COLUMN: New year, new food for thought
A Fresh View, By Allee Wilkinson
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 13:01
I have a terrible confession. As a 7-year-old child, I had a friend who was a vegetarian. On more than one occasion, I accidently found her eating grass or other greenery from her yard. Once, I even found her trying to force-feed dandelions to neighborhood children younger than us. I’m not sure why, but ever since that day the word “vegetarian” brings back memories of me being prompted to suck on dirty grass.
I’ve grown up a little since then, and I know the correlation between my green friend and vegetarians is scant at best, but I’ve still had a hard time understanding the appeal of life without meat, except for animal humanitarian reasons, of course.
In my two months as a 21-year-old, I’ve had two important revelations. First, my body is growing old and creaky far too fast. Second, I found out I’m not only caring for my own body, but a tiny rice-grain-sized person inside of me. Oh baby. Hurting my own body is one thing, but having responsibility for someone else makes eating a little more complicated.
These two things have forced me to closely look at what I eat. While I’ll never be a full-fledged vegetarian, the lifestyle has become more and more attractive. I’ve found there are a number of misconceptions about vegetarians, including the idea that a dinner has completely consist of green peppers and lettuce. I’ve been introduced to a world of soy-burgers, pinto beans and veggie-burritos and I don’t think I could go back if I tried.
During Christmas break I watched “Forks Over Knives,” a documentary promoting a not only meat-free diet, but a dairy-free one as well. A scene at the end of the movie panned over a number of healthy, but delicious-looking, vegetarian meals. I had to hit the pause button for one because it looked so mouth-watering: veggie tacos.
Before trying the healthy dish, I couldn’t imagine a taco without beef, sour cream and cheese. After making and trying the dish over Christmas break, I can’t imagine it with them. With the right amount of taco seasoning, I hardly missed ground beef and the cilantro, and red onion provided a burst of flavor that would have been overpowered by other ingredients. I served the meal with a side of grapes and a small portion of refried beans, and both complimented the dish wonderfully.
It may be cliche, but my New Year’s resolution is to find more recipes that are delicious as well as healthy. Anybody can go to McDonalds or live on an all-lettuce diet, but it takes a lot of time to plan menus, shop and cook. If you have any recipes that are quick, affordable and healthy, shoot me an email. I’d love to hear about your food-related resolutions.
– Allee Wilkinson is a journalism student and wanna-be food critic. She loves cooking and attempting to eat healthy. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @wilkified.