Archive for the ‘Vegetarian Tips’ Category

Sprucing Up Your Salads

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Salads aren’t a vegetarian’s only food option, but they’re definitely a big part of their diet. And unfortunately, that’s what makes many otherwise health-conscious people think twice about going meat-free. But the salad’s reputation as a bland side dish is largely undeserved. Although it can get unsatisfying if you have the same two or three things every day, salads lend themselves very well to experimenting. That’s the fun part: you can mix and match to your heart’s content and come up with a variety of salads that satisfy your cravings minus the guilt. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Roast your veggies: Roasting brings out a different side of vegetables, layering them with richer flavors and softer textures. You can roast them on a grill or your oven, or just sear them on a pan if you’re in a hurry. Eggplants, zucchini, mushrooms, and bell peppers are especially ideal for roasting. Toss them in with some orzo or couscous, drizzle on some olive oil and spices and herbs of your choice, and you’ve got a quick meal that’s good enough for seconds.

Experiment with cheese: Cheeses lend both volume and flavor to salads, making an otherwise light dish a lot more satisfying. Crumbled feta livens up a bowl of greens, while provolone or mozzarella grains add bite to a zesty tomato salad. If you’re a vegan, no worries–most soy-based alternatives are now up to par with their dairy counterparts. Just make sure to use it sparingly–a little goes a long way!

Get your protein: Vegetarian salads don’t have to be completely protein-free. If you like the taste of meat, tempeh or other meat substitutes can do the job pretty well, although you have to watch for the sodium content as some of them are highly processed. Grains, beans, and pulses are also a great source of protein, as well as fiber. If you’re watching your carbs, grains like quinoa and barley can safely satisfy cravings.

Think fruit: Vegetables and fruits can go surprisingly well together. Whether it’s a few orange slices in your Thai salad or a bold mix of grapes and turnip, there are lots of ways to experiment with contrast. Throw some mango slices into your chicken salad or toss your favorite greens in some strawberry vinaigrette. It’s a great way to change things up a little, not to mention getting an effortless daily dose of antioxidants.

How to Discover The Different Tastes of Vegetarian Cuisine

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Vegetarian cuisine is so much more than just some vegetables thrown together in a dish.  The choice to eat only plant based products has been around for years in some cultures and with the variety of fruits and vegetables available in countries such as Australia it is made all the more easier.  To fully discover the different tastes of vegetarian cuisine it is a good idea to be open minded and put yourself out there to try new foods and vegetarian dishes.

One of the best ways to discover different tastes when it comes to vegetarian cuisine is to eat out at vegetarian restaurants.  Depending on where you live there may be quite a few vegetarian restaurants to choose from each with a slightly different take on the vegetarian theme.  When eating out remember to broaden your tastes by ordering and trying new dishes and foods that you have never tried before.

If you are looking to broaden your horizon when it comes to vegetarian cuisine then doing some research online maybe time well spent.  There are a huge amount of websites and recipes available online which are vegetarian and feature foods from all different countries and cultures.

For people who have the time a vegetarian cooking class may be a good source of inspiration when it comes to adding variety to your vegetarian diet.  Many of these classes will show you the basics of vegetarian cooking and introduce you to different fruits and vegetables and how to prepare or cook them.

If you love to go out and eat with friends or family try some new restaurants that have a Thai, or Indian flavour and order the vegetarian dishes that are on the menu.  Many restaurants such as these have excellent vegetarian choices as eating a vegetarian diet is a big part of the cuisine in these countries.

Making sure that the fruit and vegetables that you prepare and eat are as fresh as possible.  Fresh produce is higher in nutrients and ultimately tastes better especially when eaten raw.  Many vegetarian dishes include stir fried vegetables which is a great way to cook and also keep most of the nutrients in the vegetables.

Discovering the different tastes of vegetarian cuisine is a relatively easy task especially if you enjoy trying new things. The information is all within easy reach all that is needed is for vegetarians to go out and enjoy the cuisine on offer.

Some Important Tips on Being Vegetarian

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Being a vegetarian has its good and bad points however a well prepared and enthusiastic person can use the following tips to help maintain being a vegetarian.

One of the most important things (for everyone not just vegetarians) is to drink more water.  Water is an important part of our diet as it not only rehydrates the body it is also important for flushing toxins out of our system.  Drinking water regularly throughout the day is also a great way to reduce snacking on junk food.  Many people mistake thirst for hunger and eat when their body really just needs a drink because you are dehydrated.

When it comes to having lunch with friends, family or co workers a good tip is to be accepting of the fact that not everyone is vegetarian and that people will choose to eat meat around you.  People you meet socially will respect your decision to be a vegetarian however you shouldn’t try to push your views onto others or try to ‘convert’ them to go vegetarian.  If people ask about it share with them the positive aspects of being a vegetarian such as weight loss and general health and well being.

