SAN DIEGO – Ever wonder why we are hearing more and more about vegetarianism and veganism? Vegetarianism in America’s 2017 study showed that 3.2 percent of all US adults, or approximately 7.3 million Americans, follow a plant-based vegetarian diet. And 0.5 percent or 1 million persons are vegans. That might be the reason
Choosing plant based foods/going vegetarian
With a national trend predominantly spawned by Millennials, and Generation Z’s, people across the country are catching this trend.
- America’s largest grocer, Kroger, believes that in 2019 plant-based foods will be in the top five food trends.
- “The Economists, published in “The World,” that it believes veganism will likely go mainstream.
- The terminology surrounding plant-based diets could be confusing to most people.
The Mayo clinic, in their Healthy Lifestyle segment, helped to provide clarity to the variety of vegetarian diet types:
- Lacto-vegetarian: A diet which excludes meat, fish, poultry and eggs, and
any food containing them. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and
butter are permitted.
- Ovo-vegetarian: A diet which excludes meat, fish, poultry and dairy but
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian: A diet which excludes meat, fish and poultry, but
allows dairy products and eggs.
- Pescatarian: A diet which excludes meat, poultry, dairy and eggs,
but allows fish.
- Vegan: A diet which excludes meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy
products, and any foods which contain them.
Vegetarian diets tend to be comprised of fewer processed foods. These foods are lower in calories, sugar, fat, cholesterol and sodium in the main.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a quality vegetarian diet consists of fruits vegetables, whole grains, dairy (if permitted), protein sources and healthy oils.
The key is ensuring a proper balance of the right life-enriching foods which also include adequate vitamins and minerals
Published in Harvard Health, the article “Becoming a Vegetarian,” speculates that a plant-based vegetarian diet helps reduce heart disease, some forms of cancer, diabetes. It may also help maintain a healthy weight level.
One of the greatest challenges vegetarians face is maintaining an adequate intake of protein.
According to Healthline, proteins are the building blocks of our organs, muscles, skin, hormones and more.
Companies like Beyond Meat, Greenleaf Foods, Applegate Farms, Hormel Foods currently invest millions of dollars and more to find alternative solutions ensuring proper protein alternatives and other health-enhancing properties.
For vegetarians today, the challenges and choices are becoming easier as more alternatives are finding creative and tasty solutions.
Restaurants are stepping up and offering vegetarian solutions for satisfying a palate. These include a variety of casual fast-food chains that offer scrumptious alternatives to the traditional beef or chicken burger.
Daily protein intakes for men and women
Healthline offers further recommendations for attaining the 46 grams of daily protein for women and 56 grams of daily protein for men:
- Eggs (egg whites are almost 100% protein)
- Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, peanuts and walnuts
- Nut butters and nut based milks
- Cottage Cheese
- Whey protein
- Protein supplements, bars and shakes
- High Protein healthy grain breads
- Seeds such as pumpkin, flax, sunflower and chia
- Brussels sprouts
Be certain to read the ingredients on food labels. Some explore vegetarian options, helping to ensure compliance with the vegetarian diet of choice.
An occasional blood test for key elements is a simple process provided by your medical professional to ensure adequate vitamin, mineral and protein levels,
According to Veganbits, there are many reasons why Americans are turning to vegetarianism.
With health being the top reason, animal protection and personal disgust about eating animals ranked close second and third reason. Other reasons mentioned included environmental, social and religious.
Also read: The pros and cons of soybeans
Christians rank high among religions turning to vegetarianism, while tending to be more politically liberal or neutral
Whatever our age, socio-economic status, faith, gender, culture, or beliefs regarding the environment, vegetarianism could ultimately become a unifying factor in creating a healthier, safer and more economically country and a more stable world.
It would be wonderful if country-by-country, we could eliminate hunger as the food supply becomes more greatly plant-based. This could help create new sector jobs, technologies, sustainable independence, more availability of food and the reduction of disease.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
— Headline image: The vegan Amy Burger at Amy’s Drive-Thru in Rohnert Park, California.
Image via Wikipedia Commons, CC 2.0 license.