Meatless Monday -“You can’t handle the truth”

I just watched a documentary entitled “The truth about meat.”

And the truth is…eating free range, organic grass-fed meat is more detrimental to the environment than factory farms. To feed the growing demand for meat with less environmental impact is more efficiently served by intensive agriculture. For those who want to be ‘conscientious’ carnivores, this may come as a shock.

Meat has always been eaten by affluent people and in affluent times. Typical portion sizes today are far greater than what they need to be in order to get sufficient protein. This has led to an industrial system proving to be unsustainable.

But why discuss meat on Meatless Monday? This tidbit gives more compelling support of a vegetarian diet.

The mandate to cut down on meat consumption is nothing new. Meatless Monday started as a food rationing campaign during wartime. More recently the UN predicted that the world may need to become vegetarian by the year 2050.

So to achieve meat freedom what does one eat for protein?

A varied diet of grains, legumes and vegetables when eaten in proper proportions can provide the protein required by the body daily. Because the amino acids are plant-based and not as easily absorbed as animal protein, aim for a higher protein count per serving. A typical serving of animal protein averages 25g. For a protein rich plant-based meal aim for at least a minimum of 30g.

The following are some of the better sources of plant-based protein. They are grouped loosely by category.

  • soybeans, tofu, tempeh, tvp (texturized vegetable protein)
  • wheat gluten, seitan
  • teff, amaranth, quinoa (actually a berry but eaten as a grain)
  • steel-cut oats, brown rice
  • lentils, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans
  • almonds, peanut butter
  • spinach, peas, broccoli

Some meal suggestions:

  • brown rice with broccoli, tofu and peas
  • stew of lentils, teff and spinach seasoned with berbere, an Ethiopian spice blend
  • steel-cut oats and amaranth cooked with soy milk, topped with almonds and drizzled with a peanut butter and silken tofu ‘cream’
  • three bean salad with quinoa, kidney beans, black beans and chickpeas

Around the world on a plate – Cookies

“C is for cookie, that’s good enough for me.” ~Cookie monster~

Cultural cookies

Who doesn’t love a good cookie? Just about every culture has some version of them.

  • ANZAC biscuits, Australia and New Zealand
  • gingerbread, Germany
  • chocolate chip cookies, USA
  • pfeffernuse, Germany with Denmark and the Netherlands also laying claim
  • nanaimo bars, Canada
  • shortbread, Scotland
  • biscotti, Italy
  • macaron, France

This is but a small sampling of cookies found around the world. According to a Google search, the origin of the cookie is credited to 7th century Persia, “….one of the first countries to cultivate sugar…”

Some cookie baking tips:

  • To prevent the dreaded ‘cookie spread’, reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe. Too much of the sweet stuff can cause cookies to ooze into a puddle rather than bake into the shape of a traditional drop or cutout cookie.
  • Only bake cookies for the prescribed baking time. Recipes usually give a range for how long the cookies should be baked. Any longer and the cookies will be over baked and overdone.
  • For a chewy texture bake cookies the minimum baking time required. For a crisp cookie, leave them in the oven for the maximum baking time.
  • It seems silly, but when cookies smell like they are done, they are done.

What’s your favourite cookie?



Food Tips – Vegetables

Vegetables are nutrition powerhouses yet some of us don’t consume enough. How do we get more veggies in our diet besides just eating salads, drinking smoothies and serving them as sides to our main meal?

  • cauliflower mac n’ cheese
  • butternut squash pancakes
  • broccoli miso soup
  • carrot cake (low sugar)
  • zucchini chocolate chip muffins
  • veggie scramble with toast
  • pumpkin and lentil sloppy joes

Whether sweet or savoury, snack or meal, include vegetables with every serving of food. There is a wide variety of veggies that can go with just about everything.