We would like to make this a comprehensive list so if you have any tips for veggos or vegans please email them to webmaster(at)vegetarianvictoria.org.au
Going Vegetarian or Vegan
Although some people find it easiest to go ‘cold turkey’, if you are considering making the change to a vegetarian (or vegan) diet we recommend that you make the change gradually. But find out what works for you and go with it. Keep a positive attitude and remember to focus on the wide variety of foods you can eat instead of what you can’t eat.
You can start by eating 2-3 meatless meals each week. And when you do eat meat, make it a side dish instead of the main dish.
Making the change slowly gives the body time to adjust to the change in diet. It also has the advantage of allowing you to find out more about nutrition and about vegetarian foods so that your diet is both satisfying and nutritionally balanced from the start.
It is important to be educated about diet and nutrition. We have a considerable amount of nutritional information our website which may be of use, and also have many books in our library that can be borrowed free of charge.
For some fantastic products that are suitable for vegans, check out a Jewish deli or the kosher section of your local supermarket!
Health & Nutrition
It is very important for vegans to ensure they regularly consume adequate quantities of B12-fortified foods (e.g. Sanitarium Marmite and some brands of soymilk) or take a B12 supplement. For more information refer to our nutritional information page.
To ensure adequate intake of Omega-3 essential fatty acids, it is recommended that vegetarians and vegans regularly consume flax seed (linseed) oil in their diet, about 1 dessert spoon full each day. Flax seed oil is an excellent source of Omega-3 and can be included in the diet in a variety of ways.
Replacing Animal Products in Recipes
Many animal- and dairy-based ingredients can easily be replaced with vegetarian and vegan alternatives in most recipes:
Butter, suet, dripping: non-dairy margarines (e.g. Nuttelex), and even vegetable oils, can be used as a replacement in most recipes
Eggs: egg replacer (e.g Orgran No Egg) can be used as a binder in cakes or biscuits to replace eggs.
Milk: soymilk, rice milk and grain milks (depending on taste preferences) can be used to replace cow’s milk in most recipes.
For example, I have modified my Mum’s traditional Christmas pudding recipe which calls for beef suet, milk and numerous eggs, to instead use Nuttelex margarine, Vitasoy Vanilla Delight soymilk and No Egg egg replacer instead. It turns out virtually exactly the same and is much healthier. (I also make custard for the pudding by heating some additional Vitasoy Vanilla Delight soymilk and thickening it with corn flour. And I then top it all off with heaps of So Good vegan ice cream! Yummo!)
Garlic Bread and Herb Bread
Garlic bread and herb bread can easily be made vegan-friendly by using vegetable oil or Nuttelex margarine instead of butter.
Binding Veggie Burgers
A few days ago some friends and I tried to make vege burgers but were having trouble getting the ingredients to bind. We then noticed that another friend’s burgers bound quite well and when asked what she used, she said that she’d crushed a few weet-bix and put them in the mix. I suppose egg-replacement might work as a binder, but so does this – it fries well and stays together in the burger. Not as useful for gluten-free diets, obviously.
Many Asian restaurants and take-aways use fish, oyster or seafood sauces in their ‘vegetarian’ dishes. Ask them to use a soy-based sauce instead. Most will happily oblige.
If you are at a restaurant that doesn’t offer many vegetarian dishes, take a look at the meat-containing dishes and determine if they can be prepared as vegetarian dishes instead. For instance, a pasta dish mixed with vegetables and shrimp could easily be made without the shrimp.
Garlic and herb bread can easily be made vegan-friendly. Ask the waiter to have the chef use vegetable oil instead of butter.