Are you considering switching to a vegetarian diet? Here are a few important facts to consider before you make the switch.
TRUE: Eating a vegan or vegetarian diet comes with some major health perks.
Beyond the obvious environmental and animal welfare benefits, evidence suggests that eating a meatless diet can help prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health conditions. Cutting out meat is one piece to the puzzle as to why non-meat eaters are less prone to certain health issues.
According to a research paper by Hemler and Hu, it is in fact the quality of the plant-based diet that is the most important factor to consider, as not all plant-source foods have beneficial health effects. Therefore it is not just about what you’re eliminating, but about what you're adding - healthy plant-based diets are made up of whole grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables, all of which provide nutrients, fibre and plenty of antioxidants.
TRUE: Reducing your meat and dairy intake can help mitigate climate change.
If you’re a meat and dairy eater concerned about the environmental state of our planet, then you may want to consider eating less of both. A staggering statistic shows that meat and dairy production alone accounts for 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions - as much each year as from all cars, trucks, aeroplanes and ships combined. Only drastic changes can alter this. The World Resource Institute recommends that countries cut their beef, lamb and dairy consumption by 40 percent in order to meet global emissions goals by 2050.
MYTH: Eating a meatless diet means you won’t get enough protein.
According to Ann Reed Mangels, a registered dietitian and professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, it is easy for non-meat-eaters to meet the recommended protein intake, as long as their calorie intake is adequate. Therefore, a proper vegetarian diet that includes plant proteins from sources such as nuts, beans, soy foods, quinoa and seeds, can easily satisfy protein requirements.
Another easy way to make sure you get all the necessary nutrients is to eat a variety of colourful food. Research suggests that eating foods in a variety of different colours can help ensure you get all the essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fibre your body needs for optimal health. Additionally, when you start to consider how much colour is on your plate, you are more likely to include items from all the food groups in your meal. By having a colourful plate you can ensure a more nutritious, natural, flavourful and exciting meal.
Ready to cook up delicious meat-free meals? Check out these vegetarian recipes now.