Leigh-Anne Wooten MS, RDN/LDN, FAND, LSS BB
Vegetarian. Flexitarian. Vegan. Pescatarian. Veg-curious (yep, that’s actually a thing). There’s quite a spectrum of vegetarians and while motivations may be different; health, performance, trendy, longevity, environmental sustainability, animal welfare, they all revolve around one main theme: eating more plants and fewer animals. So, if you’re veg curious, let’s dive in and see if all the hype around this latest food trend is really warranted.
Myth Busting Time!
We’ll start by busting a few common misconceptions about a vegetarian diet.
According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “a properly planned vegetarian diet is healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” Simple as that!
You may be asking yourself, what is a ‘properly planned’ vegetarian diet? That basically means that you focus on variety, emphasize eating real plants, and minimize added sugar, salt, and saturated fat. And how does eating more plants support my health? When done right, this way of eating reduces saturated fat and cholesterol (which in high enough amounts can promote a host of health issues) and replaces them with plants that are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants all of which support our body’s long-term health in their own unique ways.
As an example, let’s look at just a few of the (many) nutrients in chia:
SOW even has a chia milk which basically delivers all of these nutrients in the form of a drink! Plus, its enriched with vitamins A, D, and E, three nutrients found traditionally in cow’s milk that are important for bone and tooth health, as well as having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties that support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity.
Will You Give it a Try?
Making a big change, like reducing the amount of animal-based foods you eat, can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Do what fits your lifestyle and personality. Are you a “go big or go home” kind of person? Then maybe you take the plunge! Do a little research, decide what your motivators are (health, environmental sustainability, animal welfare etc.) and get the veg party started! Or, maybe you’re more of a “dip the toe in the water” kind of person. That’s cool! Perhaps you start with one meal a week like a Meatless Monday. Here are a couple amazing recipes that utilize chia milk to get you started: forever green smoothie, pink refresh smoothie and spicy pumpkin chia soup. Added bonus of using this milk? It’s substantially smaller carbon footprint - a win for you AND the planet!