Native American Food in the Vegetarian Diet

Many of the foods we consume today were introduced to the early European explorers and later settlers by the native inhabitants they soon displaced.

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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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Winter Squash in the Vegetarian Diet

Winter squash is called such due to the fact that it is harvested later on in the year, into the fall, when the skins are thick and hard – as is the flesh. Winter squash does not make for good raw eating. It is, however, very flavorful when cooked – much more so than the summer varieties. The seeds are an excellent source of protein and quite delicious when toasted with a few choice seasonings.

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Mushrooms in the Vegetarian Diet

It’s a rare occasion when my salad doesn’t contain mushrooms, and I usually toss them in the cooking pot with pasta to blanch for the last couple of minutes, making them a part of my pasta primavera. They make a mean gravy, too.

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Recipe: Spicy Pumpkin-Sweet Potato Soup with Homemade Croutons

…and you thought pumpkin was only good for pie or bread!

Au contraire!

This is a sweet-and-savory harvest soup with a kick that will take the chill off of any Fall evening. Serve it with fresh-baked Pillow Biscuits and a mixed-greens salad livened up with some dried cherries, walnuts, and crumbled blue cheese.

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Vitamins in the Vegetarian Diet, Part 1: the Fat-Soluble Vitamins

Fat soluble vitamins are stored in fatty tissue and the liver and are not quickly discharged by the body, as they are attached to protein carriers in order to circulate throughout the the bloodstream. There is a potential for them to become toxic if too much accumulates in the body.

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The Mediterranean Diet for Vegetarians

The Mediterranean Diet evolved from the research of a University of Minnesota professor named Ancel Keys, Ph.D. Beginning in 1958, Dr. Keys and colleagues studied how the diets and lifestyles of roughly 12,000 men from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds influenced their incidences of heart disease.

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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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Recipe: Greek Scalloped Potatoes

No heavy cream sauce or rubbery cheese layer failing to hide the lack of flavor in these scalloped potatoes!

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Summer Squash in the Vegetarian Diet

When I was a kid, the mere mention of the word squash sent me screaming for the hills. It had no flavor, and I couldn’t stand the soft, mushy texture.

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