Learning to cook is also a great thing to do when you are a vegetarian.  Much of the fast food and take away foods that we consume are not vegetarian friendly so it is important that people choosing a vegetarian diet have the ability to cook up their own vegetarian ‘fast food’ at home.  Experimenting with new recipes or attending a cooking class can be away of learning how to prepare more interesting and tasty vegetarian foods.

Consulting your doctor or having a medical check up may also be a good idea for people who are going to change their diet to that of a vegetarian.  Any changes in your life can affect your health and consulting a doctor before changing your diet can address any problems that arise.

Another important tip on being vegetarian is eating a variety of foods.  Regardless of whether you are a vegetarian or not eating the same foods every day can be very boring.  As with any diet it is important to consume a large variety of foods.  The easiest way to do this is to make sure that you have foods, especially fruits and vegetables, that cover a variety of colours such as rather than a dish with just green vegetables.

Vegetarian Facts and Myths

Saturday, July 30th, 2011

The vegetarian lifestyle has long been the subject of debate, if not controversy. While we’ll probably never agree on whether meat and animal products are good or bad, there will always be conflicting facts from both sides. Indeed, vegetarian facts and myths have come and gone for decades, with studies debunking or supporting each other from both sides. How do you know whom or what to believe? Here are some vegetarian facts worth keeping in mind–and a few myths worth forgetting.

Fact: Vegetarians tend to be healthier, if not thinner.

One could argue that a diet of Big Macs, pizza, and ice cream qualifies as vegetarian, although that’s about as unhealthy as a diet gets. But on the whole, vegetarians are less prone to diseases associated with excess weight. Diabetes, heart disease, and cancer all occur in lower numbers among vegetarians than meat eaters.

Myth: Vegetarians don’t get enough protein.

It’s all a matter of planning. Beans, legumes, dairy, grains, and tofu are all excellent sources of protein, and all are cheap and readily available. Meat contains more protein, but research reveals that most Americans are actually getting too much. Animal and plant proteins are different, though–plant proteins aren’t as easily absorbed and must be aided by Vitamin C sources to be fully effective.

Fact: Vegetarian diets are cheaper.

Recession is a great time to go vegetarian. You can fill a grocery cart with vegetables and not spend more than $25, whereas chicken breasts alone can cost you almost half of that. Imported and out-of-season vegetables are naturally more expensive, but that’s easily solved by buying local and choosing whatever’s in season.

Myth: Vegetarians eventually go vegan.

Vegans are like vegetarians on overdrive–they not give up meat, but will avoid anything and everything that comes from animals, including leather wallets. It’s a bold choice, since even the most innocent-looking products, like cherry drops and gelatin, can involve animals at some point during manufacturing. Going vegetarian is a common starting point for going vegan, but it’s not the only logical path.

Fact: Vegetarians can be physically active.

The notion that vegetarians are weak and skinny comes from the same line of thinking as their supposed lack of dietary protein. Several notable athletes are notably vegetarian–bodybuilder Bill Pearl, footballer Joe Namath, and tennis player Martina Navratilova are just a few examples. Indeed, a vegetarian diet coupled with regular exercise is the best way to stay in shape well into your 70s.

Going Vegan on a Budget

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

If there’s one thing that keeps people from going vegetarian or vegetarians from going vegan, it’s the supposed lack of options–and the prohibitive price range in the options they do have. Vegan groceries and restaurants are notorious for their overpriced tofu and thirty-dollar sandwiches. But healthy living is cheaper and more varied than most people think.

It all started with the idea that vegan food is “fancy.” It’s not–it’s just that companies tend to overvalue vegan choices knowing that their market has limited choice. A vegan sandwich may cost no more than a chicken one, maybe even less, but since it’s hard to find, vegans are willing to spend the extra $5 on it. If you shop smart, however, you can avoid these pitfalls without resorting to bland food.

Start by stocking up on filling items, such as beans. Beans can be bought by the sack for cheap, even at non-specialty stores. They’re also a good source of protein. To save even more money, buy dried beans and soak them overnight, so they’re softer by the time they’re ready to cook. Use them in salads, soups and stews, wrap sandwiches, and any dish that could use a bit more volume.

Whole grains should also be a staple in your diet. While you don’t need them in every meal, they make a nice complement to beans and other protein sources. The best prices are usually found in local markets, where they come in buckets and are sold by weight. Think beyond rice and oatmeal and try barley, millet, and quinoa–all are cheap, easy to prepare, and go with pretty much anything.

Don’t forget the fruits and vegetables–next to carbs and protein, they’re the most important part of a vegan diet. The key is to shop by region and season. Stock up on whatever’s cheap and available this time of the year. Shop at farmer’s markets to get the best deals in price and quality. Better yet, grow your own produce if you have the space or if there are community gardens in your area.

Finally, you need a source of calcium. Most vegans spend the bulk of their food budget on milk and dairy substitutes. Some experts suggest using nutritional yeast as a cheese substitute, as its cheaper than the more popular soy cheese. Vegan milk options are practically endless; besides soy, you can now find almond milk, rice milk, barley milk, and peanut milk, all of which are a great addition to your diet.