Welcome back to Week 4 of Five Weeks of Flexitarian Eating! We’ve discussed beans, tofu, greens and grains. Did you try a grain or green you’ve never had before? Did you like it? This week requires a decision to be made. Are we going to consider dairy and eggs “meat” or not? And if so, what do we eat instead?
In Mark Bittman’s book, VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good (affiliate link), the use of dairy and eggs (and meat of course) is limited to evenings and perhaps the occasional brunch. Tofu is used for morning scrambles and silken tofu is used as a yogurt replacement for a morning smoothie.
If you’re wondering what you can eat for breakfast and lunch without resorting to eggs and dairy, the VB6 book has a ton of recipes and ideas, including some savory ones you may never have considered for starting the day. Start with some oatmeal and a little fruit and go from there. I love a banana based smoothie, too. Try this one with cherries and oatmeal:
- 12 cherries, pitted and quartered
- 1/4 cup oatmeal
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup almond milk
Soak the oatmeal and almonds in the almond milk overnight. Blend, adding more almond milk or water as needed.
Of course, if the idea of severely restricting egg and dairy makes you hyperventilate you don’t have to do it. You are encouraged to explore nut and soy based milks and cheeses as a way to reduce your overall consumption. I’m not a big fan of soy milk, but almond and oat milk are pretty tasty. I do like the soy based cream cheese I’ve tried. It’s really a matter of being willing to try new foods. We’ve mostly shifted our egg consumption to the evenings; who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner?
The VB6 approach works better for us if we consider the “V” to mean “vegetarian” one or two meals per week.
This makes it possible to use leftover goat cheese and apple pasta for lunch the next day. Or to spread some dairy based cream cheese on bread and topping it with escalivada. Or perhaps to make a nice grilled pimento cheese sandwich. It’s best not to become too legalistic in my opinion but rather take a mindful approach and try to find some balance between the vegan/vegetarian portion of the day and the evening.
Mark Bittman’s VB6 differs from Dawn Jackson Blatner’s Flexitarian Diet (affiliate links) in that Bittman is fairly strict during the day, but relaxes for the evening meal and allows himself to eat meat. He found over time his desire to go crazy in the evening diminished. In contrast, Ms. Blatner allows eggs and cheese on a regular basis but eats actual meat less frequently, only a few times a month.
There’s plenty of room for compromise between the two. Rick and I find a less strict VB6 approach works really well for us. Where do you think you’d fall on the flexitarian spectrum?