OK In Health - To Your Good Health

A (not-so-typical) Day in the Life of a Vegetarian (part two) - December 2011

By David Dixon, Summerland, BC

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Okay, so we have detailed the morning rituals, now it’s time to go over what tends to happen during the latter portion of my day. After arriving home from work, there is often a great, tasty and healthy Vegetarian meal waiting for me.  It may consist of potatoes and/or other organic (generally home-grown) veggies. While the veggies, themselves, do not usually have a plentiful degree of flavour, the herbs and spices that my wife uses definitely do.

Whatever it is that my wife has prepared for our dinner, it generally takes at least two platefuls to appease my hunger.  It’s not that the food requires that much consumption; I just really enjoy her home-cooking. Much of our dinners are prepared from veggies that have grown in our own little garden; that way, we know there is no genetic modification, no moth genes in our tomatoes, etc.

Before we were together, Whitney and I, my evening meals looked a lot different.  For example, as a lazy eater, I would consume such delicacies as mixed nuts, protein bars and organic yogurt. And these would often be my meals for the end of the workday. While I am no proponent of dairy products or their consumption, an occasional organic yogurt makes some degree of sense to me, thus, I would down said concoction.

Should our evening meal consist primarily of carbohydrates, I usually follow it – if my stomach still have enough room – with another protein drink.  This, at least in my mind, balances out the carbohydrate/protein consumption.  Remember, too many carbohydrates will be stored in the body as fat.  We need very few carbs for our energy requirements; the rest are stored for later.

Late night snacks are not entirely out of the question, just because I’m a devout Vegetarian. Okay, so they’re not usually suggested by many nutritional “experts”, but people are going to succumb to habit and this seems to be one of them.  So, if you decide to snack in the latter part of the day, here are some suggestions:

Fruit is good.  A cup of organic yogurt “hits the spot”. Nuts, while containing nutritional value, also appease one’s hunger for quite some time...thanks to the fat/oil content. There are times when I sit down to a huge bag of potato chips.  Yes, you read that correctly, chips.  These are not just ANY bag of chips, however; they are “specially selected” and have no MSG content, for example. There are actually a few brands of potato chips that, while not all that healthy, perhaps, are not overly Unhealthy.

The very end of the day may bring about the consumption of some proteolytic enzymes.  These help break down partially-digested protein substances, among other things. (This just might be a topic for a subsequent article). Partially-digested proteins can be the source of considerable discomfort, a.k.a. pain from inflammation, which is something that “rears its ugly head” with me, thanks to several years of riding a motorcycle.

Thanks to these little “magic” pills, there are days when virtually nothing hurts.  And, while they originated from silkworm larva enzymes, these pills are now replicated in the laboratory.  This means, at least to me, that they are “safe” for a Vegetarian to consume. 

Remember to drink enough water to help disperse the substance being ingested; just don’t overdo it, or you’ll be up several times during the night.  This will likely result in much more time than you are comfortable with, being spent in a very small room.

In the day’s final moments, there are no food substances that I would suggest, since this would likely make your digestive system work too hard, as you attempt to sleep.  You can, however, (should you feel hungry at bedtime), consume a glass of water with whey protein isolate.  This gets into your bloodstream both quickly and easily and nourishes the muscles that you worked hard, during the day.

And so ends another day...

 




David DixonDavid's Bio: For over 40 years, Dave Dixon has been a devout Vegetarian. During this time frame, he has become certified as a Nutritional Consultant, worked as a Fitness Trainer, a certified Reflexologist, Deep Muscle Therapist as well as Quantum Biofeedback Practitioner. Note: David has moved from Summerland, BC. - Email


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Recipe
Tuscan Leek & Bean Soup
Category: Soup
Description: Welcome those crisp winter days with a pot of hearty Tuscan bean soup. Leeks are a unique combination of flavonoids and sulfur-containing nutrients, the allium vegetables belong in your diet on a regular basis. Like their allium cousins, onions and garlic, let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes after cutting and before cooking to enhance their health-promoting qualities.
A good source of dietary fiber, leeks also contain goodly amounts of folic acid, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. Easier to digest than standard onions, leeks have laxative, antiseptic, diuretic, and anti-arthritic properties.
Leeks contain many noteworthy flavonoid anti-oxidants, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits.
Leeks are low in calories. 100 g fresh stalks contain 61 calories. Further, their elongated stalks provide good amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Laboratory studies show that allicin reduces cholesterol production by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase enzyme in the liver cells. Further, it also found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activities.
Allicin also decreases blood vessel stiffness by release of nitric oxide (NO); thereby bring reduction in the total blood pressure. It also blocks platelet clot formation and has fibrinolytic action in the blood vessels, which helps decrease overall risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), peripheral vascular diseases (PVD), and stroke.
Leeks are great source of minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Their leafy stems indeed contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in healthy proportions. 100 g fresh stalks provide 64 µg of folates. Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis and cell division. Their adequate levels in the diet during pregnancy can help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn babies.
In addition, leeks are one of the good source of vitamin A (1667 IU or 55% of RDA per 100 g) and other flavonoid phenolic anti-oxidants such as carotenes, xanthin, and lutein. They also have some other essential vitamins such as vitamin C, K, and vitamin E. Vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. Further, its stalks have small amounts of minerals such as potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and selenium.
Often overlooked in leeks is their important concentration of the B vitamin folate. Folate is present in leeks in one of its bioactive forms (5-methyltetrahydrofolate, or 5MTHF) and it is present throughout the plant (including the full leaf portion, not only the lower leaf and bulb).
Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between one and two weeks. Wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag will help them to retain moisture.
Tips for Preparing Leeks - Cut off green tops of leeks and remove outer tough leaves. Cut off root and cut leeks in half lengthwise. Fan out the leeks and rinse well under running water, leaving them intact. Cut leeks into 2-inch lengths. Holding the leek sections cut side up, cut lengthwise so that you end up with thin strips, known as the chiffonade cut, slicing until you reach the green portion. Make sure slices are cut very thin to shorten cooking time. Let leeks sit for at least 5 minutes before cooking.
With a more delicate and sweeter flavor than onions, leeks add a subtle touch to recipes without overpowering the other flavors that are present. Although leeks are available throughout the year they are in season from the fall through the early part of spring when they are at their best.
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