"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Sunday, October 26, 2008

No Cow, What Now?

Both of us grew into adulthood on a diet that consisted of meals that included meat, dairy, and bread products two or more times a day as a large part of that meal. As time went on we had both gained excess weight and our health seemed to be changing for the worse. A few too many colds, a sore (strep) throat issue that would not go away, blood pressure elevated a bit. Small but obvious health "glitches."

We are both are extremely active and spend a lot of time gardening, hiking to our favorite mountain lakes, mountain biking, weightlifting, and have recently taken up running...we believe that physical strength and endurance is very important to one's overall well-being. As we wanted to continue in these endevours we decided that a dramatic change in our diet could be beneficial.

At the same time we were making a serious change in our lives regarding our ability to grow and gather most of our own food stuffs in order to escape the "system" and had made a goal to rely less, much less, on the "stupermarkets" and more upon what we could grow in our gardens or gather from nature. Time was spent researching health, nutrition and our ability to be food self-reliant. In the end, a conclusion was reached that a simple diet of mostly raw fruits and vegetables with less dairy, bread, and little if any meat would be best. It certainly was for us.

Meat was initially left out of our diet because in order for it to fit into our self-sufficient lifestyle we would have to raise our own and without going into details it would cost "us" a heck of a lot more to raise and feed a cow or pig than it does to grow as many vegetables as one could ever want. Neither of us were the type that could be detached and unaffected by raising then having to eat a family pet, as they would become to us, so it was an easy choice to make. Although we did adopt a flock of chickens that we barter garden produce and free rent for fresh eggs, all parties are quite content with this agreement.

After a couple years on this diet it became evident that it was the right choice. Excess pounds came off almost effortlessly and our health improved so much that we are still to this day utterly amazed at the changes that took place. We call it the "Muscle And Bone" diet because that is what is left after you get rid of all the fat and "unhealth" that comes from a standard American diet. So...do we sit around munching on carrot and celery sticks all day? Hardly. It is gourmet all the way for us. Fortunately we love to create meals and spend upwards of 2 hours a day doing so. Around 70-80% of what we eat consists of huge salads filled with as many as 50+ different types of greens,

grated carrots, beets, kohlrabi, turnips, and squash (yeah, raw grated squash) topped with onions, nuts, baked purple potatoes and sometimes fruit and berries are thrown in. We are able to eat this all year around fresh from our garden and root cellar. Many a breakfast is had with leftover salad and poached eggs thrown on top

or smoothies made from wild berries either gathered or grown. Once or twice a week we treat ourselves to a cooked meal which might be potato and kale soup,

baked squash,

homemade quesidillas, or garden fresh pizza.

Meal time is never dull at our house.

2 comments:

ezmereldab said...

Please, please, please add a page to your site with recipes! Especially the stuffed squash mentioned in this post.

My husband and I also need to completely overhaul our diets, but I have a limited range of no-meat recipes.

Thanks!

Mr. H. said...

Ezmereldab - Unfortunately most of the foods we eat are made in "fly by the seat of our pants" fashion using whatever we happen to have on hand and there are no recipes. We must have made that squash dish 100 different ways over the years.

Basically we cut the squash in 1/2 and remove the seeds then bake upside down in a pan of water (maybe 1") for around 35-40 minutes at 350°- 360°or until the shell is soft to the touch. The time varies depending upon variety and size of squash.

We then mix in:

1/2 cup chopped and sauteed onions and a little diced sauteed garlic

1 chopped cup lightly stir fried greens of your choice (Swiss chard, kale, collards, endive, spinach)

We might also add:

a few olives

mushrooms

tomatoes

rice

Spice it up with a little:

salt

pepper

turmeric

olive oil

Top it off with a nice parmesian or asagio cheese and back for another 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Here are two of my favorite recipe books that we use on occasion when we want to get fancy.

The Victory Garden Cookbook ($9.95 used at Amazon)

The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook (.38 cents used at Amazon)

You will love them both.:)

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