I find it amazing that every time the idea of food and diet comes up, there are people who instantaneously attack a vegan or vegetarian diet as unhealthy. Apparently vegans are in the doctor’s office every few weeks, and doctor’s hate them due to having to test for their levels and make sure they are getting enough nutrients. Whoa, seriously? Wow strange since I read a ton of books and articles, by doctors, that chant the validity of a vegetarian or vegan diet. I have also read articles that state reducing your meat and dairy consumption can greatly increase your health and reduce your chances of diabetes or high blood pressure.
The fact that I am supportive of anyone who wants to incorporate more fruit and veggies in their diet, by no means, indicates that I think any person should become a vegetarian. Sure, I would like to see more out there, but your eating habits are actually none of my business. What I will say, is that legislation for food policy should cut out subsidies, and reduce the cheap crappy food available. I think we should offer classes on how to cook and shop for families that are lower-income and higher health risk. Nutrition is not a luxury of the rich, it is a right of all those that would like to live healthier.
Sadly making such programs available will likely drive the cost of processed food up. Wait that is really not even food, but a box of chemicals with added nutrients in a box disguised as food. Growing up, my mom never made Hamburger helper. If she wanted stroganoff she would buy cube steak, which is almost a form of ground beef, some egg noodles, brown gravy mix and sour cream, maybe a can of cream of mushroom soup. Not exactly homemade, but a ton better, cheaper and tastier, trust me.
My mother was not a great cook, but she hardly ever bought boxed foods. Aside from soup in a can and boxes of mac-n-cheese, we never saw food in packages. Potatoes, salad that she sliced herself, dressing made with a packet and mayo with sour cream, frozen veggies was her big splurge. When I met my husband, his family was all about convenience foods. I had my first ever hamburger helper at his parent’s place. I unfortunately fell into that trap as well.
After my daughter was born, I tried to go vegetarian. Sadly there were no quick fix meat substitutes and ethnic food was absolutely not going to happen. Tofu terrified me. My only experience with it was once my mom brought it home chopped it up and topped salad with it. Here eat this styrofoam tasting crap. My salvation came when I started dating a vegetarian. He knew exactly how to prepare things, and we moved to Seattle, where it was much more vegetarian friendly.
So seriously, I understand the challenges of diet in general. And no I am not a skinny vegetarian, I often hear people say that they have never met a skinny vegetarian. I can assure you that they were either very unhealthy and overweight when they became one, they binge on junk food, or they are not eating correctly. I know I have an issue with my weight based on my drinking alcohol and, I confess, potato chips. Just because I am a vegetarian does not mean I do not have my own demons and vices. It just means I have chosen to ditch certain items from my diet. I can tell you that I enjoy more fruits and veggies on a daily basis than most people, and that my B-12’s and Iron is low. Other than that my doctor says all of my levels are of no concern, even my blood sugar, which I worry about. My family has many cases of Type II and I am now hearing of a Type I on my dad’s side, so I am vaguely worried about diabetes.
This is what my meals typically look like. A ton of colors on the plate and not much else. I love to experiment with food, so a new recipe or a new kind of food really excites me, this week it was tomatoes. This was my attempt at Tomato provincial, some sautéed broccoli and a salad. If only eating this good had happened to me 20 years ago, I may have never had a weight problem. But such is life.