Hungry Girl is helping to support Meatless Monday, and she’s doing it in a big way. In a recent blog post on People.com, The Carnivore’s Guide to Meatless Monday, Lisa Lillien reached her vast audience with delicious, smart Meatless Monday recipe ideas and advice. “Going vegetarian, even for some of your meals, can save a ton of fat grams and calories,” writes Lillien, a New York Times best-selling author of eight cookbooks, the host of Hungry Girl on Food Network and Cooking Channel, and frequent guest on shows ranging from Today to Dr. Oz to BloombergTV.
A self-proclaimed “foodologist,” Lillien offers real world advice for everyone looking to make smarter food decisions. “There’s no magic bullet,” Lillien told BloombergTV. “It’s about reality. You have to find something you can live with forever. So if you make small changes with swaps along the way, you’re going to be better in the long run. I don’t really believe in fad diets. They come in, they go out, and they don’t really help people in the long haul.”
The Meatless Monday movement and the Hungry Girl brand have a lot in common. Both are about 10 years old. Both believe the best way to eat better is by making small, incremental changes. And both began very modestly. Meatless Monday started with a simple idea: one day a week, cut out meat. Similarly, Lillien started Hungry Girl with a daily email to 70 of her friends. Now, that email reaches 1.2 million subscribers every day.
Meatless Monday: We loved your blog post, “The Carnivore’s Guide to Meatless Monday.” What inspired you to write a Meatless Monday post for People.com?
Hungry Girl: Meatless Monday is a great concept. I thought it would be great to shed a little more light on it and show my support!
MM: What advice do you have for your fans, and for fans of Meatless Monday, that are interesting in lowering their meat consumption?
HG: People who love meat will find that they can enjoy a full day’s worth of meals that are completely MEAT-FREE. And giving up meat one day a week forces them to open their minds and be a little experimental. And slowly, they might incorporate more veggie dishes into their diets.
MM: Meatless Monday and The Hungry Girl brand began in 2003 and 2004, respectively. There have been a lot of changes in the American diet since then. Looking into your crystal ball, what trends do you see for 2014?
HG: I predict we’ll be seeing more flexitarians in 2014. People who are eating more veggie-friendly dishes, and maybe phasing meat out of their diets some of the time.
MM: We were excited to hear about your newest project, The Hungry Girl Diet, coming out in March, 2014. What can HG fans look forward to?
HG: The Hungry Girl Diet is something that I am SO excited about sharing with the world. For the past (almost) ten years, people have been asking for a plan that brings together tried and true Hungry Girl concepts, ideas and recipes. This book–and the 4-week jump-start plan–does just that. The best part is how much food you get to eat on the plan! The Hungry Girl Diet launches on March 25th. I can’t wait!
MM: If you could choose any celebrity or historical person with whom to share a Meatless Monday meal, who would it be?
HG: Excellent question. Probably Albert Einstein. I know he enjoyed steak, and he was obviously a brilliant man. But I think I could outsmart him with some of my meat-free dishes!
MM: This article will appear on a Monday. Can you share a recipe that we can all cook to participate in Meatless Monday?
HG: How about a delicious, meatless Hungry Mac ‘Bella Stack Burger!
The Sophia School, a co-ed institution established in 1995, just marked its second year of Meatless Monday participation. The school was founded by husband-and-wife team Lorenzo and Marie Ann Abacan, a psychologist and nutritionist, respectively. Merging their acquired expertise, the Abacans sought to develop an educational program that emphasized the development of both mind and body. Marie Ann elaborated:
“Sophia School’s curriculum is basically guided by the philosophy of holism, which views its individual student as a ‘whole person’ who is composed of body, mind, and soul. …[The school] provides its students not only [with the] teaching of academics but also various activities that can improve every aspect of them.”
Recently honored with the Outstanding Healthy Lifestyle Award by the Department of Health, Sophia School’s adoption of Meatless Monday was inspired, in part, by Dr. Custer DeoCaris, who introduced the program to the country several years ago. It also serves as a response to a study published in 2008 by the Philippine Department of Science and Technology, which raised the specter of an alarming national health crisis: Filipinos, it found, disproportionately suffer from childhood malnutrition and adult obesity. 1 in 4 are already hypertensive, and 7 million are afflicted with diabetes, making the Philippines one of the world’s top ten epicenters of the disease.
