vegetarianism for carnivores: a simple idea for healthier eating

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This time last year I was about to embark on an experiment of being vegetarian for a whole month.

While I enjoyed the challenge of approaching my cooking from a different mind set, for me it was a struggle. I missed my bacon. And my steak. And chorizo. And lamb shanks.

You get the picture.

After reading a blog post by vegan pin-up boy Leo Babauta on the The Simplest Diet for Lean Fitness a few months ago, the thought of trying out another diet experiment did cross my mind. For a few minutes I contemplated taking up the vegan life for a month, just to see what it was like.

And then I remembered my bacon cravings from last year. Maybe not.

But why not try it just one day a week?

And that’s how Meat-Free Mondays were born.

how to go a little bit vegetarian

1. Choose one day a week
For me it’s Mondays but choose whatever works best for you. And maybe it’s only every other week. Better to start small than be overwhelmed.

2. Focus on the food you can eat
This is when it’s time to get excited about visiting your farmers markets and letting the beauty of natural products guide your decisions and menu planning, rather than freaking about what you can’t have.

3. Eat real food
Something I tend to do naturally, but it’s nice to be reminded every now and then. If you’re just going to eat ‘vegan’ sausages it kinda defeats the purpose of going vegetarian in the first place.

4. Explore some simple new recipes
Either checkout the new and improved stonesoup recipe index or have a look at the guest post menu I created for a whole day of vegan eating based on Leo’s diet on Zen Habits. Or try the wonderful soup below, perfect for this time of year whether your sliding into Autumn or skipping into Spring.

5. Have some fun
Healthy eating isn’t about feeling deprived and miserable. It’s about enjoying your veggies and savouring them. There can be much pleasure in a simple bowl of greens as the best quality chocolate, it’s all about how you approach it.

white bean and eggplant soup recipe5
white bean and eggplant soup recipe6
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video version of the recipe

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white bean & eggplant soup recipe
serves 3-4

2 medium eggplant (aubergine)
2 knobs butter or olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cans white beans (400g / 14oz)
2-4 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to its highest setting.

2. Cut eggplant in half lengthwise and place on an oven proof tray cut side down. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until eggplant is very soft.

3. Meanwhile melt butter in a large saucepan and cook onion, covered for about 15 minutes or until very soft and golden.

4. Add beans and the liquid to the onions and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes or until your eggplant is ready.

5. Srape the flesh from the cooked eggplant and add to the soup. Simmer for a minute or so then puree, if you like.

6. Taste and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

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