For many people “dieting” is a constant battle. Most believe that in order to lose weight they must reduce calories dramatically. That often means starving until the diet is no longer tolerable. Undoubtedly, the weight comes right back and then some. Very low calorie diets are doomed because they lower the body’s metabolic rate, which makes losing weight even more difficult and often leads to bingeing.
Today, many popular diet plans are based on a high protein, low carbohydrate regimen. This type of fad diet has been around in one incarnation or another for decades. The focus here is to consume flesh foods and other products, which contain high levels of animal protein such as beef, poultry, fish and dairy, while avoiding carbohydrates.
In contrast, the plant-based regimen recommended by cutting edge medical and nutrition professionals is rich in complex carbohydrates and far lower in protein than the typical western diet. The hallmark of healthful plant based cooking is that it is very low in fat, high in fiber, rich in valuable phytonutrients and entirely dairy and cholesterol free.
Obesity is a health problem of epidemic proportions and the high fat cholesterol loaded Western diet is suspect. Home cooks are choosing healthy alternatives more often these days and many have heard that vegetarians weigh less. A Swedish study of 55,400 Swedish women found that vegetarians and vegans tend to weigh less and be leaner than meat eaters. Vegans had the lowest body mass index (BMI). The study found that vegans (no meat, eggs, or dairy) were almost 67 percent less likely to be overweight or obese than those who ate meat. The lacto-Ovo vegetarians (include dairy and/or eggs) were 50 percent less likely to be overweight or obese.1
If you think it is difficult to make meals that are tasty and good for you, I have great news! Making food choices that lead to optimal health and weight control has never been easier. The key is to employ widely available, easy to use, wholesome alternatives to replace those unhealthy traditional ingredients, deliciously.
Enlightened Southern Greens n’ Sausage
The Enlightened Kitchen, John Wiley & Sons, ©Marie Oser
New Orleans style dish made easy and convenient with packaged mixed greens and tasty vegetarian sausage.
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 (14 ounce package) Gimme Lean, sausage style
1 pound of mixed greens
2 cups vegetable broth, hot
1 (14 1/2 ounce can) Mexican stewed tomatoes
Heat oil and crushed pepper in a Dutch oven or electric frying pan, over medium high heat, 1 minute. Add garlic and onions. Cook 3 minutes. Add sausage, stirring and breaking apart with a large spoon. Cook mixture 10 minutes, stirring frequently until browned. Add greens and broth, lower heat to medium low and cook 1 minute, stir to mix and add tomatoes. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until greens are tender, stirring occasionally.
Enlightened Greens n’ Sausage
Nutrition Analysis: per serving: 1 1/2 cups
Protein 14g, Carbohydrate: 20g, Fiber 4g, Fat 1g, Sat Fat 0g,
Cholesterol 0mg, Calcium 26mg, Sodium 583 mg.
Notes On Ingredients
Gimme Lean Sausage– (Think Jimmy Dean style sausage) This soy-based meat alternative is best served hot. Available in sausage and ground beef style from Light Life Foods, in the cold case or freezer at health food stores and many supermarkets.
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1. Am. J. Clinical Nutrition, Jun 2005; 81: 1267 – 1274