Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Naysayers

I'm not really a resolutions type of girl. But I do like setting goals for myself, and making changes. After months of eating crap food, I decided that the beginning of 2011 would be a great time to change. I've given up meat for 1 month (but will probably stay on the veggie train indefinitely) and have put much more thought about what goes into my body. The best way for me to do this is to cook for myself, cut out processed foods, and only eat at "good" places when I dine out. So far, so good.

The only problem I've had with this is all of the naysayers. The people who ask "how are you getting protein?" "How are you getting iron?" "What are you eating?" Well, turns out plant based diets are FULL of protein and iron (read this and see for yourself). And you actually get more iron from greens than from meat. And I'm not an idiot. I'm not eating grilled cheese sandwiches and pasta for every meal. Adopting a new way of eating has really opened up my mind about food. Not that I've ever had a problem with cooking, or knowing what is or isn't healthy, but like everyone, I've had trouble staying on track before. Not this time.

The best advice I can give anyone who is trying to eat more whole foods (foods that are unaltered from nature. Well, except canned beans, tomatoes, frozen veggies and fruits...but you get the idea) is to shop on the outer edges of the grocery store. The only things you need from the aisles are spices, rice, grains, beans, etc. The outer edges are where it's at.

Anyway, here's what I had for lunch today. And it only took about 10 minutes to whip up.

Chickpea and Kale:
1/2 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch of kale, washed and stems removed
1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
juice of 1/2 a lemon
grapeseed oil (or olive), salt and pepper, crushed red pepper

In a medium skillet over medium heat, saute the onion in about 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. After a few minutes, add the garlic and saute til fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the kale and stir around. Add a little lemon juice if pan looks dry.  Once kale begins to wilt, add the chickpeas and the rest of the lemon juice. Cook until kale is wilted and beans are heated through, adding a bit of water to pan if it looks dry. Season with more lemon juice, salt and pepper, if desired and serve.

I'll be sharing lots of recipes about my new "diet" but a really good place to get some information and helpful tips on healthy eating is from the current issue of  Real Simple magazine (it's the February issue). It has great information about staying on track, eating whole foods, and a list of super foods that everyone should be eating.

So tell me, what are your favorite vegetarian friendly meals?