I guess you could say that my approach in viewing food differently started with the birth of my daughter several years ago. Everything had to be organic. Everything had to be safe. I looked at every label, read all the ingredients, compared each brand. Over time we have become less “strict” about what she eats, but the majority of what we have in the house is organic, or at least on the healthier end of the spectrum.
A few weeks ago when I was in Boston, I was surrounded by people who have built their life around viewing food as fuel and doing it in an environmentally responsible way. It seems so simple: food is fuel. We require/demand so much from our bodies as endurance athletes, we should fuel it with what it needs to be successful (note: an elite athlete said something along these lines and she said it much better than me, and she was right).
I love a burger. It’s one of my favorite foods. I am not becoming a vegetarian, or vegan, but I am considering everything that goes into my body and how it will affect me. When an opportunity to try Gardein (garden + protein) came up earlier this month, I was open to the experience. Gardein offers meatless, vegan, and vegetarian foods made from non-GMO soy and wheat, organic ancient grains and veggies.
Gardein has a fun campaign called #meetchef with a fun series of videos (along with a special offer).
10g of protein, 180 calories (per slider)
Typically I sit at the computer for hours, then go for a run before lunch, shower, and the realize that it’s already after 2 and I haven’t eaten. This happens more than I would care to admit. Having something readily available that is healthy is key. You can cook these on the stove, or in a toaster/conventional oven, but I decided to give it the microwave test. I followed the instructions and in a couple of minutes I was about to experience going “meatless.”
I sliced up a tomato and threw down two sliders with ease. I had a couple bites with ketchup just to see what it was like. There is a recipe on the box for a Chipotle Mayo that I would love to try. I also think a fresh avocado would be a nice addition. Sadly, I had neither of those, but the sliders hit the spot. The texture is definitely different from chicken, but I got some protein in my system and it was really easy, simple to prepare.
15g of protein, 120 calories per serving (without sauce)
- Steamed carrots and broccoli (added garlic powder to taste)
- Sauted Gardein Chick’n strips with oil until browned and crisp on all sides (5-6 mins)
- 1 cup of rice
These were the second thing that I tried. Again, this was after a run late in the afternoon where I was looking for something quick — sense a pattern? I spent a little more time on this one to get the experience of eating a full meal. I steamed some carrots and broccoli, warmed up some left-over rice and decided to saute the chick’n following the instructions on the bag. They cooked frozen and took less than 10 minutes.
The texture definitely came across much better. I have a feeling that the stove option may be the way to go. This meal was pretty darn good. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the same as actually having a piece of chicken, but choosing THIS plant-powered option would be pretty easy to do here and there. From teriyaki rice bowls, to stir fry, it could easily replace a lunch or dinner during the week.
Making Small Changes = Big Impact
Whether it is going organic on fruit and vegetables or choosing meatless options for a meal, making simple changes to your daily routine can have a huge impact not only on your health, but on the environment. I’m doing my best to provide organic options for my family and trying new things is a part of that.
Deciding to take part in #meatlessmonday or substituting a weekly dish is a simple challenge that I’m up to trying.
* * * * * * * * *
Have you ever tried a meat-free option?