Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Harvest

October 1st kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month with World Vegetarian Day.

Keep reading meat lovers, I am using this month to encourage you to explore meat alternatives.

  • A well-planned vegetarian lifestyle can be nutritionally adequate and appropriate during all stages of the life cycle.
  • Higher plant-based consumption may reduce risk of chronic diseases by lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fiber, and phytochemiclas.
Can I get enough protein as a vegetarian?
  • A plant-based diet can easily meet your recommendations for protein since most foods contain some protein.  
  • Vegetarian sources of protein: beans, lentils, soy-foods (tofu, tempeh, edamame), soy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), nuts, seeds, grains (rice, millet, quinoa), bread, vegetables.
But what about iron?
  • High iron foods: dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choy), beans, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, tahini.
  • Add Vitamin C (tomatoes, bell peppers, citrus fruit) to a meal to increase absorption of iron sixfold.
  • Coffee, many herbal teas, and calcium supplements can inhibit the absorption of iron and should be consumed several hours apart from a meal high in iron.
Where do I begin?
  • Stay energized from plant-based food without meat for at least one day a week.
  • Some suggestions: Spaghetti squash, vegetable chili, black bean tacos, mushroom quesadilla, sweet potato soup 

As the season changes, fall brings harvest to delicious flavors such as winter squash, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and apples.  You can find fun for the day at local farms to pick-your-own.

Please check out recipes and reliable evidence-based guidelines for Vegetarian Nutrition ( from the Dietetic Practice Group.

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