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.

Veggie Terrible – An Onion of a Tale

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For me not liking onions we sure had alot on hand.

My sister once told me she hates all vegetables. I think she was thirteenish, but a lot of adults have this same feeling. While my sister has since figured out this isn’t true, that indeed at the time she had not even tried all the vegetables on the planet Earth. She is now a lover of Brussels sprouts and loves to eat broccoli and cauliflower with ranch and many other veggies. She had to try, as I did, vegetables cooked many different ways to find recipes she likes. I will walk you through my process for one of the veggies I hate, which I have to say is only a couple. Then every so often I will focus on one vegetable and the different cooking methods you can try that make it taste differently than another cooking method.

I really hate onions. Watching someone put raw onions on their burger, or top a salad with red onions just makes me want to gag a little. Sometimes if I buy a salad and it has red onions on it, if I forget to remove them before putting it in the fridge I can’t eat it the next day. It is like the onions contaminate the rest of the salad. My parents used to love getting pizza with onions on it, and I hated that too.

I remember one day I went to a brunch at my Aunts and I teared up a little because she always makes a 7 layer salad that looks delicious. Everything she makes is yummy. I never get to eat this salad because it is filled with green onions. It is one of those salads that sits over night in the fridge. But this brunch, she left onions out of part of it for me. The idea that she specifically thought of me and my “special whiny baby needs” was overwhelmingly thoughtful. I was so excited to try the salad, and it was amazingly tasty.

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My man was chopping up

I have had an aversion to them since I was “knee high to a grasshopper,” but recently I went on an expedition to figure out if I could eat them in something so I can get the vitamins they provide. The funny thing my husband pointed out is that I love salsa. I will eat some salsa like it is the last bit of food on the planet, and most if not all salsas have onions, raw onions which to me is the worst. It is the texture, not the taste necessarily. I hate the crunchiness of it, and if the salsa is heavy in onions I will not eat it. However, if a salsa has an equal amount of onions and other crunchy things then it is like they are evaporated into the salsa.

I put onions in my spaghetti sauce. I grate them so I get the flavor, but not the crunchiness of them. I have figured out that I can eat them the sneaky way. If I don’t know there is onions, or they aren’t a physical obvious presence in a recipe I have no problem. I have done that with casseroles and soups. I also like onion bread, because the onions are soft and malleable.

Lastly I figured out, that I love onions on the grill, prepared in a specific way. If you put an onion cut up with olive oil and herbs in some foil wrap and set it on the coils for a long time, then it becomes soft and brown and yummy.

I was pretty proud of myself for continuing to try them. I remember trying onions in my teen years and making the ugliest face, and my Dad getting angry with me. It was my unwillingness to give it a chance that frustrated him. I think that it is important when it comes to my health that I start being willing to try anything vegetable related so that I can get the vitamins necessary for good health. I am proud of my sister for doing the same. Culinary courage will take us a long way on this quest to be healthy.

Do you have any good recipes for onions, or any ways onions can be cooked that I haven’t thought about?