populous of america?!?!?! *PUKe!!!*

((( I used to be a vegetarian, but after I quit, I got the first and only cavaties I have ever had IN MY LIFE!!! I blame it on nastyinss!!!

You GO GIRL!

Reply

Kimberley May 15, 2008 at 9:44 am

I had to become a vegetarian about 10 years ago when my GI system went on strike. At first it was hard, not because I didnt enjoy meatless foods, rather because eating meat was a habit. I dont miss it at all now and am healthier than ever all around. I have never had a partner who is also vegetarian and it has never been a problem other than some jokes here and there. It seems a bigger issue to people who arent vegetarians, to be honest. Right now I am dating a guy who couldnt imagine a meatless meal and now has one once a week that he loves. He does all of our cooking when I stay with him. Oh and we are in Jacksonville where healthy eating means a huge portion of fried something. LOL.
Hope this helps,
Kimberly…eating a bowl of edamame

Reply

Rhymes w/ Betty Joe May 17, 2008 at 8:54 am

You are so amazingly thorough…I really look up to you…Beautiful!

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