This is Part II of the “31 Days of Healthy Living” series.
As many of you know, I used to be Running To Slow Things Down before I became The Flying Onion.
The original blog saw me through months of being a heavy meat eater to months of being strictly vegetarian to months of being somewhere in between.
I never really liked eating meat every day. But I didn’t really like telling myself that I couldn’t eat meat either. For the first time in my adult life, I found myself craving chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and cheeseburgers. I hate feeling deprived!
So what did I do?
I introduced Meatless Monday. Which became Tofu Tuesday. Which became Water Chestnut Wednesday, Tangerine Salad Thursday, Fish Friday and Steak Saturday. Or something like that (what a combination, eh?)
Basically, to put it simply, I began adding more and more of the tantalizing meatless meals to my diet, which is what I originally wanted in the first place (goodbye feelings of deprivation!)
Vegetarians experience many health benefits, including a lowered cancer risk and protective heart benefits. For those of us (me included) who’d rather not go cold-turkey (so to speak,) studies show that there are health benefits in replacing just one meat meal a week with vegetarian substitutions. It doesn’t have to be fussy or hard or weird. And it doesn’t mean you have to go completely vegetarian to reap the health benefits. As with all things in life, just take it a day at a time. Balance.
Try minimizing your dinner’s meat portions while increasing the vegetables, thereby making the meat a side and the vegetables a main.
Or add some spinach to your turkey soup. Add extra kidney beans in place of half the hamburg in a batch of chili. You see? Little steps, big results.
Who knows? You may find that you love the vegetarian meals so much, that eating them one day of the week won’t feel like enough.
Here are some of my favorite no-fail vegetarian recipes that even the most true die-hard meat eaters will consume with gusto (provided you don’t spill the beans and tell them there’s no meat.) 😉
Just as a side note, try not to fall into the trap of always replacing meat with things like cheese and eggs. While a little of these ingredients go a long way, try to treat your Meatless Monday as a way to branch out and try new, good-for-you, super foods like beans, lentils, quinoa, and colorful greens.
And then, of course, you can always add a sprinkle of cheese to tie it all together. Because feta makes everything better. 😉
QUESTION: What are some of your favorite “vegetarian” meals? If we’re talking pizza, then that would be it. 😉 I also adore anything with butternut squash, lentils, sweet potatoes, quinoa and beans. 😀