I love Meatless Mondays (and other days when I declare vegetarianism). The truth is, I enjoy vegetarian options (almost) as much as I enjoy meat-lover options. I like the added variety that consuming plant-based proteins provides. I like the affordability that comes with many of these plant-based proteins. I love coming up with new and delicious ways to cook with these foods. And of course, one of my favourite lunch spots is Fresh.
Oh, and did I mention the added variety?
As noted in my last post, the Paleo diet excludes legumes and grains, two food groups that typically play an important role in a vegetarian diet. Paleo advocates argue that legumes and grains contain anti-nutrients. But, did you know that soaking your legumes in water prior to preparation and consumption can eliminate or reduce these anti-nutrients, not to mention unlock valuable nutrients that make them more nutritious than in their raw form?
Can beef do that?
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy a good steak and am a huge fan of fish, but since reintroducing legumes to my diet, I haven't experienced any major side effects, therefore giving me no reasons to exclude them. For me, including plant-based proteins is a great way to switch up my menu week to week. After all, chicken can only be prepared so many ways. And with no serious side effects from consuming these foods, what's stopping me from enjoying a chickpea or two?
Diets modelled after a Paleolithic one are said to be the best choice in order to alleviate symptoms of inflammation and therefore, the most beneficial for those who suffer from autoimmune disorders. However, even with my lupus, I refuse to label my diet "Paleo" for fear of restriction and limitation. I choose to consume real, whole foods. Sometimes, this includes dairy (non-Paleo) and sometimes it means a glob of hummus (also non-Paleo). But most of the time, I know exactly the ways in which consuming certain foods will affect me. Just because the Paleo diet has served so many so well, doesn't mean it's the right option for me (or you). The Paleo diet has re-taught me what foods and/or food groups I should avoid, but also what foods I can consume without serious side effects, at least in moderation.
As I'll say over and over again: it's about finding what works for you.
Despite avoiding certain foods all together for reasons important to me (ie. gluten), I choose to consume everything in moderation. Variety. These foods that presumably contain anti-nutrients aren't typically finding their way on to my plate on a day-to-day basis. Why? Variety.
As I'll reiterate in a later post within this series, the old adage of "everything in moderation" is key to living a healthy and happy lifestyle. It's that added variety I keep talking about, right?
Check out one of my favourite foodie links My New Roots for Meatless Mondays, and my recipes page for vegetarian options, including Four Cheese Macaroni and Sweet & Spicy Tofu Stir Fry.
And, if you're interested, Kim at Yogitrition offers a great summary of why we should soak our legumes.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a nutritionist, physician, or any kind of health professional. Everything that you find on my blog is based on my own knowledge and opinion. If you require specific health and fitness advice, please seek a qualified health professional.