My default dinner for vegetarian night is veggie burgers. Why? Because I can easily find frozen veggie burgers that take very little time to cook. This makes life easy especially when I've had a long workday and I'm uninspired to cook. Lately, frozen veggie burgers have become boring. While they are considered "healthy", they still have ingredients that are not so great. I realized several months ago, I fell into the trap of eating plant based junk food.
WHAT IS PLANT BASED JUNK FOOD?
Plant based junk food is convenient foods disguised as healthy foods. Think about how many companies are launching plant based food products. Pizza Hut plant based pizza is one example. Kentucky Fried Chicken has plant based chicken nuggets. But what is really in these foods? Prevention magazine wrote an article on the Pizza Hut plant based pizza. Their findings were "Plant-based meats are a highly processed food, it shouldn’t be consumed because consumers feel it is automatically a healthier."
We have been duped! In the journey to eat less meat, the food industry has figured out how to tempt us to replace meat with processed food. Once I realized I was eating plant based junk food, I became more vigilant about the foods and recipes I serve my family. I stopped buying meatless grounds for lasagna, ziti and soups. I might buy pre-made veggie burgers once every two months instead of every week.
Finding new recipes and learning new skills to make my own veggie burgers wasn't that hard. Like any new habit, I practiced and experimented. Sometimes I made a winner, sometimes it wasn't that good. The one requirement I have is to find recipes that can come together quickly and can be eaten cold or hot, depending on the weather. One reason why I need food that can be eaten both cold or hot is I am cutting back on how often I microwave food.
WHY WE SHOULD NEVER MICROWAVE FOOD
Did you know that microwaving foods results in the loss of nutrients? The loss of nutrients happens when you add liquid to food, cook it in the microwave and then throw out the water. Since microwaves use high heat, the nutrients get pushed into the water and if you aren't drinking the water, the nutrients are lost.
Also, microwaving food makes it harder for our bodies to digest the food. When a food is microwaved, it's amino acids (the building blocks of protein) become much shorter and closer together. When this happens, our bodies have to work much harder to breakdown our food.
A PLANT BASED LIFESTYLE DOES NOT ELIMINATE ALL ANIMAL PRODUCTS
There is a lot of confusion about what a plant based lifestyle means. Does it mean you are vegetarian or vegan or something in between? For me, it is all about balance. I eat plant based four days a week. The other three days, I will eat meat, chicken or fish. I find my body still needs some animal products to feel healthy.
On the days that I am plant based, I am mostly vegan and do not eat any animal based products. This is due to food sensitivities like lactose intolerance. This does not mean everyone who is plant based excludes all animal products. Some people may still eat cheese or eggs or use cow milk in recipes. This is why I love a plant based lifestyle, it is a personalized way to eat.
Eating vegan on plant days means finding new solutions to standard ingredients, such as eggs. I often substitute a flax egg for a chicken egg in recipes. Ground flax seeds are high in Omega-3's, a rich source of fiber and contain protein. I keep a jar in the refrigerator so I can make a flax egg when needed or add ground flax seeds into overnight oatmeal and smoothies.
Flax eggs are a super easy to make. In the bowl you will be combining the ingredients for the recipe, place 1 TBSP ground flax meal and 3 TBSP water, per egg needed. Mix and wait 3-5 minutes until it is thick, like an egg.
Following a plant based lifestyle and not microwaving foods are just two healthy activities I follow to keep my gut healthy. If our gut is unhealthy, so is the rest of our body! Did you know 70% of our immune system is in the gut? To avoid colds, illness and flu, we need to have a healthy gut.
How do you know if your gut is unhealthy? Does any of this sound like you?
👉Diarrhea and/or constipation
👉Bloating and gas
👉Congestion, coughing, wheezing
👉Brain fog, difficulty recalling words, short term memory issues
👉Headaches and migraines
👉Acne and itchy skin
👉Tired all the time
👉Sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals
If you said yes to just one of the above, your body is telling you something is not right. Discovering the root cause and how to get healthy can be confusing and hard! I am here to help.
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach obsessed with teaching people just like you how to heal their gut so you can stop suffering and get back to living!
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✅Be more present with your children
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WHAT IS HOLISTIC NUTRITION?
Before you book a 30 minute strategy session with me, you may be wondering what holistic nutrition is and how it can benefit you. Holistic Nutrition, as defined by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) is: one's health is an expression of the complex interplay between the physical and chemical, mental and emotional, as well as spiritual and environmental aspects of one's life and being.
As a member of NANP, my services take the entire person into consideration. Their lifestyle, choices, stresses and roles that they play throughout their life. This is very different than working with a Registered Dietitian who will only focus on specific areas of your life.
Our medical system is based on treating parts of our body. We go to specialists for the cardiovascular system, women's reproductive system and the gastrointestinal system, just to name a few. Rarely, do traditional doctors think about the impact of treatments on one part of the body and how another part will be affected.
Holistic Nutritionists study how the body is connected and when we treat one area of the body, we are affecting the mind, body and soul of the person. This makes our approach focused on integrating change into your lifestyle versus asking you to adapt to a specific treatment protocol. Our bodies like to be in balance. Any choice that is made to improve one aspect of the body needs to be balanced so the rest of the body remains in balance.
VEGGIE BURGER RECIPES
Below is an assortment of veggie burgers. All of the recipes use ingredients that are very filling, such as oats or beans, which means anyone who eats them is not hungry a few hours later. Veggie burgers are one of the easiest ways to introduce your family to try eating less meat, chicken, pork or fish. Don't be afraid of topping the burgers with traditional toppings (even cheese) as the family transitions. Making it easy and fun will make the family more likely to want to eat them.
Veggie Burgers by Recipe Tin Eats. This recipe combines rice with the veggies and adds one egg and mayonnaise as binders. The egg and mayo keep the burger moist which will make anyone who likes to eat a meaty burger happy. If you want to go vegan with this recipe, there are plenty of vegan mayo's in the grocery store. Click here for the recipe.
Homemade Veggie Burger by Clean and Delicious. This veggie burger incorporates high protein quinoa, which makes for a very satisfying burger. It uses an egg as the binder and kidney beans to add bulk. The burgers look awfully good topped with heart healthy avocado and yellow tomatoes. Click here for the recipe.
Baked Homemade Veggie Burger by An Italian in my Kitchen. This recipe truly focuses on the vegetables! Calling for grated zucchini, carrots, potato and celery. Combine the veggies all together with an egg and mix in some flour - BOOM - you are ready to bake them until firm. I would eat these cold on top of a salad for lunch. Click here for the recipe.
Chunky Portabella Veggie Burger by The Kitchen Whisperer. One reason mushrooms are a popular ingredient in veggie burgers is because they are so meaty. They add a nice bulk to the final product. This veggie burger uses portabella mushrooms and black beans, which is why they are chunky. But even with the chunks, you can see how creamy they are on the inside. Click here for the recipe.
Spicy Cajun Chickpea Veggie Burgers by Vanilla and Bean. I love that this recipe focuses on a little spice in the burger. The veggies are mushrooms, bell pepper and onions, combined with oats, rice and Tahini. There is also a recipe for jalapeno aioli, if you need more spice! Click here for the recipe.
I hope this post inspires you to make veggie burgers for your family. They are great tasting, healthy and fast. Plus, who doesn't love burger night? Serving veggie burgers with your favorite side dishes such as baked french fries, pasta salad or a mixed bean salad delivers a healthy meal without relying on meat, chicken, pork or fish.
Do you think you will try any of the recipes I shared? Let me know by leaving a comment below.