You may have wondered "What do vegetarians eat anyway?". I know I've been asked that question enough times to realize that people are often curious. Others trying or attempting to make the switch to going veg are often left frustrated - variety in a veg diet does take effort but more so it just takes knowing what is available to you! I present to you a comprehensive window into my diet as a vegetarian in hopes of answering questions and generating ideas.
Theory behind being veg is about awareness but for me that also translates into keeping mental track of what I put into my body every day. This includes the terms of coordinating meals to ensure that I get nutrients from a variety of veg food groups which basically boil down to fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, legumes and beans (including soy). In all of these categories are food sources that are not widely known or incorporated into mainstream Western diet - whatever that is! This includes amaranth and quinoa which was addressed in a previous post.
Starting off my day with a Green Smoothie allows for a morning protien source and fruit serving. I usually use a soy protien powder and soy or rice milk base then add what ever fruit I happen to have at the time (today it was mango). Then I add probiotic yogurt but I really have to go out and grab some soy yogurt soon! More about this in a future post on the veg dairy issue. Once and a while I will throw in some green tea icecream but sometimes I make my smoothie green by adding avocado or cucumber. Almost always I use a small scoop of matcha (start with 1/4 tsp). Matcha (green tea powder) contains its maximum antioxident effects when steeped as a tea but is still good for you to add in food and smoothies of course! Begin adding this to your diet in small quantities and work your way up because your system will not be used to this substance.
Granola Museli Mix is a well-rounded breakfast staple that is easy to throw together but if you want some specific ideas, this is my recipe! Fill a bowl with mixed fruit: I recommend banana, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, kiwi, starfruit, avocado, mango and/or papaya (most of which are great in salads!) Add granola (this you can buy in cereal-box form or from a bulk or health food store), yogurt or soy yogurt and finally some crushed walnuts and a few raisins. I also like to add hemp seeds which contain lots of protien. As pictured here, they are also known as "hemp hearts" and can pretty much be used in anything. Finally I add a light sprinkle of matcha before I delve in.
So of course, veggies are a large part of a veg diet! Salads area great way to diversify a veg diet, despite the assumption that the opposite is true. It allows for an opportunity to add alot of protien and nutrients to your day. A dressing I like right now is soy based with organic ingredient which I purchased at Enchie Japanese Food Mart where I often shop. In terms of raw snacking I am really enjoying snow peas right now! My absoulte favourite is avocado (which is technically a fruit but I think of it as a vegetable lol). Be careful though because they contain a higher fat content. However this isn't often a problem because veg diets are most often low in fat and also because fat and protien sources in a veg diet are usually the "good fats" (including avocado). Avocado is a constant mainstay in my diet and I used it it many recipes. I put it in salads, green smoothies and the granola museli mix. Most often I enjoy avocado for breakfast or lunch, perhaps on a toasted flax seed bagel or croissant with hemp seeds and tomato! Guacamole is something I make as often as possible and there are so many different recipes for it. Lately I have been making it a little chunkier by not fully mashing up the avocado and using lettuce to eat it with as part of my raw food initiative! However low sodium seasalt red chips by QuePasa are my absolutely favourite! They are stone ground, hand-cut Tortilla Chips cooked in pure pressed canola oil, quite healthy and taste great! They actually bring out the flavour of whatever you are eating because they are subtle enough and a salty coating or extra preservatives dont interefere.
My Guac Recipe: Start with 2 whole avocados and get your hands dirty! Add fresh squeezed lemon juice. I use about 1/4 of a lemon but leave out this option if you are are concerned about acidity or striving towards an alkaline diet. At this point you can add any vegetables you want but I recommend tomato chunks and/or quartered cucumber slices. Guacamole mix powder adds spices and a lot of flavour but remember it makes your guacamole a non-raw-food item! However I recommend Guacamole Mix by Concord Foods. Stir and let sit for a few hours in the fridge if you choose to use it.
Hope you enjoy these suggestions and recipes and with luck some of your possible confusion over veg diets has been quelled! My next post will include issues of protien and meat alternatives specifically. Leave a comment if you have any questions :)