Archive for December, 2011

Meatless and Delicious

So this weekend we have been whipping up some delicous vegetarian dishes! For a while, I was a bit worried that going meatless would be difficult and less than flavorful, but I’ve already scrounged around and found some great vegetarian recipes. We made hummus wraps with spinach and shredded carrots, and then pita pizzas with tomato and fresh basil leaves. Tonight, it’s spinach vegeatable soup for dinner!

Thomas enjoying pita pizza

Hummus wrap with apples

Pita Pizza with veggies

Thomas's hummus wraps, which were hard to wrap up due to SIZE!


Tofu or not tofu?

Ok, so you long-standing vegetarians will have to help me with this one. I made a tofu scramble which was basically like an egg scramble with lots of veggies, but tofu instead of eggs. I have to admit, the texture of the tofu was a bit hard for me to tolerate. We’ve used tofu before in a spinach artichoke dip and it tasted just fine. But maybe I needed to season the tofu more in the scramble. Thoughts, anyone? I’ve also heard that eating too much soy can be bad for you, since it contains estrogen.

So to sum it up, we’ll probably take a break from the tofu for a while. We’ve got some soups, pastas, wraps, and sandwiches on the menu that are all vegetarian. I’m excited for cooking all these delicious meals! Anyone have suggestions for recipe books for vegetarians? I really like “Mama Pea” who is a mom with a really great recipe blog and a cookbook. But I’m looking for other suggestions as well. Thanks and happy eating!

Mmmm Syrup

So today for lunch, I made multi-grain cranberry and banana pancakes. For the first time ever, we used REAL maple syrup. I had not really thought much about the traditional pancake syrup I usually buy (Hungry Jack), but when I read the label, the first two ingredients were corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup. Yuck! So last night on our weekly grocery trip, we picked up some real, organic maple syrup that actually came out of a maple tree in Vermont. It was of course much more expensive than the processed variety, but well worth it. It tastes much better too! And you only have to use a very small amount. Now this is not to say, that I am promoting putting maple syrup on everything we eat. It does contain sugar, and it shouldn’t be used too often, BUT it’s so much healthier than the processed variety. So, in summary, we are slowly but surely making better food choices. Tonight for dinner, I will attempt a tofu scramble, which is basically tofu mixed up with a whole array of veggies, like you might do with eggs. We’ll see how that goes!

Hello world! Goodbye Meat!

So this blogging thing is new to me, but I believe it will be therapeutic and require me to say what I want only once. Then if people ask me, “Why don’t you eat this or that?” I can just say, read my blog 🙂 Yes, I am just that lazy.

I suppose before I go any further, I should explain why I’m drastically changing how I eat. For those who know me, you know my life with food up to this point has gone through a few changes. As a child, I was super picky. There was limited food choices available to me due to my dad’s pickiness. We had the same five meals every week basically. Once I got into college, I started branching out. I tried new things like Chinese food (gasp!) and even apple pie! I had my first taste of ketchup at the age of 19. I know, I was quite sheltered. By the way, I can’t stand ketchup.

So anyway, life as a single girl in college did not present many culinary enriching experiences. I lived by myself in a small apartment and lived off of mac n cheese (from the box), baked potatoes, yogurt with fruit, and other easy fix (and not very healthy) meals. I never thought much about nutrition, I just wanted food I could afford. I stayed at a decent weight probably just because I ate small portions.

When I met my husband, Thomas, we still maintained our pathetic eating habits. He was in school, I was student teaching. Neither one of us had jobs to afford good food. Once I got hired as a full time teacher, things changed a bit. We became “culinary masters” and sought interesting and unique recipes. We loved experimenting with food and creating flavorful dishes. This tradition carried on as we got married this past June.

But then in October of this year, a series of events took place that changed our view of food forever. It started when we visited my brother and sister-in-law for my baby niece’s first birthday. I had always known that they were very health-conscious in their eating habits, and I’d admired them for it. But it wasn’t until we spent a whole weekend eating the delicious food they provided that I was really convinced. We didn’t have any meat the entire trip, and I didn’t miss it! Thomas and I resolved then and there to try and buy more fresh, organic foods and eat less meat and dairy.

Then came the documentaries. I have always avoided watching TV documentaries about food, because I thought they would scare me away from some of my favorite foods. But one day I was Netflix surfing and found a show called Forks Over Knives. It was a research based documentary on nutrition, so I thought I’d watch. I’m glad I did!

The show basically discussed how eating processed foods, dairy, and meat, causes us to gain excess weight and develop cancer and heart disease. The big shock to me was dairy. I had always thought it was good for you, but it can actually pull calcium out of your bones! Anyway, after seeing this show, I was convinced we should try to become vegans. This means you don’t eat any animal products, including meat, eggs, AND dairy. Well, I’ve come to realize that I can never completely give up cheese, but I will be cutting back.

Since then, I’ve also seen Food Matters and Food Inc., both of which confirmed the decision I’d already made. So this is the plan: starting January 1st, 2012, Thomas and I will be vegetarians. Right now, we’re no longer buying meat, and we’re cutting back on eggs and dairy. We are buying more organic fruits and veggies, and not buying processed foods. We make our own granola bars and read the labels on products to avoid things like “high fructose corn syrup.” Our goal is to have a largely plant-based whole foods diet that includes whole grains and less sugar and bleached flour products. We’re trying to drink more water as well and take vitamins regularly. While buying healthy foods costs more today, our spending in the future will be less because we’ll (hopefully) have less medical expenses.

Stay tuned for updates as we continue on our journey to better health!