Part of being Orthodox is a cycle of fasts. I struggled with this as a new convert, even coming from a Catholic background, because I felt I did it out of obligation and felt guilty if I stumbled and broke the fast. Now four years in I no longer feel this way. Each year my husband and I gradually added more recipes to our repertoire and so I got to the point of no longer craving meat. In fact, I didn’t even miss it at all! So how did we do it?
For us not eating meat during times of the year is a spiritual decision to be thankful, prayerful, and simple in regards to food. For you maybe you want to reduce your meat because of financial or ethical reasons. No matter what your reason for wanting to eat less meat here are some practical ways to get started eating less meat:
1. Eat more beans and lentils. –Beans and lentils are inexpensive and healthy ways to get your fiber so you feel satiated. However, they does not sit well with everyone’s digestive system, so tread carefully. As a place to start: I love veggie burritos, which I got inspired from Kitchen Stewardship, sweet potato and black bean burritos from All Recipes, and Apple Walnut Lentil Loaf with tomato sauce as a topping from Oh She Glows.
2. Eat more chickpeas. -Okay, so I thought chickpeas just went on salads and in hummus. Apparently not! They can make a great base for fake meat to make ‘chicken nuggets’. Who knew?
3. Eat tempeh. – I know. Unique flavor and odd consistency. However, there are some great recipes you can try where you’d never know. I love Maple Tempeh Meatballs from Vegan Dad or even Buffalo Tempeh from Post Punk Kitchen.
4. Eat more grains. – I’ve fallen in love with couscous, quinoa, and polenta. My husband loves rice, but I get sick of plain brown rice. Grains absorb so many wonderful spices that they make even my plain brown rice tasty by adding the flavor to the water it cooks in. So far my favorite recipes are Spanish rice, and sweet potato pistachio rice, and Moroccan couscous.
5. Eat veggies in a creative way. -‘How can you do that?’ you may wonder. How about quinoa sweet potato cakes or zucchini bites? Beetballs and pasta? You can have a meal filled with healthy ingredients and still be full. My favorite is portabella mushroom burgers with hummus and avocado. Now that’s something good I can crave!
~May you be blessed on your journey.
photo credit: vjeran2001 posted on April 12, 2014 via freeimages.com