Protein in the Vegetarian Diet

Protein builds tissue. The word itself comes from the Greek word proteios which means ‘first quality.’ It is the foremost important nutrient your body uses to literally build and maintain itself – muscles, bones, tendons, regulatory functions; you name it, you can bet that protein is involved.

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Pasta in the Vegetarian Diet

Pasta gets a lot of mixed reviews. The low-carb diet proponents will tell you that pasta is the worst thing you could ever put in your mouth and will cause huge sugar cravings that will make you not only fat but diabetic. The high-carb diet proponents will tell you that pasta is a wonderful source of energy and helps maintain a healthy weight. The pasta companies will defend their product, of course, so they are hardly a source of unbiased, scientific information. Then there are those sources of unbiased, scientific information that couldn’t explain anything in layman’s terms if they tried.

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Legumes – The Beans

Beans are an excellent source of carbohydrates, fiber and protein, as well as other vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy diet. Paired with grains, they provide all of the essential amino acids necessary for complete protein in the vegetarian diet. There are many bean varieties to choose from:

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Eggplant in the Vegetarian Diet

If you’ve ever looked at that mysterious, shiny, dark purple vegetable in the produce section at the grocery store and wondered what in the world you would do with it, you’re not alone. The name alone is off-putting. Eggplant. I prefer the French word for it: aubergine. But, for the sake of continuity, I will continue to refer to it as eggplant here.

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Recipe: Lemon-Herb Eggplant Parmesan

Most recipes for Eggplant Parmesan bury this healthy vegetable under so many layers of cheese and rich tomato sauce that you might as well be eating a Personal Pan Pizza. Can you even find the eggplant in there? Do you even know what eggplant tastes like?

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A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

The original Thanksgiving was not a banquet of turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with whipped cream and…and…and whatever else you can cram down your gullet before collapsing into the recliner in a food coma. It was a three-day harvest celebration (and not repeated for many years), attended by the early American settlers as well as the natives who initially welcomed them and helped them adapt to and survive in a harsh and unfamiliar landscape.

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Recipe: Vegetable Moussaka

Moussaka is traditionally an extremely rich, hearty dish full of lamb or beef that will leave you in a food coma for several hours.

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Recipe: Lasagna Roll-Ups

This is a post-church potluck vegetarian recipe my mother came up with as self-defense against homemade stuffed shells. If you have ever tried to stuff anything into those jumbo pasta shells, you know exactly what I mean. They shoot out of your hands like torpedoes, they drop in the sink or on the floor, your hands are covered in cheese goop, and by the time you’re done you’ve lost your appetite and never want to see a stuffed shell again.

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Recipe: African Yam & Peanut Soup

I was an adult before I grew to appreciate the sweet potato. My mother used to eat it mashed with margarine and brown sugar, which horrified me to no end (I don’t have much of a sweet tooth unless dark chocolate is involved). Combined with savory ingredients, however, I discovered that this nutrient-packed vegetable is absolutely delicious.

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Vitamins in the Vegetarian Diet, Part 2: the Water-Soluble Vitamins

Water soluble vitamins do not require protein carriers and travel more freely in the bloodstream and the lymph system than do the fat-soluble vitamins. They are discharged through the urine and rarely become toxic. It’s easier to become deficient in the water soluble vitamins, as the body stores them in smaller amounts.

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