On Monday evening I had the opportunity to teach the Baptist HeartWise nutrition class to a room full of 20 passionate, energetic and open-minded women who want to improve their cardiovascular health.
I don't feel as if a meat-free, vegetarian-style diet is the best diet for everyone but there is a tremendous amount of research that a diet strong in plants will provide the necessary vitamins and minerals to help keep the body well. You can't prevent disease but you can certainly minimize the risk.
I feel our society needs a little kick in the butt when it comes to de-emphasizing the processed, convenient food and emphasizing a more wholesome diet. When I speak to people about eating a more plant-strong diet, I avoid telling people what not to eat but instead, speak in a way as if you have no idea what you are missing in consuming a more real food diet.
But with this great attention placed on eating more wholesome food, this can also be a double-edge-sword in that anytime a person wants a quick fix with health or body composition, he/she will quickly think about everything and anything that is not a vegetable and feel the need to eliminate it from the diet in order to quickly change habits. So while we want to consume a more plant strong diet for overall health, we do not need to feel hungry, restricted, bored or act extreme when it comes to eating more fruits and veggies....alongside low fat dairy, whole grains and quality low fat/lean protein. The idea is to consider variety in nourishing your body with foods that make you feel good. Acting mindfully with food in order to eat with attention. Recognizing how food makes you feel but also thinking ahead as to how food can enhance your life.
So as you consider adding more wholesome food in the diet, ask yourself where you are spending your energy, time and money when it comes to fueling your lifestyle?
Here are a few of my recent creations to help inspire you to enjoy a more plant strong diet. All creations were enjoyed by me and my non-vegetarian husband (Karel) who has given me the "yum" approval to post the following dishes. Side note: All creations are helping to fuel our Ironman-in-training lifestyle.
Squash prepared in oven. Veggies and tofu prepared on skillet in olive oil. Potatoes sliced and cooked in 450 degree oven until golden brown.
Oatmeal creation (1/2 cup oats, mixed frozen fruit - strawberries, peaches, blueberries, 1 tbsp ground flax seed, 1 spoonful whey protein powder, cinnamon, sliced almonds), Baggy of carrots and sliced apples for munching to control blood sugar, 2% Daisy cottage cheese (1/2 cup), mexican salad w/ beans, corn, bell pepper, onion, dark greens, chopped egg, pear slices, farmers cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds, salsa.
Egg omelet packed w/ roasted veggies1 whole egg + 2 egg whites made w/ greek yogurt (Fage) instead of milk for a more fluffy omelet (about 1 spoonful yogurt).
Roasted veggies - zucchini, onions, mushrooms, red sweet pepper, garlic
Brown rice w/ herbs and spices
Mixed veggies (frozen) cooked in olive oil and drizzled with rice vinegar tossed in broken lasagna noodles.
Sweet potato (cooked in microwave) mixed with beans, grilled tofu, peas, corn, onion, red sweet pepper and garlic in olive oil - cooked in skillet. Served with jasmine rice.
OK...now it is your turn!! Time to get creative in your kitchen! Make the time instead of trying to find the time. You only have one place to live for the rest of your life - take care of your body.