Two words, folks, two words: tempeh tacos.
Over the past eighteen months, what and how much I eat has changed radically, and it continues to evolve. Although I don't envision becoming a card-carrying vegan, meat and other animal products are becoming a very occasional part of my diet, and I don't often miss them. I also don't really miss the added fat. It is truly amazing how little fat you need to make food taste good. Of course, it helps if that food is wonderfully fresh.
I'm so lucky to live in a place where I can get really fresh produce, much of it locally grown. In some areas of the country it's very difficult, and even the grocery stores don't carry very high quality stuff. One of the reasons a lot of people don't like veggies, or are addicted to processed foods, is because they've never tasted the real thing, or they haven't tasted good quality.
But when you educate your taste buds by eating high quality, fresh, minimally processed foods, you'll be surprised how few "extras" you need to be satisfied.
Case in point: tonight, I made tempeh tacos. I crumbled up some tempeh and mixed it with leftover black beans, corn, and brown rice from dinner a few nights ago, cooking it in a skillet sprayed with a little bit of olive oil --- just enough to keep it from sticking. Sprinkled in some Bragg's Liquid Aminos and chili powder. I got these really fabulous corn tortillas, too. Locally made, and their only ingredients are corn, lime juice, and water. My husband has, in the past, been adamantly opposed to corn tortillas, preferring flour (which are very high cal and traditionally made with lard). He'd never had really fresh, really good quality corn tortillas. Well, let me tell you, it makes all the difference in the world! They're soft and flavorful. When we piled on the tempeh, with homemade salsa, guacamole, and some shredded lettuce, he declared that it tasted like a meal from our favorite vegetarian restaurant. It was so good, we didn't even miss the cheese.
Do yourself a favor and experiment with cutting down on added fats. See if you can spend a week doing your home cooking just using a spray like Pam or Spectrum Organics, and skipping the butter, margarine, and salad dressing. Try getting your fats from unprocessed sources, like nuts, whole olives, and avocado. You might find that you can easily get by with a lot less than you're accustomed to, or even none at all. And the added benefit is that since fat is SO high cal, you'll easily lose weight. Worried about the taste of a "dry" salad? Add some juicy fruit, such as grapes or sliced pears, and squeeze a lemon over the whole thing. Add slices of avocado and a handful of toasted nuts. Or whip up a dressing of dijon mustard and a little bit of flavored vinegar. Mmmm!
Do yourself another favor, and next time you go to the grocery store, buy one fresh piece of produce that you've never tried, or don't normally buy fresh. With the Internet at your fingertips, you can easily find a recipe to try, but most veggies are excellent roasted simply, or tossed on the grill.
And summer is a great time to snack on fruit. We're keeping a big bowl of fruit salad in the fridge, and it's what we reach for when we want a refreshing treat. It's helped us both cut down on the too-yummy homemade bread and nut butters we've been making.
And if all else fails ... try the tempeh tacos. Seriously.