As big a part of my life as the IT world is, it’s not the only thing I think about. I also happen to be an avid fitness enthusiast! I believe exercise and wellness are big parts of leading a happy, healthy, and successful life, and I’d like to pass that on to you.
In this series, I’ll share simple and effective tips and insight for leading a healthier life. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be surprised by how soon you feel a difference!
This week I’ll be talking about the benefits of Meatless Mondays.
As a vegan, every day is Meatless Monday for me, but for the carnivores among us, the Meatless Monday movement is a great way to cut at least some meat out of the average diet. There are a lot of great reasons to reduce or eliminate meat from your diet where your health and longevity are concerned.
Going meatless for even one day out of the week can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Plant-based proteins actually offer more protein than meat, as well as more fiber, zinc, iron, and magnesium. And as an added bonus, taking meat off of your shopping list makes for a cheaper trip to the grocery store – vegetables and grains are less expensive than most cuts of meat due to the high cost of raising, processing, and transporting red meat in particular.
A vegan or vegetarian lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but what could it hurt to give it a try? The biggest argument I hear against veganism is the lack of “real food” vegans have to choose from. When you take animal products out of the equation, what are you really left with? Salad? Stir fry? Rice bowls?
If you think you’ll starve eating a vegan diet, I promise you it won’t be from a lack of food options; it’ll be from a lack of imagination. There is a tasty alternative to just about any dish you can think of, even chili.
Seriously. Vegan chili isn’t just a real thing; it’s delicious.
Give this recipe from the awesome (and very NSFW) Thug Kitchen cookbook a try for dinner tonight, and see if you still think vegan food is bland and unappealing.
Serves 4 – 6
1 yellow onion
1 bell pepper
1 tsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2 tsp soy sauce or tamari
2 1/2 tbsp mild chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
1 14.5 oz can low-sodium diced tomatoes
1 1/2 c pureed pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling! You don’t want to make that mistake, trust me)
2 c vegetable broth or water
3 c cooked beans (works out to 2 15 oz cans, black beans and red kidney beans are a great combo)
1 tbsp lime juice (fresh or bottled)
Toppings – chopped cilantro, tortilla strips, avocado, diced onion, jalapenos
1) Chop up the onion, carrot, and bell pepper into bean-sized pieces
2) In a big soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, and bell pepper and sauté until they begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, soy sauce, and spices and cook everything together for another 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, pumpkin, broth, and beans, and stir to combine. Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) When everything is done simmering, turn off the heat and stir in the lime juice. Serve immediately with your toppings of choice. (NOTE: If you’re not quite ready to go fully vegan, a little shredded cheese or sour cream are good vegetarian topping choices.)