Monday, July 26, 2010

Meatless Monday, Vitamin D, GOOP, and Caribbean Gingered Squash, Rice and Kale

Happy Meatless Monday! Yes, another week has flown by and here we are again exploring the world of veganism. It's a fun world and one that as mysterious as the illustrious El Dorado, and in my opinion, just as equally filled with gold.

The original term "vegetarian" was coined at the turn of the last century, but the existence of Vegetarians in the world dates back to around 6 BCE (before common era) in India and Greece. At that time being a vegetarian meant you didn't eat all things animal, including dairy and eggs. Over the years those two items seemed to be woven back into the tapestry of the Vegetarian lifestyle. So, in 1944 Donald Watson and Elsie Shrigley - the founders of the Vegan Society, coined the word "vegan".

Becoming a vegan involves more than just what you eat and not eating dairy and eggs doesn't not entitle you a vegan. Veganism is a life style that promotes not using, in any and all aspects of your life, products that were obtained in the abuse or death of an animal. Some obvious items would be: leather, silk, angora and wool. Some less known ones would be makeup, shampoo, lotions, etc.

Animal bi-products are used in a vast amount of items you would normally not realize has anything related to an animal at all. I like to call this the "ANIMAL SNEAK ATTACK!" It's fun, especially if you have allergies.

As a vegan you will come to  realize you're vocabulary will expand as you learn words like:

  • albumen
  • arachidyl proprionate
  • caprylic triglyceride
Or ones more simple like:
  • lanolin
  • rennet
  • "natural sources"
All of this items are derivatives of animals. "Natural Sources" which could mean the sources are animal based.

Where are these items hidden? Food, clothing, and even those "adult" items we like to buy from time to time, like lubricant.

People ask me why I would want to live like this? Why would I want to live a life that is increasingly difficult because it involves reading EVERYTHING before touching it, and it's simple. Because it's the least I can do. The very least. I wish I could do more, which is why I now blog about it.

"But your protein levels!" They're still fine. My B12s... need work.

Now I have a question for you. ALL of you. What about your Vitamin D levels? See, we live in a world that is so saturated with the idea that we have to look young forever, everyone is screaming "DON'T GO OUT IN THE SUN! WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN!!" Which is all good and dandy, but at the end of the day the human body NEEDS vitamin D and the way it gets that is by going out in the sun withOUT sunscreen. It's a big issue in this country, one that we ignore but one - especially in women - is massively important due to osteoporosis. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow recently wrote a post about it on her blog entitle GOOP. Take a moment and check it out. (it's back up with facts so don't think I'm running off for celebrity gossip as backing. But I do like Ms Paltrow. One of the few classy ones in my book.)

If you don't feel like reading the GOOP newsletter it goes on to talk about how we need vitamin D to prevent certain types of cancers. It does not suggest you go out and strip down to how god made you then lay in the sun for the next three days, but it does suggest you get some rays without the spf 75.

See - even if you eat meat you may be missing out on those important vitamins we need to keep on living well.

NOW! On to our recipe for the week. Sorry I don't have an image for you, but this recipe looked too good to pass up, plus the "Notes" made me smile. So please - EAT!

Caribbean Gingered Squash, Rice and Kale
Recipe By :adapted from Versatile Vegetarian by Weight Watchers
Serving Size : 4 
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 onion -- chopped
  • 2 pounds butternut squash -- see preparations
  • 2 jalapeno peppers -- seeded and cored and minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled ginger root
  • 3 garlic cloves -- minced
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 Pinch ground cloves
  • 1 Pinch ground allspice
  • 1 bunch kale -- cleaned and chopped
  • 2/3 cup brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
PREPARATIONS: Butternut squash - peel, core and cut into 2-inch chunks

DIRECTIONS: In a large nonstick skillet, heat the water. Add the onion; cook, stirring as needed, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the squash, jalapenos, ginger, garlic, curry, cloves and allspice; sauté, stirring, about 1 minute.

Add the kale in handfuls, stirring as it wilts. Stir in the rice, salt, pepper and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the water is absorbed, 35-40 minutes. Remove from the heat; add the lime juice and fluff with a fork. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes.

PER SERVING: 211 Calories, 1 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 647 mg Sodium, 45 g Total Carbohydrate, 6 g Dietary Fiber, 6 g Protein, 146 mg Calcium. 
3.5 ww winning points

CAUTION: When handling chile peppers, wear gloves to prevent irritation.

NOTES : "Squash and kale are winter vegetables, so try this recipe when the thermometer drops. Let the fragrant spices of Caribbean cooking transport you to white-sand beaches and azure lagoons."

This very lovely recipe was found on the International Vegetarian Union website. It's an awesome resource and I suggest you take a moment to check it out.

Remember, taking one day a week to be a vegetarian or a vegan is a nice way to lend a hand to your health and to the world. Reducing your carbon foot print. Lowering your chances of heart disease. And seeing how its just not that hard to be a vegan or a vegetarian.

I hope you have a great week! Thanks for stopping by. Next week will probably be a bit longer, but with my meditation coming to a close, I'm probably going to be a bit more quiet than normal.

Lots of love to you all.

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