Vegetarianism – Is it Really a Big Deal?

I have been a vegetarian since birth if I can say and so are thousands of people who were born in Brahmin community like me. In Hinduism, we are divided into different groups originally based on profession. Brahmins were typically the educated ones and were expected to teach others and were also priests. As the society evolved, Brahmins took up wider professions like minister, banker, business etc. Some say that in the Vedic period Brahmins were allowed to eat the meat of sacrificed animals. Then with the spread of Buddhism and Jainism, in order to slow down the conversions to these religions, Ahimsa or non-violence was being spread as the key message of Hinduism as well. Following this, several Hindus, especially Brahmins became vegetarian and this was not a particularly difficult change because they were only allowed to have sacrificial meat anyway and not other meat so it was not a big part of their life. This is also not to say all Brahmins are vegetarian as some remained meat/fish eaters. As far as I am concerned, I mean no harm to animals and am a vegetarian. Now, why am I talking about Hinduism, Brahmins and vegetarian? Reason is that to me it is a bit of a surprise to see people being warned about the ‘pitfalls’ of becoming vegetarian while that has been the way of life for me and for my ancestors with no second thoughts. Also a quick look at where I come from may help you understand why I am surprised. If you have ever been to India, especially southern India, you will find more vegetarian restaurants than non-vegetarian and typically the non-vegetarian ones will say so explicitly on their name board. On the contrary I am yet to come across a vegetarian restaurant in the western world where I live.

Having spent some time in a western country, I do understand that meat is an important part of the diet and hard to let go off. So, for some, it is probably a big deal. Often people are warned against a vegetarian diet mainly because it is said to lack in protein. Proteins contain chains of amino acids which are converted into different kind of amino acid during digestion and absorption. Some amino acids can be secreted by the body but some are required from food. Plant foods are said to lack in at least one of these essential amino acids. However, it does not mean one cannot get enough protein being a vegetarian. It simply is a question of combining food – like combining grains with lentils and vegetables. It was interesting to read that some findings show that an excess protein intake can potentially lead to osteoporosis and kidney problems (remember your kidney has to work harder to absorb the amino acids). A well balanced vegetarian diet, in that way is said to give just enough protein. Even if you are not able to balance in a single meal, you can always achieve your balance in a day. For example, let us say you could not get enough protein in your lunch, you can always snack on some lentils and achieve the balance. In a vegetarian diet one obviously does not get the fat from the meat and also because most plants are fibrous, vegetarian diets are said to be more helpful to maintain a healthy weight.

Now if the issue of not getting enough protein is out of your way, what else could stop one from being vegetarian? Could it be ‘limited’ choice because most restaurants offer macaroni cheese and salad as vegetarian on their menu, or could it be fear of not treating the palate because vegetarian in bland? If it is either or both, I can assure you, it is a myth. While I cannot put more items on restaurant menus as I do not have control over them, I certainly can assure you that your menu list at home can be made really long. As far as taste and flavour goes, who said spices do not work on vegetables, grains and fruits? There is no limit to the kind of dishes you can prepare with even just a few ingredients.

By making healthy choices, you can very well be a vegetarian and enjoy eating. If you need any help or inspiration to create nice vegetarian dishes, do stop by my blog http://www.tastefullyveggie.blogspot.com/

London Restaurants – Good Food at a Good Price

London, like so many other big cities, can be an expensive place to visit, especially if you don’t know how and where to save a few pounds. One area of expense that can quickly make a huge dent in your budget is eating out.

London used to have quite a bad reputation for the standard of its food, and it was deemed virtually impossible to enjoy a good dining experience without having to spend a lot of money.

Thankfully, that is not the case any longer and there are many excellent restaurants in London where you can enjoy very tasty and well presented food for an extremely reasonable price.

The following five restaurants each bring something different to the table, from vegetarian food to those who are looking for halal restaurants in London, but…they all have one thing in common…they all offer good food for a good price.

1. Pimlico Fresh: A great place for a pre-theatre pit stop as it is quite close to theatre land. Pimlico Fresh, offer wholesome, fresh and filling food in familiar feeling surroundings. Hearty soups are very popular and are not your normal, somewhat predictable offerings; Toulouse sausage and lentil is a particular favourite.

Main courses are predominantly of the casserole/stew variety, served in deep bowls. A good example is a good portion of vegan Thai vegetable curry with rice, this will set you back a paltry £4.95! You should budget £25 for a good meal with drinks for two people.

