Meatless Mondays!

The topic of meat consumption has become as sensitive a topic as religion.  People don’t want to be told how much, how little, or what kind they should be eating.   And to each their own I suppose.  Man vs. Food constantly reminds me that this is America, the place where you can eat a 120oz steak if you want to. 

All I’m saying, is LESS IS MORE when it comes to meat.  If you, like me, are trying to wean your family off of daily regimen of meat consumption, it may be time to incorporate Meatless Monday into your menu.  Sounds exciting doesn’t it?!  Meatless Monday is just as it sounds, no explanation needed.  I’ve decided to institute Meatless Monday into my weekly menus after a series of events that lead me down a straight and narrow path right to this decision.

 

On Friday, I made my favorite soup for my husband (featured here) before jetting off to a girls weekend in Park City.  My husband suggested (borderline pleaded)  I add chicken to this meat-free recipe.  I considered it, but quickly snapped out of my meat infused coma and realized that we don’t have to eat meat for every. single. meal!!  So the soup kept it’s vegetarian integrity.  A few days later, I was at my sister-in-law’s house flipping through cookbooks.   I found a cookbook that introduced me to the idea of Meatless Monday, and even devoted an entire section to the idea!!  “What a great concept”, I thought to myself; one day a week, where I get to cook a hearty meal, without meat!

 

The last event on my Meatless Monday Path occurred today.  My conversion was complete as I read an articlein Time magazine about how the whiny, snot-nosed beef industry threw a good old fashioned tantrum over a USDA internal newsletter suggesting USDA employees try Meatless Monday during their cafeteria ventures.  To me the meat industry and their power grabs are more annoying, whiny, and slimy than a 1960’s politician.  Their whine fired up my stubbornness and left me more devout than ever to incorporate

Vegetarian Lasagna

Meatless Monday into my home.

Meatless Chili

It’s becoming a nationwide craze.  Thousands of  cafeterias, schools, and businesses are promoting one meatless day a week.  There are many different motives in promoting Meatless Monday. Whether you’re a health nut and believe it’s good to give the digestive system a break from breaking down proteins for a day; whether you’re environmentally aware and believe it decreases our carbon footprint to eat less meat; whether you’re stubborn and are just sick of the meat industry; or whether you’re a combination of all or none of these things, try Meatless Mondays.

Meatless Enchiladas

Upon further recollection, I realized, I don’t love being on a set schedule.  And in all seriousness if I feel like honey glazed salmon on Monday, I’m going to eat it, knowing that there will be another day in the week I will not eat meat.  The overarching idea behind Meatless Monday, is to moderate your meat consumption.  Simple as that.

 

***Disclaimer: Stop reading now, unless you are prepared to hear my continued meat industry rantings. ****

 

The beef industry doesn’t take lightly to the discouragement of meat consumption.  Midwest state senators do not take lightly to the discouragement of meat consumption.  Meat lobbyists do not take lightly to the discouragement of meat consumption.   This creates a powerful trifecta, which creates a meat economy that is no more organic than the meat it produces!  Meat consumption has gone down 12% since 2007.  Rather than letting the economy do its thing and adjust naturally, Daddy Government is now set up to issue subsididies for livestock feed, buy up unsold meat only to throw it away, and close one eye toward the sanitation of animal living conditions and processing plants which process America’s grocery store beef.

Senator Grassley, a Senator from Iowa, responded to the USDA newletter outcry with the following Twit…Tweet…whatever it’s called:

I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate for stupid USDA recommendation abt a meatless Monday

Another reason why I will eat LESS meat on meatless Monday.

Snozzcumbers Bug Guts & Pink Slime

I recently re-read one of my favorite books of all time: The BFG, by Roald Dahl.  If you’ve ever read any of his books, you know what a colorful array of imaginary foods Dahl creates.  Everything from fizzy lifting drinks, glumptious globgobblers, and snozzcumbers,  to devils drenchers, frobscottle, pishlets and scorchdroppers.  I don’t know about you but every time I watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory I envy those children walking around a life-size Candyland.

Dahl was a mastermind at inventing new foods.  And reading about the imaginative frobscottle and snozzcumbers spurred a train of thought, which has led to this post: the imaginative foods of our day.

