Vegan/Vegetarian meals

This post is a little follow up on my previous post “This nurses thoughts on nutrition.”

Learning about Nutrition sucked me in. I couldn’t just stop with one documentary and TED talk. I’ve watched almost every documentary I could find on the benefits of a plant based diet, and I even started reading “The Starch Solution.” I am hooked. Chad has been doing an awesome job with eating plant based 80% on the time (if not more!) and 20% indulging in meat products. I did that for about a month, and I found that I don’t really miss meat. Therefore I have been eating primary plant based meals. To be honest, I feel great! I feel like very light, healthy, and I have a ton of energy. Stayed tuned for more on our dietary adventures.

I wanted to share a couple plant based recipes that we have been loving. Most of them are low fat, high carb, and plant based.

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Vegan: Mexican stuffed peppers

A few Pro’s that we have noticed:

  • Less preparation. We don’t have to defrost and marinate meat anymore.
  • We can eat M O R E food. Plant based foods have high levels of nutrition but are not as calorically dense therefore we can eat mo’.
  • We have become more conscious, and use less fat’s for cooking.
  • We have so much fun cooking new meals and being creative with our meals.

Con’s

  • Limited options when we go out to eat. Eh. This is a minor con.

 

 

This nurse’s thoughts on nutrition…

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Constantly improving…

The best part about no longer being in college (besides no longer being a broke college student) is being able to learn what YOU want to learn! This has given us the opportunity to listen to a ton of TED talks, documentaries, and read plenty of books. We have been trying to learn as much as we can about this incredible world. We have dabbled in politics, finance, and nutrition.

One thing we have recently learned more about are the benefits of plant based diets. Since both of us are scientists at heart, it was hard to ignore the research. We figured we would take all the information we have learned and try to incorporate it into our every day lives and diet. (If your looking for great educational resources on nutrition check out: TED Talk: Chew on this & Vegucated)

My rant on nutrition

With a degree in Nursing and many nutrition classes under my belt, I think I’m fairly educated on what a balanced diet should look like. I believe that balance and moderation is the key to everything in life: food, alcohol, indulgences, work, finance, ext. I don’t know if I believe it’s 100% necessary to eliminate meat quite yet. There are a lot of nutrients in meat (such as B12, Iron, B6) that are also available in vegetables, but easier to obtain from meat. That doesn’t mean that you can not obtain them from vegetables, it just means you have to be educated and plan out your meals more precisely.

I would be fooling myself if I thought for a minute I could convince my carnivorous boyfriend to give up meat completely, especially cold turkey. I am so thankful for how awesome and supportive he is of me and all of my ideas. We are continually striving to improve our nutrition and our quality of life. The information we learned has made us aware of how what we eat impacts our environment, animals, and ourselves.

Although we are not ready to swear off meat just yet, I have come up with another idea. Many nutritionists say that you don’t have to eat perfect 100% of the time, if you eat healthy even 80% of the time, the other 20% has little impact on your overall health. So I figured we could apply this theory to eating a plant based diet. If we eat a vegetarian diet 80% of the time, that gives us the flexibility to still enjoy foods we love such as certain seafood & meat. That means out of 7 dinners a week, 5 of them should be vegetarian. Out of 21 meals a week (3 meals a day x 7 days a week), 16 of them should be vegetarian. I figured this way we would cut back our consumer demand for animal products, increase of fruit and vegetable consumption, decrease our cholesterol intake, and improve our health.

I was feeling pretty good about myself and this BRILLIANT idea I came up with. While watching Netflix TED Talks, I came across this talk:

I love this TED talk! Even though I wasn’t the first one to come up with this idea, I’m super excited to incorporate it into our diet and share it with everyone. The only constant in life is change. My approach is to embrace change, and strive to incorporate change into our live to make them better.

I’m also excited for the challenge of learning how to cook new vegetarian meals!

EXTRA RANT: I believe everyone’s diet should be specifically tailored to that individual, and what works for one may not work for the other. I also believe that you can lead a happy healthy life by being a vegetarian, vegan, or meat eater. Actually, I think labels for the way we eat is silly. As long as we eat a healthy nutritious diet that provides the appropriate amount of macro and micro nutrients to our bodies, who cares what we label it! Eat whatever you enjoy (in a healthy moderation), and don’t shame anyone because they don’t share your same “label”.

A few of this past weeks favorite vegetarian meals:

Quinoa breakfast bowl with poached egg & avocado

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Beetroot, walnut, and goat cheese spinach salad

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My (almost vegan) light and fluffy pancakes

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

Favorite foods: Breakfast edition

I love breakfast.

