I made the decision to become a vegetarian after watching a documentary called Food Inc. It was the year 2009, my first year in college, and I had acquired an extreme fascination with the behind-the-scenes of the food industry. I gained so much knowledge by watching every food documentary out there, attending lectures and reading articles on the health benefits of veganism/vegetarianism. Through the years, I have learned that a “pescatarian” diet is the best match for me! I do not consume meat but I eat the occasional wild caught fish.
My family thought I was out of my mind! The Persian culture is centered around flavorful stews with meat as the main ingredient. They thought I was “torturing” myself. But that didn’t faze me. I was happy, felt amazing and had loads of energy!
I have never been a pushy person to advocate vegetarianism. Most of my family still consumes meat and my own husband is an avid meat eater! But, if you’re here to learn more about the pescatarian lifestyle, I can help you! Here are some interesting facts about the consumption of fish vs. beef:
Beef has double the calories of fish, but the same amount of protein.
When omitting meat, we increase our fiber, antioxidant and complex carbohydrate consumption that are all essential in providing our body with the nutrients it needs.
Fish contain 90% protein and 10% fat where beef is 20% protein and 80% fat.
We will consume less saturated fats and cholesterol.
Because of the increase saturated fat intake of meat eater diet, they have double the risk for cancer.
I know, I know… You cant be a vegetarian because you’ll miss meat! Try swapping out meat for mushrooms. They have a similar texture which will leave you feeling quite satisfied! Try a Portobello mushroom burger, or a lentil and mushroom pasta sauce, a sautéed balsamic and goat cheese mushroom sandwich or this loaded mushroom marinara zucchini boat!
Check out the simple recipe below for you next meatless Monday adventure!
4 large zucchini
1 packet of mushrooms
2 cups of fresh spinach
1/2 cup marinara sauce
2 tbsp. avocado oil
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. parsley
1/8 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp. pink Himalayan sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Parmesan cheese to taste
Crushed red pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400.
Trim off the ends of the zucchini. Cut all of the zucchini in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the middle (pulp) with a spoon (save this because we will add that too the filling).
Chop pulp of the zucchini into small cubes and set it aside to add to the mushroom and marinara mixture.
Bake the zucchini with the cut side down for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a large stovetop pan with avocado oil to medium/high heat.
Add onion, garlic, mushrooms and the center of the zucchini scraps to the warm oil and sauté for about 5-10 minutes until onions are translucent.
Add marinara sauce, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the heated mushroom mix and stir.
Put the lid on the pan and allow the sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, take the sauce off of the heat and stir in the spinach until wilted.
Once the zucchini halves are semi-baked, take them out of the oven and flip them so that the cut side is facing up.
Add the mushroom marinara stuffing to the middle of all of the zucchini halves. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to taste.
Bake the stuffed zucchini for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered.
Finish with red pepper flakes. Serve warm!