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Could you become a vegetarian or vegan?

Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,088

Scope community team

edited November 2020 in Coffee lounge

Today is November the 1st and all this month Cancer Research UK are hosting the 'Veg Pledge 2020'.


The Veg Pledge is a fundraising event that hopes to raise money to advance life-saving treatment and research around different cancers.  

To take part people have to commit to becoming a vegetarian or vegan for the whole of November and get people to sponsor them as they take on the dietary challenge.

Giving their tops tips for becoming a vegetarian, Cancer Research UK recommend the following:

1) FIND NEW RECIPES
Going vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean you just have to stick to salads or buy a bunch of new cookbooks, there’s plenty of delicious veggie and vegan recipes online. Build up your staple dishes by trying a new recipe once a week.

2) EXPERIMENT WITH NEW FOODS
Take the opportunity to branch out and try out new vegetables, pulses and grains, that you don't usually cook. You might discover a new favourite!

3) MEAT AND DAIRY SUBSTITUTES
Adapt your old favourite meat dishes into vegetarian versions. Lasagne, Shepherd's Pie and Chilli can all be made with meatless substitutes like pulses. If you are buying dairy alternatives, look for lower fat and sugar options.

4) READ UP
There are plenty of articles online about going vegetarian and stories from others that have made the switch to inspire your month. Not all information about going vegetarian or vegan is accurate, try the websites below for reliable information.

5) PLAN AHEAD
Plot out your weekly meals and add the ingredients to your shopping list so you’re all ready to cook through the week. You could make a big pot of vegetarian chilli and have it in the fridge for when you don’t have time to cook.

6) FIND YOUR LOCAL VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN RESTAURANTS
Give a vegetarian or vegan restaurant a go, you might discover a new dish that you want to try at home! It’s also a great opportunity to explore some international cuisines, as these often offer the best veggie/vegan foods e.g. Middle Eastern, Indian, Mexican, Japanese etc. 

7) ASK WHEN EATING OUT
It’s a common misconception that vegetarians have a difficult time eating out. Most restaurants these days have tasty vegetarian options on the menu and are usually happy to help if you request a dish to be altered. For vegans, if you know where you are going it can be a good idea to check in advance to see if they have a vegan option.

8) PACK VEGETARIAN OR VEGAN SNACKS
There are lots of tasty snacks you could have other than fruit and cut-up vegetables for example, hummus and pitas, plain nuts, berries with yogurt (dairy free alternative for vegans), homemade popcorn and plenty more!

9) USE HERBS AND SPICES
You’ll soon discover that it’s the flavour and spices that make your dishes tasty, not the meat. If you’re missing bacon bits in a pasta sauce, how about adding some smoked paprika to replicate the flavour? 

10) DON'T GIVE UP!
You may find it hard at first but by the end of your meat free month you’ll be a pro at cooking up a storm in the kitchen with all those vegetarian dishes under your belt.
To sign up and take part in the Veg Pledge, visit the Cancer Research UK website.

A layout of baskets containing brightly coloured vegetables in them including carrots broccoli cabbage and tomatoes


Thinking more about changing diets:

  • Are any of our members already a vegan or vegetarian?  
  • How did you find the transition to your new diet?  
  • Is becoming a vegetarian or vegan something you've thought about before?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below :)
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Replies

  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,103 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
    Really interesting thread idea :)

    I don’t think I could become a vegetarian, and a vegan would be even harder. We do have days when we have vegetable only meals because we tend to buy nicer quality meat and buy it less often.

    I don’t like the idea of cruelty to animals but I do feel they are part of the natural food chain so intend to carry on eating them and their produce. That said we do go for the free range eggs and we spend a bit more to get higher quality meat and fish that hopefully has been treated better than the cheaper products. I admit to eating Foie Gras in the past however am not sure I would want to have it now knowing how it is produced.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,210 Disability Gamechanger
    I couldn't be veggie or vegan I do like veggie meals and dint always have meat but I couldn't cut out all animal products 

    I do agree with @66Mustang thoughts they are part of food chain but they way they are farmed is important 

    I could go meat free for a month I think 
  • Cher_ScopeCher_Scope Posts: 4,088

    Scope community team

    @janer1967 I think I could go meat free for a month too and I might try it sometime as I often find myself going for the veggie option in restaurants.  

    @66Mustang We go for organic, free-range produce wherever possible too and support local farms.  I've never eaten foie gras before and I'm not sure I like the sounds of it :|  What was it like?  
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,103 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
    @Cher_Scope honestly it’s one of the nicest things I’ve eaten. It’s like incredibly creamy, meaty pâté. They call it one of life’s indulgences. However it is cruel to produce as it involves force feeding the animals. Lots of restaurants refuse to serve it. You can get “ethical” foie gras that doesn’t involve force feeding.

