Well, Sean and Wallis are gone now – back in Ohio safe and sound – and I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it was to spend 6 weeks with some of our best friends. It was truly special in every sense and we bonded over the things we normally bond over: good food, humor, dogs, craziness. But, this time we bonded over something else. Are you ready for this? Plant. Based. Eating.
After rooming with a “flexitarian” and hanging around a “vegetarian,” they decided to try it for themselves. It was awesome – I have never really been around someone starting it for the first time (other than myself) and I enjoyed watching them experience the high that is eating plants around the clock.
As a veg head, I’ve done my research. I know that plant-based eating is really good for you, but I’m not one to shove my lifestyle down anyone’s throat. “Everyone gets to choose,” as my momma always says. It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been vegetarian for almost six years. !! Wallis couldn’t believe it at first. “You haven’t had a cheeseburger in 6 years?!” Well, no. Not one made from meat, at least.
In the beginning (and maybe I’ll write a post about that time), I gave myself two weeks. Two weeks of no pressure, no meat…a “let’s just see how it feels” period to experiment and I. Loved. It. I felt better, slept better, lost weight, had so much more energy. *Results may vary* I still have never said the word ‘for-ev-er’ when it comes to not eating meat, but I haven’t felt any urges to go back, either.
A few weeks ago Sean showed me and Joe the documentary Forks Over Knives. It followed patients that were battling diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure that were prescribed a vegan diet. It was eye-opening amazing – their symptoms, their numbers, their red lines on the charts all decreased in a matter of months. (Spoiler Alert!) To the point they were no longer taking pills everyday just to live. I highly recommend watching it – we found it on Netflix, but I’m sure it’s also on iTunes. Here’s the trailer:
Again, this blog is not a judgment zone of any kind. But I know there are people close to me battling these issues right now and, as a total foodie, I’m proof that good eats don’t have to include any meats.
Feel like giving it a spin? Here’s what we had for dinner tonight. Try it sometime!
Cilantro Pesto and White Bean Quesadilla
*Adapted from The Grit Restaurant Cookbook
Handful of cilantro (they call for “the leaves of 12 cilantro stems” – ain’t nobody got time for that)
½ c. walnuts, chopped and toasted
½ c. parmesan cheese
a couple cloves of garlic (to taste), grated
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
1 (15.5 oz.) can white beans, drained and rinsed
butter or vegetable oil (or neither, if you have a non-stick pan)
4 large whole wheat tortillas
3-4 c. white cheddar cheese, shredded (we prefer queso fresco, crumbled)
your favorite salsa/sour cream/guacamole/pico de gallo
In a food processor, combine the cilantro, walnuts, parmesan cheese, garlic and black pepper. Pulse to combine. Slowly add just enough olive oil while motor is running to make a thick paste. Puree until smooth. In a medium mixing bowl, gently combine the pesto with the beans.
Place a skillet (lightly coated with oil or butter if not non-stick) over medium-high heat and lay a tortilla inside. Cover with a handful of cheese and a layer of ¼ the pesto and bean mixture. When cheese begins to melt, fold the tortilla in half. Brown each side as desired. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve with salsa, sour cream, guac…whatever favorite non-meat (ha) toppers you have in your arsenal.
Maybe serve a little Mexican Coleslaw on the side? Yum.
I’m proud of you, Sean & Wallis, and look forward to sharing this adventure with you. Anyone else feel like trying it out?