Friday, February 22, 2008

Interesting Week to be a Vegetarian

Since I left the Rice House, I've stayed the course on being a vegetarian, with the exception of salmon on Valentine's least until this week! I have been lulled into the complacency of thinking the healthy veggie options were everywhere, and that this would be easy! But not so much...

Our department had our belated holiday party at a local barbeque restaurant, one that's been around for decades. I remember going there with my family when we visited Durham in the 1970s, and it's still around, in the same location, even. Anyway, the gathering of people was lots of fun, but our family style eating options were not exactly healthy. On our menu: bbq, brunswick stew, hush puppies, french fries, green beans and cole slaw. I had seconds on the green beans and cole slaw, though I could taste the salt and sugar in each respective dish. I also had a taste of the barbeque and brunswick stew to see if I missed meat, and I discovered that I don't, really. It didn't taste bad--in fact I remembered why I used to love bbq, but I don't miss it now. Not a craving anymore. In fact, my stomach was a little unsettled for the rest of the afternoon, so I'm really not missing it! But, I did enjoy being away from campus for lunch, and the company was great, so I'm glad I went.

Last night, I went to the local Dream Dinners for a "Sneak Peak" promotion offered by our employee health program. As part of the deal, I got to prepare and bring home a 3-serving entry to be cooked at home. I'd heard of Dream Dinners, but never been in one, so I decided to check it out. I used MapQuest to get directions, which took me a back way, not on the interstate, and I was glad to learn a new way to that area, which was good.

When I got there, the local DD owner and a dietician from the employee health program were there to explain things. It all seems like a great idea for busy people, especially busy people with families. There were three freebie entree options to choose from last night, all three of them meat! I decided to be a good sport while I was there and put together the honey and herb grilled chicken breasts. I went to the station, where they had three frozen chicken breasts in a plastic ziplock already, and I followed the instructions on the sign for putting in the various spices and toppings to get it "cooking ready." This included non-fat buttermilk (which I passed on, very high in sodium), honey, mustard, and a variety of spices. They provided the recipe for cooking it on a sticker that's on the front of the bag in the picture to the right. It was fun enough to put it all together and bring home, but it's chicken, and I haven't ventured down the chicken road yet. I'm not sure I want to yet, so I stopped by the grocery store and got some things to make a whole wheat veggie pasta salad, which turned out very well! I didn't use a recipe this time, just picked up some fresh veggies (squash, zucchini, red peppers and cherry tomatoes) to steam and add to the whole wheat penne pasta I already had at home. I threw in some olive oil, shredded swiss cheese, and Mrs. Dash on the flip side. 30 minutes start to finish, and yum! The thing I learned from last night is that I'm having fun putting my own ingredients together and cooking.


Susan Mo said...

I am very interested in hearing more about the vegetarian route. I have thought about it, but have never fully committed. I think it is great, but I also think you need a lot of variety in your diet for balance. My aunt went to a vegetarian diet at the age of 50. She didn't do it for health reasons per se, more for animal cruelty reasons. She has been very happy and stuck with it for many years now.

Lesley said...

I think you're right about the variety thing. When I was going the Rice Diet at the actual clinic, I got into a routine of having pretty much the same thing, every meal, eventhough a good variety of foods were offered on the menu. Now that I'm cooking on my own, I'm craving a healthy variety. So far I'm not craving the old haunts (pizza, chocolate, chips and salsa), but different veggies and stuff. Figure I should run with that!