"The only things left in our fridge on January 1 were seven bottles of Champagne and multiple packets of charcuterie from the previous night's New Year's Eve party. Ironic, but not tempting. My resolve is strong!"
Simple & Soothing Lentil Soup
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small red or green pepper, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence
1 cup lentils
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a medium size saucepan over medium-high heat, add olive oil and onion and saute, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute 1 minute more.
2. Add carrot, green pepper, and herbes de Provence, and saute, stirring, for 3 minutes.
3. Pour in water, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, or until lentils are soft.
4. Using an immersion or standard blender, puree the soup until smooth. Add salt and season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve hot with a slice or two of crusty baguette.
Have you ever considered going vegetarian as a new year's resolution? You're not alone. New Zealand-born, Paris-based artist and photographer Claire Price chronicles her first meat-free month of the new year.
I first became a vegetarian at 18. My love of animals created a constant sense of guilt and apathy that I’d been trying to avoid looking at head-on since I was about seven, which kept gnawing at me. An encounter with a cow on a full moon night under the influence of LSD was the tipping point; I looked deep into her dark brown eyes and came to a profound realization. “She’s a BEING, like me. Imagine if we weren't the superior species of animal on this planet, and something bigger than us enslaved us and slaughtered our children to eat!” I returned home and back to normal, vowing to never eat another “being” again, starting with a seven-day rice cleanse to purify my system which lasted in reality probably only seven hours. But I never ate meat again …until I came to live in France from New Zealand in 2001.
In pursuit of my artistic dreams—and without much money and minus a work permit--I quickly found myself hungry. In the early 2000s, “vegetarian” was considered a swear word in Paris, and it was definitely considered rude to refuse the meaty dinner someone had prepared and invited you over to eat. I ended up eating a lot of cheese and baguette. At cafés, the only thing vegetarian was a Salade de Chèvre Chaud, which I quickly grew sick of. Then, one day, about a year and a half into my stay, a fellow kiwi friend came to pay me a visit and bought a rotisserie chicken. It was the middle of winter and I was literally cold and hungry. I ate the chicken and thoroughly enjoyed it, telling myself it was OK, because I was genuinely hungry. And I was cool with that. But over the years, it opened the door to ham, then bacon, and finally. one year ago, I started eating burgers.
Several months ago I was taking a walk in the forest in Bourgogne with my husband and our dog when an animal came jolting out of the trees and on to the road. I thought it was an Alsatian dog from its coloring and size; it was running in a panic away from us. I realized it was wounded, and what I thought was its long dog tail was in fact a wounded deer with a broken back leg. I was devastated. I had h1 eard a hunter fire his gun and the barking of dogs was nearing. Rage grew inside me, I wanted to shoot the hunter in the leg and see how he liked it. My husband turned to go back home, but I wanted to stay and find the deer. I found her huddled in some bracken by the side of the road, panicked but calm. I stood and looked into her beautiful brown eyes, admired her long eyelashes, and apologized for how cruel human nature is. Then I cried and cried and cried. That deer is a BEING, like my dog. Some people think shooting animals is “sport,” and it sickens me.
That became my leverage to re-become a vegetarian again. And January 1 marked the turning of a new page and a new resolution. To add to my New Year’s resolutions, I also decided to be alcohol-free for a month. Other motivating factors are that I have several kilos of post-partum fat to lose; 2015 marks the reclaiming of my body, having had it in service all of 2014 with pregnancy, birth, and nursing.
I love to cook, and I love to cook healthy food. Luckily, my husband likes my “hippy food” (as I call it), too. I often make a big stew of many vegetables with some kind of bean (white, red, pinto) or lentils. I might spice it up with a bit of curry or miso paste, but I never get tired of it. I’m inspired by Mark Bittman’s book Vegan Before 6:00 and I try to follow that as a guideline. I still eat dairy, but try to eat as much fresh vegetables, fruits and grains as possible.
The only things left in our fridge on January 1 were seven bottles of Champagne and multiple packets of charcuterie from the previous night's New Year's Eve party. Ironic, but not tempting. My resolve is strong!
Next up: Claire survives a night at home with a refrigerator full of Champagne and cold cuts.
Diary of a Diet Change
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