If you're a vegetarian and your husband (or wife) isn't, are you doomed to eat separate meals for life?
According to Katie Parker, author of the blog "Veggie and the Beast" and The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook
, that is absolutely a myth.
Parker's husband grew up hunting deer, turkeys, ducks and more, while she's been a vegetarian from a very young age.
Sure, it can be hard to maintain that sort of lifestyle when you live with someone who doesn't share your vision. But, if you can share the process by cooking together -- and making foods that you both enjoy -- it can work.
Another trick is to make meals that are both filling and delicious. That way, your non-vegetarian partner can still feel fulfilled. Remember, "vegetarian" doesn't mean eating just salads or "rabbit food." You can make truly yummy options like pastas, pizza, burgers and soups.
Some high-protein vegetarian ingredient options include beans, nuts and nut butter, and a variety of grains (quinoa, barley, millet).
Listen in as Parker shares more ideas for high-protein vegetarian dishes, as well as how you can keep the peace and harmony in a household that's not entirely vegetarian.
RadioMD Presents:Naturally Savvy | Original Air Date: February 11, 2015
Hosts: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest: Katie Parker
Lisa: They say that opposites attract and sometime they do in terms of how you eat, rather than how your partner eats. I’m a big fan of Katie Parker. She has a wonderful blog: Veggie and the beast. She grew up as a vegetarian, whereas her husband grew up hunting venison. Is that correct Katie?
Katie: Yeah, He’s a big hunter. He primarily hunts deer but he also does turkey hunting and duck hunting as well.
Lisa: You were able to get some good, high-protein, vegetarian recipes which we’re going to talk about today. Also, you have some things that your hubby will eat, that are high-protein vegetarian and he can add some meat, or vegetarians can eat. You were a vegetarian since you were 3. I’m assuming this was your parent’s influence?
Katie: Somewhat. My mom is a vegetarian. I ate meat when I was really little; I just never really liked it. I was just very stubborn when I was little and my older brother was teasing me when I was eating a casserole, of course we love our casseroles in Minnesota, I was eating a cheese and ham casserole and he said: “Katie, you know you are eating a pig right now.” I was grossed out and I wouldn’t believe it. My mom told me I was and I told her I wasn’t going to eat it and I never did again. I was a stubborn little person and turned in to a stubborn adult.
Lisa: Good for you. I want to know more about how you do it. It’s really hard when you live with someone that doesn’t really eat the way you do. Obviously you knew this going into your relationship. How do you guys make it work?
Katie: We love to cook together. I’m really fortunate that he enjoys cooking with me and he’s also very adventurous. I don’t feed him tofu that often, but he’s willing to try anything. We just really focus on meals that I know that he really enjoys, like pastas. We like making pizzas together. I try to focus on getting at least one protein source into every meal: whether that’s whole grains, lentils, beans, or we both really like Thai peanut noodles with peanut butter sauce. Just making sure that they are really filling and satisfying meals and we’re not just eating a boring salad all the time, which I know a lot of people think vegetarians do. You eat rabbit food; everything you eat is green and leafy. I do like my salads. I am a veggie loving person, but I also know that sometimes, if you’re with a person that has a bigger appetite, you need something a little more substantial.
Lisa: Does it bother you if he cooks meat and has it with something that you make, or does he normally just say: “Oh! This is so satisfying and filling I don’t need to have the meat on these recipes.”
Katie: It kind of goes both ways. We’ll go weeks without having any meat in the house and then sometimes he’ll just get a craving for it, so he’ll cook up some of the venison that he has and put it on pasta. It doesn’t bother me at all. He does that sometimes, but most of the time eats vegetarian. A lot of his friends, that knew him growing up, think that’s pretty funny.
Andrea: I was going to say, I have a husband who’s a total carnivore. If I even have one meal a week that has no meat in it, he’s like: “No thank you.” He needs his meat and potatoes. I find it interesting. I’m guessing your husband isn’t really that much of a carnivore. He’s able to go a little bit without it. A lot of men very much want their meat and potatoes. It’s cool that you’re able to not get grossed out about it and are able to say: “Well, this is the way it is. You eat the way you eat, and I eat the way I eat, and let’s make it work.” I think that’s cool
Katie: Yeah, it really doesn’t matter to me. Everybody has their things that they like to eat. What I like to eat is not always what he wants to have. That’s just kind of the way relationships go, even if you aren’t a vegetarian and a meat eater.
