Weight-loss tips for men: Real men do eat veges

Weight-loss expert Andrew Dickson tells us how he discovered the wonderful world of vegetables.

Since August 2006, I have been a semi-vegetarian. I say ‘semi’ because I’m not a very good vegetarian. In fact, I’m a terrible vegetarian – I eat fish all the time and red meat a few times a year – mostly when I stay with my friends on their beautiful Southland farm.

When I was very overweight, restricting my (then) usual diet of eating meat three times a day was a real struggle, but useful. As a result, I discovered the wonderful world of vegetables and pulses (beans). Before this pivotal moment, the most adventurous bean in my diet had been the baked bean – excellent in its own right, but hardly revolutionary.

I want to share with you two of my ‘manly vege’ iscoveries. Before then, I’d never eaten these veges (except by accident), but now they are part of my staple diet. I challenge you to eat these for a main meal at least once a week.

Many New Zealand men have missed out on this delicious vegetable, but our Mediterranean and Middle Eastern counterparts have been munching on them since the days when everyone wore Roman sandals. As a good source of protein, calcium, iron, fibre, and low in salt, chickpeas are nutritionally superb.

Make it easy: Drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Combine with chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and a selection of Indian spices. Simmer for 30 minutes. Serve with basmati rice.

We men usually only get these in beef nachos covered with cheese and sour cream. Not exactly the healthiest choice! But kidney beans themselves are great. They are a good source of protein, iron and important vitamins such as B1 and K.

Make it easy: Add a can of drained, rinsed kidney beans, and a few chopped tomatoes to a can of minestrone soup. Serve with toasted bread.

First published: Mar 2009

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