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Why Celebrate Vegetarian Awareness Month? | Food Matters 365

Vegetarian Awareness

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month! People adopt a vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons including health, religious observance or moral and ethical concerns. Regardless of the motivation, there are numerous health benefits to adopting a plant-based (or even a mostly plant-based) diet!

There is more than one way to practice a vegetarian diet, each is distinguished by what is or is not included:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: includes dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese, etc.) and eggs.

  • Lacto-vegetarian: includes dairy products, but no eggs.

  • Ovo-vegetarian: includes eggs, but no dairy products.

  • Pesci-vegetarian: includes fish.

  • Semi-vegetarian: includes both fish and poultry.

  • Vegan: abstains from all animal products and only includes food from plant sources. No eggs, dairy products or honey are consumed.

Why Celebrate Vegetarian Awareness Month?

Have you wondered if a vegetarian diet offers benefits for you? Here are some of the benefits:

Health!

Plant-based diets are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other health-promoting phytonutrients. Research suggests that plant-based diets are associated with decreased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

More Bang For The Buck!

Meat is often the most expensive item on the average grocery list. Plant sources of protein like beans are readily available, shelf stable, versatile and cheap. Plus they provide fiber and other phytonutrients.

Variety!

Far from being restrictive and humdrum, Plant based meals are full of antioxidant rich colors, flavors and textures. If you are new to preparing plant-based meals, start small and gradually add to your recipe repertoire. Even if you don’t adopt a completely plant-based eating pattern, Meatless Mondays or similar will encourage you to eat more plant foods which is something that even a dedicated meat eater can benefit from. Experiment with new foods and spices and don’t forget about nuts and whole grains.

A Few Things To Keep In Mind…

The absence of animal products from the diet does not in itself result in a healthy diet. It is still very important to focus on what you actually include.  All vegetarians eat fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dried beans and peas, nuts and seeds.

 

Variety Matters! It is important to consume a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to ensure you get important vitamins and minerals from your food. It is also important to consume a variety of plant protein sources. There are numerous “fake meats”, veggie burgers and other convenience products available which is great for convenience but they are often very high in sodium, fat or sugar just like any other convenience product. One more thing to keep in mind is that is important to consume a variety of calcium foods, especially if you avoid dairy, to ensure your bones are being taken care of. Bonus! All of that variety keeps it interesting!

 Mona Bostick RDN, CSO, LDN

A Few Vegetarian Recipes To Get You Started…

 

Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Print Recipe
This sweet, spicy, earthy and hearty chili is good for you and will warm you up!
Servings Prep Time
8 15 minutes
Cook Time
45-60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 15 minutes
Cook Time
45-60 minutes
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
Print Recipe
This sweet, spicy, earthy and hearty chili is good for you and will warm you up!
Servings Prep Time
8 15 minutes
Cook Time
45-60 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 15 minutes
Cook Time
45-60 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Add olive oil to Dutch oven and sauté sweet potatoes and onion until crisp tender. Add the chili powder, garlic, cumin, cayenne, cocoa and cinnamon and cook one minute longer. Stir in the black beans, diced tomatoes, coffee, honey, salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-35 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  3. Serve with preferred garnishes. Enjoy!
  4. Optional garnishes include: dairy or vegan sour cream,plain greek yogurt, plain soy yogurt, chopped green onions, avocado. To make carnivore friendly simply add cooked chicken, beef or pork per preference at the point of service.
  5. Nutrition Facts: 1 cup of chili with 1 tbsp of cheese provides: 252 calories, 4 grams fat, 39 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fiber, 9 total sugars, 11 grams protein, 369 mg sodium
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Tempeh Sloppy Joes
Tempeh Sloppy Joes
Print Recipe
Hearty comfort food made healthy and easy.
Servings Prep Time
6 large sandwiches 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 large sandwiches 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Tempeh Sloppy Joes
Tempeh Sloppy Joes
Print Recipe
Hearty comfort food made healthy and easy.
Servings Prep Time
6 large sandwiches 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
6 large sandwiches 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: large sandwiches
Instructions
  1. Make the Sauce: In a bowl mix tomato sauce, tomato paste, dijon mustard, molasses, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne and black pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion,bell peppers, garlic and corn; cook until softened. Add crumbled tempeh and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Add sauce to pan with tempeh and vegetables. Cook, uncovered, over medium low heat until sauce begins to thicken. Stir often.
  4. Spoon onto rolls, top with a pickle and serve with cole slaw, sweet potato fries or any other tasty side... Just remember the napkins. Sloppy Joe's are, well SLOPPY!
Recipe Notes

Variations:

Consider substituting 1 1/2 cups of beans for half of the Tempeh.

Consider adding more finely chopped vegetables.

Consider adding 2 TBS chopped jalapeño to spice things up a bit!

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For more plant-based recipe ideas check out my recipe page.

 

Eat better, feel better.

 

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