Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Going Veggie

A few weeks ago, my sister inspired James and I to watch a movie called Forks Over Knives. This movie talks in great detail about how detrimental meat and animal products are to our bodies. There are all these crazy and extensive studies that show that a lot of meat can dramatically lower our life expectancy and increase our rates of numerous cancers.
After watching the movie, James and I decided to take the plunge and see how long we could last without meat. It has been about 4 weeks now, and in that time, I have only had meat twice. Let me remind you, that the average American eats meat for lunch and dinner everyday, which means consuming meat 14 times a week. That's a lot of meat!!! I bet even by slashing that number in half, you can dramatically reduce your disease risks.  I'm no doctor, but I do know that nutrition is a medicine that gets overlooked way too quickly. Eating a plant based diet can give you more health benefits than any pack of pills will ever do. Like I said, I have drastically reduced my meat intake these past few weeks, and I am proud to say that I don't miss it at all. I thought I would be hungry all the time, but I'm very satisfied with eating lots of beans, quinoa, etc.

This whole process has been really fun because it has allowed me to experiment so much with different foods that I would not normally try. I have found so many ways to use beans! I have also discovered tempeh- similar to tofu but very rough and grainy. Below I have posted some of my favorite recipes that we have enjoyed.

Tempeh Curry Stirfry: Modified from 

1 1/2 pounds waxy potatoes quartered
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp organic butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion chopped
3 tsp curry seeds
4 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp turmeric
dash of cayenne pepper
1 cup diced tomatoes with juice
1 can organic  light coconut milk
8 oz tempeh or tofu cut in strips
cilantro to taste
Bring a few inches of water to boil in a large pot. Place the potatoes in a steamer (see head notes), sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook until tender throughout - about 20 - 30 minutes, depending on how large your potato pieces are.
In the meantime, in a large skillet, melt the butter in the olive oil, add the onion and cook over LOW heat until they are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin seeds, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne pepper, wait about thirty seconds, then stir in the tomatoes, coconut milk, and the other teaspoon of salt.
Once the curry is back in the pan, add the tempeh and bring barely to a simmer. Let the tempeh cook for 5 minutes or so, then add the potatoes when they are finished steaming. Transfer to a large family-style bowl, and sprinkle with cilantro before serving. Serve with brown rice or quinoa if desired.
Serves 4 - 6.

Ridiculously awesome veggie burgers :
These burgers provide all the heartiness and substance of a normal burger and they are loaded with monounsaturated fats and tons of protein. Delish!!

  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Flax eggs: 2.5 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed in bowl
  • 1 cup oats, processed into flour* (other flours might work)
  • 1.5 cups bread crumbs (I processed 3 pieces of Ezekiel bread until fine crumb)*
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and roughly pureed or mashed
  • Heaping 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (or fresh herb of choice)
  • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped (toasted if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (toasted if preferred)
  • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp kosher salt)

1. Preheat oven to 350F (if baking). In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 tbsp oil. Mix your flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 10 mins while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
2. Place all ingredients (except spices and salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Now, add seasonings and salt to taste.
3. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. Pack dough tightly as this will help it stick together. I made 8 medium patties.
4. Place burgers on a heated skillet. Cook on each side until brown. Apporximately 6-8 minutes per side.

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