Friday, March 5, 2010

Nutritionally Inspired

I must say I have missed school this semester and all of the wonderful things I would be learning. Yet I been continuing to focus on nutrition in pregnancy and occasionally do a little research for fun. A few weeks ago my mother in law invited us to listen to a doctor (David A. Kroska MD FACOG) speak about "The LIFE Program." It is basically his advice for a long and healthy life through adequate nutrition and activity. He had a lot of really great things to say... more of which I will probably talk about later. I was really impressed by his commentary on the Word of Wisdom.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Word of Wisdom is basically the code of health that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints follow. It is a revelation given from God to Joseph Smith in 1833 and it is the reason why you don't normally find a member of the church at your local bar's Happy Hour or spending afternoons at Starbucks (yet just as a disclaimer there are people within the church who follow this code of health at varying levels). In addition to the commandments to not take certain things into our body there is also some great nutritional advice. I take this pretty seriously because if a person wants to know the best way to take care of their body who better to ask than the person who created it. PLUS the promises for following it are incredible.

The good doctor pointed out this particular section to us about the God's advice on eating meat and it got me thinking...

"And flesh also of beasts and the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving, nevertheless they are to be used sparingly; And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter or famine. " (emphasis added)

The doctors point, that it pleases God when we try to avoid eating meat. (Note: Fish not considered meat) Which makes sense to me considering the way that the meat farms in our country are run. Animals are fed horrible diets in cramped and unnatural conditions and then pumped full of hormones and antibiotics to speed up the whole process and try to keep them free of disease. I could say a LOT more about that... maybe later. He also cited some stats and research to back his comments.
  • Americans consume 2-3 xs as much protein as necessary
  • Animal products (meat and dairy) singularly responsible for the huge differences in heart disease and cancers in western societies versus all the "Blue Zones"
  • "protein deficiency" is a non-existent entity in the Blue Zones and is only found elsewhere with extreme starvation
  • Quality protein is readily available from plant sources (like soy and quinoa)

It should also be noted that the people who live in Blue Zones as noted above (Places in the world where people commonly live past 100 years of age) besides eating a plant based diet also share these characteristics...

  • Family is put ahead of other concerns
  • Don't smoke
  • Constant moderate physical activity
  • Are socially engaged (involved in their communities)
  • Eat legumes

This was good to know because in school they are always drilling the idea of protein deficiency into our heads. Many of my professors advocate that meat is important in the diet to get enough quality protein and adequate iron (from red meat). Not true.

It struck me that perhaps I have had a skewed view of what "Sparingly" means. Needless to say Chuck and I felt inspired to start eating more meatless dishes in our house. It has been a lot of fun for me to explore new recipes and we have found that thus far we don't feel as though we are missing out. Last week we started exploring Indian dishes as many people within their culture are vegetarians. It took us awhile to boost our spice cupboard because each recipe calls for about a quarter cup of seasoning alone... but we consider our health a worthy investment.

So here is one of our new favorite meatless meals

Baingan Bharta (Or as the Americans would say Eggplant Curry)

(I realize that this picture does not do the meal justice... picture taking is not one of my strong points)


1 Large Eggplant

2TBL Veg Oil (or which ever you prefer... canola, olive ect.)

1 tsp Cumin (calls for seeds but I just used the powder)

1 med onion thinly sliced

1/2 TBL fresh ginger minced

1/2 TBL fresh garlic minced

1 TBL Curry powder (I used Garam Masala)

1 tomato diced (I used a drained can or diced tomatoes)

1/2 cup plain yogurt (or Greek style)

1 fresh jalapeno pepper chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp lemon juice

Fresh Cilantro to garnish

Preheat oven to 450 F and bake eggplant on a sheet for 20-30 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat, cool, peel and chop. Heat oil in a saucepan over med heat. Mix in cumin and onion and cook and stir until onion is tender. Mix ginger, garlic, curry and tomato in sauce pan and cook 1 minute. Stir in yogurt. Mix in eggplant, jalapeno and season with salt and lemon juice.

Cover and cook for 10 minutes over high heat. Remove cover, reduce heat to low for an additional 5 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

We ate ours with a side of pine nut couscous.... Mmmmm

Chuck suggested that if perhaps HE held up the food it would look better.

He was right.

I am convinced that if my husband were a super hero, making things look GOOD would be his power.

So I would love to hear some of your favorite meatless meals. Especially tofu dishes... I made stir fry the other night but wasn't very impressed with the way it turned out. If you have recipes e-mail me!

*** Another note, this post is not intended to convince you that eating meat is evil or that I think you should all adopt a semi-vegetarian diet. You hold the power to make your own health based decisions as you see fit. I am simply sharing some good advice and you may do with it what you like. Love, Tacy Marie


Reuben said...

Dr. Atkins would have some serious issues with the Word of Wisdom.

Tacy Marie said...

So would, George Foreman and Ronald McDonald.

Anonymous said...

You should talk to Piedad Pinnell from La Crosse....remember her? She and her husband eat to the Word of Wisdom to a T. She has some GREAT recipes. She changed her whole diet once she got cancer and that was the only thing that truly helped her. Sara

Tacy Marie said...

I do remember Piedad... if you have her contact information you should e-mail me with it!

The Atomic Mom said...

I've found that a little meat goes a long way. You don't have to make it the main focus of the meal, but use it as a side dish. I use soy sparingly though. It is a very common food allergy.