PINK SLIME has been getting a lot of media facetime lately.  This slime is composed of inedible meat product trimmings, which are then mixed with ammonia, squished out of a tube and married to ground beef to make hamburger patties.   Jamie Oliver did a fantastic bit about the making of Pink Slime:

pink-slime-beef-with-ammonia

Have you eaten at McDonalds, Taco Bell, or Burger King in the last 8 years?  Have you purchased ground beef from the supermarket?  If so, consider yourself slimed.  You have been fortunate to taste the pink slime.  But did you know you were eating it?  Was it listed in the ingredients on your package of ground beef?

BUG GUTS  are another common ingredient found in many chain-store foods.  This South American bug is “harvested” for the rosy color it secretes when squished.  Starbucks has recently been taking the heat for using the crushed bug carcasses as substitution for the standard petroleum red dye #40 in their popular strawberry-flavored items.  As you can imagine, this has made vegans, and people who generally don’t like eating bugs, vomit around the globe.  These bugs, deemed safe by the USDA were never listed on ingredient lists.

GROSS!!! I dont’ know about you but I don’t like meat slime or bug secretion.  But that’s not the point. What companies choose to put in their food is their decision and their right.  THE POINT IS:  we as customers/consumers have a RIGHT to know what is in our food. 

Inspected for Wholesomeness. Hearing these types of stories kind of cheapens the USDA's definition of Wholesomeness.

The USDA approves a lot of iffy things, like crushed bugs and dirty laundry meat.  And somehow these foods get around having to be listed in the List of Ingredients.  Specifically in the case of Pink Slime, it doesn’t have to be listed as a separate ingredient because it’s composed of beef, therefore it is a beef product.  Tricky, tricky.

Sadly, when we eat out or buy meat from supermarkets we are probably eating slime. And maybe bug guts too.  Because of the negative publicity, slime and guts are being phased out of many stores.  But they will just be substituted with other questionable products to keep the price of food artificially low.  There is really no way to avoid questionable foods like these, except by preparing our own foods, or eating at organic restaurants.   I realize in today’s world it is considered extreme to eat at home for every meal of the day. But perhaps that shouldn’t seem like such a anomaly.  It’s a sneaky, dirty, dog-eat-dog world in the food business.  And our modern day food inventors keep getting more and more creative.  So lets all try to stick to organic!  Or better yet, homemade!  Afterall, homemade food is scrumdidilyumptious!!!!

The Time To Cleanse is Upon Us!

Yawn, stretch, yawn.  Hibernation is over.  The budding trees outside remind me spring has indeed sprung.  And like earth is doing right now, so should we be doing: CLEANSING!  Cleansing is a dirty, intimidating word to a lot of people that makes them be like:

But I assure you, if you do a cleanse that works with your body, you will discover the absolute necessity of cleansing throughout the year, (ideally quarterly).

First thing to note when considering a cleanse: THERE IS NO RIGHT CLEANSE FOR EVERYONE.   The age old cayenne pepper and lemon juice cleanse may be great for some constitutions, while it may kill other constitutions.  So I would choose a cleanse that is suitable to:

  • A) your will-power.  Do not choose a cleanse you know you cannot follow.  This is just setting yourself up for failure. 
  • B) Your lifestyle.  Think realistically about what you can do without completely disrupting your day to day life.  A cleanse will require you to sacrifice a bit of your time and perhaps social events (as most social events revolve around food)  but it’s only for a few weeks of your life.  It’s worth it and you owe it to yourself. 
  • C) Your Current Level of Health.  If you are a health nut already and eat a lot of raw foods, you may want to look at doing a deep colon cleanse using the aide of herbs.  If fruits and veggies are foreign to your diet, a more basic cleanse may be a good way to start. 

Regardless of your current eating patterns your body NEEDS to cleanse.  There are so many benefits to cleansing.  To further convince you to do a cleanse, I will highlight the more catchy reasons:

WEIGHTLOSS   If you follow your cleanse, you will notice pounds dripping off, for two reasons: 1) you won’t be eating junky foods    2)You will be giving your body a break from the hard work of digesting foods like dairy, carbs, processed foods, excess proteins, so it can focus on cleansing and eliminating the built up gunk in your system.  That gunk really packs a punch and can EASILY add an extra 5-15 pounds on the scale.  Once you begin to cleanse, that gunk caked to the sides of your intestinal tract will be released which will aid to weight and inches lost, primarily around the abdominal area.  Have I convinced you that a cleanse is a good idea yet?

