Monday, December 26, 2011

Awesome new curry recipe, movie review, book review, and more thoughts on my new lifestyle...

I made this red lentil, potato, and pea curry last night and it turned out really good. The best part is it is even better the next day! I followed the recipe almost exactly except I used straight up water instead of veggie stock because I realized right before I was about to toss my boullion cubes in that they had MSG!!! Ah! And I used plain curry powder instead of garam masala. Here is the link to the recipe:

Put it over some brown rice- even Chris liked it! There, that is as good a recommendation as you can get. I hope it balanced out the entire box of frozen fried chicken he came home from the grocery store with on Christmas! Ah!

Also I have been enjoying our new Netflix account- there are so many great documentaries about food and how it can contribute (or ruin) health. Here's a good one: The Beautiful Truth. Roughly, it is about the Gerson therapy for cancer and other things. Apparently, a doctor named Gerson came up with a "therapy" that he used to cure himself of sickness, and other people as well. He cured people like, um, Albert Schweizer!! The guy is legit. Of course, he came up against naysayers (the medical profession) that tried to discredit him and his therapy and he was eventually poisoned by arsenic! Luckily, his daughter Charlotte carries on his legacy and people are still benefitting (being saved from "uncaurable" cancers, etc.) from his legacy today.

Briefly, his therapy included lots of fresh fruit and veggie juice throughout the day, coffee enemas, and no meat, dairy, eggs, etc. Looks a lot like a nice vegan diet, huh? (Minus the coffee enemas. I mean, I drink about 1 pot of coffee per day so actually that is the same thing, right? TMI?) I really need to get a juicer though...
Anyhow, the movie brought up some other health issues that I need to investigate further like the dangers of fluoride and dental amalgum (very scary!)

And I have been reading "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease," by Caldwell Esselstein and it is very good. Apparently, olive oil is not healthy! In fact, if you are eating any fat at all in your diet it can contribute to plaque accumulation and heart disease. Well, I tried giving up oil for a few days (stir fried in water, meh) and realized that it might be too much, too soon to take my diet to that "extreme". I am just getting used to eating a mostly vegan diet and eliminating oil is just too much for me at this point. So for now I will try and reduce my usage and see where I can substitute other things for oils in our diets. I will continue to experiment with stir frying in water. But my main focus right now is eliminating animal protein from our diet and increasing plants. If that means they are stir fried in oil for the time being, fine. Baby steps, as the saying goes.

Regarding the new "healthy eating" guidelines from the US government: I love how they have a plate that is divided to show how much of each food you should have. Esp. loving that half the plate is fruit and veg! But. What is up with the dairy section? You can blame the dairy lobby for that one. Has anyone in government read "The China Study??!!" My God. Isn't it bad enough we give it to kids free as part of the subsidized lunches. Now it is recommended for good health. Oh well. Pizza is a vegetable, right Congress?? Go, America!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I love short and intense workouts, and short and intense veggie recipes!

This weekend I saw some friends and these days people keep telling me how good I look (I lost all the baby weight thanks to Eating healthy and plant-strong (I love that term) is definitely helping! Actually, when I work out I am motivated to eat healthy. And when I eat healthy I have the energy to workout! They go together, right? My friends and I were in Marshall's and we happened across some Kettelbells. I immediately launched into telling them how great KBs are and how effective of a workout you can get with a simple KB swing...they were like, Aly, you need to make a workout video! Uh, there are tons for free on! Why would I make one when Zuzana is way more in shape and well-spoken than I am! (I just love her). They said that I could really motivate people. My personality, I guess? Must be! Anyways, just for fun I made them a workout! I am not posting it here but it is the same workout here:

Anyhow, I am getting into a groove with eating and have some fave recipes now. Oatmeal with berries, chia seeds and banana is a regular thing, as is a veggie topped bagel with Toffutti. I also love wraps on sprouted tortillas and kale and bean soup- so easy and YUM! Not to mention making flatbread with whole wheat flour and topping with garlic salt and sundried tomatoes (and a little parmesan!). We eat a lot of pastas and spinach salads with pecans and cranberries.

Geez, who said eating veggie was boring and bland? ME, oh yeah. That's what I used to think. How wrong I was! I get such a kick out of making delicious food that I know is good for my family's health and tastes good.

Tonight I am thinking of making this Thai Curry Tofu recipe over rice: Another beautiful spinach salad. And maybe some homemade flabreads, too! Oh man. Delish!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Aunt Rebecca's Amazing Orzo Salad Recipe and Thanksgiving Menu Plans...Plus, Chris' First Stir-Fry!

