I still remember the summer day I spent lying on Kitsilano Beach back in 1973 reading the landmark book called Diet For A Small Planet, when I discovered for the first time that the DFaSP healthy version of potato latkes could actually contain as much protein as a greasy lamb chop. Revolutionary! According to DFaSP, cutting back – waaaaay back! – on red meat consumption is a smart thing to do to protect your coronary arteries, and the planet as well.
In case you think eating less red meat means an endless round of bland blocks of boring tofu, think again. Here are seven options from Eco Salon that – like my potato latke recipe – just might make it onto your new list of favourites:
1. Quinoa: (pronounced KEEN-wah): a fabulous grain, ancient but new to me; much faster to cook than rice, looks great, makes a fantastic cold salad or base for your favourite pasta sauce.
2. Veggie burgers: my freezer is filled with these handy, nutty-tasting vegetarian goodies; in Canada, look for Money’s Mushroom Roasted Pepper burgers.
3. Almonds: an ideal mid-afternoon snack; the fat in an almond is the ‘good’ kind for heart health
4. Yogurt: plain, organic yogurt with few additives - I like serving this instead of sour cream now
5. Tempeh: a blend of soy and rice, also handy in the freezer for kabobs or stir-fries
6. Legumes: black beans, lentils, chickpeas – all versatile, high protein and high-fibre (See My Favourite Recipe for Heart Healthy Chocolate Fudge Brownies – with black beans as the surprise secret ingredient)
7. Cheese: nix that rubbery, not-worth-eating, no-fat cheese, please! The Heart & Stroke Foundation recommends reducing our cheese consumption, no more than 20% milk fat – and there are some out there that melt nicely and actually taste great when you need a wee cheese fix!
NEWS UPDATE: March 17, 2014: New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that what we’ve come to know as evil saturated fat – the kind of fat found in butter or red meat - may NOT help predict heart disease risk after all, according to study author Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian of Harvard University.
Still craving some meat? Read: The under-appreciated joy of making a meat loaf
Q: Do you have a heart-smart meat alternative?