ENERGY INCREASE   Just as I demonstrated in the first three words of this entry, people tend to feel sluggish as they come out of their winter hibernation, but are eager to shed their winter “coats”.  A cleanse is a great way to aide this process.  Cleansing will actually give you energy because you will be eating HIGH QUALITY FOODS, and the built up gunk (I suppose I’ll stick with the same, non-technical verbiage) will not be around to weigh you down.   REMEMBER:  it is possible to have long lasting energy without eating breads and animal products, both of which should be avoided while on any decent cleanse. 

DISEASE PREVENTION  Cancer, Candida, Hypo/hyperthyroidism, specific organ diseases, diverticulitis, allergies, Celiac, IBS are all diseases/conditions caused by poor digestion, caused by the standard American diet.   Just like teeth, our bodies produce plaque/mucus when we eat, as a defense mechanism to protect itself from chemicals, unnatural ingredients in our food.  There are over  12 organs involved in the digestion process, all with an estimated surface area to be the size of a football field!   That’s a lot of organs exposed to the foods we eat, both good and bad.   Cleansing allows your body to catch up on digestion, and clean the mucussey-hard to reach places inside the digestive tract where diseases like the ones listed above thrive.  Plaque/mucus build up is the perfect breeding ground for disease.  Similar to our teeth, we should schedule cleanings every 3-6 months for our bodies.  It only makes sense.

If you are unsure which cleanse you want to try, or don’t want to take the time to look around, might I offer a suggestion? 

For two weeks eat a diet composed only of fruits and veggies. This is not meant to be a two week period of starvation.  You should feel full at the end of every meal.  Your day should go something like this:

  • Eat as many fruits as you need to feel full throughout the morning.
  • Enjoy a huge DEEP LEAFY GREEN salad for lunch with as many veggies, nuts/seeds as you want
  • If you get the munchies throughout the afternoon, snack on raw almonds, or carrots
  • Eat a huge DEEP LEAFY GREEN salad for dinner with as many veggies, nuts/seeds as you want.
  • If you are craving sweets, figs will be your best friend. They are loaded with natural sugars and fiber.
  • If you’re absolutely dying from cravings and you feel your only options are to fall off your cleanse or eat chocolate, BUY CACAO NIBS

The deep leafy greens such as chard, kale, or spinach will act as a scrub brush throughout your digestive tract and are the best thing to help you rock your cleanse. The more you can eat the better.  DRINK TONS OF WATER  (tons meaning at LEAST 8 cups)

  

THINGS TO AVOID

  • Any beverage except water
  • Breads in any form
  • Pasta
  • Processed food
  • Baked goods
  • Animal Products
  • Dairy
  • Sweets

If you are looking for a deep cleanse, which I would HIGHLY recommend, I would trust no one else besides Vicki Talmage.  She is a life-saver, literally.  She will change your life and help you to view health in a way that you never have before. 

These are the organs associated with the digestive tract

I’m telling you, cleanses are great.  They will improve your health drastically.  Not gonna lie, you’re going to be crabby the first few days because you’ll realize how much you rely on food for entertainment, happiness, or comfort.  But cleansing will let you test your strength.  After the first week, you’ll be feeling pretty good about your health and it may be easy to justify stopping.  Don’t.  Tell yourself good job and keep cleansing.  If you think there’s nothing left to cleanse, keep cleansing.  The longer you can cleanse the better.  You owe it to yourself to at least give it a try.

 

 

PS I apologize for the annoying “text enhance” popups throughout this post.  Thank you WordPress.  Anyone know how to get them to stop?!?!

Coconut Curry Vegetable Soup

Well, it’s official. My first sick day of the season.  Congested, achey, coughing, wheezing, the works.  I’m terrible at being sick mainly because I’m terrible at laying in bed all day; especially when a sunny, snowy mountain is taunting me through my window.  Strap on the skis and let nature do the healing?  It’s yet to be decided. But in the mean time, to appease my restlessness I decided to mix up a pot of my favorite go-to soup. I’m ashamed I haven’t posted any soup recipes to date but today, I right my wrong.  This recipe is a tasty, easy-to-make crowd pleaser.   Coconut milk gives this curried soup the right amount of creamy sweetness that will leave you and your guests begging for seconds.

