Adjusting to the veggie lifestyle

Vegetables at a market stand

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: After you're done eating today, maybe your thoughts will drift toward eating healthier. Cash Peters tried it recently and found it made his wallet lighter, too.


Cash Peters: Ooh, guess what? I've become a vegetarian.

[Sounds of people celebrating]

Calm down, I only just started, but I made the decision after I met this guy, Dave Wolfe. He's a health guru, and therefore somebody I'd usually avoid.

Dave Wolfe: I've been a raw food vegetarian for over 15 years now and I never feel sore muscles, never wiped out, my brain is never foggy because there's nothing clogging my system.

Yeah, well OK. Problem is, if I did turn vegetarian and quit hamburgers, chicken, sausages -- or as I call them, my friends in the fridge -- what was I going to eat instead? Turned out it's exactly what I'd feared: organic vegetables.

[Sound of a woman shrieking]

I know, crazy-people food, right?

Wolfe: I can take an avocado, sprinkle a little bit of kelp on it and have a little bit of seaweed, like dulce seaweed and I'm good to go.

Yeah, well, good for you. Colleen Pa -- avocado and seaweed? -- Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is the woman behind vegetarian Web site Compassionatecooks.com.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau: I encourage people to cook from scratch as much as possible and eat whole foods. We're talking about fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and beans and herbs and spices and it doesn't take that long to chop up some vegetables.

Well, no, but it takes longer than visiting the drive-thru at Wendy's.

But you know what? I did it anyway. I switched to crazy-people food. Started eating fruits and raw vegetables. Even bought a recipe book and made a vegetarian meatloaf using buckwheat instead of meat. Oh sure, it tastes like the stuff they use as filler in padded envelopes, but it's not just about the taste. Turning vegetarian can be expensive. My grocery bill shot up about 30 percent.

Actually, Colleen thought I was whining way too much.

Patrick-Goudreau: First of all, you said that you know you're making things that nobody else wants to eat, so I think you may need to look at a few more recipes, and I can provide you with some. But what happens . . .

Peters: You're not selling a book, are you Colleen, by any chance?

Patrick-Goudreau: Well, I do have a book, actually. Funny you bring that up.

Yeah, very funny. They're all selling stuff, these guys.

Vegetarianism is big business, but if you want to do it too, well, here's my tip: a) Phase it in gradually so your body gets used to it -- and so does your bank manager; I mean, $16 I paid for a jar of Spirulina tablets! Also, b) Find a diet that's right for your body. It's been three weeks now and here's the surprise: I feel fantastic! And not in a crazy-person way. This stuff works! Buckwheat meatloaf, anyone?

I'm Cash Peters for Marketplace.

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