1. Effects of Food
2. Stay Bright
5. Finding Good Teachers
Suppose you've never cooked vegetarian
And you want to try, in spite of a whole list
of doubts and questions. So there you are in your kitchen, all nerves
and jitters. Will you be alive after this meal?
The following text
might give you some support in these difficult moments. Keep this
survival manual carefully with you.
Vegetarian cooking is not so
difficult. In fact, it is very easy. You can prepare a nice and
healthy meal for yourself in less than twenty minutes. We want to
give you an example and some hints.
If you don't like to jump into
the deep without knowing the Dangers of Vegetarian Eating, continue
reading here. When preparing a vegetarian meal, you may want to
look at a few things.
For instance, will this meal have:
other healthy stuff (minerals, fibers, etc.)?
Other considerations might be, is this meal:
Most of these questions are easy to answer when you cook vegetarian.
Let's start with the three most famous worries of the prospective
I get enough protein?
cooking is extremely complicated and requires hours and hours
in the kitchen.
without meat my meals will be boring!
I don't eat meat, won't I die of a protein deficiency?
This last question has caused many would-be vegetarians nightmares
and lost sleep. Imagine how many beginning vegetarians have woken
up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, because they were
dreaming that they had been reduced to a skeleton in their first
Simple, varied meals give you all the
protein you need. All these worries are completely unnecessary.
You don't need meat or fish or eggs for your protein. They might
even give you an overdose of it, causing acidity and stiff joints.
Not so nice when you want to do sports, play music or simply avoid
painful diseases like rheumatism and arthritis.
don't need meat or fish or eggs to get the right amount of protein.
Experts have testified that including milk products and grains*
in your meals is sufficient. Contrary to the old ideas regarding
vegetarianism, experts found in the past fifteen years that it
is not possible to get too little protein if you have variation
in your meals. Every day white rice with tomato paste will
not do. But different kinds of grains (not necessarily in the same
meal) are enough. Meals with grains and vegetables and every now
and then cheese, yogurt or milk gives you all the protein you need.
You can add beans or soy products or nuts or seeds or anything you
like, but for your protein you don't need it.
rice, bulgur, wheat, oats, bread, toast, pastry, porridge, muesli,
corn flakes, macaroni etc.
There are even long-time vegetarians
who found that you don't need the milk products; just a variety
of grains (not necessarily in the same meal) will give you sufficient
But my grandmother always said I
have to eat more protein.
Many people eat far too much protein.
We think we need it, because we have been given wrong information.
Experts have been lowering the recommended amount of protein steadily,
because, as they admit, they don't know with how little we can stay
healthy and rather recommend too much than too little. New research
revealed every time that the previously recommended amount had been
far too high. At the beginning of this century it was 100 grams
per day, then experts reduced it to 50 grams and nowadays they say
that for the average person 30 grams is enough. They warn now that
overconsumption of protein is harmful -it makes the body acidic
and stiff. Also the dairy and meat industries have always recommended
too much protein - they want to sell their products!
cooking complicated? It's easier than "normal" cooking!
For many years it was thought that as a vegetarian you need a special
combination of grains and beans. Non-vegetarians had the impression
that you should make complicated side dishes, bean pastes and mysterious
mixtures with thirty six different kinds of rare grains that you
could only buy in that tiny shop at the other side of town that
was open on alternate Thursday mornings if the moon was in its right
As we saw, vegetarian cooking is basically nothing
more complicated than preparing grains and vegetables. To those
you can add anything you like. Some vegetarians have made cooking
their hobby, and they make the most fantastic (and time-consuming)
dishes for their meals.
But you can have time for other
hobbies! Have a look at the recipes that are
included in this survival manual for beginning vegetarians. The
recipes are simplicity itself.
But I like meat! Just grains and
It would bore me to death!
We never said that you should eat only grains and vegetables. They
are just the basic material, for your proteins and vitamins and
minerals. Once you have them, you can add many interesting things!
There are hundreds and hundreds of pages of vegetarian recipes in
the library and bookshop. Without investing much time, you can become
the most creative cook among your friends, relatives and colleagues.
See the recipes for some ideas.
Adding spice to your veggies
'boring' grains and vegetables themselves can be made very entertaining,
too. Are you afraid of adding herbs or spices? There is a whole
new world outside the well trodden paths of salt and pepper. Cumin,
mild paprika powder, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cloves, nutmeg,
curry, garam masala (a mixture of spices; ask your local Asian shop)
and more. Fennel, cardamom and anise seeds for a sweeter flavor.
Oregano, dill, thyme, parsley and other green herbs.
(not the herbs) can be fried in a little butter or oil before you
add the vegetables, it makes the taste come out better. Ground spices
should be fried a very short time. Try it out with a small quantity.