"Mama Mia, a-gimme more-a spaghetti marinara!"
Kendall is my rock-star vegetarian in the house. She is always up for my veggie sandwiches that I pack with spinach, sprouts, and sundried tomatoes. Here she is with Noodles with veggies, grapes and carrots and hummus.

Well, yesterday we had Kaylee's first birthday party. Lots of...good but unhealthy food (pizza and cake, yep.) And I feel:Ugh. That's what I get for eating pizza with sausage and pepperoni (the one large veggie pizza went fast- go figure! I only got one slice!), veggie sticks (basically glorified potato sticks), and lots of cake. Dang, it was good going in! However. I have had heartburn all day. Ugh. That was a lot of dairy (pizza, cake...) and I haven't had meat in ...? a month?

I did make my aunt Rebecca's famous Orzo Pasta Salad which I will post below. I made a few variations (used balsamic instead of red wine vinegar, didn't have green onions, and omitted the pine nuts because I burned them while trying to toast them, boo!) but other than that the recipe was great- it is forgiving and you can add pretty much anything and it will taste good! Hmmm, that reminds me, I forgot to add my black olives! Now THAT would be good!

Anyhow, things are going well over here...we are getting into a groove. Even Chris made a veggie stirfry the other day and had it ready when I came home from watching Brandon's soccer game. If that's not progress then I don't know what it. Prior, the only food Chris ever cooked would be either: A) about 9 scrambled eggs or B) about 7 fried chicken thighs. I shudder at the amount of animal protein, saturated fat, and cholesterol in those meals. And the stir fry was delicious! It had mushrooms, broccolli, red onions, asparagus, and tofu!

This week for Thanksgiving I am planning on making a vegan pumpkin cheesecake, vegan green bean casserole, and vegan mashed potatoes. I may have some turkey (I know Chris will) but Mom said she would make some stuffing without adding turkey to it. Yay! LOVE mom's stuffing! It's full of raisins, nuts, and celery. MMMMMMMMM!!! I may have to bring some vegan gravy now that I think of it. I can't very well slather my vegan mashed potatoes and stuffing with turkey fat gravy! Anyhow, I am really looking forward to trying out these new recipes.

Now, for the best Orzo recipe ever...

(Aunt Rebecca's) Orzo with Tomatoes, Feta & Green Onions

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp honey

½ cup olive oil UPDATE: CAN BE OMITTED!

6 cups vegetable broth


2 cups red & yellow grape tomatoes halved

1- 7oz. package feta cheese cut into 1/2” cubes UPDATE: OMIT FETA FOR VEGAN VERSION

1 cup chopped fresh basil

1 cup chopped green onions

½ cup pine nuts toasted

1 can sweet corn drained

Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, and honey in bowl, gradually whisk in oil. Season with salt & pepper.

Bring broth to a boil in saucepan. Stir in Orzo, reduce heat to medium and cover partially: boil until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occaisionally. Drain. Transfer to a large wide bowl, tossing frequently to cool and separate.

Mix tomatoes, feta, basil, green onions and corn into orzo. Add vinaigrette: toss to coat. Season with salt & pepper. Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Add pine nuts; toss and serve at room temperature.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best freakin' healthy (baked) falafels ever!

OK, so last time I tried this recipe for some reason they were all crumbly and not too tasty...this time I think I got it right! I used a variety of recipes but mainly this one : I altered a few things so here is my final recipe.

Aly's Baked Falafels with soy yogurt tzatziki sauce

2 cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans) drained
1 medium or 1/2 large onion chopped fine
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
sprinkle of pepper
1 tps. baking powder
1-3 TBS. flour (can use whole wheat breadcrumbsm whole wheat flour, etc. to make it even healthier) Basically you want to be able to form little patties without it sticking to your hands.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Drain and rinse chickpeas. Mash chickpeas with a potato masher or food processor. Add other ingredients and continue mashing/mixing until combined well. Chill in fridge for at least an hour.

Use a non-stick baking sheet or lightly oil a baking sheet. Form "dough" into patties about 2-3 inches in diameter and slightly flatten them. Bake at 400 for 12 minutes on each side or until slightly browned on each side (cooking times may vary). I throw the pita in while they are cooking to warm up.

Serve with tzatziki sauce, spinach, sliced onions and tomatoes (or whatever else you want) on warm pita bread.

