Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The way of the vegemite

Here is a 40-minute talk by Dr. Colin Campbell, author of "The China Study".

T. Colin Campbell Presentation

I have been mostly adopting a vegemite diet and so far it is going well. I say mostly because I am intent not to be a fanatic about this. Here is my outlook:

  • I have meat in the freezer that I'm not going to throw out since an animal died to provide it. 
  • If I'm going to do this, then one key is good recipes. I don't know how to cook vegemite dishes, so I've been perusing vegetarian cooking magazines. That has provided an influx of  ideas.
  • Thinking about food like this has turned out to add a lot of interest to meals. One success was  the idea of fixing a nice meal, to both try out new recipes and to illustrate that a change like this doesn't have to be a martyr's experience. On the menu were stir-fry turnovers and sage/pumpkin-balls with white wine and then desert (a chocolate-pie with date-nut crust).  I think that was a good idea. Everything looked, smelled and tasted good and I was full.
  • Cheese is really good on a lot of things and that will be tough to eliminate, perhaps even impossible for me. I think I'll reduce the amount of cheese I eat by using Parmesan cheese grated on things, as well as a sprinkling of nutritional yeast. It is a quality vs. quantity approach.
  • I have no desire to become a fanatic about my diet. Life is short and uncertain and there are times when I am going to consume animal protein (i.e. holidays, Super-Bowl parties,  weddings). I'll leave horror, guilt, and shame to the vegans.
  • I'll steer away from the fake-meat products, which usually look unappetizing and invite comparison. I want to strive to make food that tastes good in-and-of itself. Vegetables have a lot of color and flavor and simple techniques like roasting or sautéing develops them further. I don't think there is any need to make "meat-like" dishes and I believe this is a self-defeating approach given my experience with a Tofu "hot-dog". Anything more disgusting than a hotdog will only be found in my trash bins.
  • Having said that, though, I have found a few substitutes that I like. I prefer the taste of rice milk to soy milk, and like Nature's Gate brand. I like Morning Star "chicken" nuggets. I also like WholeSoy & Co.'s soy frozen yogurt. So, I am not going to be fanatical about avoiding substitutes either.
  • I really like soup and I'm going to figure out some good ones. I saw a Tuscan bean and green soup that looks good and French Onion soup ought to be possible.

So far this approach is working out well-enough for me. I have had a pizza with friends here, and burger at a BBQ joint there, but on the whole I have reduced the animal protein in my diet by a large magnitude. 

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Foot Quotes

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

Charles Darwin