Monday, January 23, 2012

Guest Blog: Susan Dayley on Where's the Beef?

I've blogged quite a bit about the diet that has finally allowed me to start losing weight - 76 pounds since June. My diet is comprised of meat, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and no grain. It's the only thing I've ever found that works for me.

Our guest blogger today is Susan Dayley, who has found that she feels best when she limits her meat intake. That's different from what I'm doing, but the cool thing is that every person's body is different, and every person will find success in different ways. The important thing is to listen to your body and give it what it uniquely needs.

Take it away, Susan!

Where’s the Beef?

Thank goodness, you don’t have to be a singer to sing, and you don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat vegetables. At my house we eat pretty much everything (except gross things like Spam or Brussel spouts). We also eat lots of vegetarian meals. I try to limit our meat to no more than once per day (that includes a sandwich for lunch or sausage with breakfast). (Not exactly “sparingly,” but we’re working on it. Some days we go the whole day without meat! Close your mouth, I know!)

Most people ask, “What about protein!” I usually refrain from pointing out that the Great Apes that reign with terror in the jungle are vegetarians, as are the well-fed cows that become the source of “protein style” at In and Out Burger. Instead I hedge with a mumbled answer that sounds like “been lagoon in rain and smut.” [Translation: “beans, legumes, grains and nuts.”]

“But my kids won’t eat it!” And it’s true they may not. At least not every dish you offer. My children were raised as vegans until they became sassy, know-it-all teens. [Love ya!] Now, in their mid-twenties they are returning to healthier eating habits again. But during our meat-less, dairy-less, whole grain years, some meals they loved, some not so much. They still tease their parents about our experiment with “rejuvelac.” (Don’t worry, you really don’t want to know.)

What we found though was that in the beginning when we adjusted a known recipe, it was an easier adjustment than just jumping in with quinoa and tofu. For example, pizza with “veggie” pepperoni from the health food store was a small step. Later, they ate whole grain pizza with grilled peppers, caramelized onions and artichoke hearts. But that came after a couple of years. I have included below a favorite recipe for 3-bean pizza that puts a southwest twist on a favorite meal.

Vegetable soups are a great way to take your family away from “meat at every meal.” Barbeque flavored black bean and rice wraps with jicama, sunflower seeds and cheese are delicious. Many vegetarians enjoy omelets with sautéed mushrooms and peppers, but kids may prefer them with just cheese. Or better yet, make crepes. My children loved crepes.

Give it a try. Incorporate some vegetarian meals into your menus. Get some fun cookbooks, and simply experiment. Some of our best successes were from my own attempts to adjust an old favorite entrée into a vegetarian or vegan option.

Here’s that Pizza:

Three-Bean Pizza

1 T. olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (8 oz.) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed.
1 can (8 oz.) chick-peas (garbanzo) beans, drained and rinsed
1 jar (12oz.) chunky salsa
¼ C. chopped cilantro or parsley
1 pizza crust (unbaked)
4 oz. shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or try almond cheese for a vegan option)

1. Preheat oven to hot (425º).
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions; sauté 3 minutes or until translucent. Add garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add beans, salsa and cilantro; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through—about 5 minutes.
3. Sprinkle pizza dough (stretched in a pan) with half the cheese.
4. Spread bean mixture over surface. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes. Serve with forks and a green vegetable on the side.

From The Family Circle Cookbook New tastes for New Times

Susan Dayley blogs about vegetarian meals on most Mondays at Looking Out My Backdoor.


Cat said...

Brussels Sprouts are the best!'re missing out.

Try them with a little olive oil, Dijon mustard, and balsamic vinegar next time ;)

Susan Roebuck said...

I love Brussels Sprouts too LOL. I love hearing about diets (that don't take any chemicals to help them along). I've just started, a basic one that reduces me to 1,200 cals per day and a fitness program. Let's see! But I'm going to make this pizza, definitely.

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