Why I'm a Vegetarian and Chana Masala

Happy National Vegetarian Week!

I'm a vegetarian for lots of reasons, but let me back up for a minute. If you want to get right down to it, I'm a lacto-ovo, pescetarian. All that really means is that I eat dairy products, eggs and fish. My dear husband does not. Well, he is sort of lacto since he eats yogurt and cheese, but the man despises cow's milk, eggs and fish. Although he will eat eggs if they are baked into something, like a cake. But anyway, enough about that.

I really only eat fish at restaurants and don't keep fish or cow's milk (since neither of us drinks it) in the house. Eggs are a different story. I eat them for meals and use them for baking on occasion. Otherwise I use vegan eggs.

So why exactly am I vegetarian? Most people might think it's because my husband is, but I became a vegetarian before we started dating. I'm not a huge fan of red meat. I don't like the taste and chicken just grosses me out, but I won't get in to how disgusting meat is.

I read a book once (can't remember what it was or where) that talked about animals that eat vegetables all day long: horses, cows, etc. and how powerful they are. It then talked about how powerful meat-eating animals: lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), sleep all day (and they do). That's one of my main reasons. I think about how tired eating meat made me. I know that might sound weird, but think about it.

I can honestly say that the Farmer and I are sick less and neither of us suffer from allergies. Our meals are also a whole heckuva lot more creative than when I was a meat eater. And honestly, I like it that way. Despite what most people who meet us think, we get plenty of protein. Most people eat WAY too much protein, since it's in a lot of non-meat foods already.

I can't believe I'm sharing this, but as a child/teen/young adult I suffered from IBS. Since eating a vegetarian diet, I rarely (I can't even remember the last time) have IBS issues. And we are definitely regular around these parts.

There is also vast research that shows that a predominantly plant-based diet can help lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes (but you should also steer clear of highly processed foods and "bad" fats). Quite frankly the amounts of hormones and antibiotics in meat, eggs, milk, etc. scares me A LOT. I should also mention that what they do to animals to get the meat is disgusting. The egg industry is pretty gross too, but I'm not there, yet.

The Farmer has other reasons for becoming a vegetarian, but most of our reasons revolve around the health benefits. I'm not out to convince anyone to give up meat, but think about it. It's better for you, your body and our world.

Vegetarian Recipe: Chana Masala

What you need:
1 can of Rotel (or one large tomato and green chiles)
1 small onion
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups of fresh spinach
2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 tbsp minced garlic or 2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c plain yogurt
1 cup water

Place Rotel and onion in a mini food processor and pulse until pureed. Heat olive oil and garlic in a skillet on medium heat and pour in tomato puree. Add cumin, turmeric, ginger and lemon juice. Cook until the water cooks out and the puree lightens. Add fresh spinach and cook until wilted. Pour in garbanzo beans and stir in yogurt. Pour in 1 c of water (you may need to add a bit more...I like a lot of liquid) to create a gravy. Simmer on medium low for 5 minutes.

Serve with naan.

This meal is so good (and I don't really think the picture shows that!) and tastes great with naan.