The reluctant vegetarian!!- Lentil Stew.

When i commenced my yoga journey in my early twenties (in the late nineties!!) I chose the vegetarian path. Not a healthy vegetarian path as I basically eliminated meat from my diet without learning about suitable protein and iron sources, but I was conscious of our connection to nature and wanted to do my bit to respect animals. By the time I was 28, I was quite chubby, doing loads of yoga (so quite healthy), but constantly craving foods like chocolate, icecream, cheese and nuts. Pre-menstrual days were a total nightmare, I felt so lacklustre… all I wanted to do was swim in a box of chocolates.

I saw a naturopath who, after recommending i get my iron levels tested, simply asked me “would you consider eating meat again”. It seemed to be the right day and time, because I just went “I’ll give it a go”. I am still very conscious of where the meat I eat comes from, but I now include meat or fish in about 8 meals a week. 2 months from when I started eating meat again I lost about 4 kilos, had reduced my cravings and binges… and felt alot better about personal health.

I am not saying that a vegetarian diet is unhealthy. Mine, however, was. I didn’t supplement my diet with correct protein combinations, and chocolate and ice cream became a source of iron and magnesium for me.

These days, I try for one or two vegetarian days a week. I try to ensure I combine proteins and carbs and get sufficient iron so I don’t need to eat my own bodyweight in salad to sustain me. I try to make the food delicious so it doesn’t taste “healthy” ie “unpalatable”. Here’s the most delicious recipe I have ever tasted for lentils. For vegan option- naturally hold the cheese.

Lentil Stew- enough for about 6 serves

1 onion sliced
1 garlic clove – chopped
2 cans of lentils- organic
2 cans of chopped or pureed tomato
tablespoon tomato paste
fresh herbs from the garden.

optional (but recommended): whatever cheese you have one hand for sprinkling in at the end… can be fetta/ ricotta/ parmesan… this is a peasant style dish- so it’s more about using what you have in the fridge than finding precise ingredients.

  • fry onions and garlic in a bit of grapeseed or olive oil. fry until soft
  • add lentils…
  • add tomatos and paste
  • (a splash of white wine could go well here too!)
  • add herbs
  • turn down low and simmer for about 30 minutes for the flavours to really infuse.
  • add your cheese of choice towards the end.

yum- a cup of this is warming, substantial, filling, healthy. There isn’t a nutritionist, dietitian or health professional who wouldn’t give this meal the thumbs up for so many reasons. Enjoy!!