Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Protein Resources

As we, well now just I, move into month four of pescetarianism, I want to share some of the info that I have discovered about protein.  As many others who have decided to remove meats from their diets may also know, one of the first questions that people may ask is where you are going to get protein in your diet.  When eliminating a main aspect of a 'balanced' diet, of course, there are replacements that need to be made.  Meat is a very large ingredient in the American diet and fortunately there are tons of alternatives to obtaining protein..... and more than just beans, too!

First, here is a great intro article that has some good suggestions on various foods that you probably already have in your cupboard.  On Moving Toward Vegetarianism: Getting the Protein You Need

Next, this post has an awesome list of everyday foods such as beans, dairy, fish, and grains (it also includes poultry, but you can skip that part if you would like) and their respective calorie, protein, carbohydrate and fat levels.  High Protein Foods List with Protein Content

Finally, this post gives you a quick look into what may happen should you be ingesting too much protein from animals.  Protein Poisoning.  One of the best quotes from this article is "...diets are meant to be triangles."  So true!

None of these references are too overbearing so they are worth a quick glace to gain some valuable information about what options you have for non-animal based proteins in your diet.  These are also in no way complete and there is tons more information out there.  The same diets aren't always good for everyone, so always be sure to check with your health care professional to make sure you are eating for what your body needs.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Chickpea Salad

I'm pretty proud of myself for this one.  I actually came up with a recipe all on my own.  We had purchased a grocery store brand chickpea salad a handful of times and after review the ingredients, I decided that I was pretty sure I could do the same myself for less money and with more pizazz.  Of course, after I decided what I was going to do, I searched online for some similar recipes just to confirm that my ideas weren't crazy. And voila! Jesi's Chickpea Salad.

This recipe requires no cooking and takes about 10 minutes, or less, to whip up.  You want to give it an hour or two in the fridge to chill together, but if you can't wait to be wowed, just go for it!  Its an excellent side dish, or can be paired with some other veggies (like grilled zucchini) to make a full meal out of it.  The flavors are amazing and after my first try making it, Dan requested that this be a staple in the house at all times.

Here's the recipe.

Chickpea Salad

  • 2 15 oz cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) - drained and rinsed
  • 1 large cucumber - quartered and sliced
  • 1 cup carrots - julienned / matchstick
  • 2 clove garlic - minced
  • 1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup Greek salad dressing
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.  Refrigerate for 2 hours.  Serve chilled.

Here are some tips, suggestions and additions you may like:
Optional are tomatoes (10 cherry, halved) and red onion (1/2 small, chopped) - Dan isn't a fan of raw onions and I'm not a fan of raw tomatoes so we skipped this.
I used garlic and herb flavored feta to sort of kick it up a notch.
Not a fan of Greek?  Try Italian dressing.  Adds a little more zest and is wonderful (I actually used Italian the first go round).
Not a fan of kalamata?  Try black olives.
Need some short cuts - by presliced or chopped olives and matchstick carrots in the bag.
Something else??  Mix it up however you want!  This is an awesome summer salad and definitely one that you can tweak to your own tastes.

I would love to hear alternatives or additions to this when you try it at home.

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