Black Bean Burger


In Eat, November 2020 by Tracy JonesLeave a Comment

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When it comes to eating, this year has offered me a lot of firsts. Grocery stores haven’t exactly been in peak supply since March, and when I couldn’t find staples like ground beef and chicken, my family decided to experiment. We indulged in lamb, ground bison burgers and pasta made out of everything from edamame to chickpeas. It was the discovery of veggie burgers, however, that led to flexitarian eating.

The name flexitarian, made popular by registered dietician Dawn Jackson Blatner more than a decade ago, is simply the combination of flexible and vegetarian. Basically, it’s about adding more vegetables to your meals and reducing meat consumption. I’m pretty sure you are also supposed to cut back on sugars, but it’s 2020, I work from home, I have a 4-year-old and I need wine.

The unintentional beginning of this diet all started when my husband, Jacob, was looking for lunch ideas. Before March, he ate his lunch at restaurants throughout the week because he liked to get out of the office. Now working from home, he needed a new plan. He stumbled across veggie burgers in the produce section, thought they looked interesting and, within a few months, a flexitarian was born. (It took me a little longer to jump on the wagon.)

Full disclosure, my husband is a scientist. Currently studying phosphorus reduction, he took this step into flexitarian eating as a way to see if this minor change to his diet would reduce his phosphorus footprint. As it turns out, he has reduced the amount of phosphorus required to sustain his diet by 50 percent, so I see our household sticking to this diet for the long haul.

By simply eating scrambled egg whites with more vegetables for breakfast and substituting his usual Chipotle or Jimmy John’s order with a veggie burger piled high with avocado, tomatoes, pickles and whatever other vegetables we had laying around, my husband felt better and lost 26 pounds in 6 months. He still occasionally ate meat for dinner, but a few months ago I decided I wanted to try his methods and suggested something drastic: a pescatarian diet for one month.

I realize that pescatarians and flexitarians are not the same, but I needed an excuse to look for more ways to incorporate vegetables into my diet and give up my daily chicken fix. I fully embraced the diet for the month, experimented a lot with cauliflower, and found some substitute meat products that I really like and still use today.

Unlike my husband, I have not lost any weight, but I do feel healthier. I like the idea that I don’t have to give up anything, but instead need to focus on adding better options, getting calories from fruits, whole grains and vegetables. I get a weekly delivery from Hungry Harvest now as well, so it’s fun to try out new recipes with food I might not have chosen in the grocery store. For example, one night I made sautéed butternut squash and kale mixed with lentil pasta and parmesan cheese because squash and kale came in one week’s delivery.

For anyone looking for a way to add something green to your daily routine without going cold turkey on the carnivorous side, I recommend looking into flexitarian eating. It’s good for you and, according to my husband, we’re helping the environment.

Flexitarian Faves

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar
Black Bean Burger

Vegefi Burger

Greens and Grains Bowl with Falafel

Craft Public House
Black Bean Burger

Fiction Kitchen
NC Peanut Noodle Bowl

Black Bean Burger Wrap
BBQ Maitake Burger

MoJoe’s Burger Joint
Black Bean Burger

Shake Shack
‘Shroom Burger

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