Vegetarian and vegan diets have always seemed intriguingly defeating. Because here's the thing. I'm not going to say that I will never eat something again because I like cheese and I like bacon. But I will say that I am open to the possibility of having a primarily plant based diet where I incorporate more fresh and natural foods into my diet with a very occasional bacon cheeseburger and no guilt. My eating habits aren't horrible but they can definitely be improved.
So my quest began. But on these conditions.
1. I wasn't going to eat the vegetarian or vegan version of something. My sister went vegan for a while and I didn't understand how her preservative filled veggie shreds replacement for cheese was any better than eating real cheese on occasion. Isn't the point to get away from those food products? It seemed contradictory. I wanted to have meals that were mostly fruit, vegetable and grain based.
2. I wasn't going to go 100% in any direction. I will never go totally vegetarian or vegan because even though more veggies will never hurt, I like meat and other animal products and in moderation they can be totally nutritious. The one thing I remember from my nutrition class that I may or may not have almost failed was that although you can get complete proteins from other sources, your body still absorbs complete proteins best from meat.
3. The ingredients used in dishes I would make had to be either be readily on hand or easy to find. I didn't want to go on a wild goose chase for an obscure oil extracted from a plant that only grows at a certain temperature on the east facing mountain side of a far off country.
4. It had to be nutritionally based and beneficial. Sure one can be vegetarian and not eat meat, but I don't really think that french fries and mac and cheese are better options.
5. They had to be real meals and not just apples and celery sticks for the rest of my life.
6. I couldn't break the bank while eating this way. I'm not going to do it if I have to give up an important limb or my first born child.
7. This way of eating will be used as a way to implement healthier eating habits. Not completely change the way I eat just some simple and healthy changes. I figure making a vegetarian or vegan meal a few times a week will help me eat veggies in a more creative way without getting tired of them because one can only eat a side of broccoli so many days in a row.
8. Tofu scares me. Which I realize is more of a fact than a condition, but pertinent none the less.
I know that I'm jumping to a lot of ignorant conclusions, but I think most would agree that these are concerns when it comes to plant based diets, especially a vegan one.
I scoured the Internet and talked to coworkers and friends who ate vegan or vegetarian diets and the response was exciting.
Sure, I found a lot of recipes with a lot of very strange ingredients that I immediately discarded. But I also found an aresenal of resources for easy, simple and delicious sounding meals that you don't necessarily have to be vegetarian or vegan to enjoy.
Here goes nothing.
Stay tuned for updates.