Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Veg Out With Mike

I am a vegetarian. I openly admit this. I’ve got nothing to hide, no turkey drumsticks stuffed in some far corner of my closet or cheeseburger stashed in the glove compartment of my car. And I’m a real vegetarian, someone who has opted not to ingest meat of any kind. That means all meats and meat byproducts. I often hear some people profess their vegetarianism proudly, only to later hear them amend this profession by adding that they only eat chicken…or just fish…or all meats except beef. To these confused folks I say: kudos on your quest toward healthier eating habits, but you are not vegetarians. And that’s okay with me. In fact, I support your healthy choices of eliminating some meats from your daily diet, just don’t go around calling yourself a veg-head. Like me.

But here’s the thing, the real deal, the dark little secret of being a vegetarian that you carnivorous, meat masticating guys and gals may not know:

WE MISS MEAT!

Got your attention? Actually, we, or maybe it’s just me, miss some of the comfort foods, made with meat, that I loved devouring while growing up. Foods like meatloaf with gravy and mashed potatoes. Spaghetti and meatballs. Lasagna stuffed with sausage and crushed meatballs. Enchiladas, tacos, burritos, fajitas crammed with chicken and carnitas. And cheeseburgers. Of all the foods that I’ve eschewed since I made the heart- and heath-conscious decision to eliminate (ALL!) animal proteins from my diet, I miss cheeseburgers the most.

But there was, and still is, a reason why all of these comfort foods taste so good, and why I still avoid them: they are loaded with calories, saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium.

One day, while watching my lovely wife enjoy a cheeseburger, as I nibbled on a salad, my mind turned down a dark path, slipped stealthily toward temptation and taste, and wondered if I could somehow create comfort foods, like juicy cheeseburgers or spicy tacos, and make them meat-free and healthy, without losing their taste. And, through trial and error and lots of dirty pots and pans, I came up with:

VEG OUT WITH MIKE


My aim with this new series is to create healthy, vegetarian-based comfort foods that taste great too. I think I have achieved that with my first recipe (and video) for a simple marinara sauce. Serve this up over a high-fiber, whole wheat pasta and you have a delicious, healthy feast that will satisfy even the meatiest of meat eaters.

VEG OUT WITH MIKE (Simple Marinara Sauce)



In future veg out videos I hope to tackle tres frijoles (three bean) tacos, meatless meatloaf, veggie lasagna (my mom‘s recipe), and, yes, those greasy and decadent, but oh so tasty, cheeseburgers. All meat-less and low in saturated fats, cholesterol, sodium, and calories.

Is it possible?

Can I pull it off?

Can one mere man, armed with a bowl of veggies and a chopping knife, take those fattening comfort foods that we all love to eat and turn them into HEALTHY and TASTY delights?

Stay tuned.

When VEG OUT WITH MIKE continues…

Until next time…

peace,

Mike

58 comments:

Catatonic Kid said...

Fantastic idea, Mike! Bring on the tasty goodness. You know for the marinara one thing I also like to add is a couple of bay leaves. They bring together all the other flavours and really make the whole thing pop.

I eat meat twice a week and the rest is all veg so if you can come up with some satisfying takes on the comfort classics I'd be very excited.

I much prefer the healthier option as I'm strict about sodium intake but finding truly tasty recipes not based on saturated fats to substitute for minimal salt is very difficult.

Martin in Bulgaria said...

I respect your choice of going the vege way, lots of people have the same ideals and your contributions will be very useful.

I chose to eat meat, (reall meat not cheeseburgers) and that is my chouce, but I love lots of vegetarian dishes. I therefore look forward to seeing some goodies knocked up by your good self.

Jacqueline said...

Hey Mike,
Thanks for caring enough to bring us some alternatives that are just as satisfying as we found those meaty dishes to be.

Wayne John said...

Marinara can really help out with the veggie dishes for sure, but nothing beat a thick juicy rib eye...sorry my friend. I can't ever pass that up!

I finally had an Eggplant Parmesan dish, btw it was fantastic! First time eating eggplant, thanks for dropping that seed as it were. :)

Cheers!

HEALTH NUT WANNABEE MOM said...

As a fellow vegetarian and self confessed horrible cook, I love this and am excited to learn some great vegetarian recipes!! I am so excited that you are doing this and am looking forward to your next veg post! Yahoooooo!

PaulsHealthblog.com said...

Mike, maybe you should seriously consider a cookbook by that name.

I don't like to cook. I just like to eat. Yet, because my granddad and dad died of cancer, I try to eat healthy.

But every now and then...

Your cookbook would fit the bill, for people like me.

P.S. Do you have a post as to why you decided to become a full fledged vegetarian?

