Positive Peer Pressure

Sights seen while walking with my honey!
Sights seen while walking with my honey!

So most of my family is buzzing with healthy ideas. My brother Matthew and I have been talking about our progress and he referred me to a documentary called Forks over Knives. I like to always listen to my siblings because they are impressive people, so that day hubby and I decided to watch it. I am not going to review the movie here, but the gist is; by eating a healthy vegetable diet you can lower your risk for heart disease and even reverse it. The statistics they give are amazingly definitive. So we have been researching and have decided to try it.

I must tell you my Midwestern roots sort of shudder in their boots when I say it out loud. My husband and I are working towards changing our diet to dare I say it…vegetarian. I cannot believe I am going to stop eating meat but it is something we are working on slowly. We are going to phase out meat slowly. The slowly part is something we realized after searching for recipes and understanding we know nothing about being vegetarian.

My friend Emily has pointed out that learning recipes from blogs aren’t always the best ways to start out because those recipes are usually the most impressive. I need to start with the basics. So I am going to first do one veggie meal a day. It is still a challenge for someone who was raised meat and potatoes style. I don’t know if everyone else has this problem but the normal protein sources that are part of a vegetarian diet I have not put into my recipe repertoire. I am researching recipes to get us on the right path.

This change in my habits is causing some disbelief from my family. We were talking about the fact that I made a veggie sandwich for dear Bradley to take to work, and how after I told him about said sandwich he declared, “But there is chicken in the fridge.” It was meant to be a story about how brain dead I was in the early morning. I had forgotten about his plan to take said chicken, but Momma jokingly said, “Poor Brad.” As if my hummus, cheese, spinach, and red pepper sandwich was something so depressing. We both laughed and Mom asked, “Does he have cash?” I said yes, and she said “Well, he is gonna throw that sandwich away.” I insisted that he wouldn’t although I was giggling at the prospect of Brad just being like, whatever, and throwing away my sandwich. I told Mom it was Brad’s idea that we start eating mostly veggie, but she was unconvinced. I said I will have him take a picture of him eating that sandwich, she said, “Don’t do that Danielle. Don’t make that man lie! He will take that picture and then throw it in the trash and then go with the guys to the roast beef shop.” I will tell you that this conversation brought me intense joy, as did the subsequent conversation with Brad about this.

His response was, “Oh sure. I can explain this to my boss. What are you doing Brad? Oh, I am taking a sandwich selfie. It’s a thing, right? a sandwich selfie?”

Brad did take the sandwich selfie at different states of eating. I was impressed at his thoroughness. I then emailed it to my entire family.

For your pleasure, the sandwich selfie:

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That’s another change. I have been sharing all the healthy stuff we are doing with my family and hopefully they will with me. I am hoping that seeing that their oldest, chubbiest sibling is eating cut up radishes and sweating her ass off in the hot Philadelphia heat will be motivating and health affirming, but more on that later.

Right now, I am asking if you could give me any good, simple vegetarian meals they have made or any tips for becoming more veggie centric. I would love to know your opinion on a produce heavy diet.

Popeye Shakes

My friend Shellie gave me a recipe, which I am calling Popeye Shakes!Image

Shellie is a Vegan, so I think my husband was distrustful of any recipe that she gave us. It is like we picture Shellie over there only eating celery and twigs and dry granola. He really grumbled about the idea that we were going to put spinach in the blender. I think the misconception we both had was that nonmeat eaters must not like good tasting food. It is a misconception; I think a lot of people have. Sorry Shellie, but it is true. I think that we also have prejudice of green food in a cup. I mean first you have to get into green veggies in general. You have to realize that Brussels sprouts, spinach, and zucchini are good and yummy when you cook them right. I think you have to go there before you can take the leap to green liquids.  So here we were with this recipe that puts a whole bunch of spinach in a blender. I ignored Brad’s grumbles and made it anyways because we have a really hard time getting enough greens in our diet. I am desperate to get those vitamins because I need my iron.

Here is the recipe:

Shellie calls it the Green Smoothie, I like Popeye Shake.

1 really ripe banana

1tsp pure maple syrup or honey (I used raw honey from Idaho)

¾ c. organic soymilk (I used skim regular milk)

½ c. water

1 handful of ice cubes

1 tsp of vanilla

2 handfuls of fresh raw baby spinach

Blend and Enjoy!!

She says you can use a ripe sliced pear instead of a banana if you want. I froze my bananas because they were getting really ripe, on the verge of going bad. Here is a tip, freeze it after you peel it…otherwise it is unbelievably hard to get the peel off.

Well Shellie, you are allowed to recommend anything to eat anytime. We loved these smoothies, and vegans do love good food. I am here to blow that misconception out of the water. What this smoothie does is make spinach taste pretty much like a frothy honey flavored banana. Brad was super surprised he really loved it. It makes the perfect amount, enough for two large drinks or four small drinks. I am going to need to get a new blender; mine is from 95 and lived through the frozen drinks of my twenties, so when I blended this shake you could smell the burning rubber. The recipe is too big to put in my magic bullet though. I know that we are still getting a lot of the nutrients because there were little flecks of spinach throughout when the ice was all blended. I read in Women’s Health that you don’t want to blend or food processes it too much because then there goes all the fiber. So this recipe is a definite success! Thank you Shellie for not only a good healthy recipe that will sustain me but also that you have blown away some of our preconceived notions.