    I probably wouldn’t have it again but I may try the “ethical” one one day.
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,546 Disability Gamechanger
    I couldn't be a veggie or a vegan i'm afraid, whilst i do have concerns about animal welfare I just enjoy my meat too much, but I appreciate that many people feel differently about this than I do.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • deb74deb74 Member Posts: 766 Pioneering
    I have been vegetarian for over 30 years and I do eat quite a lot of vegan food but I don't think I could become completely vegan.
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,254 Disability Gamechanger
    Ethics aside, I do like many vegetarian recipes, but also like meat & fish. I also buy good quality meat/fish, but less often. I don't think I could ever manage to be a vegan, as I like cheese too much.
    Similar to @66Mustang 's thread, I also really like veal, but would no longer buy it, tho Wiener Schnitzel was one of the favourite foods I had in Austria, & have also made this myself several times years later.
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,448 Disability Gamechanger
    Don't think I could ever be vegan...I like my car interiors to be prestigiously plastered with dead cow hide...  :D  

    I don't eat much meat tbh.  In a typical week I'll just have a packet of ham, a couple of sausages and a couple of chicken breasts.  I tend to have 3 days meat-free although those days are causing me more stomach issues unfortunately (unsure if it's the veg itself or 'hunger' from a more easily digestible meal).  I'm not a fan of eating meat, especially from the OCD side, but don't know how else to get enough calories and protein.  Most of my protein currently comes from cheese so I definitely couldn't go vegan!  Veg is one of my main IBS triggers which makes reducing meat difficult, pea-protein is a definite no and most veggie foods are flavoured with onions and garlic which I can't have.  I also don't dare try fungus based stuff like Quorn.  So I'm a bit stuck for veggie meals really...
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,103 Disability Gamechanger
    @OverlyAnxious what about nuts? They are high in fat and calories and also a source of protein.
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,448 Disability Gamechanger
    66Mustang said:
    @OverlyAnxious what about nuts? They are high in fat and calories and also a source of protein.
    Good point!  I do have a few nuts in granola for breakfast depending on which one I buy.  Think it's almonds and hazelnuts in the current one. 

    I'm not meant to have many though as they're high in fibre which I have to try and balance so as not to cause issues one way or the other.  I think that's possibly the problem with the meat free days is that I'm getting too much fibre in those evening meals.  I wouldn't risk something like a nut roast as that'd definitely be too many in one go.
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,103 Disability Gamechanger
    Have you considered those protein shakes that body builders use?
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 5,039

    Scope community team

    I decided to go 'flexitarian' when I was at uni, and have also made an effort to cut down on other animal products such as eggs and dairy milk. It really wasn't as hard as I thought it'd be at all. I will 'cheat' sometimes and have chicken when I'm getting a takeaway or something, but I never cook meat myself now. My next aim is to cut down on the amount of cheese I consume :D 

    I quite like meat substitutes, although they can be a little expensive. Linda McCartney sausages are a favourite of mine. I made the switch to oat milk a few years ago, and I love it. I prefer it to dairy milk, especially in coffee.

    Lots of vegan and vegetarian foods have protein in, particularly things like beans, lentils, grains, and tofu. Here are two lists of protein-rich non-meat foods, but I'm sure you can find more online too:
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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 430 Pioneering
    Hi @Cher_Scope,

    I doubt it will come as very much of a surprise given my love of wildlife and to many of you who have seen my wildlife posts but I am vegetarian and I have been for many years.

    I am not a vegan. I occasionally eat Free Range eggs, I drink milk and I eat cheese. I have no problem with other people eating meat but I could never go back to eating meat.

    I gave up meat because I like animals which I don't think many of you will be surprised about but you can let me know if are :)
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,448 Disability Gamechanger
    66Mustang said:
    Have you considered those protein shakes that body builders use?
    No, I was told by a vegan acquaintance (who also has IBS) that excess protein causes even more gas so to avoid anything artificially high in protein.  However, I was prescribed some high calorie shakes as it's really the calories I need.  The texture of those drinks is unbelievably awful though...it's basically like mixing brick dust in water...thick and gritty, yuck!  They tasted horrendous too lol.

    I've got an odd issue with textures, can't eat anything soft, and can't drink anything thicker than water.  I did try almond milk but couldn't stand the texture of that either...don't know how they can call it 'milk' as I was expecting something smooth and creamy...rather than something coarse and sandy that caught in my throat!  :D
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,103 Disability Gamechanger
    @OverlyAnxious I’m trying to think of what I’m doing with my diet (to reduce calorie intake) and trying to think of the exact opposite to suggest to you, haha :D 

    Have you tried sneaking a cheeky shot of sugar syrup into whatever you are eating or drinking?

    Also, grenadine syrup mixed with water is nice in my opinion and the syrup has quite a lot of calories in it. You could try just putting a tiny amount in water then adding more each time until you reach your tolerance level.