The Abacans determined that one prescription for these social ills was Meatless Monday, and students have embraced the initiative with gusto. As Marie Ann explains, it’s easy to instill a sense of commitment when you speak candidly about the reasons and goals. “The students accepted the program easily because they understand what they are doing,” she said. “They were given an orientation about the campaign and how it impacts their health and environment. They also encourage their family members to support the campaign at home.”
Some student and staff recipe favorites include Garden Salads with Mango Dressing, Veggie Fish in Sweet and Sour Sauce, and a vegetarian alternative to traditional sisig, a regional delicacy made of diced pig ears, bits of brain tissue and chopped skin.
Anderson Cooper is proof that you can have a burger and go meatless, too. And in the case of his favorite veggie burger, he knows when to do both. People provides the recipe to one of his preferred meatless meals, courtesy of the popular chain Bareburger.
“It’s no secret Anderson Cooper has a thing for fast food. In March, the Anderson Cooper 360° anchor called himself a ”total McDonald’s person” on former talk show Anderson Live—while wearing a shirt screen-printed with French fries. He also once told USA Today that his guilty pleasure is Boston Market, and has tweeted about his love of Big Macs…” read more
Via Prevention.com: “One of my favorite parts of visiting a farmers’ market is discovering varieties of produce I don’t commonly see in grocery stores. This time of year, I often see orange and purple cauliflowers right alongside the white ones, and I can never help thinking the orange ones look just so, well, cheesy! I recently picked one up to see what kind of Meatless Monday dish I could whip up with it…” read more
“Breakfast for dinner? You bet! Sometimes there’s nothing better than a plate of pancakes — any time of the day. And they’re perfect ideas for Meatless Monday…” read more
“Now two weeks post-Thanksgiving, it’s likely that the last leftovers from Turkey Day are gone from your refrigerator and you’ve nearly had your fill of all things mashed, roasted, creamed and gravied. But whether lingering relatives are still staying over or you’re back to cooking for just your immediate family, the question of tonight’s dinner remains, and for this Meatless Monday, something simple and speedy is in order…” read more
The relationship between red meat and heart disease has long been a source of speculation. Cholesterol and saturated fats are among the most commonly cited risks. But a study released earlier this year identified yet another link in the form of atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries,” which results from a compound found in read meat. Everyday Health proposes Meatless Monday as an effective method of prevention.
Via Everyday Health:
“Many who choose to go vegetarian, do so because of personal beliefs. But significant health benefits go along with making this diet change, even if you don’t follow it every day of the week. That’s because a meatless diet can be heart smart…” read more
Meatless Monday is gaining ground in Israel. Spurred by the tireless efforts of former news anchor Miki Haimovich, who launched the program there in 2012, the initiative enjoys greater visibility and has prompted more discussion than ever before.
A year after founding Meatless Monday in Israel, Haimovich met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sarah at their official residence in Jerusalem to persuade them of the program’s validity. Citing the physical and environmental implications of the dangerous trend towards meat-based diets, Haimovich convinced the PM that Meatless Monday offers a viable path to better health and sustainability.
But Haimovich didn’t stop there. She went on to present the campaign in the Knesset, Israel’s national legislature, which will meet later this year to discuss whether to incorporate Meatless Monday into their cafeteria.
Haimovish emphasized that the purpose of the campaign was not to remove meat as an option, but rather to supplement the menu with worthy vegetarian alternatives.
Reflecting on her many successes, Haimovich expressed gratitude:
“A year after the launch of the campaign in Israel, I feel that the initiative received a significant boost. We were able to connect the lobby ministers and Knesset members from across the entire political spectrum. I am happy to be behind the mobilization and commitment to the environmental, health and moral significance behind the campaign to reduce meat consumption. This is a happy day for me and for all those who support the initiative.”
This marks the first time a head of state has officially adopted the program.
Read more via the Jerusalem Post.
Winter is not a season of hibernation. It is a time of discovery, of variety, of traditional flavors and culinary surprises. Winter is a season, as Alicia Walter of La Scuola at Eataly says, “to buy whatever you don’t recognize.” And the best place to buy them, even in winter, is at your local farmers’ market.
