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Veggies for Carnivores

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I've always thought that being a vegetarian was complete madness. Who wants to live in a world without bacon, burgers and BBQ? Well, apparently a lot of people. And good for them!

As a trainer, I know that diet and nutrition play a huge part in a overall health and wellness. While I'm not convinced that a diet free from meat or fish is perfect, I do believe that your average person would benefit from a cleaner, fresher diet with increased quantities of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.

Over Thanksgiving, I was invited to dinner at the home of a friend. At least two of my fellow guests were vegetarians, so could I "bring some vegetarian sides?" Commence panic!

After coming to terms with the fact that my bacon-wrapped dates would not be featuring at dinner, I turned to the Internet for help and purchased a copy of Veggies for Carnivores by Lora Krulak.

A week later, carrying an empty dish where my raw spinach dip once lay, I returned triumphantly from my Thanksgiving dinner and reached out to Lora to thank her for her recipes and also get some further insights into how a carnivore can make friends with veggies.

Q. What do you say to people who assert that it's not a meal without meat?

A. Typically, we eat certain foods out of habit. A lot of people have grown up in a family where meat was a prominent part of every meal -- even me. Changing any habit requires that you start with small changes. It's the same with any food you consume. Change your thought process and you'll change your habit.

Q. Are you a vegetarian?

A. Yes and no. I dabble in the carnivorous world from time to time with fish or eggs, and I will have some unpasteurized sheep or goat cheese. If I'm curious about a new food or cuisine, I'll try it, even if it has meat in it. But on a regular basis I get most of my nutrition from vegetables, some fruits, grains and vegetable juices.

Q. What do you say to people who can't bring themselves to give up meat?

A. I'll tell them not to. Rules and food don't go together. Otherwise it's a diet. This is not a diet, it's a way of life. You have to build the habits yourself. You have to make the choice that you want to create a healthy lifestyle and that is going to include more vegetables. If you don't want to give up meat, don't. It's that simple. But I can promise you, the more plants you choose to include on a daily basis, the more you will crave them.

Q. What inspired you to write Veggies For Carnivores?

A. When I was in Rome taking Italian classes, I would walk through the outdoor markets every day. At this one shop in Rome, I was so taken by the little purees they sold in jars. They had pureed arugula, pureed parsley, pureed everything. I thought, "What an amazing way to get people to eat vegetables." I must have bought every variety and used them daily. A few days later I was in a restaurant and was mesmerized by their presentation and simple preparation of food. Every plate was gently packed with vegetables. That's when the idea for this book hit me. I sat for a few hours and wrote out my ideas on the back of the menu right then and there.

Q. What do you want people to do differently as a result of reading your book?

A. Well, let me start by saying I am not on a mission to make everyone a vegetarian. I simply want people to adjust their ratio of veggies to carnivorous treats. If they want to become vegetarian, that's great! This book will give them a huge push in that direction. But my goal is to show people an easier way to incorporate more vegetables and real whole food into their diet, not become a vegetarian. That's why the book is called Veggies for Carnivores. I don't want to tell anybody what to do, because they have to learn to think and choose for themselves.

Q. What is the one food that a reluctant veggie eater should get to know?

A. Lettuce! Most definitely, lettuce. There are so many different kinds of lettuce to experiment with. If you have a green salad every day, you will ultimately be a healthier person. You are upping your vegetable intake and will be healthier because of it.

Q. What's your favorite recipe from the book?

A. By far, it's the Broccoli Broth with Chunky Vegetables. It's the easiest thing to make and is very versatile. You can make it thick like a chowder, or you can eat it over or add more vegetables to it so it becomes a stew. It's packed with nutrients and you can alter it in many ways depending on your taste.

-- Jamie Galloway

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Photo Credit: Lora Krulak 2012

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