WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

Animals are my friends… and I don’t eat my friends.” – George Bernard Shaw

During the last month and a half, while going through the process of adopting Jordy, I’ve also spent a great deal of time reading and educating myself. While I plan to write more about what I’ve learned in an upcoming post, my eyes were opened to the reality of puppy mills, pet stores and so-called breeders and the conditions in which the vast majority of dogs enter into this world.

Fresh


Photo: tempest_kat on Flickr (used with permission)

So much of what I learned was information that I could not ignore, but I was also very quick to look at the bigger picture. It is not only dogs and puppies that are largely mistreated and raised for their purposes in inhumane conditions, but all animals that are reared for specific purposes can be subject to this mistreatment. To care so passionately about dogs and puppies but not about the other animals would, I feel, be a gross contradiction of my personal morals and values.

Strawberries

Some years ago I decided to be a vegetarian, but lasted just short of two years before I slid down the slippery slope back into a meat-eating lifestyle. At the time, I had no real reason for “going green” in that regard, and I suppose it was partly trendy and partly for what I believed to be health reasons. The difference now is that I have a true conviction behind why I want to shed eating animals from my daily diet.

While I realize that vegetarianism isn’t something for everyone, and I certainly wouldn’t judge anyone for eating meat, I am quickly realizing that this is the right choice for me. I can’t do everything, but not eating meat is what makes sense and it’s what falls into line with where I am at in many regards.

Carrots

I have been doing some more research and even found a great website, GoVeg, that’s chocked full of fantastic information, ideas and recipes. While I had thought I’d gradually make the change, rather than go cold turkey, even eating last night’s Chinese food wasn’t sitting right with me. I want to make sure that I do this right, that I get all the adequate nutrition that I require and that I make smart decisions in this endeavour.

I’m looking forward to altering some of my favourite recipes and creating new ones, and also bringing in new elements into my daily diet. To all you vegetarians out there, any insight or advice would be hugely appreciated. If you have recipes you’d like to share (vegetarian lasagna, please), feel free to e-mail me or leave tips in the comments.

We all love animals. Why do we call some pets and others dinner?” – k.d. lang

13 Comments on “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?

  1. I think I would have a hard time giving up meat. I have cut down considerably on my intake both in portion and what I don’t eat anymore but won’t quit. I do have some meatless recipes to pass on to you.

  2. I’ve got the bestest recipe for veggie lasagna that I’ll send your way. It’s a Lindsay creation but after you put beets in your lasagna, you won’t go back to the ‘regular’ stuff.

  3. I’m not vegetarian but cut out red meat over a year ago and haven’t looked back. I’m thinking seriously of becoming vegetarian (for similar reasons you’ve decided to). Chick peas and lentils are a fantastic substitute for meat (at least I think so) and there are tons of great vegetarian recipes that include them.

  4. Having read books like “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”, “In Defense of Food” and other Michael Pollan essays, I’ve definitely changed my habits. I am a guilty fish eater who makes a conscious effort with the rest of my nutritional choices.

    I love veggie ground round – and since trying it years ago have not used anything but a foray into organic bison meat for tacquitoes once… but I digress…

    I have also been on an anti-gelatin kick lately. I can’t believe how many yogurts have it!

  5. I seriously tried to cut down on my meat intake last year (to one serving per week) and succeeded, but since I can’t eat unfermented soy products, the planning involved was pretty intense and I’ve decided to put that menu plan on hold till I’ve finished school. I did discover some great vegetarian foods that I still make.

    I’d make (and still make, every so often) big batches of pasta and bean salad, which involved: cold pasta, usually whole wheat rotini, lentils and chickpeas, feta, fresh garlic, a dash of pesto and olive oil, and white balsamic vinegar. It’s easy to make and every day for lunch I’d throw in some fresh tomatoes and cucumbers or tuna to give myself some variety. Sundried tomatoes or artichokes are also tasty things to add – the recipe is almost infintely variable so you can always add something new if you get bored with it. My mom’s preferred version involves a can of mixed beans in which red kidney beans are the dominant flavour, and an oil, sugar and vinegar dressing, with broccoli and bell peppers as the main vegetable.

    Homemade falafels are also delicious. I’d bake them in the oven brushed with olive oil or pan-fry them so they’d be at their most flavourful (albeit more fattening). Here’s the recipe I use: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Jeanies-Falafel/Detail.aspx
    It can be vegan but in my experience the patties hold together more nicely if you add an egg.