Lisa: That’s so true. Let’s jump into this fabulous book of yours. The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook: Hearty Dishes That Even Carnivores Will Love. Talk to us about what you have. Let me tell you what you have: You have breakfasts, you have soups, you’ve got salads, and you’ve got grains, pizzas, pastas, burgers, sandwiches. What are some of your favorite recipes in the book?
Katie: I really love the 20 minute enchilada skillet. It’s in the book and also on my blog. It’s really easy and great for weeknights. Brian loves Mexican so it’s a good meal that both of us enjoy and it comes together in 20 minutes. That’s just olive oil, vegetables, black beans, enchilada sauce, and sliced corn tortillas. Then you just broil it for 3-5 minutes. That’s really easy and I like it during the week because it keeps well for weekday lunches. I also really love veggie burgers. Brian usually like veggie burgers as well, especially when they are the heartier kind. I like to make them as protein packed as possible. I have one in the book called the Protein Powerhouse Burger. Those are made with quinoa, black lentils, black beans, and walnuts. They are packed full of those good ingredients that fill you up.
Andrea: Katie, what I’d like to know is: Recently we wrote an article on Naturally Savvy about high-protein for vegetarians. What would be, let’s say, the three top sources of protein for people who are vegetarian?
Katie: I would say beans, just because they are very easy, cheap, and a really good source of protein. Nuts and ant butters, I eat almond butter and peanut butter every day. You can cook with it, bake with it, I eat it by the spoonful. I’m kind of weird like that. I love that. Then the whole grains, I eat a lot of whole grains: Quinoa, barely, mille, and whole wheat pasta when we eat pasta. It’s just an easy way to get extra protein in there.
Lisa: Katie, you just said something. Did you say ‘mille’ when you were listing some of the foods?
Katie: Yeah, I’m wondering now if I’m saying it wrong.
Lisa: I’ve never heard of it, what is it? What kind of grain is it?
Katie: It’s really similar to quinoa. It cooks in a similar way to quinoa.
Andrea: You’re talking about millet. Millet is actually delicious; I love millet.
Katie: Yeah, I love it. I cook with it all the time. It holds it texture better than quinoa. Sometimes quinoa’s texture is a little bit mushy and off-putting, depending on how you cook it. I think it’s a little bit more forgiving in the way you cook it and what you put it in. It’s something that I really like to make and Brian likes it as well. We put it in a lot of things. We stuff peppers with it. I have an enchilada stuffed millet sweet potato recipe on my blog. It’s a really good whole grain and also a good source of protein.
Lisa: I want to go back to what you said about the nut butters and eating them with a spoon. You’re not weird. If you’re weird, I’m weird too. What I did this morning was, I took a little bit of peanut butter and I mixed it up with some very dark chocolate chips. I just sat there and ate it.
Katie: Nice, I’ve definitely done that before.
Lisa: It’s healthier than a regular peanut butter cup. I actually added a little bit of avocado oil because the peanut butter was really think, like the organic crushed peanuts. It really makes it smooth and nice. It has a nice flavor, too.
Katie: You’re making me hungry. That sounds great.
Andrea: Katie, unfortunately we are out of time for today. Tell us where people can find out about you, get your book, and get in contact with you if they wanted to.
Katie: All right. My blog is www.VeggieAndTheBeast.com. You can go on there and check out the recipes on my blog. The book is, as you said, The High-Protein Vegetarian Cookbook: Hearty Dishes That Even Carnivores Will Love. It’s available anywhere books are sold: Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Books-a-Million, IndieBound, Powell’s, any of those places.
Andrea: Perfect. Thank you so much for being on our show today, Katie. I’m Andrea Donsky, along with Lisa Davis. This is Naturally Savvy Radio on RadioMD. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @YourRadioMD and @NaturallySavvy. Thanks for listening, everyone. Eat your veggies today and stay well.