Thursday, March 17, 2011


When I decided to lose weight a few years back, I started doing some research into just what I had to do to lose weight and live a healthier life.

One of the first things I learned was that I really needed to dramatically reduce my consumption of both meat and dairy.

Of course, when you're the mother of two kids with a husband, it's pretty much impossible to just stop eating meat and dairy.

I had to go about it in a much more stealthy manner.

The first thing I did was just reduce the amount of meat I used in dishes with meat. If I normally made pasta with a pound of sausage, first I reduced it to 3/4rds of a pound, then half a pound. I made up the difference with more vegetables. If a recipe called for 1/2 pound of meat and 1/2 cup of diced carrots, I'd make it with 1/4 pound of meat and 1 1/2 cups of diced carrots.

Next, I began working more vegetarian and vegan meals into the rotation. That wasn't as easy as it sounds. Now I was raised in an Italian family, and we generally had several meatless meals a week.

My husband, however, was raised that if there wasn't meat, it wasn't a meal (and I'm talking breakfast, lunch and dinner). His doctor, however, sided with me on the need to reduce meat, and after a lot of marital discourse, he accepts the meatless meals.

Of course, finding new and interesting recipes for vegetarian and vegan meals is always a goal of mine. One good source for inspiration is: . It has both vegetarian and vegan recipes and breaks it down so you can search by ingredients.

Another good site is Chef Chloe: These are strictly vegan recipes, and some are quite good.
I've made Chef Chloe's Harvest Stuffed Portobello caps several times for dinner (, and adapted her Black Bean slider recipe to make black bean burgers ( (I generally bag the mango salsa because it adds another step and add more flavoring to the burgers themselves).

Because my son is allergic to milk, I've also used Chef Chloe's cupcake recipes. The results are always fabulous, and no one misses the milk or butter.

One thing I learned is not to use "substitute" meat. My goal is to eat healthy and lose weight--not save animals--so I'm not going to switch out real meat, for processed meat-like substitutes. Instead, when I go meatless, I look for recipes that utilize beans and mushrooms. Both give the "meaty" hit, without the meat.

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