What’s Meatless Monday?

Do you know what day it is today? It’s not just Monday. More and more people are recognizing that the work week now begins with “Meatless Monday”.

Let me start off by saying I am not a vegan or vegetarian, though increasingly I’m finding myself looking for vegetarian meal options. I recently started reading “The China Study”, a bestselling book by a respected researcher and biochemist from Cornell University, Dr. T. Colin Campbell. I don’t know if I’ve ever read such a compelling argument about why we need more plant-based food in our daily lives.

I will save my review of this book for another day but suffice it to say that Dr. Campbell presents overwhelming data that supports the benefits of a whole foods plant based diet for optimal health. Staggering numbers culled from dozens of studies irrefutably show the links between the North American (ie, heavily meat and refined carb based) diet and  the chronic illnesses so common in today’s society. Cancer, obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cataracts are all conditions that can be alleviated by reducing the amount of animal protein we consume.

Within my own extended family I have witnessed, and continue to witness the ravages of dementia, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, obesity, macular degeneration and multiple sclerosis. I have seen first hand how the quality of someone’s life, and that of those closest to them, deteriorates when these illnesses strike. It’s an incredibly stressful and exhausting existence. Modern medicine can do amazing things in terms of prolonging someone’s life, which often explains why “survival rates” of these diseases are often so much longer.

But is that how we want to live our lives? Bed-ridden, hooked up to tubes, in constant pain or simply unable to enjoy simple pleasures like walking (or running) through a forest on a sunny spring day? Well, I can tell you, not me. I know there are no guarantees in life but if I can do anything that will allow me to continue living with energy and vitality, then you can bet I will do it.

The “Meatless Monday” movement began in 2003 and is backed by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It has quickly spread and is now virtually a mainstream movement, endorsed by 30 schools of public health across the globe. The goal, simply, is to encourage all of us to improve our health as well as the health of the planet by reducing our meat consumption by 15%. Out of the 21 meals we enjoy per week, surely we can eliminate animal products for just 3 of those? It’s amazing how the levels of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre all skyrocket when we eat more plant food. There is no animal protein that can compare to any fruit, vegetable, legume, nut or seed.

Many of us may not know what to eat when we eliminate eggs, cheese, chicken, beef and fish. If you’ll pledge to make an attempt at incorporating more meatless meals (maybe even an entire day?) I will pledge to share more recipes to give you mouth-watering options that won’t have you missing the meat.

Today’s recipe is a soup I just enjoyed for lunch. It is full of protein, fibre and phytonutrients and thoroughly satisfying. Let me know what you think.

White Bean, Quinoa and Kale Soup

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable broth + 2 cups of water
  • 1 can white navy beans (any type of bean would be fine)
  • 2 cups chopped kale ( I know I said a while back that I didn’t like kale but it just tastes like the soup in this dish…I’m thrilled to find another way to include it in my diet!) :)

1. Heat olive oil over LOW heat. Cook onion for 2-3 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, garlic and cumin and cook another 2 minutes.

2. Add the quinoa and stir thoroughly. Cook for about 1 minute.

3. Add the broth and water to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked.

4. Add the beans and kale; cook about 3 minutes or until kale is wilted.

This soup will definitely enhance your “Fit Body”.  Enjoy!

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