One way I enjoy eating vegetables is to give them robust seasoning with flavorful spices. The right seasoning takes any meal from good to memorable. There are many ways to season a meal and it can be done without adding salt. Also, spices have many health benefits. This article lists some great spices and details their healthy benefits.
My website and book advocates going green by reducing the amount of meat in the meals people eat. However, it's only one way to make an impact. This article lists eleven other ways that may fit your lifestyle better. All twelve are useful and effective at sustaining the environment.
Loma Linda University School of Public Health has produced a nice document about the vegetarian diet. It includes the vegetarian food pyramid, food groups with dietary purpose, and vegetarian FAQs. It delivers a wide range of very useful information for those wanting to learn more about the vegetarian diet. You can download the PDF here.
A vegan diet provides many health benefits. For example, vegan meals have zero cholesterol since cholesterol is a component of animal products. Vegan meals also provide proper nutrition when a variety of vegetables, fruit, and grains are eaten. This is a great article which summarizes the positive health effects of a vegan diet along with nutrition tips and recommendations. It also provides quotes from registered nutritionists from the American Dietetic Association.
It's useful to know on which initiatives the EPA is working. It provides a snapshot on the current progress we are making to create a sustainable environment. This article summarizes one of the main tensions faced by politicians when creating environmental policy - help the environment or protect jobs.
If you are interested in expanding to new ingredients beyond the common vegetables used in most veggie meals, one option is to explore sea vegetables. There are more edible sea veggies than the seaweed wrapped around sushi. To be honest, I haven't used sea vegetables in my cooking except for a short time when I made my own sushi at home. However, in many kitchens in Asia and other parts of the world, consuming sea vegetables is very common and nutritious. This article lists some of the ones you're likely to find in the supermarket or specialty markets. It also provides some nutrition information.
The process to becoming vegetarian or vegan is gradual and the pace is determined somewhat by how much you enjoy and appreciate the cuisine. Learning to enjoy a satisfying meal without meat or even dairy products is the first step recognizing that living off such food is feasible and pleasurable. So the question is where do you start? What is your first meal and what is going to be your comfort food?
If you are not used to a vegetable and whole grain based diet, then these are difficult questions for sure. Changing your eating habits is one of the hardest things to do, especially if fantastic alternatives are not identifiable and immediately available. One technique that I used and that many vegetarians have followed is to start eating more Asian and Mediterranean foods. Asian foods include Chinese stir-fries, Japanese tofu dishes, Thai noodle dishes, and Indian curries. Mediterranean foods include Greek salads and lentil soups, meatless Italian pastas and eggplant dishes, Middle Eastern grain dishes made with couscous, and Spanish vegetarian paellas. Ethiopian cuisine also offers many vegetarian options. In fact, the more you explore, the more great meals you can find from cultures around the world.
I started the transition by learning to enjoy vegetables from a mixture or Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, and Indonesian dishes. The food tasted so good, I didn’t even care that meat was not an ingredient. It was the flavor from the spices that won me over. The food was also filling and gave me great energy. Once you starting trying new flavors and cooking styles, the vegetables almost become a secondary concern. They are just a vehicle and foundation to try the different flavors. They also absorb the flavors better in my opinion increasing the enjoyment of the dish.
As you start to eat more types of food from around the world, it starts to give you perspectives on your own local cuisine and how vegetables are cooked and prepared. It also begins the process of learning to enjoy the veggies for their own flavor. You learn to pick and choose the ones you like and create ways of eating them based on all of the recipes that you’ve tried previously. Finally, it becomes apparent that it’s not hard to duplicate the flavors simply in your own kitchen and before long you’re developing uniquely personal recipes for food that you love and can eat any time.
This is the transition that I went through and it was very expansive and transformational. I came to realize how many flavors there are to try and I learned to like so many new ingredients. The world became a more interesting place and it started by simply trying new food. I hope you can enjoy a similar experience!
The latest statistics indicate that the consumption of beef in the U.S. has dropped 13% since 1980, in part due to more people eating leaner meats and switching to a vegetarian diet according to this article.
A major theme for me in cooking and eating is the reduction of sodium. Without constantly watching the amount of sodium used in the foods we consume, our intake levels usually surpass the daily recommended amount. When cooking meals at home, it's easy to control, however, it's also easy to add salt when cooking or serving. It's very difficult to control the salt levels when eating out, even when you ask the server to notify the cooks to add no extra salt to the meals.
The research study in the article concludes that preference for salt may start during infancy based on the foods that babies are given. It is possible to reeducate your taste buds at any time to enjoy the flavor of food without the presence of salt. However, it becomes more difficult if you've been conditioned to the taste of salt from infancy. The test results from the research project are kind of interesting.
A recent survey of 200 nutritionists revealed five health trends for 2012. Check out this article and stay on trend!
Make Simple Vegan Meals