Switching to lowfat vegetarian eating

Yield: 1 Servings

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1. Get a good Vegetarian cookbook. One with lots of recipes, but also other information on the elements and rationale for a vegetarian diet, that can be used as a reference book on your new cooking style.

Our favorites are Dean Ornish's "Program for reversing Heart Disease", and The New Laurel's Kitchen" by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flanders, and Brian Ruppenthal.

2. Get a "Cooking program" for your PC. We got MasterCook II for Windows, but there are a number of them out there. A popular program for DOS machines is MealMaster. It is shareware, and is very widely used. These programs give you a convenient place to record new recipes that work for you, and to add your own low-fat adaptations to old favorites.

3. Do weekly meal planning. Since the cooking is more involved than we were doing previously, and the ingredients are more varied, this is required to make the week go smoothly.

We try to involve the whole family. On Friday nights we look at cookbooks, recipes, and MasterCook II to try to plan out a week of meals. Once that is done, on Saturday morning, we do the food shopping. Then the rest of the week is simply executing the plan.

4. Prepare meals together. We have found that our new cooking style is a bit more work than it was before. Working together on chopping vegetables, measureing rice, etc. spreads the work, gives us a bit more time together each day, and involves everyone with the meal, which somehow seems to enhance the dining experience.

5. Get some regular input of new information on vegetarianism and/or low fat eating. We subscribed to the Internet newsgroup alt.food.fat-free on our PC. You could also subscribe to a vegetarian magizine. Keeps new ideas coming in.


This has been the most difficult part of becomming a VLF Vegetarian, and I doubt it will ever get easy. Except for the occasional "enlightened" restaurant (like those in some Hyatt Hotels), most do not offer much for those who insist on eating a Very Low Fat Vegetarian diet. At many restaurants, finding a suitable meal can be like a survival excercise, requiring "foraging" through the menu. You may not be able to find an interesting meal, and may not be able to stick to "fat-free" items, but can usually fill yourself without seriously compromising your diet.

1) Assemble a meal from appetizers and side dishes. The following are usually available at most "meat palaces" Salad Bar (and fat-free dressing if you are lucky) Baked Potato (fat-free salad dressing tastes great on these, too). Vegetable of the day (yes, its usually overcooked, but at least in water). Fruit Plate (usually WONDERFUL after an otherwise boring meal). Bread (not all bread is fat-free, but most normal bread is low-fat).

2) Check out Ethnic Restaurants. Most cultures have lower fat diets than the typical American diet. Pasta with Marinara sauce is usually pretty safe. One of the best low-fat menu's I ever saw was at an Ethiopian Restaurant.

3) Ask for modifications in the menu. (This is only feasable at restaurants that don't mass-produce their meals). Many restaurants have low-fat menus, and all you have to do to the dish to make it VeryLowFat is have them hold the meat. Ask for stir fry in broth or wine (or at least in half the oil). I hear if you can call ahead a couple of days, restaurants will often invent VLF dishes (I wouldnt know, as we haven't tried that).


1) Make LOTS of food. Most recipes we have found make 4, 6, or 8 servings.

But there are only two or three of us at each meal. We make it all anyway.

These recipes are typically so low calorie that you can eat several helpings without worry (Although you should watch out for fat or colesterol intake getting too high for multiple helpings of recipes using tofu, or low-fat dairy products). And leftovers make good low-fat lunches.

2) Have lots of Fresh Fruit around. Its a great fat-free snack, and satisfying (if you will just wait a little while after eating it, for your blood sugar to adjust).

3) Don't overuse FatFree Junk Food (like FatFree Cakes, FatFree Pretzels, or FatFree chips, FatFree Ice Cream, and (worse) FatFree Margarine). Just like regular junk food, they contribute no real nutrition. AND they are significantly less satisfying then their fat-full counterparts. Many get their "FAT FREE" rating by keeping their fat content just below the legal limit for a smallish portion, so multiple portions CAN contribute significant fat.

Just keep these for a treat now and then, and eat along with other foods that DO supply nutrition.

From: Emory!rahul.Net!watson@...: Fri, 25 Mar 1994 07:48:43 File

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