Saturday, April 25, 2015

V is for Vegetables

I know you're probably wondering how in the heck I'm going to come up with a life lesson about vegetables! Well, as I've mentioned before, food is an extremely important part of my life and vegetables are food! In my opinion, they're the most critical, yet underrated part of the food pyramid. (Wait, I don't know if that's even a thing anymore, but you catch my drift...)

I was a vegetarian for seven years, through most of my twenties. I started eating meat again shortly after I moved to Montana, when I began having health issues. It just so happens that my return to being an omnivore coincided with dating an honest to goodness cowboy who would grill me steak kabobs that also held giant chunks of shiny red peppers, purple onions and fat white mushrooms. 

I dabbled in vegetarianism through my later childhood/early teen years but was never catered to by my parents and eventually gave in to eating what was served at meal time. I officially became a vegetarian in college and still own my very first cookbook I bought myself when I began living on my own!

I didn't stop eating meat because I dislike it. I love it, to be honest. Especially any and all things pork related! My passion for animals and my desire to make a living caring for them drove my decision to stop eating meat. Even now, I find veganism a lovely concept but it's not one that I could embrace full heartedly. 

My other half and I have been gardening for the past five years. It turns out that growing your own food in Montana is painfully challenging but it can be done! Eating vegetables we've grown ourselves is grounding for me. There's something to be said for connecting to the warm earth with my bare hands and feet. To come inside after a few slow, hot hours in the garden with a basket of veggies for dinner is rewarding and provides a positive energy boost!

Harvesting turnips

Every once in a while I encounter a person who says he/she doesn't like vegetables and I can't help but be fascinated! How can one so broadly eliminate so many amazing foods? If you are one of these folks, I wonder if maybe you just think you don't like vegetables because you haven't discovered the right ones yet or the best way to cook them! If you've only ever had canned green beans and frozen broccoli, you haven't given them a fair shot. What about a spicy okra creole or mashed roots with butter and garlic? Don't they sound delicious?!

So, my life lesson when it comes to vegetables is simple: eat them. Roast them, grill them, boil them, fry them, blend them in a smoothie, anything to get them into your body! And try growing some. Even if it's just one tomato plant in a pot on your patio, I promise there's great value there!

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