Recipe: Cuban Black Beans & Rice

When I was a kid in Florida, my father was occasionally called on to be a guest preacher at various churches throughout the state. Florida has a large Cuban population, and for some reason he was in demand at their churches, where he would often preach through an interpreter. While my younger brother and I loathed sitting in church (we could recite Dad’s two sermons backwards and forwards), we always looked forward to visiting those churches and were especially well-behaved because of the huge potluck lunches afterward – with all the black beans and rice you could eat!

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Whole Grain Choices

It is a good idea to stock your kitchen with a variety of whole grains and whole grain alternatives. Most supermarkets carry a small variety in bulk in the ‘organic’ section, and of course your local health food store will have a great deal more. Here is an overview of the grains you can find:

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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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Recipe: Grilled Asparagus Linguine with Mushroom Vinaigrette

I confess, I’m not much of an Asian foodie.

Nothing against Asian culture, people, or their food…I just didn’t grow up eating it, so I never developed a taste for it. On the rare occasion Mom made some sort of vegetarian meat-replacement Asian recipe it usually involved sweet-and-sour sauce, which I cannot stand to this day.

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Recipe: Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

This was one of my favorite vegetarian recipes when I was in my teens. Mom didn’t make it often because of the time involved with prepping the grape leaves, then stuffing and rolling them – but I couldn’t really blame her. She worked part time and had me and my two younger brothers to deal with plus a household to run. So, it was quite a treat when she did make them.

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Grow Your Own Herbs

One of the side effects of becoming a vegetarian is often a renewed interest in growing your own…anything. Maybe you have a large, sun-drenched yard in which you could install a vegetable garden. Consider yourself lucky, and go for it!

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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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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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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 Peas

In addition to carbohydrates and fiber, peas generally provide Vitamins A, B (most of the complex), and C, as well as lutein, a nutrient necessary for good eyesight. There are several varieties of peas to choose from:

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