Mike Foster said...

catatonic kid: you know, I think I forgot the bay leaf...oops.

martin: I will try not to disappoint and bring some good recipes to the table

jaccqueline: that's my goal, thanks...

wayne john: glad you dug the eggplant, man

healthnut heidi: us veg heads have to stick together

paul: you may just have something there, now all i need is an agent--know any? And I will have to write a post about becoming a vegetarain some day...



peace,

mike

Derek said...

Mouthwatering! I will be giving this a try..

I was a total vegetarian for 12 years, but experienced health problems so in the end I went back to eating meat.

Evelyn Lim said...

Fantastic!! I love your idea. I'm hoping to turn vegetarian but the thought of having to watch the rest of my family eat their delicious snacks is also delaying my decision. I'd be looking forward to your new videos!

Daisy said...

Daisy's mom here:
I have been vegetarian for over 15 years now. I am not a good cook, and usually only "cook" in the microwave. Luckily they are making some really good vegetarian products now. SmartDogs taste just like hot dogs to me. And I love spicy black bean patties with salsa. Yum!

Rey said...

Excellant video on Marinara sauce Mike! I love your cooking style and simplicity. I am looking to change my diet and I bought some Tofu. Any suggestions on how to use it?

Rey

Da Old Man said...

Bring it on, Mike. I can't wait for more videos. I make my own marinara, but would like some "meaty" meatless recipes. The analogs just don't cut it.

Gandalf and Grayson said...

We are really hungry now, Mike.

Build Muscle and Lose Fat said...

I eat meat. All meat. Beef, pork, chicken, fish, buffalo, deer, you name it and I eat it. However, I am aware of the saturated fat content of meat such as beef, pork, and lamb; and I don't like it. In my efforts to eat less meat and more veggies, I will enjoy checking out some of your recipes. Of course I will probably have a side of chicken or fish with your dish, but still I will be eating tasty veggies too. Thanks for the great info.

Tom Thorne said...

I don't eat sugar. Yes, I miss the cakes, pies, etc. But I miss the headaches sugar gives me less. Although, it does take real effort to pass up cookies or other deserts when everyone around you is enjoying them!

ImitationAngel said...

I'm officially hungry now. I'm looking forward to the future videos. I want to try a few of these.

SuzyJones said...

That's great Mike! I'm also trying to shift on vegies, hope it will be a success.

betchai said...

oh wow, i am so excited to learn all those you mentioned.

Eric S. said...

I like the idea of a cook book. I am a meat connoisseur, and can not imagine life without meat. But that does not mean I can't enjoy some very tasty vegetarian recipes.

I hope it won't offend you if I try your marinara to go along with my wild game meals.

Cat in the Foxgloves said...

How wonderful! I have to admit that I don't like any meat except fish so I'm always eager to find new veggie recipes! My doc has told me to avoid meat, dairy, sugar, flour, alcohol and chocolate. So I'm embracing veggies with a vengance! Bring 'em on!

krizcpec said...

I will stay tuned. :)

Mike Foster said...

derek: sorry about your health problems, hope this helps...

evelyn: the best motivating factor for me is eating healthier...

daisy: kudos to your mom for 15 years of being a veg head...

rey: I enjoy tofu best when it is firm and stir-fried with veggies...

old man: I could just drink marinara, I bet yours rocks too. And I'm working on my next recipe/vid as we speak...

gandalf and grayson: thanks for stopping by kiddos...have a carrot

build muscle etc...: good to hear that even though you are a big meateater you're trying to add more veggies and cut down on the more fattening meats...

tom: the bad foods are bad for a reason...even if they taste good...

imitationangel: now my stomach is growling!

suzy jones: try 'em you'll like 'em!

betchai: cool

eric: no offense taken, just try to eat two more veggies for every slab of wild game you consume...

cat in the foxgloves: sounds like a good (and strict) doc...good luck!

krizcpec: I will too...


peace,

Mike

Monica said...

Hi Mike! I'm an omnivore..but, I prefer veggies over meat ;-)

Emily Canibano said...

I had to laugh reading this post, we love 8 out of 10 cats - a BBC polling show and one of the polls was 65 % of vegetarians ____.
The answer? eat meat.

Anna said...

As a family, we don't eat as much red meat as we used to, so at least that's a start. As for vegetarian dishes...I've used ground Boca "meat" for tacos and chili and it's really good. (For those who need the texture of meat in their veggie meals.) I'm not a vegetarian, but I love veggie dishes, so bring on the recipes!

Laurie B. said...

I love your blog and all of your topics! I'm so glad I'm a "follower" of your blog. With gratitude, Laurie B.

Sandee (Comedy +) said...

I'm a carnivore to the max. I cannot imagine not eating meat. I just can't.

