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Meal Tips for a now former Vegetarian?

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  • Meal Tips for a now former Vegetarian?

    I'm a vegetarian up until tonight, when I had tuna fish for the first time in 15 years or so. I'm going to try eating Paleo for 30 days, 60 days, 1000 days, whatever feels right. I want to ease into it, starting with fish and possibly easing into free range chicken and then eventually maybe grass-fed beef.

    The problem for me is, I've never eaten fish, even when I was a straight carnivore. I'd like to acquire a taste for fish but I know nothing at all about fish. What are some good types of fish and easiest methods to prepare them (i.e. grill, bake, etc).

    In particular I'm looking to bulk up. Part of why I'm switching is because I'm naturally thin and I haven't been gaining as much mass as I'd like. Protein sources are hard to come by in the veggie world. Also I feel perfectly healthy, my former high carb diet doesn't give me any of the bad affects that detractors say happen from grains, maybe my genes are more flexible or something. So I am ok with adding some carbs/grains if it'll make the transition easier.

  • #2
    I'm also a former vegetarian. For what it's worth, I think a vegetarian / vegan diet can be good, but the protein sources just suck. We all end up getting trapped into the "I'll just throw some Morningstar into the microwave". I did have some good results with a low carb vegetarian diet, but again, the protein sources all sucked. What I did was started on eggs, then brought some fish in, and then just brought in red meat.

    The energy difference is definitely noticeable on a primal diet with red meat. I made gains in muscle in like 3 weeks despite being under 50 carbs a day. I can also go to the gym a lot more during the week. For instance, I can do chest on a Monday and then do it again on a Thursday. I don't get sore anymore, which is weird. I'm benching my own body weight now for the first time in years.

    In terms of preparing most fish, preheat the oven to 450 and then throw it in for like 12 minutes. Turn it over and you're good to go. I broil fish, too, which comes out pretty well. I tend to put olive oil on it and either bake it or broil it. Good spices are garlic, lemon, pepper, etc. Trader Joes makes some frozen mahi mahi that's already marinated that is great.

    The easiest fish to eat IMO is mahi mahi, cod, and other white fish. Mahi mahi is particularly tasty and retains whatever flavor you put on it. Salmon tastes very distinct; I love it smoked. You'll either like salmon or think it's gross. Shrimp and langusto is easy, plus you can throw those into a stew. If you have a whole foods near you, get some sushi grade tuna and cook it rare... it's insanely delicious. You can even eat sushi grade tuna raw -- it's tasty.

    Lobster is amazing and easy, but you might get squemish at having to take a live animal and throw it into a steamer and watch it die. My fiance can't watch me make lobster -- she cries. (and then eats it).

    Hope that helps.

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    • #3
      Spanish Mackerel and Boston Mackerel (wild-caught) are very good. Check your local fish market (make sure you tell them to clean the fish for you). Add garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, chopped onions/mushrooms, and bake it for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degrees oven. I like mines with melted butter. Heaven!!!!!!! I love me some red meat/pork, but fish are very tasty if you know which fish to get and how to prepare them.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by cavemanj View Post
        ...snip...The easiest fish to eat IMO is mahi mahi, cod, and other white fish. Mahi mahi is particularly tasty and retains whatever flavor you put on it. Salmon tastes very distinct; I love it smoked. You'll either like salmon or think it's gross. Shrimp and langusto is easy, plus you can throw those into a stew. If you have a whole foods near you, get some sushi grade tuna and cook it rare... it's insanely delicious. You can even eat sushi grade tuna raw -- it's tasty.
        I've been eating fish all my life and I very much agree. Salmon is so healthy but there are very few ways I enjoy it. I do love it raw, but when cooked it gets a gamey flavor that is not to my taste. Poaching is the only way I've found to cook it at home that I enjoy.

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        • #5
          Hey! I was a vegetarian for six years and a pescetarian for two, up until very recently when I started eating other meats. I know a lot about fish, but can't usually buy it fresh due to time and money restrictions.

          One thing most PBers will agree on: always, always, always go for wild caught fish. It's more expensive but is worth it for taste and health benefits.

          Here's another thing about fish: it is easy to overcook, and sometimes difficult to tell if you've cooked it enough in the case of steakier fishes, which tend to be denser and are sold in thicker cuts (such as tuna or swordfish). When learning your way around a new fish always read several recipes (just quickly google a few) for a cooking method (I usually bake, and very occasionally pan fry). When baking I always recommend to cook it for LESS time than most recipes will say. The risks of eating undercooked or even raw fish are minimal (especially compared to other meats such as pork or beef), the taste and texture is better, and you don't run the risk of cooking out many of the benefits. Overcooked fish often has a dry chicken-like texture and you can kiss some of the Omega-3s you'll get from a good fatty fish goodbye.

