Category Archives: Informative

Meatless Mondays

 

For those who haven’t heard, “Meatless Mondays” is a newish eating trend. I’m not sure when it started, but basically you devote one day per week to a fully vegetarian day of meals. Typically Monday, but it can be whatever day you choose.

This trend has several very strong positives:

  1. Meat is more expensive than grains and vegetables, therefore eating less meat saves you money
  2. Meat is more of a burden on the environment to produce. It costs much less to grow one crop of grain or vegetables versus raise a cow or pig and butcher one pound of meat. You save water, energy, and the grain that would have been fed to the cow for one meal can now be fed to you directly instead.
  3. A whole food vegetable based diet is MUCH healthier overall for you. This way of eating lowers cholesterol, makes losing weight easier, decreases risk for cardiovascular disease and hypertension, etc.

Look it up for yourself, or watch “Forks over Knives”. I’m not saying go cold turkey vegan, but adding in more fiber-filled fresh fruits and veggies plus 100% whole grains can never be a bad thing.

Mostly because of the health benefits, I’ve decided to try to incorporate one day a week as a meat-free day. No guarantees, but I have also been making a conscious effort to add in more whole foods to every day.

Today I pulled off a meat-free day without even realizing it.

Here’s an overview:
Breakfast: 1 small slice of banana bread and a Tropical Fruit Smoothie. Mango, pineapple, banana, orange juice. Delicious and refreshing, plus it is portable. 2 minutes in the blender and I can take it with me to the lab.

Lunch was a large salad consisting of a romaine leaves and spinach tossed with 1 plum tomato, 1/2 cucumber, 2 tbsp sunflower seeds and Italian dressing. I had a side of Quinoa & Veggies

Snacks: To work I brought a baggie full of 1 cup of cantaloupe and 1/2 cup of baby carrots. They also made popcorn in honor of National Libraries Week, so I had about 3 cups of popcorn.

Dinner: I had soaked white navy beans overnight and had leftover Easter ham and made myself some Ham & Bean Soup*: At only ~150 calories per cup, you can have a bowl for dinner and another as a snack when you inevitably get hungry a few hours later!

The whole day covered all the major food groups, provided lots of fiber and nutrients, and was under 1500 calories, my ideal calorie range to maintain or lose weight.

 

*Note: going back and re-reading this years later, I just realized I said ham and bean soup is vegetarian… LOL @ former me’s writing. Clearly NOT 100% vegetarian. But hey, life is a learning process.

Spice up your life!

 

One of the main things any good cook knows is what a difference a pinch of this or that can make to the overall flavor of a dish. The kinds of spices there are is nearly limitless, especially if you’re willing to drop some serious cash on things like saffron and cardamom.

However, the vast majority of dishes can benefit from a few affordable key spices:

  • garlic (and garlic salt)
  • dried onion
  • salt (sea salt preferably)
  • pepper (white, black, red, whole peppercorn…)
  • Italian seasoning
  • vanilla
That is as basic as a spice rack can get. If you want to spring for a few more, may I suggest:
  • paprika
  • basil
  • chili powder
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • lemon pepper
  • cumin
  • bay leaves
  • cilantro
  • mustard
  • Old Bay
  • Nature’s Seasoning
Also it is always a good idea to have some chicken and beef bouillon, much cheaper than buying stock every time!
For those lucky Bowling Green, OH residents, did you know that Ben Franklins in town sells many of these spices for only 0.99?!
(Thanks to Jason for suggesting I mention this!)
So if your spice cupboard is bare, start stocking up, because the recipes will be starting soon!