Today I didn't eat meat once. On purpose.
This past weekend, Justin and I curled up and watched three documentaries as Hurricane Irene passed through North Carolina. Two of them focused on food and the importance of what we put in our bodies.
The first - Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead
Focused "on two men whose bodies have been trashed by steroids, obesity and illness, this documentary chronicles the rigorous healing path -- including a two-month diet of fruits and vegetables -- that both attempt in a bid to rescue their health."
This documentary demonstrated how much the average American loves food, but to a point where they eventually are sacrificing their lives for it. One man who was in his fifties and about 50 pounds overweight, was at risk for a heart attack, but continued to eat his chicken fried steak and whatever else he wanted because he'd prefer to eat it then see his six children grow up. He didn't say that directly, but basically said he knew the direction he was headed in, and didn't plan to change it.
My main takeaways from this documentary were the focus on fruits and veggies in your diet. To maintain a vegetable based diet, the nutritionist in the film recommended eating meat only twice, if not once, a week.
Not sure if I can do that, but I'm working on cutting it out where I can :)
The second - Food, Inc.
This "Oscar-nominated documentary explores the food industry's detrimental effects on our health and environment."
What really stuck out to me about this film was the tour of the chicken farms. Here the chickens never see daylight and can hardly walk because the hormones they've been given have made them grow too big, too fast, and their bone structure can't support themselves.
The film showed the difference in size between a chicken breast you'd find at the grocery store with hormones and one without hormones. I will never buy a big chicken breast again. Also, I doubt I'll every buy meat that's not organic ever again.
I still think meat is important, but after these two documentaries, I'm convinced that I'll never buy general processed meat. The documentary also explains how one of the largest buyers in the meat market is first McDonalds followed by a few other popular brands like Perdue. Because these are the largest consumers of meat, they have the largest say in how it's produced. So even if you're buying meat from the grocery store instead of McDonalds be careful because it could be produced similarly to McDonalds' meat since there are only four meat processing factories in the United States.
In reality, Justin loves cooking steak, and I love eating his amazingly, delicious steak. However, I am going to make steps to substitute animal protein for protein found in beans, lentils and nuts when possible. I also want to focus on trying recipes that don't incorporate meat. A great blog for these kind of recipes is Peas and Thank You. Sarah is a mom who feeds her husband and two young girls on a vegan diet. She makes healthy, but oh-my-goodness-I-want-to-eat-all-of-that-right-now recipes.
Was my go-to salad from the Abs Diet for Women.
- 3 cups mixed greens (I substitute 2 cups romaine, 1 cup spinach)
- 2 slices smoked deli turkey, chopped (today I substituted chickpeas)
- 1/2 small Granny Smith apple, chopped
- 1 tbsp diced pecans
- 1 1/2 tbsp Craisins
- 1 tbsp blue cheese crumbles
- Dressing: 1 1/2 tsp olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I substitute light balsamic vinaigrette)
Makes 1 serving.
Calories per serving: 296; Protein 15 g; Carbs 31; Total fat: 15 g; Saturated fat: 3 g; Sodium: 590 mg; Fiber: 7g.
I'm assuming the noted substitutions I make alter the above nutritional details in favor of lower sodium and saturated fat.
Was leftovers from last night! When scoping out recipes on Peas and Thank You, I asked Justin, "Do you want tacos tonight?" I thought he knew that I wasn't incorporating meat into last night's meal - I guess I thought wrong.
As we headed to the grocery store, Justin asked, "What kind of tacos are we making? Fish?? Chicken??" My response, "Nope! Roasted Chickpea Tacos!"
Justin's response, "Ugh! This is going to suck. I'd rather go out to eat and spend money than eat that."
Oh, well! My mind was made up :)
It turned out just as delicious as I anticipated. Justin was very apprehensive and at first thought it was "just ok" but I think that's because he was being Mr. Negativity. After a couple more bites of the tacos topped with the Mmmm Sauce he was sold and said it's worth making again. Yay!
(I'm borrowing pictures from Sarah's website since hers look much more appetizing than my quick iPhone photo. See above links to recipes for the sources.)
I was actually more excited to make the Mmmm Sauce than the tacos. I've heard several others talk about how it's just too good to be true, and they were right. It can definitely go on anything and tasted delicious over the tacos!
Did I mention this was a vegan meal? Actually, my first. Success!
Also, Sarah just published her first cookbook this summer and it's already hit the New York Times Bestsellers List. There's plenty of recipes to choose from off her website for free, but I'm definitely going to buy the book this weekend after payday!
What's your stance on meat? Organic? Love a Wendy's burger? Have you tried any recipes from Peas and Thank You? Any recommendations on another good recipe?
All of her recipes look good and I can't wait to make more!