Soy "Tzatziki" Sauce

1 1/2 cups plain soy yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped
1 tsp. dried dill weed or 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill weed
salt and pepper to taste
1 TBS lemon juice

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and chill for at least an hour. Serve with warm pita and falafels or use as a dip or salad dressing!

So, that' s it! Super easy and delicious. The best part is that it is so good for you AND tastes amazing. We are not compromising on taste at all over here. :)

Here is what I am making for dinner tonight:

Thai green curry with light coconut milk, peas, cauliflower, potatoes and tofu over jasmine rice (out of brown rice). Served with a chopped salad of spinach, carrots, red peppers and red onion with thai dressing. Holy cow, this should be good. All "vegan" as well=bonus!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New dinner recipes tried and great blogs I am loving

First, my favorite new blog is Happy Healthy Long Life. The blog author is a medical librarian that takes a research-based look at nutrition and lifestyle choices. She has great recipes and links to articles and videos...truly a wealth of health inspiration.

Another great vegan website is Bonzai Aphrodite, she has a great home garden section and shows what she feeds her and her toddler on a frequent basis. I get a lot of ideas from here.

Some great things I have made for dinner lately....spaghetti with red sauce and meatless balls...I know that Meatless meat is something that should be avoided when possible (not the healthiest to rely on at every meal) but for a quick dinner when the family is hungry, using frozen meatless balls and just adding them to simmering sauce did the trick. Everyone loved it.

Fajita veggie burritos with rice and refried beans served with quinoa and black beans. Inspired by a fabulous veggie burrito I had at Rubio's on Sunday. Admittedly, these two dishes together were redundant (beans and rice, beans and grains) but I really wanted to try the quinoa dish and knew it wasn't enough to fill up the hoard for dinner. Next time I would do a salad with it instead. But both were really good-even Brandon liked the quinoa.

Tonight I will be trying Chef Chloe's Pad Thai Noodles and making a thai-inspired salad to go with it, loosely based on this recipe, omitting the cashews which I don't have.

Oh yeah, I also made a "beef" stroganoff that turned out pretty darned good...just sauteed an onion with some mushrooms, then added cut up strips of Vegan Boca Burgers to this and added a can of cream of mushroom that I had in cabinet (not vegetarian, but I will stock up on vegan versions of cream of mushroom and onion soon) and some worcestire (sp?) sauce. All of this was put over noodles. It was so good and really tasted like it had meat in it. I will try and start using healthier alternatives to regular pasta soon to up the nutrition factor. This meal definitely needed a salad. Again, I get very lazy about salads when I have the stuff right there in the fridge and it would take 5 minutes! No more excuses!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Breaking News: Junk Food is Bad!

OK, ignoring the obvious conclusion one can make from the headline of the article above (drug addiction is cool, guys? Duh, ok...) this article was interesting in a I-already-knew-this-but-like-to-pretend-I-don't sort of way. What I mean is, I *know* that processed/junky food is bad but man it just tastes so good so I like to ignore that information.

I didn't know it was as addictive as drugs, however! It really makes sense though: it is hard to eat one chip, donut, cookie, etc. without wanting another...and another...until the stomachache and sugar coma make you stop and you wake up the next morning filled with regret, self-hatred, and a hunger that only some sugary processed food can satisfy. It is a sick, cyclical loop of self-destruction, literally.

And I recently heard the term "junk-food-vegan" used to describe people that claim to be living a vegan lifestyle while most of their calories are still made up of processed food. Yes, the food is meat and animal cruelty-free but not necessarily healthy.

The bottom line is stick to whole, unprocessed foods and you can't really go wrong.

But in a pinch, I would go with dairy free ice cream instead!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Why I don't donate to cancer research...

I never donate money to cancer research at the grocery store. Yes, I initially feel guilty about it. But to me it would be like throwing money away. This country can cure and prevent most cases of cancer (and other diseases) out there today. There is no special "pill", no special treatment that we have to isolate from the rare trees of the Amazon jungle.

Why are we so overweight in America? Why do we have some of the highest rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases? Around every corner I see a fitness club, healthy food store, sporting club retailer. When I turn on the TV I see commercials for breast cancer fundraisers or yogurt sellers marketing to women in the guise of prevention of breast cancer. These all seem contradictory. Shouldn't we be healthy is we are exercising and eating healthy low-fat yogurt with our lean turkey burgers? The bottom line is that our capitalist society needs us to remain ignorant of the scientific research and just blindly consuming what they want us to consume. And what we eat in this country is killing us. What we eat actually causes our disease! Of course, if we all figured this out then what would the meat, dairy, egg, supplement, vitamin, etc. companies do? What would the big pharmaceutical companies do if people suddenly stopped needing their blood pressure medicines, their diabetes testing strips, their cancer treatments?

