January 29, 2010

About the Vegetarian Journey

I haven't written much about food yet as I began this blog during the week. I do most of my food preparation on the weekend as we work full time and I like being able to come home and find something easy to prepare. I have also found that if we have the right things to eat readily available, that's what we choose. That's why I make large quantities of the good stuff during the weekend. It sure helps making the right choice a lot easier. Especially for those times when I open the refrigerator and hunt around for something to eat, because I want to eat, but don't know what. Usually, that's because I want to eat, not because I need to eat. So, if something is easy to reach and ready, the right choice is a little easier to make.

I should have called my blog, "Eclectic Flexitarian" as I haven't made the cross over 100% completely to vegetarian. I should probably call myself more of a whole foods chef. It's been a long journey to get as far as we have. We eat at least a 90% vegetarian, mostly vegan diet. We try to fit ten servings of fruits and vegetables in our diets daily. A smoothie in the morning with at least five fruits and an avocado, five more during the morning, a large salad for lunch, salad first for dinner, then cooked vegetables and some beans or whole grains. We eat the good stuff first, and all of it, and then if we want to eat something that is not so healthy, we tend to eat less of it. This has worked for us for quite awhile. Both my husband and I not only lost weight when we went head on into this style of eating a couple years ago, but my cholesterol level decreased. Cholesterol only comes from animal protein, so none or very little animal protein means none or little cholesterol going in the body either. Trying to avoid the diseases my grandparents, parents, and siblings have endured such as heart disease and diabetes is one of my main motivators. I continually seek education about plant based eating and have collected many skills and recipes along the way. Dairy products are pretty much gone from our lives except the occasionally bit of cheese in a dish. But, I still can't turn down a fresh wild salmon, in season, or fresh crab, in season.

I am also a big supporter of eating locally as much as possible. More important to me than organic is: Eat Fresh, Eat Local, Eat in Season. If I have a choice of buying an organic pear that has been trucked from California or a non organic pear from a local farmer, the local pear is the choice for me. As far as eating in season, there is a reason certain plants bear their fruit during the seasons of the year in specific locales. These plants provide the nutrients your body needs to make it through the regional climate of the seasons. Then there is the part about supporting the local farmers.

Each weekend, I prepare some basics: a raw vegetable salad with at least ten different vegetables. It doesn't matter which vegetables, one of the tricks I have learned along the way to getting enough nutrients is to make sure I have included lots of colors of vegetables. Each vegetable has it's own mixture of important nutrients. And YES, vegetables have protein, even potatoes. I make my own dressing with avocado and fresh citrus juice. The avocado provides it's own oil making bottle oil unnecessary. Yes, there are oils out there that are better such as olive oil, coconut oil, and flax oil. But oil is oil, still not good to have too much. Sometimes I add different tasty vinegars to the dressing. I make enough to last us for lunch and dinner for about four days. I also will make a batch of some kind of beans. During the week, we can have some warm beans, add them to the salad, or put them in a tortilla with some of the salad for a quick soft taco. If I do decide to create something else for dinner during the week, I have the accompaniments already prepared. I try to find a new, fun way to prepare dinner each week. I will post my recipe finds regularly. I hope you share some too. Here's what I made last weekend:

Black Beans & Rice cooked with some cilantro and lime and my random raw vegetable salad.

Wonder what I will come up with this weekend. I have some red lentils to play with and I just put some pinto beans in to soak. I think I'll make some vegan chocolate pecan cookies. I will be sure to post the recipes.

Well, TGIF. It's the last day of the month at work. Life has quieted there awaiting the mad dash next week to produce the financial reports. Tonight we are off to Portland to see Country Joe McDonald live doing a tribute to Woodie Guthrie. It should be a blast! Lots of gray pony tails and tie dye in the crowd to be sure. Saturday I hope to go tromping through the woods a bit to gather some moss for my seedling project. And Sunday, we get to go see our son and maybe have a family game of scrabble. So, we are playing together and talking as a family under armed guard, we're talking. Gotta find that glimmer of good in everything.

Happy Days!

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