Aspirational Eating

I use the word “aspirational” a lot in my work. The marketing world is a funny place, especially when you’re someone who makes the sausage and, therefore, knows how it’s all made.

So you’d think I’d be smart enough to be immune to magazines, blogs and products that are all marketed to people like me who aspire to certain things, but generally miss the mark for one reason or another. To be fair, these tactics aren’t underhanded, just that they recognize that there are a certain group of people who will identify to things because these things symbolize what they hope for themselves and their lives.

Vegetarian Times is aspirational for me.

One of the things that the new Weight Watchers program has done for me was truly introduce a more reverent place for fruits and vegetables into my life. I feel like I talked a good talk, but it was just talking. Fact is, I didn’t eat nearly the amount of fruits and vegetables before that I do now. I still slack once in a while – this week, my personal goal is raw fruit and/or vegetables with every meal or snack – but for the most part the majority of our grocery bill is spend in the produce department. When fruits and vegetables don’t count against your daily Points allotment, it makes it easier to not be hungry throughout the day and not be filled the sort of self-loathing and sadness that typically sends me straight for the ice cream.

So of course I’ve started to investigate vegetarian cooking. I picked up a Vegetarian Times when I was recovering from surgery, and immediately made plans to make at least one meal a week, sans meat, and not relying on soy meat products.

So far, it’s generally been a success. Last week I sauteed kale, onions and garlic in a vegetable broth, served with a side of quinoa and brown rice. The biggest screw up was my attempt at mashed turnips – too much scallion and garlic I completely misjudged what the texture would be like, or the taste, which, I’m sorry, was as close to potatoes as my toe jam. I’m sure I was doing something wrong, of course, but I don’t think I’m likely to be a turnip fan anytime soon.

Tomorrow I’m making vegetables in a broth with a sesame dressing. When I’d announced this approach to Scott, his nose turned up and he grimaced. He’s only sort of on board with my aspirations here.

Aside from how little-to-no cost is associated with vegetarian-focused eating in terms of my diet, I just feel better eating this way. I feel lighter and have more energy. I want to learn more how I can incorporate vegetables into my diet aside from baby carrots and apples – plus, there are all sorts of cooking techniques that are foreign to me that, when learned, open up vegetables in a whole new way.

In lieu of mastering any of this – and, as an aside, I still can’t bring myself to do more with tofu than make it in the scramble I listed at right and thrown into a smoothie – I’m still on the hunt for some recipes that are vegetarian in nature but don’t take an hour to clean, cut and prepare. Anyone have any suggestions? Any go-to’s?