I applaud you for being a vegetarian as I know you are eating far healthier than most of the rest of us.

Have a terrific day. :)

lala said...

Looks yummy, Mike! Too bad they haven't invented smell-o-video yet.

I look forward to the veggie burgers!

Please consider a proper cutting board, you frighten me chopping on a plate...lol.

Gypsy at Heart said...

I can tell you that you have convinced me that you can. I shall wait for it. I'm not a vegetarian but I love many vegetarian dishes. Go for it.

Jennifer said...

I haven't eaten beef, pork or poultry for thirteen years, though I do occasionally eat seafood (very occasionally; usually shellfish). Looking forward to seeing what you dish out!

Laura-Junkfoodaholic.com said...

Hey Mike! Man, I love this post. I look forward to reading and trying your vegetarian recipes. I admire your decision to go vegetarian... I really do. Keep up the good work! :)

betchai said...

by the way, just looking at that avocado and eggplant makes my mouth water already. hope you continue to get better.

Mike Foster said...

monica: so do I

emily: funny, huh? It's great to cut down on meat, but don't call yourself a vegetarian

anna: that's how I started on my way toward being a veg head--eliminating meat from some meals and eating more meatless ones...

laurie: glad you're a follower too

sandee: gnaw, gnaw, gnaw...you have a great day too

lala: I was not happy with that plate and am in the process of replacing it with a nice cutting board...

gypsy: I will, indeed, go for it...

jennifer: sounds like you have a great diet, keep it up

laura: thanks, now I need to create the perfect, tastiest, meatless cheeseburger...give me a few weeks...

betchai: the shoulder is improving and I wish I had a fresh avocado right now..



peace,

Mike

evolveever.com said...

Hi Mike,

I jump in here for the topic! We have as many meat eaters here as there aren't. But we have more of the hard core vegetarians who would never eat meat in any form. Meat eaters though are not for meat every day.The discussion on meat versus non meat is not a top of the list item from the standpoint of health per se. On the other hand, a lot of the traditional vegetarians fancy meat stuff at parties and events! But high end restaurants are perceived to be profitable only if they provide meat. My boss, a businessman of standing, meat eater by culture runs a large hotel & a beach resort as a pure [100% pure] vegetarian units unmindful of returns, though he can earn tons by giving up his hard line belief!! We have noted that overseas, there are significant shifts away from meat and they are very conscious shifts based on the pros and cons of both, like I read Tammy in her blog Pink Stinx here: http://pinkstinx.blogspot.com/2008/10/dangers-of-eating-red-meat.html. If I do an elaborate article on the virtues of vegetarianism {not veganism) I wish to track you back. Hope you would have no issue!

The post inspired me to make an elaborate comment. Thanks.

Have a Great Day ahaead.

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My Autism Insights said...

Interesting timing on this post. I've been toying with the idea of a little vegetarian experiment, just to see how the family would handle it. I went mostly vegatarian (fish once a week) for about 5 months a long time ago. It was...interesting. I felt very energized. So much that I developed terrible insomnia and felt like I was sort of buzzing all the time, if that's explaining it right. I think meat kind of grounds me and I suspect it has the same effect on my son. Usually if we have a vegetarian dinner (like a cheesy, meatless pasta dish) he's up in the middle of the night without fail. The other obstacle is that my daughter won't eat most vegetables or grains or mostly anything. Before I try this experiment I'll have to do a lot more research on how to do it safely for growing bodies. Any advice?

Mark said...

Great! Thank you for sharing...hope the healing keeps on! Have a nice weekend!

Robin Easton said...

Cool Mike, you cook like ME!! How fun to see this. I love this idea. Good for you!!

Have you ever made vegetarian meatloaf, even my husband will eat it. I use pre-cooked brown rice, lentils, any other beans, onions, garlic, celery, (grated carrot or other veggies optional), a bit of whole grain flower, cayenne pepper to taste, etc. and bake it in a glass cake pan. I sometimes top it with tomato sauce that I make like your marinara sauce, which can be put on before baking so it seeps in.

You can also had whole oats to make it a bit stiffer.

This can also be made into veggie burgers. Sometimes I add rosemary and sage or try other herbs. I also pre-form the veggie burgers and freeze them cooked or uncooked...makes for quicker meals.

This is very fun what you are doing with these videos. Good job! And very inspiring for me. You're a natural! :):) Robin

rebounder said...

It's not normal for me if I don't eat meat but I have reduced consuming it for once a week. I'll be missing it if I totally ignore meat. Good post on meat!

