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Veggie Tales (part 3): Making the Transition

BF Basics: Veggie Tales was composed by four-year post-op and 25-year vegetarian, Kelly, better known as Poet Kelly on Obesity Help. This series is written in her voice with the full endorsement of Bariatric Foodie. If you have any questions for Kelly about any of the information provided, please leave them in the comments and she’ll gladly respond.


Making the transition to a vegetarian or vegan diet may seem
overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. 
You can jump right in the deep end if you want, but it might be easier
(and less scary) to take baby steps.
Here are some tips:
  • Start having Meatless
    Mondays.  Serve your family a tasty
    vegetarian meal for dinner once a week. 
    As you, and your family, become more comfortable with meatless
    meals, start having other meatless days.
  • Start having Meatless
    Mornings.  Have a meat-free
    breakfast.  Make that egg- and
    dairy-free if you are transitioning to a vegan diet.  Later, you can start having meatless
    lunches, too.
  • Start trying some
    meat-free substitutes for your favorite dishes.  If you love chili, prepare it with soy
    crumbles or TVP instead of ground beef. 
  • If you normally use
    chicken stock in your homemade soup, use vegetable stock instead. 
  • If you are transitioning
    to a vegan diet, try vegan soy slices instead of cheese or a tofu scramble
    in place of scrambled eggs.
  • Designate one day a week
    as “Try a New Vegetarian/Vegan Recipe” day.  Explore beyond vegetarian versions of
    your old favorites.
  • Visit a local vegetarian
    or vegan restaurant to enjoy some really good vegetarian cuisine and to
    get a feel for some of the possibilities.
  • Find some vegetarian
    friends.  Maybe you can all get
    together for a monthly potluck.  You
    can trade recipes and share stories.
What about the family?
If you have children, you can choose to continue serving them
meat or you can choose to transition them to a vegetarian or vegan diet with
you.  Children of all ages can get plenty
of protein and other nutrients on a vegetarian or vegan diet.  If you live with other adults, of course they
will make their own choices about whether or not to continue eating meat or to
make the transition with you.
Here are some ways to manage your family menu as a
vegetarian:
  • Serve your family meatless
    meals some days, even if they are not planning to adopt a vegetarian
    diet.  A lot of families that eat
    meat still have Meatless Mondays.
  • Allow adult family members
    to prepare their own meat if you don’t like cooking it or just don’t want
    to prepare two meals every day. 
    That’s what I do in my house. 
    Teenage children can also prepare their own food if they don’t like
    what you’re serving.
  • Prepare meals that will
    work for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.  For instance, have Build Your Own Taco
    night and put out seasoned ground beef, seasoned soy crumbles, shredded
    cheese, veggies and refried beans and let everyone assembled their own
    tacos.  Or stir fry veggies in one
    pan, chicken in another and tofu in a third.  Family members can all take some veggies
    and then choose whether to take chicken, tofu or some of each.
What about going out to eat?
I eat out a lot.  Most
restaurants have vegetarian options these days. 
Even if there are no vegetarian entrees on the menu, you can order a
main dish and ask them to leave the meat off. 
I often order a chicken salad without the chicken!
If I’m going to be dining at someone else’s house, I usually
ask in advance what they will be serving. 
Often I will be able to eat at least part of the meal but if not, I just
bring something with me, just like I do if I’m going somewhere that I don’t
expect to find weight loss surgery-friendly food.

In summary, what you need to know is:

  • You can take baby steps as
    you make the transition to a vegetarian diet; you don’t have to jump in
    the deep end all at once.
  • You can find a solution
    that works with your family if other family members don’t want to become
    vegetarians.
  • You can enjoy eating out
    as a vegetarian.

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One comment

  1. All I can hear is the Bangles "Manic Monday" but instead I hear, "It's just another meatless Monday, ohh, ooh."