It’s all over the news this morning: “VEG DIET KEY TO LIVING LONGER” and “EAT LESS MEAT OR FACE SHORTAGE”. I got to the train station early so I could buy the papers to
read scrutinise the articles on my journey. Needless to say, I was more interested in the article in the Daily Express: “Veg diet key to living longer”. For the sake of brevity I will go into detail on that article today.
So what did the article say? I have to say I read it with a hefty pinch of salt. The article is based around a study from Loma Linda University in California which suggested that of the participants in the study (73,308) the vegetarians were 12% less likely to have died before the six year follow up. The study does however, note that the vegetarian group were “older, more highly educated and more likely to be married, to drink less alcohol, to smoke less, to exercise more and to be thinner.” All of these factors contribute to a longer life (although many would say it just feels that way 🙂 ). The study shows that it benefits men more than women, but I wonder if men typically eat more high fat and processed meats? Victoria Taylor, dietitian at the British Heart Foundation is quoted as saying “Previous studies have shown the health benefits of vegetarianism, but we don’t know if this is due to certain nutrients or down to an overall healthy lifestyle that vegetarianism is often coupled with”.
However, it does all seem to support previous research that a diet rich in fruit and veg can lower cholesterol, a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, while a diet high in processed meat can increase the risk of developing certain cancers (also quoted in this article). Yet there are only 4 million vegetarians in Britain – a tiny percentage.
So how do I fit into this? I too am an omnivore. I will be seen eating meat, fish, eggs, milk etc but I also like to indulge in a vegetarian or vegan diet as well. Variety is the spice of life. It’s quite liberating, because nothing is out of bounds, and you can try new recipes, new ways of cooking. I’m sure I never would have tried natto, tempeh or almond milk if it hadn’t been for experimenting with a plant-based diet.
Ben on the other hand is a confirmed meat eater! When I mooted the idea of Meat-free Mondays, he had a bit of a ‘wobbly’ you would have thought I had suggested cutting off his leg to lose weight: he just couldn’t see the sense. But now he has embraced the idea that we will eat vegetarian once or twice a week. It is quite nice
to have something different – scratch that, he does tend to make me stick to lentil pastas, vegetable curries and pizza. But I don’t let this stop me having a varied vegetarian diet! How do I keep us both happy? Well, all it takes is a bit of thought, and maybe an extra saucepan 🙂 Doesn’t matter to me, my wonderful husband is the dishwasher in our household. THANKS HONEY!
This time we wanted curry, but while I fancied the tempeh I had in the fridge – Ben won’t touch that. So I got a bit clever. Making the rice was simple enough. I had some black rice in the cupboard, but it’s a bit much on it’s own, so I cooked some brown basmati rice separately. So far, so straightforward.
I made the curry sauce, simply: onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes, and curry powder.
While I was doing this I marinated (apparently comes from the verb ‘to marinate’ rather than the noun ‘marinade’) the tempeh in a marinade made of a couple teaspoons of salsa from a jar with half a teaspoon of curry powder thrown in.
This I steamed over the rice, with some courgette. Ben doesn’t like courgette, so I bulked his curry out with carrots and peas.
I served mine up, and threw some cooked chicken into the curry sauce to heat through while I sorted everything out.
I served Ben’s with some onion bhajis and naan bread.
What do you think about the study in the Daily Express? Will it change your eating habits? Do you have to cook more than one meal to keep everyone happy?