After months and months of pondering, I decided to give up meat – cold turkey (no pun intended!
Recently I went back to school to become a holistic nutritionist – I had been thinking about it for quite some time and I finally took the leap three months ago. In the past three months I have had my brain inundated with so much nutritional information that it’s left my brain is a tizzy, and the large majority of the information I have been taking in has spoken to the benefits of a plant-based diet.
As a chef, I have always been reluctant to give up meat, for two main reasons:
One: I love the depth of flavor that meat offers to soups, stews and sauces
Two: I felt that as a chef, to eliminate such a dominant food group could be detrimental to my professional growth.
But the meat our grandparents enjoyed is not the same meat on many of our plates today. From the hormones fed to chicken and beef to foster unnatural growth, to the pesticides in their feed, the meat industry has become a rather dirty business.
Initially, I endeavored to eat only meat that was organically grown, but, let me tell you, organic meat is EXPENSIVE. So then I was faced with a tough decision: go back to non-organic meat, which I wasn’t prepared to do, or give up meat altogether…and just like that I became a vegetarian.
Resources for getting started as a vegetarian
Becoming vegetarian can prove challenging, and indeed, even for chefs the learning curve can be steep. I was immediately plunged into a world that was fairly new to me. Yes, I know how to cook vegetables, but the challenge lied in finding substantial ways to feed myself, without getting bored. As a cookbook lover, I saw this as an opportunity to expand my collection!
The following two books really inspired my vegetarian efforts, yet still managed to satisfy the other carnivore in my house.
The Meat Free Monday Cookbook - The whole Meat Free Monday campaign has been championed by Stella and Paul McCartney, and it doesn’t disappoint. It provides a meat-free menu for every week of the year, organized by season. And I cannot emphasize how great this book is as a resource. The recipes are well written, beautifully photographed and nutritionally balanced.
Raw 50 by Carol Alt - The raw food scene is likely one of the fastest growing segments in vegetarian cooking, and although I enjoy cooking, the idea of eating foods in their purest state appeals to me. This cookbook highlights Carol’s 50 favorite raw food recipes – 10 breakfast, 10 lunch, 10 dinner, 10 snack and 10 dessert recipes – and demonstrates that raw food can be and IS quite delicious.
A book that gives me another excuse not fire up the oven on a blistering summer day? Sold!
You can pick up Raw 50 by Carol Alt right off the 877MyJuicer.com website! Click here! (p.s. sign up for the newsletter to the right and get discount and coupon codes for 10%, 15%, and/or free shipping!)
The decision to become vegetarian was not an easy one for me and you may be thinking about it for yourself as well, but need a little motivation. Or you might still enjoy eating meat, but would like to take a few days a week to broaden your culinary horizons.
Either way, these two books helped me, and I know they’ll help you too!