When I was a working girl in the early days of my marriage, I had a boss who shared my passion for food. She traveled quite a bit and would come back with tales of delectibles from foreign lands. If I was lucky, I would get a cookbook or a dish of some sorts. I drank it all in. One particular place she raved about has always stuck with me. The Mediterranean. It has been on my mind a great bit lately along with two other topics of interest: the liver and the Word of Wisdom (read it here). Of course, this is all about food, about what food we eat and what food we should be eating. It is about the fact that people have cancer all around me and it isn't just the old folks anymore; it is the younger folk now. It is family and friends that simply should be enjoying their prime, not fighting to keep it. I have been deep in thought. I have been evaluating why in America we insist on killing ourselves early. I remember the Mediterranean. Here is your lesson.
Researchers have been looking at the Mediterranean countries for over 50 years and have noted that the people living there are uncommonly healthy. The common issues we face here such as heart disease, diabetes, gallstones and high cholesterol, just to name a few, are rare in the Mediterranean. It is not because they have better health care or better drugs, it is because they eat the way we should be all eating; the way the Word of Wisdom tells us to and the way our liver wants us to eat. They eat fresh fruits and veggies in abundance. They eat lots of grains and beans, not just wheat and refried beans; the other ones - the healthier ones. They eat meat sparingly, only once to twice a week and they eat fresh fish. Hmmmm, does this sound familiar? As I have been studying this, as I have been reading that the liver is the engine to our body and that red meat in particular is very hard on it, that cancer thrives on a body fed meat, that the meat we get is full of pesticides and hormones, that it is hard to digest, that the Lord tells us to not eat it but only in times of winter and famine; I think to myself - why do we need to really think about it at all? It is pretty clear. America makes us thinks otherwise.
We are brainwashed by the Dairy Council and Cattleman's association that we NEED it. That if we don't get it we will surely die. Did you know that breast milk contains 6% protein and cow's milk contains 22% percent protein? Do you think God would make food for a human child that did not meet his needs? Do you know that we can get all the protein we need from grains, veggies and beans? You can learn more about that here. After reading and pondering, the issue was clear to me; go Mediterranean. I was already using meat only every other day but now I decided that was too much. I read another great compelling article on the Word of Wisdom (read it here) and decided that I was ready to take the next step. My husband followed suit and we are meat free.
Now, to not be misunderstood; I am not against meat. In moderation I believe it is totally fine. I believe that if we only ate it up to a couple times a week it would do us no harm. I may eat some but I just don't want to right now. I feel good. I like the way I am eating right now and don't really want to go back to meat. My husband feels the same way. People think that going meatless limits you. On the contrary, it opens so many other doors. You have to get more creative, you have to look at all the grains, beans and produce out there. I have made some of the tastiest creations this last week and my kids, who were sure they were going to hate this, have not even noticed. I still feed them meat a few times a week and they can have it whenever they want when they are out. It is their decision to make. But, they like the food. There is no real sacrifice here, Only blessings.
I don't think it is wrong for anyone to eat meat, I just think it is wise to not eat so much. Try it out, see how you feel. I will have lots of new recipes for you to try out "meatless" and if you want, you can throw meat in them. Baby steps. I really must stop researching topics, too much info and I absolutely will not look into any research that talks negatively about chocolate. I have limits.
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 C. diced zucchini
1 T. olive oil
1 can 15 (oz) plum tomatoes, drained and mashed
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried sage
1/2 t. black pepper
1/4 t. red pepper flakes
1 cup orzo
1/3 C. crumbled feta
Saute onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and zucchini break them up into small pieces. Stir in spices. Simmer , stirring occasionally for 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated.
While simmering, cook orzo in boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and add to pan with tomatoes and spices. Stir in feta and cook for a minute until it just begins to melt. Serve warm. Any veggies would be great added.