So with heirloom tomatoes gone for the season and months from the first peas of spring, on a brisk November afternoon, Meatless Monday’s Registered Dietitian, Diana Rice, along with Creative Director Brian Wheeler, headed to the Union Square Greenmarket to see what local, hearty produce we all can be cooking for the next couple months. To our surprise, alongside the familiar lettuces and dozens of apple varieties, there were potatoes the size of softballs, squid-shaped salsify, and a rainbow of squash, chard and cauliflower.
Brian Wheeler: Okay, as we come into the market, I’m seeing a lot of Brussels sprouts here today. Which I love.
Diana Rice: Me too! But I only developed a taste for them recently. I’d only had them steamed, and steamed Brussels sprouts can be mushy. My favorite way to prepare them is to cut them in half, sauté them cut side down in a little olive oil until they begin to brown and add a splash of balsamic vinegar at the end.
DR: Mainly in that they’re so appealing, you’re likely to eat even more of them. I can’t wait to try them in this Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Maple-Mustard Glaze recipe. The different colors occur due to varying levels of pigmented nutrients that are of course very good for us, but that’s no reason to snub the orange variety. Just like the others, it’s full of nutrients that promote eye health, beta-carotene and lutein.
DR: This is new to me, too. I’ve only encountered lamb’s quarters as a pesky weed I have to rip from my garden all the time. I didn’t know you could eat them. I bet they would be a great addition to a vegetable noodle soup.
BW: And here, on the same table with broccoli and cauliflower, the Romanesco sort of steals the show. What should we know about this great looking veggie?
DR: Isn’t it intriguing? For any math nerds out there, Romanesco is an example of a naturally occurring Fibonacci spiral. But if you’re more interested in its taste, you can expect a sort of crunchier cauliflower. It’s great roasted. I’m planning to try it in this pasta recipe.
BW: Let’s talk about winter foods in general. If we buy turnips, parsnips, even beets, what are we getting that maybe we’re not getting in the summer?
DR: Most of the items we think of as summer vegetables, like tomatoes, zucchini and eggplant, are actually fruits. They typically have a higher water content than winter options. Winter root vegetables are higher in starch and naturally occurring sugar, which provides energy that the plant would use to get through the winter, if we didn’t harvest it. They’re a great source of complex carbohydrates.
BW: I think every school kid should take a field trip to a market and see these vegetables. Broccoli and Brussels sprouts on the stems. Potatoes larger than your hands. The variety is more surprising than in summer months.
DR: I love that visiting a farmers’ market gives you a chance to learn a little more about how your food grows, and it’s such a great educational experience for children. I bet any kid who has ever been turned off by a plate of Brussels sprouts might be willing to give them a second shot if they got to help pull the little sprouts off these alien-looking arms! And for the parents, cook them up in this sweet Cranberry Balsamic Brussels Sprouts dish.
BW: You would think the colors of winter food would resemble the drabness of the weather. But everywhere I turn I see red and orange, vibrant greens and deep purples. What relationship does color have to health?
DR: I mentioned that most of the nutrients that are so good for us are pigments. Beta-carotene is orange, vitamin K is dark green, many antioxidants are blue or purple. Most of the “drab” foods that come to mind have actually had their most nutritious parts removed! White rice is missing the nutritious golden grain. Sugar is refined to remove the dark, rich molasses that contains so many minerals. There’s one caveat: some nutritious pigments–anthoxanthins–are actually white, like those found in cauliflower, garlic and turnips.
BW: Obviously, we’re lucky to have a Union Square Greenmarket within walking distance.
DR: Sure. But I rely more on my neighborhood farmers’ market because it’s so convenient for where I live, and I find great variety there. Check out the Eat Well Guide if you’re looking for a market in your area. Or consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Many offer winter shares and will deliver or arrange for you to pick up a box of locally-grown produce every few weeks. Being a CSA member is how I learned to cook most of these unusual items. I might have been too intimidated to pick them up on my own!
BW: So now that we have all these great winter veggies, what should we make?
DR: I have just the recipe – this Roasted Winter Veggie Bowl from one of our RD bloggers, Maria of Bean A Foodie. It calls for almost everything we saw today, but it’s totally flexible to whatever winter produce you happen to find. Plus, serving the veggies over whole grains and beans is a great way to incorporate some meatless protein into the meal!
“Today, I’m taking my Meatless Monday inspiration from Indian cuisine. In my travels to this fascinating country, I’ve learned to appreciate its great and exciting variety of regional cuisines. When I’m in the Indian food state of mind, I like to explore the differences in North and South Indian cooking…” read more