Manic Monday: Meat or Wheat–Eat Veggies & Repeat!

Recipe: Whole Wheat Shells with “Sausage”, Bok Choy & Roasted Cauliflower

Whole Wheat Shells with Bok Choy, Field Roast Sausage & Roasted Cauliflower


A friend who is very optimistic about her upcoming breast cancer treatment told me yesterday that she is considering making some changes to her diet to add more vegetables to her meals. This story is dedicated to her!

The World Health Organization has classified processed meats as a “Group 1 Carcinogenic”. Having a “Group 1 Carcinogen” classification means there’s strong evidence that the listed item is linked to cancer.

Being the daughter of a sausage maker, this is not good news for me! I have always loved the taste of sausage, and I still eat it when I go back to our family restaurant occasionally. But at home I cook with plant-based sausages like this one from the Field Roast brand. I love the taste of plant-based sausages made with something called “vital wheat gluten” because it has the consistency that feels as firm as the ones I grew up with.

Becoming vegan doesn’t necessarily give your body the bountiful array of colorful vegetables needed for your best balance. Vegans and carnivores have a lot in common. They both forget to add vegetables to their diets, and often come up short on filling out half their plate with water-soluble, fiber rich vegetables.

I have heard lots of different stories about people with cancer and the foods they eat. One woman told me her cancer came several times, reaching stage 4 with little hope. She said she finally found success with a treatment that was based in eating only organic (no pesticides) whole plants. She was cured, thriving for years, and said she was spending the rest of her life extolling the plant-based, organic lifestyle.

The fact is that each of us is different. We just don’t know exactly what our “recipe” is for our bodies through food, alcohol, environment and stress, though we can keep trying to dial up what works for us individually.

We do know that we can make some simple changes here and there to dramatically improve the working conditions of our bodies so they can manage the best they can with what they have.

I am a firm believer that by doubling your veggies and eating a fraction of the animal products you are used to, you can feel better as you experiment with different recipes for success.

You crave what you eat. If you grew up eating brown rice, you will crave brown rice. If you grew up eating chargrilled sausages you will crave that too. If you start to eat more vegetables, I promise you will begin to crave all the water, vitamins and nutrients your body adores, and it will show on your face and in your gut.

I hope you keep coming back to Renata’s Kitchen and trying out more plant-based recipes, especially for people who are carnivores and omnivores. Don’t think that vegans always get the nutrients their bodies need! It is always a challenge to make time in your day to chop your vegetables and steam, sauté or roast them.

I believe God made flowers to be colorful and fragrant enough to attract the butterflies and bees because that’s exactly what those creatures need to survive and thrive. I believe God made veggies and fruits in so many different colors so that we would be attracted to them in a similar way, gathering all their natural goodness and soaking them into our bodies and souls.

So Chop-Chop! And please remember to love yourself enough to aim for progress not perfection. That’s a balanced recipe no matter what your diet!

Roasted cauliflower–same rule of thumb. Roast it with Renata at 375F with olive oil and sea salt until soft and gooey–about 30-40 minutes!

Simply by starting to cook again, you declare your independence from the culture of fast food. As soon as you cook, you start thinking about plants and animals and not the microwave. And you will find that your diet, just by that one simple act, that is greatly improved.

Michael Pollan


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