Happy Monday friends! In keeping with the theme of celebrating all that is good in life - I want to talk about something that makes me super happy - FOOD!
A few months ago I watched yet another Netflix food documentary called "What the Health?" and decided to scale back my meat intake. The main driver for my change was that I knew I wasn't eating nearly enough natural, whole food like fruits and vegetables so a good start could be eliminating what typically takes up 50 % of my plate. For the past 10 years my life has been a walking talking meme which could be:
"My definition of fitness is fit dis whole pizza in my mouth"
"It's like I wanna be skinny but... tacos"
I LOVE food - I love cooking it, I love eating it, I love trying new foods but with that has come a lot of overindulgence! We even got Christmas cards from local pizza joints after countless sausage supremes ordered over the given year. Not a proud moment but point made...
"What The Health" talked a lot about how animals products are the only source of bad cholesterol and that although farmers are calling the meat 'grass fed' or 'free range' that there are many ways around classifying the processes correctly. If you have any interest in learning more I would recommend Food, Inc., Forks Over Knives and What The Health as good documentaries to watch and doing your own research on how different foods affect our bodies. I find it all really interesting.
There are certainly other factors including ethical practices and moral debates but I'll save that for all the Facebook debaters and share my experience of what happened when I stopped eating meat and poultry. As a disclaimer I will state that I have eaten fish and on occasion meat a handful of times over the past few months so it's not a perfect transition but it's one that I look to continually approve. Below are some of my most notables:
1.) Later Gator, Heartburn
On some of my culinary benders, I have experienced some pretty gnarly heart burn from sausage pizza, carnita tacos, corned beef sammies - you name it. Since I gave up meat I haven't had any debilitating heart burn which has been a pretty good feeling!
2.) I Gained Weight
Ok - so hear me out. My goal was to feel better not bloated but here's what happens: Many restaurants I've visited have limited veggie options outside of salads. So my substitution for meat became bread i.e. veggie pizza, veggie pita, spaghetti - no meatballs - there's definitely a pattern. My hope is to focus on more dishes that I can eat which incorporate veggies, less carbs and it's always just a salad.
3.) Happy Poop
I have never had a problem with the voodoo of the doo doo but noticed since my meat hiatus that constipation has stopped and my body feels like it's more naturally ridding the toxins from my body. I've also heard that this happens when you eliminate dairy products which I haven't totally done yet.
Now for the good stuff...here are a few recipes that I've tried which have been a game changer in my house. They're also a good way for anyone who wants to dip their toe in vegetarian / vegan dishes and partake in a few Meatless Mondays! If anyone has any recipes to share - leave them in the comments section and I'd love to try them!
Roasted red pepper pasta sauce:
* Yummy and asks for nutritional yeast which tastes like cheese - I was at a loss of what it was at first but I found it at Whole Foods in the flour / baking section.
**These are amazing and honestly have a similar consistency to ground beef. The flavors are great and you can sub anything you'd like. I added black beans to mine and added jalepenos if you're feeling a little spicy...
Vegan Shepard's Pie
This is a really good hearty comfort food type dish. I didn't have regular potatoes so I used a sweet potato and it was still really great so you can play around with the flavors
This is so good! My carnivore husband who at first thought my meat sabbatical was weird, now wants to enter this chili into his work cook off because of how good it is! This is easy and great comfort good!
- I didn't have qunioa so I subbed in peal couscous which was excellent and I actually prefer it.
Happy cooking foodie friends!!