As part of the tone up flab plan and partly because we’ve just got out of the habit, meals without meat are back on the menu at least once a week and preferably twice – it isn’t holey and solely about toning up or dieting either, though that’s the main driver.
We give away and compost back a lot more home grown produce than would happen if we ate meat a bit less often.
It takes time and effort to produce your own crops and though you’re more than rewarded in flavor and quality, the point gets lost if you don’t use what you grow!
On the subject of health, it’s estimated that on a vegetarian diet we’d all cut slightly more than a third of the fat from our diets, much of it saturated bad fat.
Wow – that’s a staggering amount of yuck not entering my temple to begin with and given the burn in my arms when using the Kettlebells, anything cut out before it arrives and then has to be got rid of again, is smart thinking.
There was a bit of surge in vegetarian cooking in the mid 1990’s and one or two recipe books found their way home here, but when I flicked through them, the summer is well covered but for winter dinners uninspiring doesn’t begin to cover it – and the photos are really old looking, if you know what I mean.
With the weather so bad, it was a good diversion to get online for a bit of retail therapy in the form of searching out a good vegetarian cookery book which would fire up the cook as well as the cooking. There’s plenty to pick and choose from but a couple jumped out as a bit different and so after a lot of review reading and still unable to decide, I bought them both.
Forks Over Knives
Forks Over Knives is a wholefood vegetarian cookbook, which is what I set out to nail down in the first place. Following the TV documentary and original book, this is the second with more than 300 wholefood vegetarian recipes to have a go at and it helps you use what’s in season, making planning meat free meals all year round a bit easier to do.
Even if you don’t want to do without meat, you’ll perk up any of your accompanying vegetable dishes no end with some of the ideas in this book. The writers makes excellent use of beans and other pulses to add protein and color in their recipes, with careful use of herbs and spices to add aroma and flavor – writing this is making me hungry!
You don’t need to use this as a diet because it stands on its own as a great recipe book. If you are looking for a great all round vegetarian cookery book with easy to follow delicious meat free recipes and covering seasonal variations, then you’ve found it. Forks Over Knives recipes won’t disappoint you and may even convert a few hardened carnivores to give up their meat, at least for a meal or two.
To wet your appetite there are several versions of Shepherd’s Pie (try the Lentil Shepherd’s Pie With a Rustic Crust – very moreish) and a great supper to serve with crusty fresh bread is the Cauliflower and White Bean Bake – oh and you won’t want to miss the Pumpkin Bread Pudding. Now I’ve read it and used it, would I buy it again? Yes definitely.
Engine 2 Cookbook by Rip Esselstyn
Better known to many as the fire engine diet, this second book intrigued me, and not having completely read it through yet, it still does – there are some really good nutritional ideas in it plus some unpalatable ones for me like no flour.
However, despite the ban on flour there’s no denying the delicious recipes presented and we’ve eaten several now (do try the Fire Engine Diet Lasagne). They’ve been thoughtfully put together and are really tasty when perhaps you’d think otherwise. The other thing and a deciding factor for me is the sheer number of reviews (over 1000) and the vast majority are positive.
Here’s the thing – and part of the diet’s success – the meals leave you feeling full for longer which is partly why eating a wholefood diet is far less likely to result in weight gain plus it helps with dropping any excess pounds off your pampered temple in a slow, healthy and permanent way.
I can’t see us following the advice completely as a lifestyle or even as a weight loss diet for long, but grabbing the Engine 2 Diet grocery list and following along for a week every few months looks to be a really healthy way to drop several pounds quickly and the cholesterol levels.
Hubby has read more about this than me now and being insulin dependent, is really up for doing it – he so needs to lower cholesterol we might be giving the firefighter’s food a serious go pretty darned soon. If you’ve been wondering whether this is a diet worth following and whether to take the plunge then I’d say go for it, the recipes are tasty and you can only do yourself some good.
Using new vegetarian cook books for inspiration and finding new meals without meat has been fun, as has rediscovering the versatility of vegetables, though I wouldn’t want to prep most of the recipes and all the veggies without my selection of mandolin slicers – you could grow old in a week standing at the counter using a knife!
January 20, 2014