Healthy Eating – Vegetarian Eating- Were We Born This Way?

World Vegetarian day is October 1st, and so is my birthday.  Coincidence? Probably not.

Is it possible we are born to be vegetarianI’m convinced I was born this way because even as a small child, if I just started thinking about the animal who I was eating, I’d have to push my plate away. I could not enjoy meat while thinking about what the animal might have suffered.

The group think is that humans are designed to eat meat. After all, isn’t it said that we evolved more rapidly during the meat-eating paleo days? Aren’t we hunters before gatherers?

Looking at our digestive system might give us a different view. While the data points below vary according to the source, it appears that the digestive systems of herbivores and humans are more closely linked.

  • Saliva – Carnivores and omnivores do not have enzymes in their saliva to digest carbohydrates, whereas herbivores and humans do.
  • Acidity – The stomach acidity of carnivores and omnivores is higher than herbivores and humans.
  • Intestines – The combined small and large intestines of carnivores and omnivores is 3 to 6 times the length of the body, where herbivores and humans have intestines that are 5-10 times the length of the body.
  • Colon – The colons of carnivores and omnivores are short and smooth; the colons of herbivores and humans is long and sometimes sacculated (a medical term meaning a structure formed by a group of sacs).
  • Kidney – Carnivores and omnivores have highly concentrated urine where herbivores and humans have moderately concentrated urine.
  • Teeth – Carnivores and omnivores have many sharp teeth for ripping into flesh, while herbivores and humans have more flat teeth better suited to grind plants.

 Living in harmony with our design by eating more of the foods that our bodies were born to digest is a more biological approach to good health and a robust immune system. So, even if you aren’t ready to eat vegetarian all the time, I invite you to celebrate World Vegetarian Day and my birthday on October 1st with these recipes, or by serving up your favorite veggie meal.

Vegan “Meatloaf” 

Makes 4-6 Servings

This is my version of a popular online vegan meatloaf recipe. I’ve simplified it a bit. You can play with this recipe by adding veggies you have on hand, or by increasing the oats to give it a firmer texture. One of my clients served this “meatloaf” to a family member who refused to believe it was vegan!

Ingredients

1 large minced onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

8-10 ounces minced mushrooms

1 large minced carrot

3 cups cooked green lentils

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons low-sodium tamari

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon ground sage

1 teaspoon paprika

Salt to taste – optional

1/4 to 1/2 cup organic barbecue sauce or ketchup

Garnish with fresh herbs if desired

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a sauté pan or wok, cook the onions for a few minutes on medium-high heat until they begin to soften. The moisture of the veggies should prevent sticking. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, if needed. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and carrots, and continue cooking for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.

In a medium bowl, mix the cooked lentils, oats, nutritional yeast, tamari, paprika, black pepper, rosemary, onion powder, dry mustard, and sage.  Drain the veggies if the mixture is too wet before adding them to the bowl of lentils and spices, and stir until it becomes somewhat sticky. A sticky consistency means it is ready for the loaf pan.

Coat the bottom of a loaf pan with 1/4 cup (or less) of ketchup or barbecue sauce, then add the vegetable and bean mixture. Try to level the surface before spreading another thick layer of ketchup or barbecue sauce on top.

Bake for 1 hour. Allow this dish to cool a bit. It cuts MUCH better when it has had time to cool and set.

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