Happiness Thursday!–Transitioning Family to Vegetarian Living

My sister, Barb, has asked to post an entry on her efforts toward helping her husband adopt a vegetarian lifestyle–a longer term process she has launched to improve his overall health.  Would love to hear from any of you that have some hot tips.  The following words are from her!

“I’m happily married to my hubby, Kirk.  We’ve just been married 15 years and are moving to healthier eating. When first married, we ate out… a lot. It was the standard fare of any of the fast food places we have all known and loved.

We started down the road of better food choices due to us both being overweight and Kirk having a family history on both sides of the family tree of heart disease. My father-in-law has a triple by-pass surgery five years ago and that was a turning point for us. I encouraged Kirk to go to the doctor and get a check-up. He left with a daily aspirin regimen and two years later he was put on another high power medication.  All-in-all, it was and is scary.

So, being interested in better health I began seriously reading about food choices and how they impact our health. My sister, Judy, and I have had many discussions about vegetarian and vegan choices and I have, over the course of the last several months, changed my food habits to where I eat mostly vegetarian.  We’ve also targeted lowering fat and salt intake dramatically.  My husband is eating so much better now, and is really enjoying the food I’ve been preparing.

coupleveges

Since Kirk has not been the one to choose a vegetarian lifestyle, I have gently been transitioning our menu to mostly meat-free. For example, when we began, Kirk would only eat iceberg lettuce and canned corn. Today, although we have not completely transitioned to where our goals are, we are munching a bunch of life-giving, delicious vegetables in a variety of ways. We don’t even buy iceberg lettuce anymore.

When we first beginning, I thought of healthy food only as salad. Boy was I wrong! I would prepare iceberg lettuce with a little bit of spinach. There were comments! Not really the comments I was seeking, but we’ve transitioned to more and more veggies.  I have found by adding just a bit more vegetables, even quinoa, and variety each time I prepared the entree was more acceptable. For example, I would add carrots one day and then expand to carrots and onions the next time.

heartveges
The same has been true for familiar dishes I prepare. For example, I used to make typical chilli. Over time I have amended my recipe to taste like the not-so-healthy,  yummy chilli by adding just one new ingredient, like extra beans while gradually eliminating the meat with each succeeding chilli meal.  The dishes evolved from hamburger meat to lean hamburger, then on to ground turkey, low fat turkey, and finally low fat turkey with more beans.  We now have a non meat chili which goes over very well.   As my sister has shown me, spices make it easier to prepare dishes without a lot of salt and fat–and we swap a lot of recipes!

We’ve also enjoyed the savings achieved by not eating out so much.  Coupled with knowing we are eating healthier foods, we are realizing double happiness!  Would love to hear any of your successes and hot tips!–Barb”

Hope Your day is fill with Happiness!–Judy

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