The Richmond Register

April 23, 2013

To be or not to be a vegetarian

Table Talk

By Arritta Morris
Register Columnist

RICHMOND — While becoming a vegetarian isn’t for everyone, I hear from others who tell me they’d like to become vegetarian, but it seems too hard, or they lack the knowledge to become one.

In January, I had my yearly check up and found out I had an increase in some levels that indicated I might need to take cholesterol medicine.

I hate taking pills, so I bet my doctor I would become a vegetarian and see if I could get some of these levels in a normal range.

It was hard at first, giving up all the different types of meats and fats and looking at how to fix items I still could enjoy. So I started with the simple things. Remember to keep it simple, and it will challenge you more to try new things. Here is the first item I tried.

MEDITERRIAN SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

2 large tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped red onions

8 large pitted black olives, sliced

2 tablespoons Feta Cheese dressing (I have listed this below)

DIRECTIONS:

Arrange tomatoes, red onion and black olives on salad plate.

Drizzle dressing.

FETA DRESSING

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tsp dried basil, chopped

2 tbsp feta cheese

Whisk all ingredients together.

Makes about 1/2 cup

Vegetarianism is not for everyone. If you are devoted to having meat all the time, you might not be interested. But there are some reasons for some of us to consider it. Here are a few:

No fat, reduced chances of food poisoning, better for the environment, help with weight loss, more nutrition, more energy.

If you are considering going vegetarian, I would suggest that you have a check up from your doctor and get more information before starting this new way of eating. By all means take vitamins, especially the B’s.

Speaking of vitamins, one time I decided I needed to really look at taking a better variety of vitamins. I went to the store and got some really good all-around loaded ones. I was taking them for about a week when I realized that I had gotten them mixed up with … you might have guessed … the dog’s vitamins. I had taken them for about a week. I really did feel like jumping up and down in the back yard.

When you look at changes in your way of eating, do it very slowly and simply. I started out trying new vegetables and dairy products I had never tried before. Here is a simple soup recipe.

LOUISIANA VEGETABLE SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

1 (12 oz) package frozen chopped onion, celery, bell pepper

1 (14 oz) can reduced-sodium free chicken broth

1 (14 1/2 oz) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano

1 (16 oz) package frozen okra

DIRECTIONS:

In sprayed large, heavy pan on medium-high heat, cook and stir onion mixture until tender. Pour in broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add okra, reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes or until okra is tender.

Always remember to take a good multivitamin if you decide to eliminate meat as well as dairy products from your daily meals. There are several across the counter that work well. Make sure they are not ones for your dog like I did one time. I got the dumb rock award for that one for sure.

Arritta Morris is a graduate of EKU with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and a master’s degree in counseling. She is certified as a Food Service Specialist by the School and Nutrition Association.