Vegetables can be fried as well. Use
a little oil or butter -and keep stirring. Simple and tasty. If
they are not soft enough after frying you can add water and cook
them for a while. With frying you'll discover new flavors!
(You can get different flavors when you use different oils. Mustard
oil is very heavy to digest, better is sunflower oil, or coconut
fat. Unrefined vegetable oils are more healthy than butter.)
More things to surprise your family or friends:
some homos through the vegetables, after cooking. It's made
from ground chickpeas and you can find tins with it in every
Asian shop. Gives the whole dish a richer taste.
soya sauce, tahini and other things you can find in Asian shops.
(If you prefer sentient food (to sharpen your mind), watch out for
mushrooms in the soya sauce.)
cubes of tofu (fried beforehand or soaked in soya sauce or any
other tasty liquid) or soya flakes.
I like the taste of meat!
Again here is no problem. There's soya
meat (as they call it), purely vegetarian stuff that has never said
"Mooh", that clearly tastes like meat. You can buy soya
and tofu in many of the bigger supermarkets and in Asian and health
food shops (you feel ashamed if someone sees you enter there?) and
it is cheaper than meat.
N.B.: Soya and tofu can also be had
without added flavor, so you can give it your own taste.
Another suggestion: Why don't you try some vegetarian dishes and
add meat if you really can't do without? After some time you might
discover that you like the vegetarian dish in itself already enough...
Will I get enough vitamins?
depends on you. Just like when you eat meat. Simply make sure that
you get enough fruits and vegetables, like you hopefully did before,
and eat some milk and yogurt every now and then to get enough B-vitamins.
Some experts even say that your body will make the B-vitamins if
you don't supply them in your food. So no need to worry.
I get enough iron? And how about other minerals, and fiber?
can find iron in many kinds of food. That you need meat for it is
a complete myth. Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, prunes etc.) contain
a lot of iron. So do beans and spinach and beet greens. Even more
iron you can find in yeast and wheat germ. Especially unrefined
food (brown rice, unrefined sugar, flour and pasta) gives lots of
minerals and fibers. When you bring some variety in what you eat
(just like you did when you were eating meat), you'll get all the
ingredients that you need.
Is vegetarian cooking cheap?
It's cheaper than when you eat meat or fish. Tofu and especially
soy flakes are very cheap. As a vegetarian you eat yourself rich...
Won't vegetarian food make me weak and unfit
for doing sports?
Yes, certainly. If your vegetarian
meals consist of a raw carrot and a leaf of lettuce... But if you
try full corn rice and other grains, or beans, spaghetti or other
pasta, you'll find food that makes you really strong and energetic.
The idea that meat makes you strong, comes from the fact that meat
makes you more aggressive. Aggression is an unbalanced thing. It is different from strength. Meat
makes you aggressive.
In India's history everyone has
been vegetarian -except the warrior caste, because the warriors
needed to be aggressive. A vegetarian is less aggressive, and since
that makes him more balanced, he has more power.
know that Johnny (Tarzan) Weismuller was a vegetarian? Many excellent
sportsmen and -women are vegetarian; scientific research has shown
that vegetarians have more energy and endurance than non-vegetarians.
That is not surprising: meat is hard to digest for our body and
takes a lot of our energy. Also the poisons in meat force the body
into a constant state of red alert, which costs much energy. Also
if you are not a top athlete, vegetarian food is good for you: Vegetarians
have a much smaller chance to get cancer and heart diseases than
My friends will laugh at me when
they hear I eat vegetarian.
Do they laugh at Plato, Socrates, Pythagoras,
Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, Charles Darwin, John Milton, Richard
Wagner, H.G. Wells, Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer,
or Albert Einstein? They were also vegetarian. See a long list of
sports people, music stars etc. who are vegetarians.
you sure it is easy to cook vegetarian?
Very. See the recipes . And
for busy people there are vegetarian "burgers" and other
ready-to-eat things in the health food shops. Why don't you ask
a guided tour in such a shop - you'll find many interesting
Recommended books for those who want to know more
about (sentient) vegetarian food:
Food for thought
Avadhutika Anandamitra Acaraya
Ananda Marga Publications, Manila,
Philippines. 3rd edition 1991
A very legible book
about reasons to be vegetarian.
A great source of information
if you want to know in which food you can find the protein, vitamins,
iron etc. that you need.
Cooking for Consciousness
Joy McLure and Layne Kendall
Nucleus Publications, USA. 2nd
Many clear recipes from hors d'oevre
to dessert and a wealth of information about grains, vegetables,
fruits and how to have a smoothly running kitchen.
the recipes are easy and require little time, but you can also find
more sophisticated dishes for special occasions.