Sunday Roundup

Marche 1

At the marché in Aix-en-Provence, April 2012

More and more, I’m finding myself gravitating toward a plant-based diet. A combination of changed habits after a year of following the Weight Watchers program, and no longer being able to turn a blind eye toward the often horrible treatment of animals and environmental impact inherent in industrialized farming are prompting me to reduce my consumption of animal products. I’m not ready at this point to go full-on vegan, as I do find I feel best as an omnivore, (and let’s face it, a life entirely without cheese…unimaginable!) but am working on building the majority of my meals from plant-based ingredients. I’m also beginning to seek out some local sources of humanely and sustainably raised eggs, dairy and even meat. (If anyone has suggestions for sources in Southern California, please let me know.)

The challenge for me in replacing animal-based foods will be to avoid going too carb-heavy, as this tends to make it harder for me to maintain my weight. And I still don’t have much time to cook, so will need to find some quick and easy meals to add to the repertoire. The good news is that I like a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and legumes, and can make a meal of a big salad in a pinch. If I run across any good recipes I’ll share, if anyone is interested. And if any of you have a favorite source for fast/simple vegetarian or vegan recipes, please do share in comments.

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33 Comments

  1. Charlotte
    October 13, 2013 / 4:24 am

    I too am trying to eat a more plant-based diet. I love Mark Bittman’s book VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00. Lots of tips on vegan eating for busy lifestyles. I also recommend Bittman’s How To Cook Everything Vegetarian.
    Please do share any great recipes you come across!

    • Gretchen
      October 13, 2013 / 6:04 pm

      I agree, Bittman’s books are terrific. Joe Yonan also has a cooking for one book that isn’t bad…what’s helpful about his book is that he shows how to store and use all those ingredients you might need for a recipe, but not need the whole thing. As for a “flexetarian” diet-your body often tells you what it would really like, and learning that is much like learning what clothing works well for your life and personality. I cannot imagine giving up cheese, honey,seafood…and even bacon, as much as I hate the thought of eating an animal which likely is just as intelligent as a kimdergartener. Humane treatment and death are important. Whole Foods goes a long way to tell customers about its fish and meats sources. Kosher butchers are also a good source. Local is almost always better than mass production. The more you know, the less you’ll put up with industrial agribusiness. Just like mass produced clothing, the only one who benefits in the end is some Suit.

  2. Susan
    October 13, 2013 / 4:27 am

    I’ve been struggling with my weight, so it’s great to hear bits of insight from someone who has been successful losing after age 50! You look amazing!

    For someone who loves beautiful things, you can’t beat Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks. They are all gorgeous but “Plenty” is all vegetarian.

  3. Jacinta
    October 13, 2013 / 4:28 am

    Plenty by yotam ottolenghi is vega heaven!

  4. October 13, 2013 / 4:49 am

    I am not a vegetarian, I do like meat but I am very conscious about how often I eat it.
    There are fantastic recipes with seasonable vegetables, I had butternut squash salad (Jamie Oliver!) yesterday and will have soup made of the remaining pumpkin today.

    Just yesterday I listened to a radio programme discussing the trend for more organic food in the States. However, according to their research this trend is much slower than over here in Europe. Organic food is still more expensive here but nearly all supermarkets now offer bio products which are really affordable.

    Annette | Lady of Style

  5. Susan Daniel
    October 13, 2013 / 5:05 am

    This last summer, and now, into the autumn, my husband and I are cooking mostly all vegetable meals at home. We’re into simple, so I make things like sauteed yellow squash and onions, steamed okra, steamed asparagus, little new potatoes with a bit of plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, field peas, lima beans, sauteed spinach. You get the idea. No real recipes needed-just great fresh vegetables with minimal cooking. We do like the onions sauteed with our squash to be slightly carmelized

    We do eat meat, but I seldom prepare it at home anymore. I DO have a weakness for homemade chili and wonderful beef stews-so I am sure these will be on the menu this autumn.

  6. October 13, 2013 / 5:17 am

    We often enjoy meatless meals, and a new recipe I tried this week was a Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa chili – delicious garnished with avocado and cilantro Let me know if you’d like the recipe.

  7. Hostess
    October 13, 2013 / 5:20 am

    I recently posted a recipe for a roasted veggie salad. You can make it up very quickly with a variety of veggies and after roasting you add a bit of feta cheese. I love it hot or cold.
    We have also reduced the amount of meat in our diet. Salmon is still on our radar though and think it would be difficult to give up. Free Range Eggs are available here at farm stands and in the supermarkets. Their flavour far exceeds the mass produced eggs. I hope you find a good source.
    WW has taught me a lot about eating healthy food and reducing the amount of meat at any given meal.
    I look forward to seeing some new recipes on your blog!

