A few weeks ago I decided to do a little protein experiment. I was curious to see if I could live without meat.
I have no intention of giving it up completely (no qualms here about eating anything with a face) but I just wanted to see how I felt without it, if I craved it, if I even missed it, and how it would feel to get my protein from plants.
This all came about because class last weekend presented two opposing views on the subject. Sally Fallon Morell, first proved to us that people should be eating lots of high fat animal protein – including organ meats and broths made from bones – for optimal health. The next day Neal Barnard, an MD, proved the vegan diet is the way to go.
It’s no wonder we don’t know what the heck to eat! Nutrition science is really unlike any other. It’s the only science where two bi-polar theories can both be proven right. This stuff just wouldn’t fly at NASA. But in the kitchen, it’s kosher.
How can that be so? Because there is no control in nutrition. No two people are exactly alike. And different people thrive on different types of food. So Sally Fallon’s advice to eat half a stick of butter on your oatmeal might suit one, and Neal Barnard’s new four food groups (grains, beans, fruits, veg) might be just what another needs.
I realize this doesn’t exactly tell you what to eat. But the message behind this presentation of conflicting views is that we have to experiment, try things out and see what makes us feel our absolute best. You can learn so much about how food affects you by just changing things up.
I’ve scoured the web and collected some vegetarian and vegan dishes to try. I gave this one a whirl the other night. It was quick to make and tasted delicious! I loved the coconut rice. I know, I know, it’s white rice. Oh well. A girl can only take on so much at once. And the soft coconut rice was the perfect compliment to the tinge of spice. I’ll definitely be making this again… whether I turn out to be a carnivore or not.
What you need:
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup long grain white rice
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup water
What you do:
Heat coconut oil in medium sauce pan. Add rice and stir until grains turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and water. Add salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. When it’s done, fluff rice with fork.
Thai Curried Chickpeas
What you need:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 yellow onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 medium tomato, diced
juice from half a lime
1 tbsp natural sweetener like honey or agave nectar
What you do:
Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and 1 tbsp curry paste. Stir until paste is dissolved into mixture. Add chickpeas, tamari, sweetener, lime juice and tomatoes. You can add water if the mixture becomes dry. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1-2 minutes. Add coconut milk and warm (not boil) another minute or two. Stir in 1 tbsp curry paste evenly throughout. Add cilantro.
Serve over the rice.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps families find healthy routines that work, with no more “what’s for dinner?” stress, and a lot better food. Her family meal plans help moms take charge of their kitchen and their own health, leading to more vegetables and less junk all around. Megan also shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.