Food for Thought: Vegan Before 6

In true Masarech fashion, I like my steak rare, cool in the middle. I usually opt for the fattier ribeye over the cuts-like-butter filet mignon that my dad loved most. Hold the steak sauce. Just some salt and pepper, and I’m in heaven.

I know this is not the type of insight you expect from a blog dedicated to healthy lifestyles.

Relax. I keep my steak splurges in check. You should, too. There continue to be studies like this one that link health issues to red meat consumption.

I have another reason to skirt steak:  I’m married to a vegetarian. Jim is informed and eloquent on the subject, especially when it comes to the impact that the meat industry has on our environment. (Here’s his widely distributed article, “So You’re an Environmentalist … Why Are You Still Eating Meat?” and a 2004 speech he gave to the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii on the same topic.) While never a vegetarian, I kept a vegetarian kitchen for more than 10 years. Our New Year’s Day open houses continue to feature a vegetarian spread since we have so many veg friends. I don’t disagree with most of arguments for not eating animals. It’s just not my thing.

Eat Less Meat

Despitevb6 my love of cow, pig, chicken, fish, duck…. I do try to eat a diet that is primarily plant-based. One approach that intrigues me is Mark Bittman’s: Eat vegan before 6pm. In Food Matters, Bittman describes how he lost weight, lowered his cholesterol and blood sugar, and eliminated sleep apnea this way.  In VB6, he goes into more detail. (Both books contain recipes.)

You don’t have to keep to Bittman’s schedule (I don’t), but why not start to consciously add vegan meals to your day? (Reminder: vegan means no animal flesh, no dairy, no eggs.)

Ideas to Get You Started

  1. Summer is the perfect time to try this approach, as farmer’s markets are overflowing with local vegetables and fruits. Roast a variety of vegs with EVOO and S&P. Don’t leave out the tomatoes!
  2. Microwave just-picked corn on the cob. It doesn’t really need any butter! It’s sweet and crisp.

    Thai Cabbage Salad
    Thai Cabbage Salad
  3. Pick up one of those bowling-ball-sized cabbages and experiment with salads. No mayo required.  Try this cabbage salad with peanuts. Or one of our favorites: Shred cabbage, carrots, and onions. Then mix with lime, a sprinkle of sugar, sesame oil, cumin, siracha, lots of cilantro, S&P, and a splash of oil or coconut milk.
  4. Roast chick peas with EVOO, S&P, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle with fresh lemon and parsley when done. Serve over pasta or brown rice or toss them into a salad.
  5. Try almond milk with your cereal. Or as August brings cooler mornings, make oatmeal with blueberries, which will soften and explode. Dust with cinnamon, sprinkle with walnuts. You won’t miss the milk.
  6. Explore some of the great sites that are dedicated to vegan cooking. I like Karma Chow and My New Roots these days.

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