By: Chef Cristian Feher
Yesterday I wrote a really preachy article about the classification of the way we eat foods... And when I read it again this morning, it put me back to sleep! So I decided to re-write it to keep it light and informative.
The Vegetarian’s Dilemma is basically this – how do I have my food and eat it too – how can I eat tasty, energizing, nourishing food that actually tastes good and is good for me?
In this article I'd like to mention that there’s more wrong with processed carbohydrates like pasta, bread, flour, and sugar, than there is with meat. Your body is made of meat (not celery sticks), so unless your religion dictates otherwise, you should include animal protein in your diet – with veggies on the side!
Here are some ways in which I help customers swap out the bad stuff for the good stuff.
Sugar – the best way to avoid the effects of processed sugar is to avoid it altogether. Duh! Obviously, right? A lot of sugar sneaks in through our condiments. Ketchup is a big one, so is BBQ sauce. Try making your own ketchup using some natural honey by mixing 2 cans of tomato paste, ½ cup of white vinegar, 5 tbsp of honey, 1 tbsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, ¼ tsp of all-spice, 2 tsp of sea salt, 2 cups of water.
To make it into BBQ sauce, you can add a few squirts of your favorite hot sauce, and 2 tbsp of molasses (which adds vitamins and minerals)
Mashed Potato and White Rice are great side dishes, but they turn into blood sugar very quickly and are high in calories. For healthy dieters, I always substitute these things with garlic mashed cauliflower. Some people actually like it better than mashed potato - it actually tastes pretty good, and is very low-carb, and low-calorie. It goes great on the side of a steak!
Simply wash and cut up a head of cauliflower, boil it in salted water for about 20 minutes until it’s soft. Drain, mix with butter, salt, pepper and 3 minced garlic cloves, and mash like regular mashed potato.
Pasta is probably America’s favorite starch, next only to bread. Again, this is a high sugar food that you may want to avoid or eat less often.
I recommend Dreamfields low-carb pasta. It’s found in the pasta section of your grocery store. It looks, tastes and feels like regular pasta, but it’s made in such a way that your body cannot really absorb many of the carbs.
If you’re really trying to avoid pasta altogether, spaghetti squash (although it tastes nothing like pasta) does shred into spaghetti-like strands, and when mixed with sautéed onion, garlic, tomato, herbs and sea-salt, makes a really enjoyable dish! Just stick a whole spaghetti squash in the oven at 450 in a baking dish until it browns on both, top and bottom. Take out of oven. Cut in half, remove seeds, and shred the strands with a fork. Sautee with the veggies I mentioned above, or with your own tomato sauce. You can even twirl it like spaghetti with your fork!
I hope you enjoy these little substitutions. And remember that a healthy diet should provide you with energy and furnish your body with the materials needed to build and repair your tissues and organs - animal protein, vegetables, and a very small amount of carbohydrates are ideal.