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Meat Or No Meat, That Is The Question

I am on a quest to get myself healthy and to feel better in my day to day life.  I currently work at a holistic health practice and my boss has me cleansing and replenishing with herbs and minerals.  I have begun doing yoga (mildly) and I meditate all the time.  Adding these things and making these changes has improved my overall quality of life very noticibly but I always knew I was going to need to change my eating habits to take it to the next level.

I’ve decided that now is the time to make some changes to my diet and alter my eating habits some.  One of the things that I started doing a week ago is waiting to eat until I am actually hungry, like when my stomach starts to growl.  Before, I would start eating because it was supposedly meal time or because something smelled good or I was just craving something.  It’s funny how eating can be such a psychological stumbling block at times.

Now, you’ve heard me mention that eating is something that I truly enjoy and cooking is like a wonderful, relaxing therapy for me, so that being said, trying new things doesn’t scare me.  The thing that makes me apprehensive is being told I need to cut certain foods out of my diet…foods I really like.

I watched a documentary last year about how meat and dairy products cause all sorts of health problems and inflammation in our bodies.  This documentary promoted eating a whole food, plant based diet.  I tried this diet for a solid three months and stuck to it.  I lost some weight, which was awesome, but what was even better was that I felt AMAZING!  My energy level skyrocketed which is huge for me.  I’ve always been a kind of low energy type of person. After the three months was over I started to slowly incorporate meat and dairy into my diet again, hoping that I wouldn’t undo all of the work I had just accomplished with my help…I don’t know what I was thinking.

The sluggishness came back and my lack of desire to do anything also came back.  I was disappointed but for some reason just kept right on eating how I was, even though I knew I could make a change and feel better.  For whatever reason it was really hard to motivate myself into starting the whole food, plant based diet again.

Starting at the holistic practice and focusing on my health and daily habits set me back on the right track.  I really started paying attention to foods that would promote healthy digestion and was reaping the benefits of that.  Now, cutting back on meat and dairy hasn’t seemed so bad.  I haven’t cut it out completely, which was the trick for me.  As long as I know I can have it whenever I want I don’t seem to want it as much, but when I do decide to eat it I don;t feel guilty about it.  It’s all about balance.  I pay attention to how my body feels and make decisions based off of that.

Are there any of you that are vegetarians or vegans?  What were some of the motivations that helped you to make the switch?  I would love to hear of any of your favorite recipes.  I’m always looking to build my recipe book! 🙂

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Oh, How I Love Good Food!

My love for food started as a young girl.  My dad is an excellent cook and he always made sure that we ate well on the weekends, that was when he had more time at home and would cook dinner.  My mother is a great cook as well, she just doesn’t enjoy it like my dad does.  My dad is half Lebanese and half Sicilian, so we ate lots of delicious ethnic food growing up, like stuffed grape leaves, baked kibbeh, kossa (stuffed zucchini), hummus, baba ghanouj, tabbouleh, spinach or beef fatayers and one of mine and my daughters favorites, yakhneh with rice.  That only covers the Lebanese side, we also ate so much pasta with my dads homemade spaghetti sauce made from tomatoes that we had grown in our garden!  We canned hundreds of jars of tomatoes every year, and we also made our own Italian sausage every year.  It was amazing!! My dad also makes the worlds best meatballs, but are very closely rivaled by my brother’s.  My brother is an extraordinary cook as well.  I was spoiled as a young girl, eating such fine food.  My dad shared his passion of gourmet food with us and I am so grateful!  He would read reviews about restaurants and we would visit them on the weekends, only revisiting the ones we really enjoyed.

My mom cooked during the week and like I mentioned before, she was no slouch in the kitchen.  She made the hearty, stick to your ribs, type of meals.  Sometimes we called those the “American” meals.  She would make things like pot roast with carrots and potatoes, a dish that we called hamburger casserole, pork chops with mashed potatoes, chili, glazed chicken with rice and chicken cooked with cream of broccoli soup.  My mom would also chop a fresh salad to go with dinner every night and dress it with homemade Italian dressing.

My mom told me that she learned how to cook a lot of the ethnic dishes from my dad’s mother.  She was Lebanese and we called her Sitti, which means “my grandmother” in Lebanese.  Sitti passed away when I was three years old, so I didn’t get to be around her and learn things like how to cook, or be told stories from when she was a young girl.  I always enjoy hearing stories about her and imagining how fun it would be to be in the kitchen with her, learning all of her cooking secrets!!

I am not a very inventive cook.  I mostly like to find delicious looking recipes and try them out, maybe tweaking them a little bit to suit my tastes.  I love trying new recipes and writing about them, it’s one of my favorite things to do!  Cooking is like therapy for me…very relaxing and it makes me happy.  I have very good memories that are associated with cooking and with good food.  So, with this portion of my blog I want to use it as a place to write about recipes that I’ve tried and to also showcase restaurants that I go to and my experiences in them.  This part will be exciting for me and the easiest posts to write!

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