What would happen if people suddenly decided to follow the recommendations of scientific research that shows a link between animal protein consumption and the progression of cancer and other diseases and reduce or eliminate meat, dairy and eggs in their diet? Well, obviously people would be better off. But what about the economy? What about the dairy, egg, and meat industries? They are as bad as cigarette companies, spreading their agenda to the littlest consumers, hooking our kids as early as possible and telling them that milk has calcium and builds strong bones- drink milk! A human should drink the milk from a cow? How does that even make sense? If I asked anyone to drink some of my (human) milk they would look at me like I needed a trip to the looney bin! But hey, gimme a big glass of that delicious juice from the teat of a cow- that is way more acceptable!

In his book, The China Study, T. Colin Campbell goes into the corruption of scientific research by bought scientists and big company interest groups. These people masquerade as experts in nutrition and position themselves as the main source of dietary guideline makers in this country. What damage is this doing to our country? It is killing us at an alarming rate. It is positioning our children to be just as confused as we have been about what we should be eating so they will die from the same diseases at young ages. It is happening already. The problem is that the solution is so simple that nobody can sell anything or make money from it so they need to hide it at all costs and instead sell you what they call "healthy" food: milk, eggs, yogurt, processed "low-fat" foods, "lean" turkey meat, etc. The problem is that these are all derived from animal protein and all bad for you.

So, what is the solution? How can you save yourself, your spouse, your children, your grandchildren from a legacy of disease, misinformation, confusion? How can we save this country from rising health care costs (hospitals really don't want anything to change either- they make money when people are in the hospital!)? How can we have the best quality of life for the longest time possible?

The Solution (according to T. Colin Campbell and the numerous researchers and scientists that he sites in his book) are these two [easy] strategies:

1. Eliminate (or severely limit) animal food in the diet (meat, eggs, dairy)
2. Eat a plant-based diet: fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, sprouts, etc.

and I will add also...
3. Eliminate or limit processed foods and sugary foods
4. Exercise !

We don't need to raise astronomical amounts of money for cancer research...a "cure" has been found in the way of prevention through diet. If you avoid animal protein and eat a plant-based diet you should be able to maintain a healthy body that is free of disease (cancers, heart disease, diabetes, etc.)

Don't be confused by all the misinformation out there. The answer and solution is simple- spread the word and save lives.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Little Vegetarians

I can't remember what a pre-veggie lunch would be...somewhat "healthy" but no doubt it included animal protein in some form or another...but today ...

Kendall's lunch: applesauce, garbanzo beans, tofu, and brown rice in curry sauce, 2 large stalks steamed broccolli, avocado pieces, organic puffs

Kaylee's Lunch: broccolli (she didn't eat much), avocado pieces, orzo pasta mixed with black beans and broccolli and veggie broth (she LOVED this, so did Kendall)

I am going to go ahead and say that this was a super healthy lunch. I feel so good about giving my family this nutritious food that is going to nourish their bodies.

I had my usual sandwich (I am addicted. I would rather have this than any burger out there, seriously! ) and an apple.

I did make eggs this morning but scrambeled them with mushrooms, potatoes, and spinach for a healthier version.

Tonight: pasta with "meat" sauce, bread, salad with olive oil vinaigrette. I am excited to try the vegan meat crumbles although after the vegan cheese I am hesitant. At least we have a delicious warm loaf of bread and salad!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Verdict on last night's pizzas and a revelation about lunch

So last night I used pre-made crust which was nice but the crusts were mini-pizza size (8" diameter) so I had to assemble all 5 and cook seperately. It would have been much easier to cook One. Big. Pizza. Anyhoo...people liked them. The vegan cheese was gross. I think next time I will do a small sprinkle of real cheese or maybe no cheese at all. Overall it was a nice fast pizza. I layered spinach, mushrooms, and red peppers over red sauce. Kaylee loved sucking on the sauced crust.

For lunch today I ended up eating a veggies sammich (my favorite one) and gave Kaylee a piece of spelt bread with hummus to munch on. Well, then Kendall wanted Kendall ended up with pieces of bread, hummus, and then I gave her some spinach and broccolli to dip as well. Along with grapes I will say that this was probably the healthiest lunch she's eaten in a long time! It's just amazing how kids eat what you give them. If you assume they won't eat it (which I have done lots of times) then of course they won't because they don't have the opportunity! If Kendall (or Kaylee) sees me eating something, even a salad, they automatically want some. Remember this!

