March 17th, 2011
All the talk of sustainable agriculture and organic practices reminds me of a class I took for my Freshman seminar years ago. The class was called Sustainability & The Environment. A requirement for the class was to read Michael Pollen’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma (the inspiration for Food Inc.). This book essentially changed my entire outlook on food and began shaping my personal food choices. I cut out chicken, pork and beef from my diet as a stance against factory farming. Over time I began buying organic when I could and became well-versed in label reading. I stopped buying highly processed foods, anything with artificial sweeteners (and avoiding High Fructose Corn Syrup when possible), and looking for where my food was being made and distributed from so i could try to buy more locally. I discovered that I have a passion for nutrition, especially eco-friendly nutrition. I think its important for people to care about what they eat, where it comes from and how it affects their body. It is equally as important to care about the environment and recognize how our food choices affect the world.
Being a vegetarian or vegan is not always easy (or healthy) if you aren’t properly informed about your personal dietary needs. Swearing off meat does not mean you can just eat bread or pasta for every meal. It has taken me years of tuning my diet to find a good balance for my own body. To be honest, I was not very good at this in the beginning, dealing with campus meal-plan restrictions and lacking knowledge about vegetarian nutrition. Living off campus, with a full kitchen at my disposal, and no Sodexo meal plan has certainly helped me out for the past 2 years. I am still learning every day.
One thing I struggled with the most was knowing how to prepare meals, how to use raw ingredients, and what kinds of things can be thrown together quickly but be highly nutritious (and tasty!). I discovered an incredible resource in the online blogging world. Foodie bloggers are prevalent on the net and have formed their own little subculture of cooking creations. I follow several bloggers (most of which are college students like myself) who are focused on eating healthy vegetarian lifestyles (some are even Vegan).
(most of the healthy foodies like to start their day with a type of porridge – like Oatmeal, Oat Bran ect. A ritual that I have also adopted! Keeps you full for hours.)
They take photos of almost every meal, share their recipe ideas and circulate a huge wealth of knowledge on food. These blogs are an endless source of inspiration for my own food choices. I have learned a lot from reading these blogs, especially when it comes to supplementing my diet with protein and vitamins. The focus is always on eating fresh, eating healthy, and often sticking to a budget. I think this blog world is a fantastic resource for anyone who is thinking about becoming a vegetarian or just wants some inspiration for healthy (meat-free) cooking!
Some of my favorite foodie bloggers!
The Happy Herbivore (great recipes section)