Many of my family and some friends wonder why I stopped eating most meats. I didn't feel like responding to each person individually. Thus, this post. :)
|photo courtesy of vegan magazine|
Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy grilled chicken (about a half skinless, boneless, free range breast or thighs), grilled or baked fish (salmon, tilapia, haddock, bluefish or tuna), once in a great while, a grilled bison burger. But more and more my meals are more plants, berries and grains than anything.
And I feel great!! I feel much less sluggish and bloated after eating a meal of just grilled fish and a plant-based dish. I am NOT going vegan like a couple of people think. I still like my hard boiled eggs on the morning of a long hike (for the protein and "stays with me" power). I still put skim milk in my coffee and unsweetened almond milk on my cereal. I still eat my fat free, low sugar yogurt per doctors' recommendations (also a source of protein as well as in helping to keep away some bacterial infections I had been dealing with as part of menopause!). And of course, I still eat ice cream although that is becoming more rare as well. I tend to just eat it now in the summer when going to a fave ice cream stand in the mountains. Yes, I will still eat an occasional piece of turkey on a deli sandwich or (gasp!) real bacon on a BLT. But more and more this is becoming rare for me.
WHY did I give up beef?? Mainly because of the fat content and the added pink slime. I just can't eat beef any longer that has all those additives. And mainly because I am trying to get my LDL (bad cholesterol) down with out using a statin. Last year I successfully lowered my cholesterol with just diet and exercise by 12 points. And I was still eating beef for the most part although I did buy the antibiotic/hormone free beef. At age 55 and weighing 125, I am 10 lbs more than I was 10 years ago. And I don't like that!! My doctors both tell me this is normal and that my BMI is still on the low end of normal. But...I do want to firm up and shed some of that "middle-aged middle" or meno-pot as my ob/gyn calls it! and I'm finding that over time this will happen by cutting out high fat content foods as well as many refined sugar foods. I have a family member whom I saw recently who looks wonderful and he is now a vegan. He did it for a variety of reasons I guess and his cholesterol is very good!
So, what do you eat for dinner then? asked one co-worker.
Here's my menu for tonight which I call "Meatless Monday"
- Baked Rigatoni with locally made pasta sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese topped with basil, oregano, parsley and garlic flakes
- Tossed Salad with garbanzo beans, romaine, arugula, 2 different kinds of peppers, chopped tomatoes, shredded carrots, onion, and locally grown cukes. Actually, the peppers are local as well.
- Multi-grain bread baked in a local bakery (small hunk dipped in Italian seasoning dipping oils, olive oil based)
- Ice water with lemon slices
for dessert? nothing because I had soft serve ice cream last night on the way home from kayaking with my husband and because I had a home-baked pineapple chip cookie with my daughters earlier today.
But I can't eat pasta every night!! So what else do I eat??
My typical breakfast: a 1/4 c. organic quick cook steel cut oats (after cooking this comes out to be a little over a cup) with added fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or all 3 plus 1/4 c. chopped walnuts; half a grapefruit (in the winter months) or a nectarine or cup of cantaloupe (summer months); 2 mugs of coffee; cranberry capsule (every other day), Vitamin E (about 3x per week). On days I hike I add in a hard boiled egg and 2 pieces of flaxseed bread, toasted. The butter I use is canola oil butter only. About once a week I will eat cold cereal (a whole grain option) with unsweetened almond milk and berries on top. And sometimes on the weekends, a veggie frittata or scrambled eggs and fruit.
My typical lunch when home or at work: 1/4 c. roasted red pepper hummus, a handful of whole grain crackers (there are a couple of brands I like) or gluten free rice crackers; handful of raw veggies: baby carrots, peapods, cukes, pepper strips; fat free low sugar yogurt with 1/4 c. pumpkin flaxseed granola and handful of almonds; water with lemon or lime slices; piece of fresh fruit OR salad in a spinach or tomato tortilla (wrap) and fruit OR leftovers (like in the winter...maybe leftover veggie soup, or chicken pot pie, veggie chili, etc)
A typical snack for me or when hiking tends to be either a yogurt if I didn't have it at lunch (I don't eat yogurt everyday...about 3x a week) or fruit or one of these protein bars (they totally help me with my craving for chocolate or salt). they are perfect for biking, kayaking or hiking trips. Once in awhile I will have a piece or two of hard cheddar cheese with multi-grain crackers or wheat thins but that is rare as I like to cook with cheese and I have cut back on it due to fat content (I do NOT care for the reduced fat or fat free cheese....ugh). sometimes, especially in the winter, I will have an afternoon cup of coffee, especially after work! And in the summer, I often will drink an iced tea, unsweetened with lemon slices.
A typical dinner if not meatless: grilled lean free range chicken or fish marinated with homemade marinades or rubbed with various spices; some kind of roasted potato dish (we love sweet potatoes roasted with some Italian seasonings and fresh parsley with a dribble of olive oil); steamed veggies and/or tossed salad loaded with lots of fresh veggies and/or berries and nuts. We no longer offer dessert after every meal like back when the girls were little. If anyone eats dessert, it tends to be the girls (they will dip into the cookie jar for one of my homemade cookies or brownies which I bake about once or twice a month). We haven't bought brownies in a box or store bought cookies in many years. The only time we do buy cookies is from a local bakery or if needed in a recipe (like Oreos for an ice cream pie I make for a celebration)
After dinner I take my daily flaxseed with omega 3-6-9 vitamin and every other day I take my calcium with vitamin D.
Later this week, I will post a recipe that revolves around rice and beans, chock full of protein and veggies.
What is your favorite thing to cook that doesn't involve meat??
Please do share!!