          It might take you a bit to figure out what kinds of fish appeal to you. I've always thought white flaky fish is a bit dull flavor and texture-wise and its nutritional profile is a little lackluster compared to the fatties. The fatties have their own issues of course (higher chance of mercury contamination, for example).

          If you're looking for an affordable source for good wild caught fish, Trader Joe's, as cavemanj mentioned, sells some great stuff. Asian markets are also a great affordable resource, to get some variety. If you want to try some really elegant stuff while out or shopping at more high-end places, I recommend eel and monkfish.
          I don't own a scale and don't care to!

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          • #6
            why not curry it .... the curry flavour overrides the fish (if thats what yr aiming for !)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DaisyEater View Post
              I've been eating fish all my life and I very much agree. Salmon is so healthy but there are very few ways I enjoy it. I do love it raw, but when cooked it gets a gamey flavor that is not to my taste. Poaching is the only way I've found to cook it at home that I enjoy.
              Cedar plank smoked salmon is DELISH !!!

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              • #8
                Here's how to cook fish:
                Preheat your oven to 350
                Heat up your cast iron skillet
                While this is happening, season your fish with w/e spices you think will go well
                Put the fat of your choice in the cast iron and place (carefully) the best looking side of your fish down in the pan
                Once the flesh turns "cooked" color for about a 1/4" up the side of the fish and the fish can easily be lifted off the surface of the pan, lift it up and put the opposite side down in the pan (carefully, hot oil hurts)
                Immediately place cast iron skillet into the heated oven and check every 5 minutes or so until you start to see little beads of what look kinda like milky sweat appear from in between the muscle fibers of the piece of fish on the top of the piece. It is done.
                Remove cast iron skillet from oven, set aside and let fish rest for about 5 minutes before eating.

                Once you get used to fish you can start cooking it a little shorter in order to enjoy all it's fishy goodness.
                "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."
                -J.Stanton

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                • #9
                  Thanks everyone for all the tips!

                  I had my first taste of coconut milk today. It wasn't what I expected, super thick but it's good. I'm wondering how most people drink this...do you drink it straight, or mix some water in to thin it out? Do you drink the whole can in one sitting? Tons of calories, I'm not sure how to space this out!

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                  • #10
                    if you are new to fish I'd start with light fish and work my way towards more "fishy" fish. Tilapia is a great starting point, buy some US raised fillets, pour a little melted butter, lemon juice, and whatever other seasonings you want over them and baked them at 350 or so for about 20 minutes. Great stuff!

                    Then branch out to tuna, salmon, mackeral and other fishier tastng fish.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by deadeyenight View Post
                      Thanks everyone for all the tips!

                      I had my first taste of coconut milk today. It wasn't what I expected, super thick but it's good. I'm wondering how most people drink this...do you drink it straight, or mix some water in to thin it out? Do you drink the whole can in one sitting? Tons of calories, I'm not sure how to space this out!
                      I only sip coconut milk in tiny amounts, it's just a little too much for me. However I cook with it a LOT! If you want to drink the whole can then drink it, I don't think I coul dhandle that though. haha

                      Try it as a creamer in coffee too, some folks love it, some hate it, I like the flavor. It's worth a shot!

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                      • #12
                        I don't think you can beat shrimp, cooked in a bit of butter or coconut oil, and maybe a bit of white wine or garlic, just until they are all pink. Put them on anything, they are basically pure sea protein, and low on the food chain.
                        If you are new to the PB - please ignore ALL of this stuff, until you've read the book, or at least http://www.marksdailyapple.com/primal-blueprint-101/ and this (personal fave): http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

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                        • #13
                          I'm a big poached salmon fan. It's quick, easy, and tastes good.

                          In a skillet: put 1/2 cup of white wine, 1/2 cup of broth/water/stock, an onion sliced into thin rings, sprigs of dill and sprigs of parsley

                          bring to a simmer over medium heat

                          meanwhile...season salmon

                          once pan is simmering place salmon skinside down onto the stuff in the pan

                          cover and cook 5-10 minutes until fish is done.

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                          • #14
                            You can totally thin out your coconut milk with some water. There's plenty of flavor there, and it doesn't taste weak to me. I sometimes keep my coconut milk full strength and take a glug of it once in a while, but one can of (thick and smooth, as in, NOT Goya) coconut milk mixed with 2 cups of water makes a nice drink - you can add a splash of vanilla and a dash of sweetener if you like. Drink it COLD and it's very refreshing.

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