Mike Foster said...

evolveever: wow, lots of great content, thanks for sharing...

my autism: I think the key to not just vegetarian diet is eating well balanced meals--whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts, fruits and veggies...check out some of my videos about diet and nutrition, as well as this blog post: http://livelife365.blogspot.com/2008/06/in-search-of-vegetable-protein.html

mark: shoulder is healing at its own pace, and hope your weekend rocks too

robin: love your blog and vids, and this is a wonderful comment, loaded with your usual kind words and a fantastic recipe for meatless meatloaf that I am tempted to steal for one of my future veg out vids...thanks

rebounder: meat is essential for lots of people, but I always suggest adding as many servings of veggies as possible...good luck


peace,

Mike

Guitar Monster said...

Hi mike, I read your post but I don't have speakers at the moment...Are eggs and milk consider as animal by products?

My Autism Insights said...

Thanks, Mike! I checked out that post and also did a little research on dietary requirements for kids. Funny - my daughter randomly decided that we should try eating vegetarian for a week so she could "get used to the vegetables I don't like." Totally unprompted! It will take some planning, but I can handle that for a week at least. I'm really curious to see how this effects my son's energy level, his ability to manage school, and his sleep cycle. I'll be posting about this in my blog once we start!

david santos said...

Fantastic posting!
Congratulations!
Have a nice week.

Gina said...

I don't think I could last without meat longer than a week, but I love veggies too... Maybe I could go a month?

Cascia said...

That is really cool, Mike! Good for you to stick with a vegetarian diet. I don't think I would have enough discipline to do that. I love my meat. I'm looking forward to your veggie recipes. I might have to try some too.

Lux said...

Thanks for your visit, Mike. We hope you recover quite quickly now!

Peace & hugs,
Lux

Mike Foster said...

guitar monster: yes, I would consider eggs and milk byproducts of animals, though many vegetarians will eat both. vegans will not. me, I avoid both as much as possible...

my autism insights: good luck, glad to help

david: gracias, you too

gina: what I did was cut way down on meat, maybe eating it just a few times a week, while adding lots more vegetable meals to my daily diet

cascia: good luck

lux: nice to see you again


peace,

mike

PassionateGreen said...

Thanks for stopping by my site!

It must be really difficult to not be able to type for as long as you want to - hope things heal up quickly. :-)

Great post about being vegetarian. Your wife still eats hamburgers in front of you, huh? My husband does the same. It's no fun always standing on your principles by yourself, is it?!

EastCoastLife said...

I'm eating more vegetables as i grow older. hehe....

I have to cut down on the meats. It's not helping my health when I take too much of meat. But the idea of going vegetarian is horrendous... for me. :P

Hope that shoulder heals soon. *hugs*

Dr. J said...

Hi Mike!

I'm even worse! I describe my eating style as Vegan with seafood :-)

It's the simplest way for me to say it, yet vegans don't like it cause, to many of them, it challenges their religion or cult or whatever. Like they own the word.

Humans are omnivores, and that gives us many choices. Unfortunately, we are very destructive and cruel in our behavior toward, well, really everything.

Some of my best friends are animals. Well, actually, all of my friends are :-)

I don't miss meat.

tashabud said...

I eat both meat and meatless dishes and enjoy either one. There were some awesome meatless dishes I've tasted when I was invited to a vegetarian's home for dinner. Unfortunately I can't remember the names.

Hope you're doing okay from your surgery.

Tasha

Mike Foster said...

passionate green: funny thing about spouses, huh? And the shoulder, and typing, is creeping along...

eastcoastlife: a little meat and a few veggies is better than all meat and no veggies...good luck

dr.j: sounds like you have an excellent diet...

tashabud: it is amazing how tasty a lot of vegetarian dishes are...


peace,

Mike

By the way, my video site was having some slow uploading issues that have now been corrected. Please spread the word and continue visiting it...I appreciate your support.

Gracie said...

Hi Mike, thanks for the comments you made on my post from myheartythoughts.blogspot.com. I am really happy knowing that someone likes it especially from veterans in blogging like. I always visit your blog also because I like what I read. Keep on writing and I hope to see you often in my website too.

Gracie

wildcatsthree said...

Well even though I do eat meat, your vegetarian marinar sauce looks very good, nice and thick so I don't think you'd even miss the meat in it. Great job Mike!

wildcatsthree said...

Hi again Mike,
I'm back to give you an award. I know you're still recovering from surgery, so don't feel you need to post about it unless you're up to it. I just wanted to express my enjoyment of your blog through the award. You can pick it up at http://blog.werelivingwell.com
Chris

Mike Foster said...

gracie: my pleasure, and thank you for dropping by...

wildcatsthree: that sauce was very thick...a good, and tasty, thing...


peace,

mike

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heni said...

wow amazing posting, Great!!
i'm a new comer in your blog.
i'll be waiting your next veg post