Thursday, February 27, 2014

Five Year Veggieversary!

On Tuesday, I celebrated my FIVE YEAR VEGGIEVERSARY! I was going to share this post on Tuesday, but I decided to not disrupt the flow of Princess posts, so I decided I would wait until all the Princess posts were up before I celebrated with you! Also, four posts in one week? Who am I?

Last year, I answered some Frequently Asked Questions. This year, I would like to address some common misconceptions about vegetarianism (from my not-so-expert opinion) and share a new recipe with you!

Common Misconceptions About Vegetarianism (in no particular order)

1. Vegetarians only eat salads (or dirt if you hang out with boys who think that's what you eat).
---One of the stipulations that my mom made me agree to when I became a vegetarian was that I learned how to cook. She did not want me living off of boxed meals, salads, or going out to eat a lot, so I learned to cook. And if you ask me, I'm a good cook ;)

2. "Going out to eat isn't that hard, you can just order a salad!" 
---This one is very related to the one above, but dining out is not that simple (in my opinion). Number one, sometimes salads do not taste fresh (or even good) at a restaurant. Number 2, salads get boring, so I don't want to be limited to that only option. Number 3, I don't want to have to be limited to one option on a menu because chefs may be unfamiliar with vegetarian cooking.

3. Vegetarians are frail, sickly, and generally unhealthy.
---The first comment that I get when people find out that I am vegetarian is often "But you look so healthy!" or "I knew so-and-so and all they ate were chips and salsa and they got really sick." Vegetarianism, while not a lifestyle for everyone, can be incredibly healthy for the body and fulfilling if done correctly. I make sure to monitor my bodily functions, track my protein and nutrients, and have had no healthy issues concerning my diet (so far, and to the best of my knowledge). In fact, cleaning up my diet and eating more whole foods than processed foods this year (so basically just doubled the amount of veggies I was eating) has really helped with my training and recovery (in my opinion).

4. All vegetarians eat fish.
---There are many different types of vegetarians, but true vegetarians (as defined by Oxford, not me, as "a person who does not eat meat, and sometimes other animal products, esp. for moral, religious, or health reasons") do not eat fish. Pescatarians eat fish (I used to be pescatarian until this year), there are lacto-ovo vegetarians (who eat eggs and dairy), and many other types. That being said, I don't believe that any vegetarian is a "lesser" version, we just don't all eat fish.

I don't necessarily believe meat is murder, just thought this was funny

5. Vegetarians don't eat meat because they are all animal lovers, so why do they eat the animals' food?
---I'm going to be honest here: My reasons for being vegetarian are more in line with health and environmental wellness rather than animal welfare. Yes, I do love animals and do care about their care and treatment, but that plays a smaller role in my lifestyle than my role as an environmentalist or my love for health and fitness. Also, I don't believe that vegetarians are "eating the animals' food." Often times, animals that are raised in factory farms are not fed their natural food source as it is. I think that this misconception is just general ignorance on the behalf of the speaker. That being said, I don't feel it is my job to educate others (unless I am asked) or unless they insult me. No need to get preachy!

And with that, I now present you a new recipe!

Butternut Squash Couscous

1 box whole wheat couscous
1 can chickpeas
1/2 red pepper - diced
1/4 cup red onions, diced
1/2 package julienned sundried tomatoes
1 tbsp garlic
salt and pepper - to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil

Follow all directions for Runner Girl Eat's Butternut Squash Dip (I roasted the BNS with a tbsp of coconut oil for 40 minutes. let it cool, pureed it, and refrigerated. I did NOT add more cheese and reheat it to make the dip in it's entirety. I also used coconut milk as the milk). Cook couscous according to package. While couscous is cooking, sauté red pepper, onion, garlic, and sundried tomatoes in coconut oil. When couscous is ready, mix in 1/2 of the BNS dip (I saved the other half for another night), chickpeas, veggies, and salt and pepper. Once all of the seasonings are to your liking, enjoy! I served with a side salad.

What is your favorite vegetable? Do you have any questions about vegetarianism?