Food Keeps You Strong

 

pexels-photo-264537.jpegIt is probably not going to come as a surprise to you that being on a spiritual path means taking care of yourself.

Wise words that are hard to follow, especially when we’re busy, stressed and just want something to eat NOW and not have to spend an hour or so preparing it.

The Self-Healing Cookbook was the first I bought when searching for a more nutritious way to feed my family. Others included The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas, Laurel’s Kitchen and The Chopra Center Cookbook. 

We became vegetarians in 1991. Way back then there weren’t any veggie burgers in the frozen section of my grocery store. Nobody at that store had ever heard of tofu, let alone actually eaten it. I did have access to two heath food stores but given that I lived in Detroit, you would have thought there would be more options.

There was a powdered burger mix in several different flavors that I could  rehydrate and turn into something I could fry. I don’t know how healthy it was since it was prepackaged and lord knows what was in it. We ate it. We ate soup with lots of udon noodles and a favorite soup base of mine I can find nowhere now. Plus we found Soy Lean Sausages and those too have disappeared.

Two things have happened in the last 27 years with the availability of vegetarian food. There are more vegetarians in the country now. We don’t shop where we can’t buy what we eat and consequently there are plentiful  choices to build menus around. But eating meat substitutes ALL THE TIME is no way to live. They’re fine for a lunch every now and again or a meal when the day has just been too much, but a nightly habit? No.

I live in a mixed household. I’m vegetarian and my son eats whatever he wants. Since he cooks it, I don’t care at all. I make my meals and I make them to last. For instance, I can cook enough short grain brown rice in my crock pot on high for 2.5 hours to last the whole week. It will be Chinese Fried Rice or Broccoli and Rice or Lemony Garlic Time Rice with Vegetables. Or it will be plain, in a bowl with some organic tamari sprinkled on.

The recipes of the 90s have undergone a change as well. Back then, if you were a vegetarian, you ate a lot of butter, eggs, cheese and pasta. Not so now. There is nothing healthy about tons of butter, although cooked down into ghee it is delicious in moderation. And cheese is my number one food group. I try not to indulge in it more than once a week. The eggs? Wow I’ve lost my interest in eggs. I can get things to stick together to fry without them and the idea of sitting down to a plate of scrambled eggs is abhorrent. I may have to use one occasionally when baking, but not often, because that baking means I’m increasing the sugar in my life and that’s as bad as butter.

My ideal diet includes every vegetable out there with a minimal amount of peppers, potatoes and tomatoes, which add to stress if you are already stressed. 

I eat a huge salad every night for supper with a minimal amount of vinegar and olive oil and with a variety of greens like arugula, kale, radicchio and collard greens or spinach. If I get hungry later, I eat more salad. 

When I prepare food, I make a batch. A pot of soup lasts forever with only me eating it so I invested in some great freezer containers and store it in the freezer for those days I don’t feel like cooking. 

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to be vegetarian. It is easy to eat healthy and include meat or fish in your diet. It’s all about the quality and what makes you feel good, every day.

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