Are you or have you ever considered restructuring your current eating habits to a more plant-based diet? There are many benefits to becoming a vegetarian or vegan, and not just for your overall health, but for the environment as well.
Harvard Medical School estimates that there are approximately between 6 to 8 Million adults who refrain from eating meat, fish or poultry products in the U.S. Some choose to eliminate dairy and other animal products altogether by going vegan, while others stick to vegetarianism. Either way, for many, dietary changes begin at home in their kitchen.
What Is A Vegan Or Vegetarian Diet?
There are various styles of meat-free diets. It’s a good idea to know what diet you’ll be following so you can set the standards for the food you will eat. Here are a few to choose from:
- Vegan: Does not eat or use any products from animals. This can include dairy, honey, gelatin, eggs and more.
ovoVegetarians: Does not eat animal meats, fish or poultry, but eggs and dairy are included in the diet.
- Ovo-vegetarians: Eliminates animal meat, poultry,
fishand dairy, but will eat eggs.
- Lacto-vegetarians: Eliminates animal meat, poultry,
fishand eggs, but will eat dairy.
- Pescatarian: Will not eat meat from animals on land, but will eat fish.
Healthy Vegan & Vegetarian Diets
Each diet is based on what you and your family are most comfortable with. The biggest concern among most people who are starting a plant-based diet is getting the proper nutrients that would otherwise be found in meat. However, with proper planning and education, you can get plenty of nutrients that your body needs from other sources. Here are a few vitamins and minerals you should still consume:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Complete Proteins
Foods such as beans, leafy greens, lentils, nutritional
A Plant-Based Kitchen
For those opting to have a plant-based diet, a lot of the work will be done in the kitchen. While there are many vegan and vegetarian restaurants all over the country, it can sometimes be difficult to find the right meal for you if you don’t know what’s exactly going into it. The kitchen work triangle is essential to any style of cooking, so you can work easily on your meals. Another tip for a successful plant-based kitchen is meal planning and prep. You can freeze vegan or vegetarian meals in advance and put them in your slow cooker when ready. Keep fresh fruits and vegetables on the counter or sliced in the fridge for when you might get hungry, so it’s easily accessible.
Stock up on vegan and vegetarian cookbooks that can guide you in creating just the right meals for your family.
Additionally, there are many resources online you can use to navigate your plant-based diet. Many towns offer networking and local events to help vegan and vegetarian dieters to connect, sharing recipes and ideas on how all can live a healthy lifestyle.
Vegan & Vegetarian Resources
- Is A Vegetarian Or Vegan Diet For You?
- Veganism In American Culture
- Veganism: Eating Consciously And Compassionately
- Tips For Vegetarians
- The Vegan Diet
Nutrition & Meal Planning
- Healthy Vegetarian Eating Pattern Guide
- Nuts For The Heart
- 10 Tips: Healthy Eating For Vegetarians
- Vegan & Vegetarian Meal Planning
- 5 Myths About Building A Healthy Vegetarian Meal
Vegan & Vegetarian Recipes
- Fruit & Veggie Recipes
- Garlic- Braised Greens (Vegan)
- Vegetarian Spaghetti Sauce
- Cozy Red Lentil Mash
- Thai Eggplant Salad With Coconut Tofu Strips (Vegan)
- Simple Vegetarian Recipes
- Vegetarian Food On A Budget
If you’ve made the decision to move to a plant-based diet, the best tool you have at home is preparation. There are many resources available online and in cookbooks that can help simplify your diet and help you get all the nutrients you need to thrive.