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zen habits: Health tip: Try eating vegetarian sometimes

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Health tip: Try eating vegetarian sometimes

Every Saturday is Health Tip Day.

The simple act of replacing meat with something healthier, like soy protein, can make a big difference to our health. Doing this on a regular basis, perhaps once a week or more, can add up to a lot in the long run. Meat is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and it's much better for your body if you can avoid it. I became a vegan last year, and I've never eaten healthier. You don't need to become vegan (although I highly recommend it!) to eat healthier, but trying vegan or vegetarian dishes now and then can be a good and healthy experience.

I suggest trying out an easy-to-make vegetarian dish at first, something simple yet delicious. There are some good soy protein replacements out there, for ground beef, chicken, sausages and more. Like spaghetti? Try using the soy ground round instead of ground beef.

To get you started, I'll give you one of my favorite, yet easiest to make, vegan recipes. This is my original recipe, so if you like it, you are obliged to close your eyes, and savor the deliciousness.

Zen Habits Three Bean Vegan Chili
1 package Morning Star Meal Starters (or any ground beef replacement)
one 14.5-oz. can each: black beans, pinto beans, and kidney beans
one 14.5-oz. can corn
one 29-oz. can each: stewed tomatoes & tomato sauce
half a yellow onion, diced
half a green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
2-4 cloves garlic, diced (depending on how much you like garlic)
black pepper, salt, chili powder to taste
olive oil

Dice up the veggies first, because the cooking will go fast. On medium high heat, heat up some olive oil, then saute the onions, then the garlic and bell pepper. Throw in the Meal Starter ground beef replacement (still frozen is fine), and let it brown. Add a liberal amount of chili powder and black pepper, and a bit of salt (I never measure, sorry).

Now dump in the beans and corn, one can at a time, stirring as you go along, making sure the bottom doesn't stick and burn. Add more chili powder and black pepper. Spice it up nice! Throw in the stewed tomatoes, stir, and then dump in the tomato sauce. Done! Lower the heat and let it simmer for as long as you can resist. You can actually eat it right away (prep and cooking time: 10-15 minutes) or you can simmer it for 30 minutes, an hour or more. The longer it simmers, the better the flavors will all mix together. Taste it and spice it as needed. I like to add a lot of chili powder and black pepper. To crank up the heat, feel free to add your favorite red peppers early on in the cooking process.

Serve with brown rice, good bread, or blue corn chips.

This is a favorite at every party, whether people are vegetarian or not. They're often amazed that it's vegetarian. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Soy protein is in sufficiently cured leaving in plant hormones that kill pigs, harm toddlers, and likely affect human biochemistry. Don't eat even moderate amounts of soy prepared by modern means.

Leo said...

Care to name any references for that info? I've read dozens of books and sites, by credible and unbiased sources, and have never read a single reference to any toddler or human being harmed in any way by soy protein. In fact, millions of people eat it and are perfectly healthy -- a claim that cannot be made about animal protein.

Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly agree about eating vegan/vegetarian will make you feel better. I've been vegetarian for 32 years and vegan for the past 7 months. I have never felt better. I can't believe the amount of saturated fat I was consuming from cheese.

Leo said...

Congrats on being vegetarian and vegan, and thanks for sharing your experiences.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the nice words and congratulations to you as well!

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Keep up the great work!