Vegetarian Society offers guidance for those interested in rethinking their diet
Roscoe Phillips discovered the Vegetarian Society of East Tennessee a year ago when searching on the Internet for vegetarian restaurants. He’s been a member ever since.
At the group’s monthly meeting, held on the first Sunday of the month, he shared his story of losing more than 130 pounds through exercise and a vegetarian and vegan diet.
He presented a PowerPoint presentation that explained various types of vegetarianism. Ovo vegetarians, for instance, consume no meat but eat eggs and dairy products; lacto vegetarians consume no meat or eggs but will eat dairy products; vegans avoid all meat, eggs and dairy.
Phillips said he is currently maintaining a vegan lifestyle but that wasn’t his end goal when he decided to change his eating habits.
By the age of 18 he weighed 280 pounds. In his early 20s he was at a high of 310. He knew something had to change so he began eliminating meat from his diet. Now at age 25 he weighs approximately 165 pounds.
“Whenever I would eat meat I would feel gross, and it didn’t agree with me. Eliminating meat from my diet was a way for me to transition to a healthier eating habit,” he said.
Once his weight started to drop and he felt better physically, he began exercising to help facilitate the weight loss.
“Originally I wanted to get down to 200 pounds but after becoming a vegetarian and getting disciplined with exercise I reached that goal rather quickly,” he said.
He explained to the group his many reasons for living a vegan lifestyle, including his desire for a healthier body and upholding the ethical treatment of animals.
“Why love one animal and eat another?” he asked the group. “I find this morally inconsistent.”
In November he participated in his first 5K run and said he finished it in under 23 minutes.
“I have done 5Ks on the treadmill and found it’s completely different from going on terrain in different weather conditions. The air was really cold and biting, and I didn’t prepare for that. It was a challenge,” he said.
Before Phillips’ presentation Fay Campbell prepared a vegan style hoppin’ John recipe which was served over rice with a side of cornbread.
She provided the group with recipes for both dishes, as well as a mixture of ingredients that she uses in place of chicken stock. Campbell has been a member for approximately 20 years and told the group that it’s a “wonderful way to go healthy.”
These types of testimonies, as well as a covered dish meal, are what visitors will find when attending the meetings.
“This is a great resource for people to learn about healthy foods,” said David Shaffer of Seymour. The 66-year-old has been a vegan for 15 years and said he has never felt healthier in his life.
His passion is apparent as he talks about his mother, who at the age of 88 and living in a nursing home, also maintains a vegan diet.
“I’ve been eating lunch with her every day for seven years, and I always bring her a vegan salad,” he said. “When she got there they said she was in bad health. She’s doing much better now.”
Janice Church shared her experience with a debilitating health issue that was remedied by changing her diet. She also lost about 100 pounds.
“I like to show off my body now,” she said jokingly.
Doris Green said she “jumped in with both feet” when she decided to become a vegan.
“It’s been a year, and I’ve come off my insulin and the pill I used to take for diabetes. My asthma has cleared up, and I no longer have to use my inhaler,” she said.
For more information about the Vegetarian Society of East Tennessee visit www.vs-et.com.
Below are Fay Campbell’s recipes.
Hoppin’ John Vegan Style
Yields 6-8 servings
2 cups long-grain brown basmati rice
4 cups water
4 tablespoons unchicken-style seasoning (recipe below)
1 medium onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 yellow bell peppers, chopped
1 stalk celery, sliced thin
2 small cans black-eyed peas (Eden brand recommended)
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil and thyme
1 bunch kale or other greens, de-stemmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon turmeric
Garlic powder to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
Pink Himalayan salt to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 Prepare rice per package directions, adding unchicken-style seasoning to water.
2 In skillet, brown onions, celery, peppers in olive oil. Add sliced garlic cloves. Add diced tomatoes and heat. Add black-eyed peas.
3 Lightly steam kale or other greens. Add to mixture, followed by turmeric, garlic powder, lemon juice, chopped parsley, paprika, salt and cayenne pepper.
4 Heat through and serve over rice.
1 1/3 cups nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons onion granulates
2 1/2 teaspoons garlic granules
2 1/2 tablespoons pink Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon celery seed
2 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon dried sage
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon dried and ground rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 Place ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth.
2 Use as a base for soups, sauces, etc., mixing 2 tablespoons with 1 1/2 cups water or to taste.
3 Store in glass jar.
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
6 tablespoons water
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Oil a 5-by-7-inch loaf pan with a little coconut oil.
2 Bring the 6 tablespoons water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add ground flaxseeds, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer in water for 3 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside.
3 In food processor, mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined.
4 In blender add ground flaxseed mixture, milk and oil. Blend well.
5 Add liquid ingredients into dry ingredients in food processor. Pulse mixture until smooth. Don’t overmix.
6 Turn mixture into prepared baking loaf pan and bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.
7 Invert cornbread onto wire rack. Turn right side up and continue to cool additional 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Vegetarian Society of East Tennessee
What: Non-profit educational organization that promotes vegetarianism.
When: Monthly meetings held at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church on the first Sunday of each month except for Labor Day weekend.
Upcoming event: Food and fellowship at downtown YWCA, 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 20. Bring covered dish that feeds 8-10 people for a potluck vegetarian supper to share with YWCA residents.
Membership fees: $25 per year; $40 for a family; $15 for student or age 60+; $300 for lifetime membership.
Contact info: Bob Grimac, president,[masked] or email [address removed].
What: Vegan Supper Club
When: 5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19
Program: Vegeterian meal with discussion of natural alternatives to addressing cancer
Where: First Seventh-day Adventist Church, 3611 Kingston Pike
Cost: $10 donation
Registration: Call[masked] or visit www.knoxvilleinstep.com. Seating is limited.
What: K-Town Vegans
When: 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 26
Program: Vegan potluck supper; breathing and movement meditation by Shanti; viewing of movie “May I Be Frank.”
Where: Yoga Haven, 12 Forest Court
Registration: Call[masked]; email Kevin Meyer at [address removed]; Visit meetup.com/knoxvegans/.