I know this is about the 3rd or 130th post regarding being a vegetarian and I apologize in advance but it’s sort of like buying a new car. Once you own that car and are driving around your area you notice that make/model more than ever before. This is what is happening to me as I gravitate toward articles, blogs, books about being a vegetarian. I am immersed in it, and I have to say I love it.
That being said I came across an article in the Chicago Sun-Times regarding how one should approach a meat-free diet. Their point is to do it gradually. I on the other hand like everything else in life did it like a bull in a china shop. Nope, no meat for me here. Did not do a Meatless Monday or a Tempeh Tuesday or a Wheat Filled Wednesday or maybe the Fruit Only Friday….no, no, no and no. Just dropped meat….well that is not 100% true. I ate seafood for about two weeks before that went the way of the dinosaur.
Now after reading this article it has a great point. People should approach it in a controlled manner. It will lead to success a lot more often than the cold turkey approach I took. I am copying and pasting a portion of the article here, but if you want to read it in it’s entirety please click [HERE]
Approach meat-free diet gradually
By AMY HOWELL HIRT Apr 26, 2011 12:48PM
The health benefits of a plant-based diet have become the talk of the town recently, as celebrity news followed the vegan-to-vegetarian diets of Hollywood starlets like Natalie Portman, and vegetarian adaptations appeared for the first time on the newly updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
In part, the buzz is happening because of research that supports that consuming more fruits and vegetables and less meat can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and obesity.
A recent study financed by the National Institutes of Health and conducted by Dr. Neal Barnard, a clinical researcher and founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, found that a low-fat vegan diet was three times more effective at lowering high blood sugar than the American Diabetes Association’s standard diet.
But for many people, just the thought of removing hamburgers, chicken sandwiches or fish fillets from the menu is enough to induce panic. And parting with eggs, dairy and any food that contains an animal product — to go completely vegan — seems like a hopeless amount of work.
But veggie veterans say incorporating plant-based eating habits and reducing meat and dairy consumption isn’t much different from watching your intake of saturated fat or cutting back on carbs.
It doesn’t require banishing favorite meals. It just takes a little time to think about them in a different way.
“You don’t have to go cold turkey, and you don’t have to eat cardboard,” said Scott Watson, who, along with his wife, Ceal, began following a vegetarian diet in 2001 and then a vegan diet in 2009.
Some tips for giving it a try, from those who have been there and ate that.
As I mentioned I jumped into the water with both feet and not a thought as to going gradual. That is just not my style but it has worked for me. That being said you should make the change gradually and start with a Meatless Monday. The meal can be as simple as pasta with broccolini, tomatoes and olives with either a red sauce (homemade of course) or just a touch of olive oil with oregano. Simple and yet satisfying.
† Make substitutes. One of the easiest ways to introduce yourself to vegetarian and vegan eating habits is to incorporate a meat substitute into one of your regular meals.
I am all about the substitutes. I cook with Tempeh (BDD’s favorite ingredient), I enjoy Seitan but oddly enough my experience with Tofu is not at the top of the list but I will use it. These simple substitutes will make you think that you are actually eating meat so long as you season properly.
† Branch out. Plenty of protein options beyond soy substitutes are available. Black bean burritos are fast and easy, and lentils work well in soups and salads. Mexican bulgur pilaf is one of the Watsons’ favorite at-home meals.
Black Bean Burritos are incredible (as a matter of fact that is what is on the menu tonight) and super easy to make. Think about this. Get a can of beans and rinse and drain. Put in a pot and boil then smash with chipotle, salsa verde, red onion and mushrooms. Wrap in a tortilla and cover with more salsa verde. Into the oven at 350* until the tortillas get browned on the edges. Remove and eat. Hello to heaven on a plate (OK, I just drooled on my keyboard.) Seriously it could not be any easier. Like the commercial once said….try it you’ll like it.
Both Watson and Andrew said discovering new meals has been equally satisfying.
“One of the biggest advantages is that I’ve discovered more flavors and more recipes,” Watson said. “People think this is more restrictive, but for me, it’s liberating because I put more thought into it.”
There are more quotes in the article but for me this was the best one. I have found my energy, inspiration and creativity again since I have switched. I love being in the kitchen creating meals from seemingly nothing. The best part for me is I don’t have to pre-plan too much because I don’t have to take meat out of the freezer to defrost while I am at work. Or worse yet defrost in the microwave and accidentally start cooking it.
I can go from fridge to plate in under 30 mninutes and that for me is time well spent and saved….so that I can write to you about it.
By the way here is my dinner from two nights ago after my 1.5 hour trainer ride. Yup, Pancake Cupcakes.
Will you give vegetarianism a try? And if so will jump into the pool with both feet or do it gradually?