Proud2Bme | Proud2Cook Indian Dahl (Vegetarian)

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Proud2Cook Indian Dahl (Vegetarian)

By Sydney Quick--As early as elementary school, I learned to classify foods as "good” or "bad,” rather than judge a food based on taste. Growing up, I felt guilty because I enjoyed these fearful “bad” foods more than "good” foods. This guilt gave my eating disorder power and caused me to develop a poor relationship with “bad” foods.  

It was during my time in ED treatment that I learned what it meant to enjoy food. I didn’t have to like it because it was “good,” but I wanted to like it because I enjoyed eating it. At this time, I had to re-introduce myself to food. I was determined to change the way I thought about food; I no longer wanted to let it control my every decision.

While I was actively working toward recovery, I took a nutrition class which made me realize everything my eating disorder told me about food was false. Not only was I starting to understand the importance of food, but I was also beginning to respect nutrition. 

This is when I started to cook, and it didn't take long before I learned to love everything about cooking. Finding recipes is now a hobby, shopping for ingredients is fun, and preparing meals involves happily dancing around my kitchen. Now, cooking is one of my favorite things to do and it actually serves as a stress reliever.

After being one year recovered from my eating disorder, I was confident with the trust I had built towards food. I no longer had fear foods, and I was actually embracing my love for those so-called “bad” foods. In fact, I have a serious sweet tooth and I love nothing more than a freshly baked cookie topped with ice cream or whip cream. Chocolate has also become a staple in my diet and I eat something chocolate every day.

As I was learning to love and trust food, I made the decision to become a vegetarian. This decision, of course, raised some red flags for my friends and family, but it was a decision I made after realizing that I truly didn’t like eating meat. I discussed with my family doctor some alternative options for getting nutrients in meat, and vegetarianism was at the top of that list. Some people were concerned that this was a restriction diet, but I was determined to turn this into a lifestyle that focused on my health, rather than my weight. Yes, I was cutting out meat, but I was replacing it with tofu, lentils, vegetables and legumes.

Becoming a vegetarian was the best food choice I have ever made. I have never felt more comfortable with what I eat, and my battle with food has become a thing of the past. The trust I have for my body, and its use for food, is an experience I never thought I would have. One of my favorite things to cook is Indian food, specifically Dahl. It is my honor to share one of my favorite recipes with everyone here, so happy cooking!

Indian Dahl Recipe

  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 6 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt, or more to taste
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh cilantro
  • Black pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan, add lentils and fill with water to cover the lentils by 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes until the lentils are tender. Drain the water and return the lentils to the pot

Stir the lentils in the pot to break some of them open and add the crushed tomatoes, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, water, butter, salt and pepper. Cook for one hour until the dahl is thick. You want to continue to watch the dahl to make sure the water does not cook out. You can add water if you think it is beginning to become too thick.

Stir in the cream and add the cilantro.

Serve on top of rice and add Naan bread if desired.

About this blogger: Sydney lives in Calgary Alberta and attends Mount Royal University. She is majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women's Studies. She plans on getting her master’s degree in counseling and would like to specialize in eating disorders. She volunteers at the Women's Center and spends her spare time hiking, doing yoga or finding new music to listen to.

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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