Vegetarianism

19 Oct

People choose to become vegetarian for a variety of reasons including animal rights, dislike of meat, health, ecological, and religious beliefs.  Whether or not you’re looking to be a vegetarian, going meatless a few days a week is a delicious and healthy way to cut calories and decrease dietary fat intake!

Vegetarian diets are simply plant-based and focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds.  However, the term “vegetarian” can mean different things to different people, so here are some common types defined:

Lacto-vegetarian: Includes dairy but no eggs
Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Includes dairy and eggs
Pescatarian: Includes fish and seafood
Vegan: No meat or animal products at all (including dairy)
Flexitarian: Includes meat/dairy on rare occasions or in small amounts

Critics of vegetarianism often argue that the diets lack protein, B vitamins, calcium (if vegan)iron, magnesium and zinc.  In agreeance with the position of the American Dietetic Association, it is entirely possible to meet your needs of all vitamins and minerals while following a vegetarian diet. 

Here are some great vegetarian foods to consume in order to get all the essential nutrients:

  • Tofu
  • Beans (kidney, garbanzo, black beans, navy, white, etc)
  • Lentils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Tempeh
  • Bulgur
  • Whole Grains (quinoa, wheatberries, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta)
  • Vegetables (broccoli, spinach, kale, collard greens, etc)

Click here for some great recipes for vegetarian meals and side dishes! Happy eating! 🙂

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