  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,448 Disability Gamechanger
    66Mustang said:
    @OverlyAnxious I’m trying to think of what I’m doing with my diet (to reduce calorie intake) and trying to think of the exact opposite to suggest to you, haha :D 

    Have you tried sneaking a cheeky shot of sugar syrup into whatever you are eating or drinking?

    Also, grenadine syrup mixed with water is nice in my opinion and the syrup has quite a lot of calories in it. You could try just putting a tiny amount in water then adding more each time until you reach your tolerance level.

    Haha, I often watch weight loss programmes to see if I can do the opposite!!  :D  It amazes me how much some people manage to eat in a single meal let alone over a week!

    I've got some teeth issues (that I have no way of ever having sorted unless my mental issues suddenly vanish  :s ) so try to avoid sugar where I can.  I can't have any sugar water or fruit juices without making my teeth ache.  Even sticky cakes or breakfast bars make my teeth ache for hours afterwards.  The only drink I have is plain water.  I do try to have some cake or biscuits at lunchtime purely to boost calories and have been doing that for over a year since the dietician suggested it...  

    Totally off-topic now but my problems with food are so complex that I don't think there is anything that anyone could suggest to change them right now.  The OCD stops prep of anything raw, or anything in certain types of packaging, or even pre-prepped items that can go off.  The teeth issues stop anything sugary, or chewy, or hard.  The gag reflex stops anything soft or 'bitty' in texture, or anything that looks like a bodily fluid.  The oversensitivity (possibly liked to AS?) stops anything with a strong taste or scent.  The IBS stops anything 'gassy' like green veg, beans, onions, garlic or anything greasy and fried.  The illness fears/nausea/reflux stop larger meal sizes or even trying anything new.  

    So basically I'm looking for a tasteless, odourless slab of firm, pre-prepared, non-sweetened food that has no IBS triggers in it and that I've already tried before and comes in easily opened, resealable box type packaging...and can't ever go off...  Yum!  :D
  • 66Mustang66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,103 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
    @OverlyAnxious do you brush your teeth or do you have trouble doing that due to your issues?

    Before I got a sink fitted in my room I was only able to brush my teeth once a day in the “communal” sink and experienced similar problems to what you describe though not quite as bad. Now I am able brush them after every meal and they are very strong and healthy.

    I think dentists are useful but the power of brushing for a good five minutes shouldn’t be underestimated if you can find a way to do so!
  • Graham_ScopeGraham_Scope Scope Posts: 16 Courageous
    There's a great blog by Mandy Mazliah that might be of interest here - lots of lovely recipes https://cookveggielicious.com/
  • OverlyAnxiousOverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,448 Disability Gamechanger
    edited November 2020
    66Mustang said:
    @OverlyAnxious do you brush your teeth or do you have trouble doing that due to your issues?

    Before I got a sink fitted in my room I was only able to brush my teeth once a day in the “communal” sink and experienced similar problems to what you describe though not quite as bad. Now I am able brush them after every meal and they are very strong and healthy.

    I think dentists are useful but the power of brushing for a good five minutes shouldn’t be underestimated if you can find a way to do so!
    5 minutes each time!?  They must be spotless!  :D

    I do really struggle to brush mine...just trying to get the brush in is a massive battle every morning.  Once it's in, I can hold the gag reflex for probably about 20 seconds before it becomes too much.  Can't go too far back.  And the first sign of dribble I have to stop immediately and hum or I'll gag, no chance of getting the brush back in after that...plus the risk of gagging while also suffering from reflux is not a fun idea!  On top of that, I always feel like they move or bleed during/after brushing and I hate the lingering taste of toothpaste afterwards (possibly an OCD phantom issue).  I feel so ill in the evenings (fatigue/vertigo etc) that I've got no chance of going through the above method so can only do them once a day, and obviously not very well.  Even if I could do them well, it's too late now, there's a lot of hard plaque that a brush will never remove and any enamel damage/decay is already done.  I do also have some other issues that need treatment in there but as I can't even clean them at home...I can't see any way I could ever have the work done.  I was hoping to have gas sedation this year but I've never had it before so worried about consequences, and they won't do it before the check-up obviously.  As a final nail in the coffin, the one place for 'vulnerable' patients that offered sedation near me has closed since Covid and sending patients 40 miles away.  I could barely get there when it was 5 miles away!  :(

    I use an electric toothbrush and a specialist gum & enamel toothpaste (possibly snake oil lol).  And have a glass of water after every meal.  So I hope that goes some way to helping delay the inevitable, as well as not eating much sugar, not having sugary drinks or snacks and not eating anything sugary at dinnertime which would potentially stay there all night.  Don't think I can do much else unfortunately.  People have recommended mouthwash before but I can't spit it out so that doesn't work lol.
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