Wednesday, February 08, 2012

"what do you eat?" and other food misconceptions

So there have been times when I went completely vegetarian, and others when I allowed some meat.  One of the most common questions/responses I got was:

"what do you eat??!!"   A lot of food actually!  You are amazed at the different types of foods you end up eating and serving.  My kids eat cabbage, bok choy, peppers, onions, carrots, asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, tofu -as long as it is marinated or in smoothie!!  They eat curry, sushi, and exotic sounding things like adzuki and quinoa.  They love fruits and veggies.  Does it mean that they are committed to being vegetarian 100%  no, not yet.  But that is their choice - but they do eat a huge variety of foods that a lot of people do not.

"I could never eat like that"  like what?  without meat?  I don't understand why that is so weird-except for the fact that we have been trained to look at a normal dinner as this:

a slab of meat.  potatoes.  and a small veggie.

Vegetarians/vegans are not limited to just a salad.  Or a plate as pictured above minus the meat.  I think that is one of the biggest mistakes a person makes when wanting to become a veg*n....they try to make a plate as above and fill it with a meat substitute or limit themselves to salad.   They fail rather quickly because that is boring and hardly fulfilling.

One of the first books I read that really hit home to me was the Vegan Lunchbox.  It taught me a new and exciting way to look at meal structure.  I learned that a plate doesn't have to be a slab of meat, veggies and potato.  But that you could combine items such as a sliced banana bread with a smoothie for lunch.  (Yes, that is one of Harrison's favorites!)  That a corn muffin filled with beans and a side of collard greens can be taken in a lunch box to school.  I don't have the time to sit and think of all the combinations, but the main point is, I learned there was a different way to make a meal plate.  And it was empowering! Yes, you can serve muffins with soup for dinner.   And that eating more whole foods type of meals will fill you up more and cut down on your constant rummaging for food!

"aren't those meat substitutes gross?"
Yes, they are.  And NO, you don't have to eat them!  We hardly ever use them in our meals.  I figure vegetarian is to eat no meat.  That doesn't mean you just substitute meat with a fake substance to stand in.  Instead of using "meat" crumbles for tacos, find a recipe with veggies and rice instead..and so on.
If you try to replace all the meat in your diet with substitutes you will find yourself failing.  You have to adjust your way of thinking of what a meal plate is. 

harrisons favorite meal:
bananas and strawberries, a small scoop of homemade macaroni and cheese-and yes, an oreo for dessert.  Not pictured was his cup of soy milk to drink. We actually didn't have any veggies that day for lunch-and that is ok too!  He snacks throughout the day on carrots and edamame :)
But he doesn't like meat.  Not sure if it is texture thing with him or what, but for now, he doesn't eat meat but a very small amount once in a blue moon!

Aren't your kids unhealthy without meat?  How do they get enough protein?
We eat beans, we eat legumes, we eat nuts, nut butters, alternative milks, grains, eggs etc.  they all have protein.  The "vegetarians are deprived of protein" is a myth...and if you eat a well balanced meal, you will be good.  Now, of course that are exceptions to that rule, just like there would be with an non-vegetarian diet.  The point is, if you eat healthy and pay attention to your foods, you are most likely going to be fine.

So yes, that is my experience.  I learned recently that Harvard did a study and revamped the food "pyramid"
I have to admit it looks a lot better than it used to, and finally addresses that milk is not healthy for our bodies!  but that is a different day, different post! LOL

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