    I also ate a lot of fish during this time: canned tuna, smoked salmon, grilled fillets…I’m not sure how fish or eggs figure into your plans but eating those, and keeping eggs in my diet, also helped me to deal with the change.

    finally, this vegetarian lasagnae sounds pretty amazing: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Artichoke-Spinach-Lasagna/Detail.aspx. My go-to lasagnae recipe is a spinach ricotta version but I don’t have a digital copy at the moment. I’ll send it along if I find it.

    Good luck, and enjoy!

  6. I would HIGHLY recommend the book “Diet for a Small Planet”.

    I too have recently changed to a mostly veggie diet. Our little family eats this way now for several reasons… in this order: 1. There is a REAL link between why people are starving on this planet and the amount of meat that western cultures eat. 2. It’s VERY expensive to eat meat – beans are cheap! 3. It’s better for one to stay away from meat (but… important to learn to combine protiens to get complete combination).

    You and I NEVER have enough time to chat about all these interesting things! Maybe if I end up in Van for school we can do veggie cookin’ theme nights :)

    We’re not fully veg. Tonight we ate lamb. And every year we get a bunch of black angus beef FOR FREE from my grandparents farm. It’s organic and it;s really good… and she loves her cows to the point where they are almost like pets… so I don’t feel so bad.

  7. I’ve only felt uneasy about eating lamb but I know I couldn’t go cold-turkey, not just yet. It’s a difficult thing to go green, my friend Meg is doing it for health reasons since she’s allergic to the preservatives in most meat products and she spends so much on organic. But it’s a worthwhile investment if you are adamant and dedicated.

    Best of luck with Jordy!

  8. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

    “To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being.”
    Mahatma Gandhi, statesman and philosopher

    What an adventure you’re on K, I have so many great cookbooks but my first “bible” of veg cooking was “The Moosewood Cookbook” – and when I have you over for din I’ll know to make the amazing lasagna from it I’ve memorized over the years, yay! Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been 18 years since I gave up eating animals, but at the same time it’s such a part of who I am and has helped me grow and branch out with so many other passions, I can’t imagine my life any other way.

    Last week, someone I know told me they were having rabbit stew for easter dinner…I honestly thought they were kidding but when I realized it wasn’t a joke, I almost cried.

    I think if everyone watched the most amazing and heart-wrenching documentary “Earthlings”, the whole world would turn vegetarian in a heartbeat – because our hearts – ALL our God-given animal hearts – beat with love.

    Namaste darlin xxoo

  9. Lindsay, I want that beet lasagna recipe too please!
    I call myself a ‘daytime vegetarian’ for dietary reasons (because I can’t go full-time, being married to mr. all-u-can-eat bbq..) In any case, I have one of the Moosewood Restaurant’s cookbooks called “Simple Suppers” and every single recipe I’ve made in it is amaaaaazing. Also, being Japanese, I know a lot about tofu.. hehe. Ask away!

  10. some ideas I have learned from an extremely health conscience friend

    stay away from any processed foods. ANY
    yes to grass fed organic beef
    NO to anything SOY. some fermented soy is okay
    RAW milk (preferred) or whole milk.
    Any 2%, skim, etc is processed with added chemicals.
    free range
    organic
    Bison is alright because Bison can’t be given the hormones and other things that cattle are given.

    The term “natural flavors” on labels means that there are chemicals added. “natural flavors” is a lie that govt agencies allow. don’t be fooled by it. MSG is considered a “natural flavor”. Think about it. You have a can of say, peaches. Would anybody have to put “natural flavors” as an ingredient on a can of peaches?

    Educate yourself and you can be even healthier than you originally planned.

  11. First of all, here is a super recipe for veggie lasagna complete with illustrations and witty banter to boot:
    http://kitchenscraps.ca/2009/04/06/megalicious-lasagnasaurus/

    Second, I think this woman’s blog is great for both veggie recipes and veggie education that doesn’t feel like a textbook. She is so on the ball when it comes to seasonal, local, and healthy eating. If you like her blog she has a link to her cook book as well which is said to be awesome.

    http://domesticaffair.blogspot.com/

    Plus, she’s canadian and I kinda like that, ha.

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