One of my goals for the month is to go vegetarian. Since I announced this particular feat on my 30 before 30 list I’ve gotten a lot of questions about why this is a goal of mine. Usually the questions come from my judgey, meatatarian friends and family (whom I love and adore) making statements like, “But, it’s grilling season, what are you thinking!?” and, “We are visiting in a month, we want to eat meat!”
While most everyone’s first inclination is to think going vegetarian is about animal rights and environmental benefits, for me it’s really only about the health benefits and the opportunity to discover new flavors/experiment in the kitchen. Research shows a diet filled with veggies, fruits, grains and nuts tends to be lower in saturated fat than a meat-based diet and higher in fiber and antioxidants as well. In fact, the American Dietetic Association released a position paper that said appropriately planned vegetarian diets are “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” I think there are a lot of different motivations for going vegetarian (all of them valid points) but the motivating factor varies depending on the individual. For me, it’s the holistic nutrition element that piques my interest.
There are quite a few different kinds of vegetarian diets out there. I am erring on the less extreme side and opting to only cut meat, poultry, and fish from my diet. That means I still plan on eating dairy products and eggs to ensure I don’t miss out on essential nutrients. The official name is a lacto-ovo vegetarian and I think the majority of people who are vegetarian fall into this category.
Armed with a list of good sources of nutrients from a plant-based diet, a vegetarian cookbook (I can still participate in grilling season!), and new cooking utensils I’m ready to get started. Who knows, it could be a complete lifestyle change for me as well but I’ll be sure to chronicle my adventures (and perhaps misadventures) on going vegetarian here.