Sometimes, breakfast can become repetitive and boring (cereal, oatmeal, scrambled eggs). Although we still love our boring breakfast meals, we have been trying to be a little more creative with breakfast.

So I would like to share a few of our favorite breakfast dishes:

Reduced fat Quiche

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First I will start off with quiche. I didn’t realize how easy and healthy quiche could be! This is my version of a lower fat healthy quiche:

  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup of low fat milk
  • 2/3 cup-1 cup of low fat cheese {whatever you prefer: parmesan, mozzarella, swiss, cheddar, ext.}
  • spices {salt, peper, oregano, rosemary, thyme, paprika, chilli powder, basil, and/or parsley}
  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • A handful of your choice of veggie
  • A handful of meat {usually I make veggie quiche, but sometimes we throw some ham in there}

I buy frozen reduced fat pastry at the store. Then I mix 2 eggs and 3 egg whites with a little bit of low fat milk and low fat cheese (whatever we have on hand). I season the eggs with a variety of spices (I pick the spice depending on what we are craving that day.) I slightly butter my glass baking dish, place the puff pastry, and pour in the egg mixture. Lastly, I add our favorite veggies: broccoli, asparagus, spinach, carrots, zucchini, ext. I pop this into the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 350°. You know it’s ready when the top of the quiche looks solid and slightly golden.

Yogurt breakfast bowls:

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Oh the possibilities! I love things like this that change slightly with whatever ingredients you have on hand. Plus, I think this is an easy way to get a ton of your required of nutrients for the day. Here’s what I put in mine:

  • 1 cup of greek yogurt {we buy the plain light greek yogurt}
  • 2 teaspoons of honey {or brown sugar}
  • 3 teaspoons of chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Toppings:
    • Any kind of whole grain {currently we have Millet puffs, and we use uncooked oatmeal as well, granola works great}
    • Any fruit that you enjoy
    • Any kind of nuts
    • Coconut flakes
    • Spices such as cinnamon

Mix the greek yogurt, honey, vanilla, and chia seeds in a bowl. Add your desired toppings, and ENJOY!

 

Coconut Rice & Pomegrante Porridge

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So this recipe I actually found online. It was SO YUMMY! Also, it’s gluten free! If you want to check out the recipe click here  or click the picture.

Let me know if you have tried any of these before, or if there is something special you add to your food that we have to try!

Enjoy!

More Food!

Since this is my fifth post about food, I’m just going to jump into it!

Thanksgiving Dinner

This is a little late (considering it’s the second week of December), but this was our makeshift Thanksgiving dinner:

We couldn’t find turkey at our local grocery store, so we substituted it with chicken cordon bleu and  ham. We made a green bean casserole, carrots, mashed sweet potatoes with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, and regular mashed potatoes. Of course, the meal would not be complete without cinnamon apple sangria as a side.

 

Other meals we have been mastering include:

Lemon Chicken Piccata with whole grain pasta & capers

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Our go to: Steak with mashed sweet potatoes and a veggie

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We decided to take a try at the local fish: “John Dory”

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Thanks for checking out our blog!

 

Increasing the Veggies!

So every week we try to brainstorm ways to make improvements to the meals we buy. The past two weeks we have been trying to focus on buying and incorporating more vegetables in our diet. Every week we have tried new vegetables that we normally wouldn’t have picked such as: artichoke, zucchini, and beats.  Other tweaks we have made over the past few weeks: transitioning to a lower calorie milk such as almond milk (that one is more of a tweak for me), eating more healthy snacks through the day (almonds, fruit, greek yogurt, ect.), and buying higher quality grass fed lean meats.

Here are a few of our past meals for our photo food diary:

Steak & Veggies

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I made focaccia bread as an appetizer with an olive oil dipping sauce. Steak is self explanatory: grass fed beef seasoned with rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper. For a side we had a roasted veggie medley of  beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, and celery.

Steak and Veggie stir fry

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Stir fry is a great way to throw a bunch of the veggies that you have left over for the week into a pan with a little bit of soy sauce. Here we had baby corn, peas, broccoli, and yellow peppers. For the noodles we used vietnamese vermicelli rice noodles. If you haven’t tried them before give it a shot! It’s a great alternative to regular pasta especially for those who are on a gluten free diet.

 

Mexican Burrito Bowl

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This was probably one of my favorite meals of the week as well as the healthiest! Where do I start: corn, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and breaded chicken over a bed of brown rice. For the breading  I mixed a small amount of flour with taco seasoning, coated the chicken, then lightly fried it in coconut oil. Super yummy.

 

We’ve learned that a common greeting everyone uses here is “Cheers.”

In the spirt of the kiwi’s: Cheers everyone!