Chef Wendell: Plant-based vegetarian diet

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Many beautiful souls told me their New Year resolution was to begin eating a plant based diet: to eat closer to earth and create health by becoming a vegetarian or flexitarian. There are mountains of scientific research cautioning that a meat centric diet causes cancer and other diseases and that a plant based diet can lengthen your life.

1st segment: We are the architects of our health. The benefits of eating closer to earth and less meat. Vitamins from plant foods are so very crucial. What is a Flexitarian? Discuss nutrition in baked stuffed peppers ingredients.

2nd segment: Finishing off the entrée and how plant foods can lengthen your life and prevent disease.

Tips:

· Don’t jump in head first without knowledge and a plan.

· It’s a marathon, not a sprint: be patient with yourself.

· Your body and mind need to adjust

· You are re-programing lifelong behavior.

· Not easy to do. (Like changing your religion)

· Do it with a friend or family member for support.

Why plant based:

· It can lengthen your life, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine that tracked more than 70K people.

· A strong body of research reports: “a plant-based diet can boost your health, decreasing heart disease risk, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, and helping you stay at a healthy weight.”

Because:

· Plant-based foods are packed with the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that most Americans don’t get nearly enough of.

· Plant-based diets are full of phytochemicals that help keep many of your body’s systems running smoothly. (Environmental Nutrition)

Flexitarians: a person who has a primarily vegetarian diet but occasionally eats meat or fish:

· Becoming a flexitarian means you can eat small quantities of clean and lean meat and still get the health rewards of a vegetarian lifestyle

· Make plant foods the star of your diet, with meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.

· Flexitarians are healthier than frequent meat eaters in categories such as colon cancer and heart-disease risk, and overall mortality.

Suggestions:

· Pile veggies on homemade pizza. Line a pan with pizza dough or premade shell, and top with a roasted vegetable mixture of your liking. Top with marinara sauce and part-skim mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until cheese bubbles.

· Try fake-meat crumbles or tempeh in place of meat with rice and veggies inside a stuffed roasted pepper.

· Sandwich: Grill your favorite veggies to add and top with cheese on a substantial bread that’s sure to fill you up. Ezekiel bread is excellent.

What you’ll need for baked stuffed peppers:

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Chia or ground flax seed
  • ¾ cups grated low fat mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup chopped green olives
  • 1 cup of black beans drained
  • 4 fresh basil leaves or 1 tbsp. dry
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 6 Large peppers (Red, green or yellow)
  • 1 cup meatless spaghetti sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • 4 tbsp. grated Parmesan

Remember to:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place first 12 ingredients into a large mixing bowl and combine.
  • Wash and then cut the tops of the peppers; remove seeds. (Chop up the tops and add to the filling.)
  • If necessary, cut thin slice from bottom of each pepper so they stand up straight.
  • Fill peppers with mixture.
  • Mix water and spaghetti sauce together and pour half the mixture into a Dutch Oven or lidded casserole dish.
  • Add the filled peppers, top with remain sauce and top with the Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover and cook for about 1 hour or until interior is hot.
  • Dust with more Parmesan and serve.