2. Baozi Inn: If you are often left feeling conned when ordering from a picture menu the Baozi Inn does a pretty good job of rectifying that injustice, providing meals exactly how they look in the menu! Situated in Chinatown, this Chinese restaurant offers excellent value for money with main courses costing between £6 to £7.

3. Beatroot – Not so much a vegetarian restaurant as it is a café. Here you can tuck into a hearty bean hotpot, shepherd’s pie (vegetarian version…obviously!) and various other tasty dishes. Beatroot can be found in Berwick Street, Soho and will provide a generous meal for two with soft drinks for a very healthy £15, not a bad incentive to become a vegetarian!

4. Princi: If you love Italian food but are put off by the high prices that often accompany it, then Princi will at least provide you with some hope. Another Soho based restaurant, Princi offers exceptional Italian food for an equally exceptional price.

There are few places, if any in central London, that can provide two people with tasty authentic Italian cooking for less than £30 and it is for this reason that Princi has to be a definite ‘must dine at’ for visitors to the city.

5. Tayyabs: An excellent restaurant serving Pakistani Punjabi food where a meal for two people will cost less than £25 which is exceptional value. Tayyabs is a good choice for those looking for halal restaurants in London, as Tayyabs serve only 100% halal food. You will never leave Tayyabs hungry as the portions are very generous and because of this, sharing is openly encouraged by the patrons.

It really isn’t that difficult to find high quality food for a reasonable price in London, even in the city, if you know where to look, this list could have been huge if all the value restaurants were listed..so a sampling of five is all you are getting along with a good portion of encouragement to go out and discover some great dining experiences of your own!

Why You Should Try Indian Vegetarian Food?

Variety is the flavor of our life and this quotation is justified adequately if we see this in the context of Indian food. India is a country of diverse culture, language, people, religion and ethnicity. With such variety comes a great multiplicity of food. Indians are food enthusiasts. Every state has a speciality, which is extremely appetizing. There are many delicacies from this country, which cannot be missed. These include “Dosa” and “Idli” from Kerala, “Rasgullas” of West Bengal, “Poha” and “Shrikhand-puri” from Maharashtra, “sarson da saag and makke di roti” from Punjab and the Special “rajasthani thaal” top the list. Indian vegetarian food is categorized by the spiciest cuisines to the sweetest cuisines. These characteristics change as per the different regions of India.

Many Indian restaurants serve the tastiest food from all around India. There are numerous vegetarian restaurants serving top quality food. A few restaurants are popularly known for a specific cuisine only. For instance, if you’re a lover of Punjabi food, then you can go visit Punjabi restaurants or roadside dhabas. The varied tastes of some of the cuisines in Indian vegetarian food restaurants will amaze you. These restaurants make you think that you’re in Punjab relishing the food. Rajasthani traditional food is known to be one of the most excellent cuisines in India. There are many Rajasthani restaurants in India, which provide delicacies with a phenomenal taste. Some of the well-known Indian Rajasthani food restaurants are famous for serving an assortment of different delicacies on a single platter.

This presentation of food is famous all over the world. It consists of mouth-watering food. Right from the extremely spicy curry to the sweet dish, you are going to find everything in this thali. Almost all food items are prepared in pure “Ghee” or butter. Rajasthan is known as the desert land due to which there is shortage of water. Therefore, people use more butter milk, milk, ghee and butter in food preparations to avoid more increased usage of water. Just like Indian tradition, the food is influenced here deeply by the civilization that has contributed to overall growth and recognition of nation in general. The creamy and rich textures of the curry and the dry spices infused vegetable preparations ideally are the basic nature of these cuisines. For example, Rajasthani traditional food has been the staple diet in Northern part of India because of its rich density. There’re a lot of Rajasthani restaurants which also are known as the “Marwari Bhojnalay” that serve typical and tasty Rajasthani food.

Rajasthani food utilizes vegetative components combined with spices to add to the flavors. The Indian chefs derive their idea from the cultural heritage and they give a contemporary twist to an Indian delicacy without compromising the authenticity. The food is such that people cannot get enough of it, and keep returning to treat their taste buds. The chefs use simple techniques in the preparation of these delicacies, which involve a mix of the intricacy of textures to create an end result that is tasteful and rich. The people here eat sweet dishes from the beginning of their meals till the end. It is a very important part of their diet.