At the end of a busy day, I enjoy surprising Karel with a new Trimarni creation and hearing his yums, confirming the creation is blog worthy. When my day is long and tiring at the hospital, I can't wait to get home and share some outdoor time with my happy and loving furry best friend Campy who gives me tons of energy every time I walk through the door.
Back in December 2011, Karel tried vegetarianism and enjoyed it for almost 4 months..that is, until we started traveling more for his races and he was really struggling with food (and feeling satisfied) when eating on the road.
Aside from whey protein, I am not a pill pusher, bar eater or powder obsessed. I'd rather get my vitamins and minerals from real food and because of that, I never encouraged Karel to continue being a vegetarian and suggest other ways for him to get his protein or to feel satisfied by suggesting the other non-food options. For in my mind, we eat consistently well on a daily basis and we certainly enjoy eating occasional foods when we travel or on yearly celebrations and because of that, I am not too concerned about us not living a healthful lifestyle. It's all about balance and making sure we feel the gift of health as well as respecting the body with maintaing a healthy weight (not too much, not too lean).
I hope that this message transmits to others as I firmly believe that we must all find what works for us as individuals, in creating a healthful lifestyle. We can support one another and motivate one another but suggesting to someone else that they have to do this or try this or eat this in order to be healthy is something that should be left to the professionals, especially when greater goals are on the menu such as weight loss, clinical reasons or performance. Karel's labs are 100% and all within normal limits. He burns calories like a machine and he will never give up beer or chocolate. I'm cool with all that because I know that from morning to night, the food he is prioritizing to fuel his lifestyle and exercise routine is plant-strong. ....well, I do often hear about the cookies and brownies he is enjoying from the local bakery near the Trek store from the guys at the shop...but hey, at least it is homemade and prepared with love.
Speaking of homemade - Karel got me this poppyseed Czech-inspired "cake" for my birthday a few weeks ago and I forgot to share it! This brought back a lot of memories for Karel when he lived back in Czech Republic and for me, I remember Karel sharing this with me once back in Clearwater, from a polish bakery and it was one of my absolute favorite things to enjoy with Karel.
With me being a vegetarian for 19 years, my "meatless" lifestyle comes with me wherever I go.
In April, 2012, I told Karel he had nothing to prove in giving up meat but he wanted to prove something to himself that he could do "it". I simply told him that it is his life and he needs to feel good on a daily basis and if he is struggling with eating out there is no sense in feeling hungry and overwhelmed with being meat-free on the road.
Karel re-introduced chicken and continues to eat fish but I'd say that his diet hasn't changed much in that it is still primarily plant-strong....and he still enjoys cookies, beer and chocolate :)
As you know, I try very hard to not to preach vegetarianism, discuss the horor stories with animal factories or the clinical aspects of eating a high fat/high meat (aka paleo) diet. For I am here to inspire others to appreciate a more plant strong diet and in order to do that, you must be willing to try new things and more importantly, change habits within the home.
And with that.....
I did it again! I made the most amazingly, delicious plant-strong meal with a non-vegetarian plant-strong option for the chicken lovers. Enjoy!
Plant-strong grilled veggie w/ tempeh and orzo.
Large carrots (remove a little of each end)
Sweet peppers (whole)
Dark greens (I used romaine)
Green bell pepper (sliced)
Tempeh (for vegetarians) - I used a flax seed added tempeh I got at Whole Foods
Chicken (prepared to your liking for non vegetarians)
Orzo - prepared according to package (1 serving per person)
Optional: Mozzarella part-skim cheese
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. On a large cookie sheet, place veggies on sheet and cover in 1-2 tbsp oil. Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt and pepper if you wish.
3. On a seperate small pan, cube tempeh and toss in a little oil (1-2 tsp).
4. In a glass baking dish, place chicken and prepare to your liking.
5. Bake veggies for 15-20 minutes or until soft and slightly brown (you will begin to smell them).
6. Cook chicken to minimum 160 degrees.
7. Bake tempeh for 8-10 minutes or until slightly firm and brown.
Non - vegetarian plate:
handful dark greens, 1 serving orzo, chopped mozzarella and sliced grilled veggies.
1 serving orzo with fresh basil, veggies and green salad topped with mozzarella slices and tempeh
There is so much flavor to this meal I can't even explain it. The sunflower oil brings out a nice sweetness with the veggies and the warm orzo goes so nicely with the cold greens and grilled tempeh. I love mixing warm and cooler food to provide a nice twist to my taste buds. As I was enjoying this meal, I really savored every bite and there was no need to think about what was going to come next after I finished this meal. Although this meal didn't take a lot of time to prepare, I certainly took pride in what I created and I couldn't justify eating any other food option after this meal for nothing could replace the amazing feeling in my belly after finishing this meal.
If you struggle with not appreciating your dinner meal and always needing that extra something post meal, take a moment and recognize what you consumed and if the meal was balanced for your needs. Also, more importantly, do not go into the dinner meal starving. Keep in mind that every eating opportunity is an opportunity to provide nutrients to your body for fuel and for fuel from the moment you get up until you go to bed. Although there is nothing wrong with 1/2 ounce dark chocolate post dinner or a small cup of fruit for something sweet, don't un-do the goodness that comes from a healthy, plant-strong meal by "needing" that bowl of cereal, cup of ice cream or sugar-free processed food. I promise, you will survive until the morning and likely, you will wake up feeling amazingly light and refreshed due to a restful night of sleep and the charge you are needing to have a fabulous day.