Fast and Healthy: Vegetarian Lasagna for One

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM


Vegetarian lasagna for better healthIt can be difficult to make healthy foods when you’re on your own. Sometimes it seems as if most cookbooks focus on groups or families, and forget that sometimes you just want a quick and healthy meal on the nights when you have the house to yourself. Vegetarian Lasagna is usually fairly difficult to make and takes a long time, but there is a version that you can make that’s simple and sized for one person. It’s also ridiculously healthy and good for your body. It tastes great as well.

Why Go Vegetarian?

Choosing whether to eat meat or not is a personal decision. There are numerous health and ethical reasons why people choose to go vegetarian. One of the best reasons for choosing to go vegetarian is the meat industry. The processes and chemicals used in the meat industry today can have a number of negative effects on your health. As the world’s population increases, the demand for meat has increased as well which has resulted in some horrifying changes to farming methods. Farming has become a business, where the animals are kept in cramped conditions and fed antibiotics and hormones to make them grow bigger and to overcome the diseases that this type of lifestyle gives them. These chemicals and diseases have obvious and not so obvious effects on the meat that is the result of this treatment.

As a result of the problems with this industry, more and more people are going vegetarian these days or trying recipes that are based on vegetables such as the vegetarian lasagna. If you’re considering this lifestyle change, you might think that going vegetarian would make it more difficult for you to get the protein and the iron your body needs. Meat is a major source of these essential elements, but you can also get them from other sources such as beans, pulses, and vegetables. In fact, the modern western diet usually contains too much protein because of its overreliance on meat, so cutting down on the amount of meat you eat can have a number of health benefits. And as an added benefit, there is some evidence that suggests that vegetarians are less likely to be deficient in iron because their diets are focused on leafy vegetables, which contain a lot of iron as well as other nutrients.

An Omnivorous Compromise

Healthy choices when making a vegetarian lasagnaIf you really want to keep meat in your diet, then you can compromise on the issue. This means cutting down on the amount of meat you eat and replacing it with dishes that are based on vegetables, such as vegetarian lasagna. This will help to assuage your conscience and it will also improve your health as well. Few people get enough variety in their diets these days and fewer still eat enough vegetables. That’s why adding recipes such as vegetarian lasagna to your weekly meal plans is a great idea if you want to improve your health.

The Health Benefits of Vegetables

By now, most people know that they should be eating more vegetables but they still struggle to get the right amount each day. If you’re someone who struggles with this, not getting enough veggies can have negative effects on your overall health and wellbeing. Vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that your body needs to perform at its best, and without the right balance, you can suffer from conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and nutrient deficiencies as well as general fatigue and ill health. This type of diet can also upset your digestion, causing bloating, gas, and even Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Diets that are lacking in essential vitamins and mineral also put a lot of stress on the body and its systems, which can cause diseases such as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS). That’s why adding meals such as this vegetarian lasagna to your weekly meal plan can be so beneficial for your overall health.

What is Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome?

Modern life is filled with lots of different types of stress. Everyone is busy juggling family and work and this can negatively affect your health. Your body has a system called the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response that helps your body deal with stress. It activates different systems in the body that prepare you for stressful situations and protects your body against the negative effects of stress. But if you’re stressed all the time, this stress response can become overworked and stop functioning properly.

Vegetarian lasagna and Adrenal FatigueIf your stress response system becomes overworked it can affect your adrenal glands in particular because they’re such a big part of this system. Your adrenal glands excrete cortisol, a hormone that your body needs when it’s stressed. But these glands can become fatigued over time and struggle to keep up with the demand for cortisol. When this occurs it causes a number of troubling and elusive symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, palpitations, and brain fog. So if you experience these symptoms over a long period of time, and suffer from disruptions to your life as well as problems with your daily functioning because of them, it could be due to AFS.

AFS is difficult to diagnose, and many doctors just dismiss them as a side effect of fatigue and prescribe more rest. But AFS is a chronic, ongoing disorder that will improve if you rest, but it will also return again once you get back to your everyday routine. So if you think that you might have it, it’s worth researching the disorder and adopting some of the methods used to treat it.

How to Treat AFS

AFS recovery can be complicated and highly individual, but a key strategy is to improve your diet. Your diet is meant to provide support and nutrition for your system, but a poor diet will result in added stress, which just worsens the underlying disorder. Unfortunately, the modern diet is filled with processed foods that are high in salt and sugar as well as low in nutrients. These foods may fill you up, but they also stress out your body because they don’t contain the nutrition it needs. This can cause deficiencies as well as overeating because your body will sometimes manufacture hunger to try and get the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Adding vegetable-based meals such as the vegetarian lasagna to your eating plan can help nourish your body and manage AFS. The best diet for AFS recovery is plant-based, with about 30-40 percent of your nutrition coming from fresh vegetables. This helps to nourish your adrenal glands so they can heal and return to full functioning. The rest of your diet should consist of whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

This vegetarian lasagna for one recipe is based on vegetables, which suits this diet change well. It contains zucchini and legumes which will provide you with essential vitamins and minerals that your body and your adrenal glands need to heal and function at their best. It’s also hearty and filling, so you don’t need to add any meats or resort to snacking on unhealthy processed foods.

Vegetarian Lasagna for One

Ingredients

  • 1 small organic zucchini
  • 3 tablespoons mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese, low fat
  • ½ cup low-salt tomato sauce
  • ½ cup cooked brown lentils

Method

  1. Slice the zucchini into thin coins.
  2. Lay the slices flat on a microwave-safe plate with no overlapping.
  3. Cook on high for 90 seconds.
  4. Remove the zucchini from the microwave and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Set aside.
  5. Combine mozzarella and ricotta in a bowl, leaving out one tablespoon of mozzarella for later.
  6. Combine lentils and tomato sauce in a second bowl. Set both aside.
  7. Layer zucchini in a microwave-safe bowl in a circular pattern.
  8. Top with cheese mixture, spreading evenly.
  9. Top with the lentil-tomato mixture.
  10. Repeat layers until the bowl is almost full. Top with the remaining mozzarella.
  11. Cover the bowl with a paper towel and cook in the microwave for 90 seconds on high.
  12. Remove and cool for 2 minutes before eating.

Final Thoughts

Enjoying a tasty vegetarian lasagnaEliminating meat from your diet is one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Cutting down on the amount of meat you eat also has a number of health benefits. It will help to cut down on your fat intake and perhaps even lower your cholesterol. You can start doing this by learning quick and easy dishes that are based on vegetables such as vegetarian lasagna. Adding these to your diet can improve your overall health and also help with long-term chronic illnesses such as AFS, which often respond favorably to positive changes in your day-to-day habits.

© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.


Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Cookbooks often focus on family recipes which can be helpful, but it also means that you struggle when trying to find recipes on the days when you’re eating alone. But this vegetarian lasagna can go a long way to solving that problem.


Vegetarian lasagna