Thursday, August 16, 2012

To Be or Not to Be Protein . . . is a Luxury

Salad bars have popped up all across New York and have become popular places to eat.

What’s so great about them? You get to choose exactly what you want to add to your salad and make it to your liking from the protein, to the vegetables to the dressing.

The other day I went to one which allows you to choose one protein, three regular toppings and then your choice of dressing. There was a sign listing the different proteins available and so for protein I said chick peas.  The server told me that chick peas are not proteins.

Salad does not need to have meat in it to taste good nor does it have to be drained in salad dressing for it to have a good flavor. Though I was always one to go for the meatless salads, I can say that my taste buds have changed a bit lately.

About four weeks ago, I gave up eating meat. I do not eat chicken, beef, pork, lamb or anything that falls under the category of meat. Vegetables and fruits are mostly what I consume nowadays, but I do add beans or fish/seafood sometimes.

When I was eating meat as if it were a necessity, I loved it and acted as if I couldn’t live without it. I have tried a diet similar to this before where I gave up meat.  Back then, it lasted three months and in that span of time, I lost fifty pounds.  As soon as that weight was shaved, I went back to eating meat and since then, have gained almost double of what I lost.

This time I went a little more drastic but have found a way to make it better and more me-like. I gave up meat, bread, pasta, rice and coffee. Seems like a lot but if you consider food as a luxury, you will understand why the daily consumption of all these things are not so important.

True, your body seeks nourishment, but it is simply seeking nourishment alone without the overindulgence. Some people are only privileged to eat one meal a day and some, are not even blessed with that. Then there are those who get to have three or more meals a day. And so, I decided to keep that in mind and deny myself from the things I love the most and treat myself to those very things every once in a while like at family functions as opposed to having them every day.

I used to crave Popeyes chicken but nowadays, I crave things like curried potatoes and collard greens. And so I left work with the idea of going to the supermarket to purchase just those things so I could get in the kitchen and make it. These days, my new lifestyle has caused me to have to become a chef in my own right. But I love it.

Because protein is important to the body, I do find it necessary to substitute it with something; especially since vitamins may not always cut it and I do not add fish and/or seafood to my meals on a daily basis.

Instead of buying the white potatoes, I purchased yams, went home and started cooking.  I boiled some collard greens with red onions. I sautéed the yams in olive oil with garlic and added curry and ginger to it for flavoring. I also boiled some black eyed peas with diced tomatoes and I had a lovely meal.

I always thought beans were a protein until the server told me different.  So what can beans be classified under?  Are they a vegetable? Are they a grain? I will stick to my belief that beans are a protein.  

Some other choices you might decide to choose as your protein when creating your salad are almonds, walnuts, cheese, eggs, red beans or green peas. These all are considered proteins. I guess you can call these some healthy choices for those who want something other than meat; like me.

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