And this was such an *easy* lunch! Pieces of bread and veggies with hummus dip! Tonight I am going to experiment with some jarred Tikka Misala sauce I got. It has cream in it but oh well. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Brownies again!

Last night we had the asian noodle tofu dish again and I used stir fried frozen veggies which cut down on the cooking time. I didn't use nearly enough veggies! I am slowly realizing that we need to up our veggie intake. I am going to start doing more salads with dinner. Maybe I can premake them ahead of time (naptime) so they are ready to go for dinner.

I have been toying with the idea of what foods to include/not include and have decided that we will do eggs and cheese on occasion. I will strive for a very small amount of animal protein per day but I am not going to stress about it. That would be counter-productive, wouldn't it?

I also made the black bean brownies again last night for playgroup today and used 1/2 cup of applesauce instead of eggs. OMGSOGOOD!! Next time I make the recipe I will play around with reducing the oil and increasing to 3/4 cup applesauce and 1 cup beans. I think the recipe should hold up fine. (As long as you slather with a can of frosting, ha!)

I have been telling people about the book where I can...I have mom reading it and dad is interested. I really can't recommend it highly enough.It is just hard to talk about without feeling "preachy". Luckily I am used to putting my foot in my mouth (verbal diarrhea), so it's not too big of a problem for me.

Tonight we will have veggie pizzas (sun dried tomatoes, eggplant, sauteed potatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and vegan mozzerella cheese.) I can't wait! This meal should be quick because I bought pre-made crusts.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reflecting on the first week as a (pseudo) vegetarian

I am absolutely committed 100% to this lifestyle for our family. I am completely convinced that it is the way to live to have the best quality of life possible. In the past week there have been good things and bad things...

Good things:

  • I tried out a bunch of new recipes with a lot of success...
  • We ate way healthier
  • Kendall ate more veggies than ever before
  • Chris actually loved the food
  • My energy levels have been great

Bad things:
  • ....
  • Hmmmm...
  • chicken fried steak (so basically no saturated fat, cholesterol, extra calories, increased risk of cancer progression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, etc.)
So yeah, the "bad" things are really good things. Makes it an easy choice. I look forward to trying even more wonderful recipes next week and figuring out what to pack for Brandon's lunch...while pb&j is technically vegan, I would like him to have more variety! I think the best way is to let him get involved in picking out things at the grocery store that fit into our new diet.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 5

Today I made mac and cheese with veggies for lunch. Soon I will try and phase out traditional mac and cheese but for now we are still eating modest amounts of dairy.

Anyhow, I had made about a cup of steamed veggies. I gave Kendall about 1/4 cup and used the rest in Kaylee's lunch puree. Kendall finished all of her veggies (organic corn, beans, and carrots) and actually asked for more! And of course, I had already used all that I made for Kaylee's food and didn't have any more veggies! Such a great problem for a parent!

For dinner I made noodles with stir fried tofu, I added red peppers and mushrooms and used Mr. Toshida's teriyaki sauce. Everyone ate it up, including Brandon. Amazing. We had the black bean brownies for dessert, yum! I need to find a good vegan brownie recipe. Although the only dairy product in it was 1 egg and the 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips.

I also made the easy masoor dal recipe which turned out alright. I am saving it for tomorrow and will serve it over jasmine rice. I followed the directions from the 2nd reviewer of the recipe and added 1 onion and 2 small chopped tomatoes.

Book Review: The China Study

Wow. Where to even begin? This book is a must-read for EVERYONE. Well, vegans can skip it because they are already preventing everything from heart disease, cancer, alzheimer's, MS, etc. by eliminating animal protein and eating a plant based diet.

This is the basic idea of the book: eating a diet high in animal protein is linked to the progression of many diseases: called "diseases of affluence" in the book. For example, many studies have been done showing that mice fed a diet of 20% animal protein developed more cancer than mice fed a 15% diet...the mice that were fed 5% animal protein had very little cancer. Amazing.

Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, auto-immune diseases....all preventable with a plant based diet.

