Out there in blog-land are a lot of vegetarians and vegans explaining and defending their lifestyle. More power to them! I have never and will never say anything negative toward a vegan or vegetarian unless they’re being stupid about it and eating nothing but refined and sugary things. But it’s made me think, you don’t see many people explaining and defending the omnivore lifestyle. Well, in blogs anyway.
One of the first things that pops into someone’s mind when they hear omnivore is the food pyramid. Most of us still think of it like this:
To be honest, I still think of it this way. But the USDA came up with a better way of doing it, which I do like. Sadly a lot of people haven’t bothered with it.
The change happened because the USDA realized what many people had already, the old way wasn’t working. I was very happy to find I was already working toward their new food pyramid.
But this isn’t about the food pyramid. It’s about being an omnivore. And a smart one at that. I’ll be first to admit, most Americans have a rediculously unbalanced diet. Too much meat not nearly enough fruit and veggies. But those who are aware of this are growing in number. I’m hoping that soon there will be enough of us to start creating big influence, especially in restaurants. You know what, instead of pointing out all the flaws, how about I just tell you about what I eat.
I try to stick to 4 to 6 ounces of meat or protein a day. I find it to be enough. Especially when I only have 2 ounces in a meal. It isn’t taking up the most space on my plate. More often, it takes up the least amount.
I also try to limit how much beef I eat in a week. I say try because my husband likes it more than I do. But I do keep ground turkey on hand and use it for myself when I can if he really wants a burger. Chicken, turkey, and fish are my preferred meat sources. Pork as well. Growing up we didn’t eat much beef. My mom got creative and used ground turkey instead most of the time. Ground beef was in the meatloaf along with turkey and pork sausage. I think that’s why I don’t mind not eating it that much.
If you’ve been reading this blog much at all, you know I like my veggies. As much as I love fruit, which I’ll go into next, veggies have more variety year-round. Every night with dinner, except on occassions where it doesn’t sound good, we have salads. I’ve bounced around among different salad mixes. Right now I’m going with a fresh herb salad but I also like sweet baby greens, baby lettuces, baby romaine, and spring mixes. I could go and list all the veggies I love, but that would make this a really long post. Let’s just say I make a point of having plenty of veggies every day.
If I could afford it and wouldn’t miss the meat, I’d become a fruititarian. I love fruit! I love how jucy it is and the sweetness and the color. Sadly, living in Ohio, there’s only so long where fruit is really affordable. And now that I’ve learned the seasons for different fruits, I try to get them during their season so they taste the best. Also they’re the cheapest then. That is one thing I’m really looking forward to about going to the farmer’s market, the fresh, fresh fruit.
One habit that, again, came from childhood is fruit leathers. I remember on long car trips my parents would get them for us because it was simple, not messy, and healthy. Then a few years ago I found them again at Giant Eagle and got my husband hooked on them as well. I now get them at Whole Foods since they’re cheaper there. Those are at least half a serving of fruit every day, and they taste great and give me variety. One day I’ll have grape and the next might be apricot. It’s wonderful.
I used to drink tons of milk. My mom had to keep an eye on me or else the milk she bought wouldn’t last the week. When I was in college I made sure to grab milk whenever I could. But I found myself down to just three glasses a day. Last year when I starting really looking at my diet and eating healthier and losing weight, I realized that I was doing way to much dairy. In my desire to have enough milk, I was ignoring the fact that I was also eating cheese and yogurt and butter. Slowly I found myself drinking less and less milk.
Now I’ll have the odd glass of milk, but most of my dairy comes from other sources. Where I used to have a glass of milk with breakfast I now have a glass of Kefir. I also use feta cheese on my salads. Cheese of some form is usually involved in lunch. So I get plenty of dairy in without drinking milk anymore.
Grains are my friend. Early on my mom switched us over to wheat bread from white. Of course I felt deprived until I tried the white bread again. Never did that again. Now I’m all about bread that has whole seeds and grains in it. I like my bread crunchy. But if it’s not crunchy it’s wheat or homemade. The wraps I use for my lunch are spinach and herb, not just plain tortillas. 🙂
I have always enjoyed good rice. I like it to be fully cooked but not mushy. Sadly I cann’t seem to get it right. I’m hoping the rice cooker will remedy that. I have also recently gained an appreciation for qinoua (keen-wha). I’m hoping that it will become a regular on our plates once I introduce the hubby to it.
There’s a lot of other things that aren’t exactly in the food pyramid or a food group that springs to mind but is good for you, in the right amounts, and definately a part of my diet.
As almost every other female on this planet, I love chocolate! And it’s become a good thing for you! In small amounts. Over the years my taste in chocolate has slowly darkened. When Dark M&Ms came out, I tried them and liked them. Slowly they replaced the milk ones. Same with Hershey’s Special Dark. Now I keep some 73% dark chocolate at work and the M&Ms and Hershey’s are too sweet for me, and I’m talking about their dark chocolates.
As I’ve mentioned before, I have two-27 oz. Klean Kanteens. Every morning I fill them up from the water pitcher at home and take them to work. I usually get most if not all of it drunk during work. When I get home I usually have a large (21 oz.) glass of water with dinner. It is amazing how much better I feel when I have enough water in my day. Yes, I do have to go to the bathroom a little bit more, but it’s not as much as you think.
I’m convinced somewhere in my heritage there is an Italian woman, because my love of Italian food, especially cooking it, and olive oil has yet to be dissuaded. And it’s another one of those things that’s good for you as long as you don’t overdo it. I don’t cook with anything else anymore. It just tastes so much better than butter or other oils. Extra virgin is just amazingly beautiful to look at as well as to eat. It gets used on all my pasta dishes, on my daily salads, coating pans for baking dishes, and whatever else I can use it in.
Well, that was a bit longer than I thought it would be. But there it is. Again, I’m not saying it’s a better way of life than vegetarians or vegans. But it’s mine.
I am an ominvore! Hear me roar! 😉