Saturday, August 06, 2011

Myths About Vegetarians & Vegetarian Food

Earlier this week I ran across an awesome guest blog post by Daniel Koontz over at the Fooducate Blog.  While Daniel's post, Eight Myths About Vegetarians & Vegetarian Food, provides some amazing information that you might want to check out, I wanted to offer you my take on the myths based on the last 7 months of my meat-free life. 

Myth #1: You can’t get enough protein eating vegetarian food.
This has been a very large concern of mine since I have cut meat out of my diet.  Come to find it, it's not hard to get protein at all.  There are tons of non-meat foods such as grains, legumes (beans), nuts, vegetables and even fruits!  I also recently began using a new food logging program (app) that provides me with fat, protein and carb levels and I've been in good ranges over the last several weeks.

Myth #2: There isn’t enough fat in a vegetarian diet.
As mentioned above, according to my food logging program, I'm getting all the right amounts of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in my meat free diet.   Additionally, if you really want, you can eat all sorts of non-meat foods that are loaded with fat like ice cream, prepared foods, cheeses, snacks and other stuff.  Since I've been also targeting weight loss via my vegetarian journey, I'm more than happy to skip the fats.

Myth #3: Vegetarianism has to be all or nothing.
I've clearly proved this as I've self-proclaimed myself as a pescetarian, essentially a vegetarian that eats fish.  Also, as you have read over the last several months, I've had a little nibble of meat here and there.  A good way to start on a vegetarian diet is to try a few days a week, or even just a few meals.  (check out Meatless Monday!)  I am leaning more and more towards meat-free completely, but I'm still swishing the idea around. 

Myth #4: Vegetarian diets are limited and boring.
No even close to true!  I've cooked more exciting, fun and new dishes over the last several months than I have in ages!  Previously, I'd been stuck with a handful of dishes that I would make each week for Dan and I.  Now, its always something new.  I've even got a Thai Curry dish planned out for dinner tonight that uses coconut milk, tofu, noodles, broccoli and all sorts of spices and excitement!!  (I will admit that I haven't been cooking meals as much as I should but this is mainly due to our schedules.  Sometimes like two ships passing in the early evening, it's hard to plan weeknight meals together...  but really that has nothing to do with vegetarianism).  You've also seen all sorts of dishes that I've posted here so you know it is not meat loaf or spaghetti night at my house.

Myth #5: You can’t eat junk food on a vegetarian diet.
Uh, really?  The only junk food that I've had to say no to complete is beef jerky.  Chips, popcorn, candy, cookies... on and on.. all vegetarian!

Myth #6: Vegetarian food never fills me up.
This evening for dinner I cooked up a veggie burger and put that on a flat-bread with a slice of cheese, some mustard, mayo and ketchup, some sauteed onions, a couple hamburger dill pickle chips and a handful of romaine lettuce.  Not only was it amazing but I was super full at the end (and this only took me about 10 minutes to make).  Also, veggies are a super filler and because they are low in fat and calories (in comparison to meats), you can eat a TON without worrying too much about your intake.  Drinking lots of water helps, too.

Myth #7: Vegetarian culture is too weird. And I don’t want to wear tie-dye.
The only culture changes I've made this year, I think, are for the better.  I'm conscious of what I'm putting into my body.  I'm trying to take care of myself and get fit.  I'm educating myself on what is in food and where it comes from and I'm trying to look at the bigger picture of my impact on the enviorment, my community and all sorts of other good things.   And no, no tie-die and no big changes.

Myth #8: Vegetarians are freakish militants intent on banning all meat.
Not at all!  We'll I'm not anyway.  I can't really be a militant when the man I love and lives with me is a meat-eater.  Vegetarianism and pescetarianism wasn't for him, so he's gone back to eating meat and that's OK with me (but I'm working on ensuring that it is good meat only).  Don't get me wrong, I've been sharing my journey for months now and that is because it's working for me.  I haven't felt this good in years and I enjoy being able to educate people on what I've learned and discovered about myself and I do hope that some of the things I say or type might help someone else too.  Maybe even you?

**Check out more info from Daniel Koontz at his website: Casual Kitchen "a food blog focused on food philosophy, money-saving ideas and easy and inexpensive recipes."**

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