Monday, April 6, 2015

Next Stop: A Healthy Week

No better way to start off a Monday than with a corny pun, right?

This is compliments of The Humane Society:
If you fill up your plate with veggies, then there won't be mush-room for meat!

I'll take this hilarious pun! Whatever gets me through the day.

Speaking of getting you through the day, let's rethink what fuels our bodies to start up the week. The weekend holiday is over, and you may be feeling guilty after all of the candy and savory meals you had this weekend. I, myself, definitely indulged. But as Monday is for new beginnings, I am challenging myself to load up on healthy food today, rather than continue on the indulgent food rampage with leftovers from this weekend.

There are several ways in which I have learned to transition from the weekend (especially a Holiday weekend) back into a healthy week with a Meatless Monday kick-start. When I visit home for a period of time, food is usually abundant. As a college student, I don't see my family often, and when I do, it is a special time where we treat ourselves to having meals out and preparing big dinners as a way to visit with one another. The result from all of this is leftovers in mass amounts. Especially after holidays, such as Easter, I find myself returning to my college apartment with enough Tupperware to fill the entire fridge. So how do I restrain myself from continuing the indulgent eating for the rest of the week? I get by with a little help from my roommates. I'll send pictures, texts, and snapchats of the food I'm eating while at home, with a little disclaimer saying something along the lines of "Get ready to help me with the leftovers." And then, I'll plan a meal either Sunday night, or sometime early in the week to heat up all of my leftovers, and have a 'family' dinner with all of my roommates. They are always excited to help out, as there is something special to a home cooked meal when at college. But the best part is, I can share a meal with my friends and get rid of my leftovers all at the same time! This is incredibly helpful to know that I will only have one indulgent meal that week, rather than multiple as I try to chip away at finishing all of the food.

Another trick that I have learned over the years, is to always have a healthy breakfast and lunch on Monday. I know that if I can make the first two meals of my week something healthful, than it will be easier to continue doing so. And this is easy when you make sure to stock your cabinets with only healthy foods, or when you go into the dining hall already knowing what you'll get rather than browsing the options. I make sure that when I go grocery shopping, to buy only healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, and whole grains. That way, when I'm home cooking, I only have the option to make something that is good for me. My breakfast usually consists of oatmeal with fruit, or eggs with whole grain toast. Starting my Monday off this way gets me in the mind set of eating well. Then, for lunch on Monday, I make sure to tell myself that I will have a salad in the dining hall. When I get there, I must force myself to walk right over to the salad bar instead of perusing the other options. This way, I can't be tempted or change my mind if I see something else.

These are just a few ways I begin my week in a healthy way, even if there are situations that make it harder to do so. A healthy Monday can really affect my week in a positive way, and I hope that these tips will allow you to do the same.

Happy Meatless Monday!
- Jackie

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Meatless Monday loves World Water Day

When resources are running low, and the earth is being depleted at an exponential rate, we have to start thinking about the choices we are making.

Meat products take incredible amounts of water to produce, whereas as vegetables take far less. Which is the better choice when it comes to sustainability? If we want to sustain life on this planet, we need to make choices that will benefit us in the long-term. The sustainable choice is to opt for the plant based diet.

Why does meat take so much more water to produce than plants? Well, animals are higher up in the food chain than plants. So first, we need to grow all of the grain and plants that cattle eat. Once all of that water is used to produce the grain, we then feed it to cattle. Cattle have to eat a lot of grain. Add in all the extra water that cattle have to drink, and this adds up to a huge amount. In reality, we could just eat the grain and plants used to feed the cattle and a whole step would be taken out of the process!

This inefficiency can be seen in whats called the feed conversion ratio. The ratios are 7:1 for beef, 5:1 for pork and 2.5:1 for poultry. These numbers represent the amount of feed needed to produce an output of beef. For instance, 7 units of feed are needed to produced 1 unit of beef. These units of feed can consist of corn, soybeans, wheat, etc. All of which are edible to humans. Instead of using water to grow all of this feed, that is then fed to cattle only to produce a small amount of food, we could simply eat the plants ourselves. A fraction of the water that it takes to produce cattle, could go towards producing enormous amounts of plant based foods that we could consume.

Meatless Monday is the perfect way to participate in World Water Day, because it because it decreases our water footprint. You don't have to be a vegetarian to make sustainable choices when it comes to food. Knowing the facts and making smart choices through out your day is the best way to incorporate sustainability into your life.

Try going Meatless every Monday!

Happy World Water Day!
- Jackie
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Monday, February 9, 2015

National Pizza Day!

It's easier than you may think to go meatless on monday. A lot of classic meals can be made meat free! And in honor of National Pizza Day, why not go for a pizza topped with delicious veggies. Some traditional veggie toppings include peppers, onions, tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, pineapple, roasted red pepper, and spinach. If you want to go extreme with the veggies, you can even make the crust out of cauliflower instead of dough! Check out this recipe for an awesome Cauliflower Pizza. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Pizza  You'll never go back to a regular dough pizza after trying this!

- 2 cups finely chopped cauliflower
- 1/4 (heaping) cup hummus - I recommend garlic hummus!
- 3/4 (heaping) cup mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup egg white
- 1 tsp. oregano
- Pizza toppings of your choice (cheese, veggies, sauce, etc.)

- Preheat oven to 450
- Finely chop the cauliflower until you have 2 cups worth
- Cook the cauliflower by steaming it, or putting it in the microwave for around 8 minutes. Cauliflower is done when is turns translucent.
- In a food processor, combine your hummus, cheese, egg and oregano until smooth.
- In a bowl, mix the cooked cauliflower with the blended ingredients. The mixture will be slightly runny.
- Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet, and then thinly spread the mixture on the parchment paper. If you do not have parchment paper, you can grease the cookie sheet (the pizza may stick to the pan a little if you do it this way - but nothing too bad).
- Bake the crust for 25-35 minutes. The top should be golden. When poked with a fork, the crust should be somewhat soft, but not gooey.
- Take the crust out, and top it with your ingredients.
- Broil the fully topped pizza for a few minutes, until the your cheese is melted, and the crust is crispy on the edges.
- Enjoy! This recipe will make a large sized personal pizza.