My Story; Why Am I A Vegetarian?

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So, this is my first post on my new website.  I’m so excited to share my love for ‘veggie-tables’ and all good and healthy things.  First, let me tell you that I love to cook.  But, now, more than ever, I enjoy finding new, tasty vegetable dishes.

Over a year ago, I decided to become a vegetarian.  Well, a vegan really.  Yet, I was somewhat apprehensive, I thought it would be really difficult to sustain this new type of lifestyle.  But, once I got started, there was no turning back.

However, I did start with the Vegan route, but decided it was unrealistic for me and that I couldn’t remain a full-blooded ‘herbivore’.  I do try as much as I can to eliminate any and all animal products (in my diet, that is! Not on my body, I still love leather bags and shoes and what-not.)  So, when most recipes call for milk I’ll use almond milk or soy milk, and I’ll substitute a non-dairy version of butter or sour cream when called for.   But, my love of cheese definitely holds me back.  I cannot pass up a good slice of parmigiano-reggiano on a crusty loaf of chibatta bread dipped in ex-virgin olive oil!  (Oh, my mouth is watering just saying it!)  But, if I want a yummy, healthy veggie pizza, I will top it with a soy based ‘make-believe’ mozzarella cheese.  It tastes great and feels good going down knowing that I’m eating the best way possible.

So, would you like to know the reason I switched from being a carnivore (meat-eater) to a vegetarian?   It’s simple; to live the optimal, healthy life we all so desire.  Initially, my decision was provoked by reading books like Bob Greene’s “20 Years Younger”, Dr. Neil Barnard’s “Eat Right, Live Longer” and Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s, “Super Immunity”.  But, I’ve made T.Colin Cambell’s book “The China Study” my bible!

Learning about how eating meat, chicken, and even fish can cause chronic illnesses, obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancers (such as breast, prostate and bowel) and much more has made me drastically change my way of thinking about the foods we eat and how we prepare them and where they come from.  Dr. Campbell of “The China Study” has proven over and over again with conclusive studies that not only can you live a healthy, disease-free life by eliminating animal products (including dairy) but also reverse disease and illness by consuming a whole-food, plant based diet.  That was reason enough for me.

That’s it!  That is why I eat my veggie-tables!  I will tell you though, I do cheat from time to time.  Not much though, I am human!  There are those certain circumstances that I just cannot pass up (like going to one of my favorite German pubs in NYC, called Lederhosen, and indulging in a once-in-a-blue-moon “Bratwurst”).  My belief is we need to treat ourselves to some indulgences in order to make it easy to stay on the right path to living longer and healthier.  So, other than those few slip-ups, I pretty much stick to my strict whole foods, veggie diet.

Now, that being said, I’d like to share with you My Vegetable-Bean Soup recipe that I whipped up last minute from scratch the other night.  It is hearty and really tasty and certainly healthy.  It’s great on a cold winter night as its heart-warming aroma wafts through the house.

I like to puree my vegetables after they’ve cooked, keeping the soup rich and creamy, not to mention camouflaging those nutrient rich veggies that kids hate to eat.

My Veggie-Bean Soup

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 You can eliminate or add whatever veggies you like.

Here’s my selection; toss these veggies into a large pot:

3 lg. peeled carrots, cut into large pieces

Small organic potato, cut into 4’s

3 celery stalks, cut into large pieces

Turnip, washed and cut in half

Parsnip, washed and cut in large pieces

Lg. onion cut in 4’s

2 leeks, washed and cut in large pieces

A few sprigs of parsley

Add [filtered] water half way up the pot, making sure you have more water than veggies.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for one hour until veggies are tender.  Cool.  Then place soup and veggies into a blender in batches.  Puree and transfer to another pot.  Continue until all liquid has been pureed.

While heating up the soup mixture, add:

Crimini mushrooms, cut in 4’s (I like to first stir-fry in oil until just soft, then add to soup mixture)

2 large carrots, cut into bite size pieces

2 celery stalks cut into small pieces

Parsley, chopped

Can of white beans (drained and rinsed)

Can of pinto beans (drained and rinsed)

Cook for one more hour, until carrots and celery are tender.  Add more salt and pepper.  I like to add chopped garlic sautéed in about ¼ cup of olive oil into the soup (makes it richer).

In a separate pot, prepare small whole-wheat pasta of your choice.

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Ladle pasta into individual soup bowls and top with soup.  Enjoy!