I’ll admit it. I’m a carnivore. Dad was a butcher. There’s nothing I like better than a steak dinner. And yet…from everything I’ve read, red meat just isn’t good for you, while vegetables, legumes and fruits are very good for you. I know there are lots of other reasons people choose to go vegetarian (or vegan) such as animal protection and the environment, but for me, the main reason is wellness.
I’ll admit that I’m also not quite ready to become a whole-hog (pardon the expression) vegetarian. But in the interest of health, I am seeking to cut my meat consumption way down, and up the percentage of vegetarian meals (or almost vegetarian meals) I prepare.
Vastly decreasing animal protein consumption has quite a few benefits! It’s one of the simplest ways to decrease fat consumption…with all the accompanying benefits of decreasing rates of heart disease and cancer. As a result you are also more likely to lose or maintain weight loss. If you have high cholesterol, switching to a vegetarian diet will lower it by as much as 20%! In general, a vegetarian diet costs less than an animal protein diet. I could go on, but I’m not so much trying to convince you (or me) as I am to just say, switching to an almost vegetarian diet is good for you and me.
Recognizing that many others, like me, are not willing to give up all meat, all poultry and all fish and seafood, my goal is to showcase the foods and recipes out there that will work for vegetarians and almost vegetarians.
Start slowly. That’s what I’m doing.
Unless you have a compelling reason for diving into becoming vegetarian overnight, take baby steps. Eliminate animal protein from breakfast and lunch, and start incorporating one veggie meal a week. Then two…and so on. For the non veggie meals, start decreasing the portion size to no more than 6 oz., preferably 4. And make the accompanying vegetables and grains the star of the meal, while the animal protein becomes the garnish or side dish.
Part of going from massive carnivore to [almost] vegetarian is rethinking what a dinner looks like. It doesn’t have to be an entree and two side dishes as is the custom in most US homes. More about that later.
For now, make it easy on yourself by starting with familiar meals.
A dinner of eggplant parmesan or vegetable lasagne along with salad is a a familiar and tasty vegetarian meal. Try that this week!