Most of my friends and family are hard working, soccer mom, basketball dad, health aware super parents. Even my non-parent friends lead very active lives and though are tight knit group loves food, we are hard pressed to find the time to create meals that take 2 hours to prepare. Now, take that to the next level with dietary restrictions like veggies only or veggies only with no dairy products and our recipe resources become even more limited.
We started down this path because my mother in law, nicknamed Bubba by her grand-babies, has been a happy and staunch advocate of Vegan-ism for a while. But even before that, she was a vegetarian. While my hubby and I aren’t ready to relinquish eggs and fish, etc, his almost 300 point cholesterol count a year ago sent us on a journey down a healthier path.
One year later, Jason’s cholesterol is under 200, which is far more manageable than 280! The contributing factors are: he exercises 2-3 times a week, he takes some natural herbs prescribed by our doctor, and lastly, our diets changed. It took him only 6 weeks to lower his cholesterol almost 100 points.
The hardest thing about becoming a vegetarian is the thought of all those delicious steaks and the all time family favorite of stir fried chicken and rice. We have had to get pretty creative in our meals, sometimes as much to ourselves as for our children.
Tips for your transition:
- Look for easy vegetarian and vegan recipes. If you make cooking a chore or if it gets too daunting, you may abandon this altogether.
- Start with veggies you and your family already love to eat (don’t scare everyone off with eggplant right off if it doesn’t already make a common appearance
- Plan your meals for the week, rather than just a meal at a time (this will make your shopping much easier and cut down on spoilage)
- Don’t be afraid to add spice to your meals. Veggies and butter may not be quite so appetizing after three consecutive meals of it.
- Buy lots of your favorite fruits. Though there are tons of great easy vegetarian and vegan desserts, often times that sweet gala apple or some ripe mango will stave off that craving.
- Your food should be colorful. A great rule of thumb my doctor taught me. If your plate is all one color, your digestive system won’t function as well. You want greens, reds, yellows in your meal. For example, if you fry tofu with potatoes and eat it with rice, they’re all white/yellow in color and is not a balanced combination of foods for that one meal.
- Have your children help you pick out the veggies and fruits at the grocery store (when practical). This gives them ownership in the meal. Heck, I’d start them cooking with you too. We all enjoy the meals more when our kids participate in the cooking process. Our 3 year old is the best help in the kitchen!
We did not make the switch because of animal rights, although that should be heavily considered, but it was because the thought of losing my husband to the way we were eating seemed ludicrous. We are making this change because of our health and these little tips helped (and continue to help) us eat better for life.