  8. October 13, 2013 / 5:33 am

    Jeanne Lemlin’s “Simple Vegetarian Pleasures”–one of my favorite cookbooks. Her others are wonderful also. I don’t know why she’s not better known.

    • Karen in Paris
      October 13, 2013 / 5:39 am

      Yes, I agree, it’s a great cookbook! I make her curried red lentil soup at least once a month.

      Jamie Oliver’s 30-minute and 15-minute meal cookbooks are also great resources. I’m making a vegetarian menu from his 30-minute cookbook for my book club today: trapan-style rigatoni, grilled endive salad and arugula salad and a limoncello trifle for dessert.

  9. October 13, 2013 / 5:52 am

    You are so lucky in California to have Wholefoods around. When I was visiting the Us and especially California it was one of my pleasures to go shopping there. The range of good healthy and organic food is amazing. Even meat and fish can be bought organic.
    That is what I desperately miss in France.
    Should I come over and visit you more frequently?

    Hilde from “fashion55plus.fr” Paris

    • October 13, 2013 / 8:32 am

      Amen! Whole Foods in Venice is my favourite restaurant in the world!

  10. Leigh
    October 13, 2013 / 6:32 am

    I really thing we may be soul sisters. First the love of Eileen Fisher and now this! I am in the process of trying to do the same thing. My very progressive Integrative Physician was talking to me and said something that really resonated with me. He said ” your diet should consist of mostly leafy green vegetables. I have been trying to lean more that way. I have tons of fabulous recipes. Will have to think about which you might like.

  11. Patty
    October 13, 2013 / 7:16 am

    Thank you for this post, Une Femme. I have been wanting to go mainly vegetarian, but I’ve had trouble finding good recipes for vegetables. And, I’m allergic to peanuts and most tree nuts, so I worry about getting enough protein. (Though I understand that we Americans tend to eat more protein than necessary.) So thank you all for the cookbook/recipe recommendations, everyone. We have a source in the Madison, Wisconsin area for wonderful prepared meals, many with vegetarian options. It’s based on the community garden concept where you purchase shares and receive whatever is available for that week. Their meals are delicious and made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. I think I will be joining so that I have some back up meals for those days when I’m just too tired to cook something healthy. Perhaps you have something similar in your area? http://www.608csk.com/how-it-works.html

  12. Sarah
    October 13, 2013 / 7:30 am

    This blog…
    http://www.eat8020.com/

    Has a lot of great recipes. Some vegetarian, some not. I also love it’s emphasis on balance…something I’m continually trying to find!

    Sarah

  13. October 13, 2013 / 7:46 am

    oops–my favorite is QUICK Veg Pleasures. The other one is good also. I should write a post about it!

  14. October 13, 2013 / 8:31 am

    I was vegan for about 25 years not because of moral reasons just through my food choices, I am falling back into my old ways, I struggle so much with animal products apart from haggis or black pudding!

  15. October 13, 2013 / 8:49 am

    I agree, a life without cheese would be unbearable! But I try to limit my animal-based food mostly because there is no fiber in it (and I need fiber!).

  16. October 13, 2013 / 9:46 am

    Hello Une Femme! I love all of Yottam Otolenghi’s cookbooks – his recipes are straightforward and every one that I’ve made has been delicious. He does use some middle eastern ingredients which are readily available in middle eastern stores – Wholesome Choice in Irvine carries a large variety of middle eastern ingredients if you are interested! I’m a nutrition professional (and teach at a local community college) so thought I’d “weigh in” here (sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂 Shifting your diet to a more plant based one is a great idea – and actually can help you manage your weight. I’ve been shifting my diet as well and now look at meat as more of a garnish to my meal than the main attraction. Since I still have a teenage boy at home (and a husband!!) I’ve found this approach works well for dinner. I also try to focus on vegetarian dishes I can make that I can add a protein to for my son and husband – very easy to do with soups and salads!

  17. October 13, 2013 / 10:07 am

    I have just returned from living in Italy and found that the real Mediterranean Diet (as opposed to the American interpretation of it) left me feeling healthy and trim. I don’t quite understand why in the U.S. we so often are made to feel that we must adopt “vegetarian” or even “vegan.” The key in the Mediterranean diet is variety at each meal so that meat is simply an option among many at any given meal. And there are suppliers of humane meats, eggs, and dairy products…but they take a lot of time and expense. I would say, however, that it is worth it.

