By: Brandy Clabaugh
Going meatless. Those are words I never thought I would say. Even if for only one day a week, it was never something I gave much thought to. I grew up in Ohio, and meat was present at almost every meal. We were a family of hunters and ate everything from basic venison to exotic kangaroo. Meat was the star.
I had friends who said to me, “What’s the big deal? It’s one meatless day.” I understood their statement, but I did not necessarily agree with them. I had seen them take the meat out of their diet and substitute it with heavily processed soy products. Something I was not about to do. If I wasn’t going to get my protein from meat, I wanted to make sure I was getting it from a natural, non-processed source.
Since I knew I was ready for the meatless challenge, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Cooking Light. I have battled with weight all my life, and I wanted to reach outside my comfort zone and give something new a try. Not just rely on meat.
Honestly, it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it was going to be. I have learned to incorporate all my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) vegetables into my bean and grain dishes and pumped out a few fantastic meals. One of my favorite lunches is a quick and easy quinoa tabouli, and for dinner we have become big fans of pesto. Pesto can be customized in so many delicious and fun new ways. I have made everything from garlic scape pesto to an earthy beet green and hazelnut pesto. It’s perfect served over whole-wheat pasta and even better on vegetarian pizza.
Another change I have noticed is my general thought towards meat. I do not automatically gravitate towards having to include it in my daily meals. I have started making meatless dinners without even thinking about it. It’s an amazing change that I’m really enjoying. My opinion on vegetarian eating has completely changed. It’s not just about eating tasteless salads. It’s about eating flavorful dishes that combines grains, beans, and vegetables for the perfect balance of flavor and deliciousness.