Now there is no doubt that we as Americans are the fattest and unhealthiest people in the world. This is linked to our diet, which is linked to disease. It seems like people either don't want to believe that their diet is causing their health problems or they are so confused by all of the contradictory "scientific" information out there. In the book, T. Colin Campbell goes into great detail about how the big food industry works to try and confuse the public and keep us ignorant to the true health effects of eating their food. The dairy industry, meat industry, egg industry...they find ways to spin or hide the truth. The scariest part is that the dairy industry has almost all of our kids drinking milk by the time they first step foot in school and teaches them that milk is healthy for them! Never have I been so happy that a dairy allergy in childhood kept me from growing up drinking milk! (We drink soy, rice, or almond milk here and have for years based on my belief that milk from a cow doesn't make sense for humans to drink.)

There has been a lot in the news lately about the breast cancer "3-Day Walk for the Cure," and every time I see a commercial for it I think to myself, if all these women went home and changed their diet and their family's diet to a plant-based diet that they would be preventing cancer of all kinds. Too bad the drug companies don't really want you to prevent a disease- then they can't sell you a cure. See, surgery, pills, operations, etc. make companies money. Yes, hospitals are companies! Campbell explains everything in his book.

I read the book and approximately 1/4 way in he had me convinced that I needed to change my family's diet. I was unwittingly having them eat their way towards higher chances for so many diseases simply by feeding them foods that I *thought* were healthy!

Lean turkey meat
sandwich cold cuts

Prior to reading this book the list above would have looked like a list full of foods affording great sources of protein that I would feed my family on any given day (AAAHHHH!). It's protein all right: animal protein! The kind that increases risk for disease. As Cambell says in the book, there is nothing found in meat that is not found in plants but without any cholesterol or saturated fat! Nothing. And with plants you are getting extra vitamins, nutrients, fiber...the list goes on.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is simply life-changing. For the better! As Dr. Dean Ornish says on the cover of the book, "This is one of the most important books about nutrition ever written-reading it may save your life."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Article: "The Rise of the Power Vegan"

I loved this article about some powerful people that also happen to be vegan.

Steve Jobs, Steve Wynn, Mike Tyson, Bill Clinton, Russell Simmons...

My Family Is Becoming Vegetarian!

The Fam includes:These tall people. (Unfortunately, I am the one in the green not the black! I couldn't figure out how to edit her out! Haha!)
This medium guy.
The littles.

Wow. Major lifestyle change here...and not just for me. I am bringing the kids and the hubs along for the ride. We are all [slowly] becoming vegetarian. My plan is to start as lacto-ovo vegetarians and slowly work towards near-exclusively vegan. I don't think jumping straight in from bacon-wrapped meatloaf (yes, I did make that last week!) to full vegan would be easy. We are doing this for health reasons mainly, so I am not ruling out an occasional steak or sushi dinner.

Why are we doing this? I read a life-changing book called, "The China Study," by T. Collin Campbell and Thomas Campbell. I cannot recommend it enough. I won't review it yet here on the blog because I haven't finished it yet but I will say that one day into reading it I had decided that we must become vegetarian and lower our consumption of animal protein. Now, I am not an alarmist or prone to diet fads- I am a science teacher and used to looking at the world from the scientific point of view, so this is definitely not a phase. What I read in this book blew my mind. Like I said, more on that later.

So far I have actually really been enjoying my new lifestyle. I have been making new recipes, such as tofu fried rice with stir-fried veggies, baked falafel with homemade yogurt sauce, black bean brownies(!!), and later today I will be making butternut squash risotto. I have also discovered my all-time favorite sandwich EVER: avocado-hummus-sundried tomato-sprout-cheddar-spinach. OMG, it couldn't be more healthy or more delicious (well, it could be more healthy without the cheese, but BABY STEPS!!). I want to eat it Every. Single. Day.

The biggest surprise has been how much Kendall LOVES this new food. She gobbles up my veggie sandwiches, falafels, tofu veggie rice...she has never eaten this many vegetables. Today I put avocado, tomato, and spinach in her quesadilla. I lowered the amount of cheese as well. She loved it.

Chris is also on board which blows my mind. I have been telling him what I have been reading in the book and he is being supportive of this change for our family. He has liked everything I made so far as well. What a relief. If Chris didn't see the light it would make this whole process so much harder!

Prior to this diet we ate quite a bit of meat, eggs, and dairy. Typical dinners would include meat as would sandwiches for lunch. Not only that but I had been following a high-protein diet to try and get back into shape after my last baby. I had been drinking protein shakes made with whey protein (from milk) every day!!! I had also been eating and serving my family lots of animal protein. I thought I was eating healthy by cooking lean turkey instead of ground meat. When I think of how I have been feeding my family and myself it scares me. It is time to get on the right track for health.