As a health coach, people often ask me what I eat. Until recently, it’s been hard to put a label on it. But, at last, I’ve found one way which describes my love affair with vegetables – I am a Vegivore!
According to New York Magazine, "vegivore", “a term that connotes fervid vegetable love rather than ardent meat hate,” – describes the latest culinary trend of letting fresh, in season, and carefully prepared veggies occupy the center of the plate. Chefs are whipping up mouth-watering dishes such as “seasonal vegetable cookpot,” “roasted kabocha squash toast,” (tried that one at ABC Kitchen last week – scrumptious!) and “acorn squash with black lentils, cipollini onions, and aged balsamic.”
I am no Mario Batali – nor do I employ a personal vegetable butcher like the ones you find at Eataly – but I did overcome my reluctance to prepare vegetables myself with a little trial and error in the kitchen. You just need to practice a couple of simple techniques (like water sautés, steaming veggies in a basket, or roasting in the oven) and identify your favorite herbs and condiments to accessorize.
Once you start eating more veggies, you just can’t stop. Vegetables, especially green ones, feel so cleansing and healthy – wonderful for urbanites. Over the past few months I’ve become thoroughly addicted to endives, which I eat as is – I call it the perfect portable salad.
When I plan my meals, veggies are often the focus point (along with grains). Meat and fish become more of an accessory – cheaper, healthier, and more sustainable. Not to mention amazing for your waistline. As Bill Clinton recently showed us, there’s nothing like adopting a vegan (or plant-focused) diet to detox and transform yourself. Bill’s joined the new vegan powerbrokers – along with Steve Wynn, Mort Zuckerman, and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, to name a few.
If you want to flaunt accomplished Vegivore status, here’s a little step-by-step to try your hand at kale:
1. Buy fresh kale, organic if possible. I also like to mix in swiss chard or rainbow chard.
The key is not to cook the stems. Chop off all the stems in one fell swoop, then quickly cut the stems out of the leaves too, to avoid bitterness. This process takes 2 minutes with a good knife.
2. In a wok or sauté pan, heat up a few tablespoons of water and add your kale. Saute until tender, adding water so that the kale doesn’t stick.
3. Optional: before cooking the kale, sauté some garlic and/or onions in olive oil and reserve. You’ll add them back to the kale when it’s done (or some people just leave them in; I think they get too mushy).
4. Dress up your kale: when your kale is done, add sea salt, pepper and olive oil to taste. Lemon juice is also nice. Some days I use toasted sesame seed oil instead with turmeric and red pepper flakes.
Any other Vegivores out there? Share your tips with us!