Although a classic vegetarian recipe, if you prefer your soups with a little more gusto, feel free to add one chicken breast, shredded.  Also, try substituting the rice called for in this recipe, with any other grain you are trying to clear out of your pantry. Try barley for extra fiber. Try lentils for extra protein.  Not kidding, from start to finish, this takes 20 minutes.  That is hard to beat when preparing a healthy, filling, homemade meal.

Coconut Curry Vegetable Soup
(not necessarily in that order)
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 package (16oz) frozen stir-fry vegetables –if you’re feeling ambitious use fresh veggies
  • 1 can (14oz) vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup uncooked instant brown rice
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce1 can (14oz) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
*Makes 4 servings
1.  Combine vegetables and broth in a large saucepan.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  
2.  Stir in rice, curry powder, salt and hot pepper sauce.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 8 minutes or until rice is tender, stirring once.

3.  Stir in coconut milk; cook 3 minutes or until heated through.
4.   Remove from heat; stir in lime juice and serve.

TIP 1:  For a lighter soup with less fat and fewer calories, use lite unsweetened coconut milk.  This is found in the international of any supermarket.

This is the difference between regular and lite coconut milk. Lite coconut milk contains 50% less fat than regular coconut milk

TIP 2: Double this recipe.  Eat to your heart’s content and freeze the remaining half for an unexpected sick day, or a day you don’t feel like cooking.

So What is Health Anyway?

For being such a commonly used term, health is a very misunderstood concept.   I decided to do a little research to find out what the Confucious of our time, Google, had to say about it.  Google has 7,120,000,000 pages relating to health.  And when I asked Google specifically what health is, Google told me: “the state of being free from illness or injury”, “the absence of abnormailty”, ” the level of functional or metabolic efficiency”.  It also told me that Gerber, Nutrisystem, ask.com, and intermountainlive were the deep pocketed sponsors for that page.

My flawlessly designed, meticulously executed research confirmed my suspicions: health is a vaguely defined concept that everyone in the world (almost) tries to define and/or sell.  It is like religion.  Everyone has their own opinion; different religions work better for different people.   There is a right level of health for everyone.  But it takes time and attention to discover your personal level of health.

This is the main concept I have learned during the last year and a half of my schooling. Despite media propoganda, health should not be synonymous with skinny.   To suggest that is a very 2-dimensional version of health.  Health should be viewed as  achieving balance in every aspect of your life.

One of the main focuses in my schooling has been based around the above image.  As you can see, it suggests that in the center of health is the consumption of high quality water, veggies, grains, fruits, proteins, and oils (in that order).  Surrounding a high quality diet, are lifestyle factors: relationships, career, physical activity, and spirituality.  I LOVE this pyramid because it encompases all areas of life, which so many other health regiments fail to do.  One cannot achieve optimal health simply by eating a fantastic diet or working out every day.  I’m sure we can all think of someone who is so obsessed with healthy foods or their gym time, that it consumes their life.  An imbalance  in physical exercise or diet leaches energy that should go to other areas of life, like relationships or career.

Another huge concept I focus on in my life and with my coaching is the concept of bio-individuality.  This is to say that each person has unique food and lifestyle needs.  One person’s food is another person’s poison.  I have tried and failed many a diet and lifestyle change throughout my life.  In the past I even hesitated to fully embrace becoming a health coach because I myself am definitely not perfect in my nutrition.  I am most likely the world’s biggest yo-yoer.  But the lessons I’ve learned through my health challenges have become as big a part of my education as my schooling.  They have helped me to embrace the reality of what being healthy is all about.

A common phrase I hear when I talk with people about their health is: “I’m healthy enough”.   And perhaps they are. But what we should be thinking is, how healthy can I be?  Ask yourself that question as you consider your current health, what you want it to be, and what you can do to get there.  Take the whole gambit of health into consideration and it will foster the pathway to a sustainable change.  It will make losing weight easier. It will help creating meaningful relationships easier. It will create a happier you.   If you have questions about the pyramid or how to apply it to your life, I’d love to answer them – feel free to contact me.