Sunday, October 28, 2007

Carb Overload

One thing I am wary of (based in large part from advice from fellow vegetarians (cool I can now use the word fellow) (yes I am using too many parentheses)) is overloading on carbs. Especially in the beginning, when I lack confidence in my ability to cook tofu, will this be important. It may be less a lack of confidence and more a lack of tofu that led me to cook sub par fried rice tonight, but either way, my caloric intake today relied heavily on those carbs everyone seems to be so focused on these days.

So how do I get the protein I need without those delicious meats?

Saturday evening may have given me one idea. For dinner I stopped off at a place on campus I tend to frequent - Boca Grande. They have some great burritos, which just so happen to be pretty much my favorite food. Nothing better than a chicken burrito, right? Well not this particular night. I opted for essentially the chicken burrito without the chicken (they had a veggie burrito, but the grilled vegetables looked questionable at best and inedible at worst). This meant a tortilla with rice, black beans, cheese, and pico. NO meat. Good. While for the majority of my brick-shaped meal I was left with something to desire. Until the last few bites, where the cheese had been concentrated. Mmmmm. Cheese is good, and is kosher since we're not going vegan. Sweet.

My burrito experience reminded me of something I had figured out this summer with Alex. In one of our famous trips to Byerly's grocery store in the wee hours of the night, we began discussing our upcoming vegetarian diet, and decided to do a little research on how to get protein sans meat. Byerly's has this great section of loose foods such as rice and beans that are kept in plastic containers like cereal dispensers in college dining halls. We decided to check it out. Luckily, each container has the nutrition facts clearly posted, which allowed for quick math. Comparing the protein per gram serving of a few types of beans to just about every meat in the store yielded some interesting results. The beans we looked at actually had more protein per gram than any type of meat. In fact, most types of cheese had more protein as well. With all the fat and calories that come along with those amino acids in meat, beans, cheese, milk, soy protein based foods like tofu, and protein bars may indeed be healthier options. The problem then, with cutting out meat, may end up being iron and the nature of the protein one gets from vegetable sources. But thats a battle for a later post.

For now I will rely on what I subsided on in my semester abroad in Ecuador - rice and beans. And lentils. And pig. Lots of fried pig... wait, no. They love it down there, but I could have done without it then (tongue? no thank you) and will do without it now. But maybe they've got it figured out down there anyway. After all, I lost weight in Ecuador and felt healthy. On top of that, in a study abroad semester of his own, my oldest host brother had his cholesterol tested at a U.S. university, and was told that it was the lowest they'd ever seen. That may have been my host mom's embellishment, but regardless, rice and beans seem to work. And they are delicious.

On another note, its quite funny that on the first day, the first meal, Alex faltered and got some sausage. Just goes to show you how normal and routine it is for us to eat meat. I know I missed it today (even though I have gone without meat for a day plenty of times). But if after two days I am missing it. Who knows how bad it will be come November 23rd. I am actually hoping I wont miss it. Hoping I'll learn to love food without it. It's time to take of the shackles of the meat industry and overthrow a society of savage carnivores that impose their meat-loving agenda on the uninformed masses below!

That may be a bit extreme. For now I'll just focus on what to eat.


Hanna said...

Gentlemen, as always, you are incredible.

Alexandra Dyke said...

Okay, first off let me just say burritos are my favorite food too (after ice cream...). I went to Boca Grande once this summer and decided to try some chicken (after only 1 month without it) and I found it to be tasteless and a waste of money. That said, I think BG uses chicken broth in their rice so depending on how strict you are being, there's something to take into consideration. (I for one don't care too much about it.)

Secondly, if you do like tofu, and you want a good tofu burrito -- Temptations sandwhich shop on Beacon St. makes a mean tofu teriyake burrito. Tis yummy.

Also, regarding protein. I think you told me you eat yogurt and granola for bfast ever day? (No, Im not stalking you, I remembered this because I just ate some granola and yogurt 2 minutes ago) ... anyways, the granola I last bought (Bear Naked brand) is purposely loaded with protein, so that helps out a bit. And it's yummy!

Happy eating!