  18. October 13, 2013 / 10:44 am

    I just find myself desiring plant based eating more than anything else. I have taken Juice Plus vegetable and fruit supplements for over a year and I think what they say is true,,,that it actually helps you to desire more in your diet and prefer that type eating. I can easily go without meat for and not even realize it. Love you picture at the top….we almost have our home back…and its raining…I love today!!

  19. Chris
    October 13, 2013 / 1:06 pm

    I’m with the first commenter. Check out Mark Bittman markbittman.com and his latest book VB6 (vegan before 6) – great compromise and a way to eat a mostly-plant-based diet without sacrificing things like cheese!

  20. fashionovafifty
    October 13, 2013 / 4:22 pm

    On the cape point, I have one that I have worn to death; its about 10 years old now. At first, I was always tugging at it–it was a pain in the car. But I have found it is the perfect transitional jacket for the fall, when I am not quite ready to go for a coat. But I will limit my purchases and just replace the one when its done! xoxo

  21. Hilary
    October 13, 2013 / 5:55 pm

    There is a great new book by Rebecca Katz called The Longevity Kitchen. While not exclusively vegetarian, it has many veg recipes but best of all fantastic info on the health benefits of specific veggies. Heidi Swanson’s blog 101cookbooks and her two cookbooks are constant sources of creativity and inspiration.

  22. Outfit31.com
    October 13, 2013 / 7:09 pm

    I’ve been a fatfree, plant based, whole food vegan since April, 2011. I’m 30 pounds lighter and feel better than ever! Here is an excellent blog that I use all the time and the outcome of each recipe has been delicious! http://blog.fatfreevegan.com

  23. Wendy
    October 14, 2013 / 12:15 am

    I’m in my mid sixties now born in the UK , & because I love animals , haven’t eat meat for sixty years . It was tricky at one time but the hippies made it more normal & now , well , there are good veggie options everywhere . There are masses of excellent veggie cookbooks & the net is a boon – The Guardian site has a good selection of Ottolengi recipes available & the Liberty London Girl blog has an interesting veggie food section ,though you might need to avoid some of her carbohydrates . I have very few health problems & manage to keep my weight under control – apart from a love of chocolate that is . I can see you might struggle a little at first, especially if you are cooking separate meals for the rest of the family , but it gets easier as you go along .Good Luck
    Wendy

  24. October 14, 2013 / 10:15 am

    Carbs are problematic for me as well — that’s why I wasn’t able to fully join Martin in switching to vegan. It mystifies me how well he is able to process carbs. However, we do share many vegan dishes, especially Indian curries, to which I add a modest amount of organic chicken or dairy just for myself. My daily meat intake is down to 2 eggs, a portion of chicken no larger than a deck of cards and a few tablespoons of cheese. If I eat less than that I’m too hungry and end up eating more carbs than I can efficiently process.

  25. Dominique
    October 14, 2013 / 3:11 pm

    As others have commented, Mark Bittman’s VB6 is fabulous and really easy and you can make it work for you. Also, if you aren’t familiar with The Gardener’s Cottage blog – she is wonderful. Lots of very easy delicious vegan recipes, gardening, simplicity, style and more. http://thegardenerscottage.blogspot.com/

  26. October 14, 2013 / 6:32 pm

    Dear Pseu,

    I hope this new posting procedure means I’ll be able to post again!

    I bought a potimarron squash (yes, it does have a slight chestnut taste and isn’t too sweet, and made a gratin with that and a mushroom-shallot duxelles.

    I have a hard time eating fully vegan because I can’t digest all legumes, but have found I can do some lentils and adzuki beans. I need protein. It is really important to centre our diets around vegetables (and a bit of fruit) whether we become vegetarian or not.

    You’ve seen many views of the market I shop at almost every day, grâce à la Duchesse.

  27. L
    October 16, 2013 / 8:37 pm

    I highly recommend Lindy and Grundy (http://lindyandgrundy.com/) for local, grass-fed beef, chicken and pork. They also have some lovely cheeses (like yummy Midnight Moon). Some Farmers’ Markets also have grass-fed meat and cheese…and you can order it online as well. For canned tuna, I recommend TunaTuna (http://www.tunatuna.com/). Good luck. L

  28. October 17, 2013 / 11:10 am

    I myself am a vegan. In diet, not other ways. I still wear leather shoes and bags and whatnot. I think it’s important that people who are thinking about going plant-based do so armed with the info, which you obviously are. So many times, people think they have to replace the meat with something “meat-like”….and you end up eating more processed food (pressed veggie burgers, soy “bacon”, etc). Whole food, plant-based diets are the way forward. I recommend The China Stusy, and Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s books Eat to Live, and Super Immunity.

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