Post # 197 Veggie Tales (with apologies to the cartoon)

December 4, 2013 at 1:18 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 197 Veggie Tales (with apologies to the cartoon)

I’ve often said I’m the world’s worst vegetarian because I like bacon and steak too much.  Wrap a vegetable in bacon and fry it up, serve it next to a medium-rare steak and I’m a happy camper!  But I know that eating vegetarian is a lot healthier than not, and I like vegetables.  I just can’t eat meatless for very long.  However, there are lots of ways to eat meatless and not notice it.

Pizza is the best way.  Have a vegetable pizza with loads of toppings and extra cheese and you’ll never notice there’s no meat on it.  And pizza, when it’s done right, can be one of the healthiest things you eat.  Unless you’re making it yourself, you won’t have any control over what goes into the crust.  The crust is really the worst part of the pizza for you.  So order thin crust, if you can.  I personally don’t like thin crust because I don’t want crunchy pizza.  But I also don’t like pizza that’s so thick with crust I feel like I’m eating red dough.  Try not to order the thickest crust they have.  And don’t order all the crust tricks, like cheese in, or pizza sticks, etc.  It’s just a way to fill you up with little nutritional value.  However, the tomato sauce on the pizza is excellent!  Tomatoes are so good for you, even ketchup can be considered a health food.  Except when it’s on french fries, but that’s another story.  I find that too much sauce burns my mouth and makes the top of the pizza slippery so I usually order half-sauce.  Tons of vegetable, or just one, no meat makes this healthier.  Then cheese.  But the cheeses they use for pizza tend to be better than “standard” cheeses.  So I order double cheese.

Burritos are another good way to be vegetarian.  That thin flexible wafer of flour and water wrapped around rice and beans and cheese or whatever other combo you like can hardly be beat.  Add some good fresh pico de gallo and you will never miss the meat that isn’t there.  With different beans, cooked different ways, and different rices cooked in different ways with different seasonings, the combinations for burritos are almost endless.  I’m salivating just thinking about it.

On a similar note, spring rolls are also a tasty alternative.  And best, they’re DEEP FRIED!  No meat in these things, but so flavorful and crispy, you wouldn’t know it.

There are various levels of vegetarianism from the occasional practitioner (me) to full on vegan (them.)  A vegetarian eats primarily vegetables with some animal products, eggs and cheese for instance.  Vegans eat no animal products at all, only vegetables.  You can get all the nutrition you need as long as you’re careful about what you eat.  You can also eat breads and other baked goods, like cakes and cookies and pies, you just have to use different ingredients and techniques.  I’ve had some of those products.  Some taste very good and you’d never miss the butter and eggs.  Some taste like mud.  I used to own a book that promised to take you from caveman carnivore to full vegetarian in three months if you followed their plan and recipes.  It was standard stuff.  You eliminate beef for a couple of weeks.  When you’re used to that, you eliminate pork, etc.  The last thing you eliminate is fish.  As you eliminate dishes, you add their vegetarian substitutes.  I never followed it, but I can see the sense of it.

The biggest concern I have with being a vegetarian is the high likelihood of missing out on protein and the nutrients they contain.  Vegetarians have to be very careful about getting complete proteins and iron, as well as other trace vitamins and minerals.  These can be found when eating things in combination, rice and beans being the most well known.  Most vegetarians I know also take supplements.  The biggest thing to be aware of with being a vegetarian is that nutrition becomes a total, almost holistic, topic, not just a specific meal topic.

I prefer being the occasional practitioner rather than full-on.  I go as many as three days eating meatless, then the urge for a greasy cheeseburger overcomes me.  I have a friend who often says “I’m a vegetarian not so much because I like animals but that I hate plants.”

Enjoy!

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