News, Nutrition, Stress

Celebrating Vegetarian Awareness Month

a variety of vegan protein sources

October is Vegetarian Awareness Month and the perfect time to explore what it means to follow this type of nutrition plan. According to research from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vegetarian diets are healthful and may even help prevent various conditions including ischemic heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and certain types of cancer.

Different levels of vegetarian styles include:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: includes dairy products and eggs but no meat
  • Lacto-vegetarian: includes dairy products, but no eggs or meat
  • Pesci-vegetarian: includes fish but no meat
  • Vegan: no meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs or honey

If you, like me, do include meat in your meal plan, you can still reap the benefits of powering up with more plant-based foods this month. One idea is to have a Meatless Monday every week. Browse through plant-based recipes like Stuffed Acorn Squash or Mediterranean Eggplant Bake, and plan to try at least one this month.

If you’re concerned about protein, keep in mind that many plant-based foods are good sources of protein including:

  • Almonds (6 g. protein per ¼ cup)
  • Black beans (7 g. protein per ½ cup)
  • Greek yogurt (18 g. protein per ¾ cup)
  • Lentils (12 g. protein per ½ cup, cooked)
  • Oatmeal (6 g. protein per 1 cup, cooked)

It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or a registered dietitian if you’re considering a vegetarian, vegan or any diet to make sure it’s appropriate and safe for your individual needs. A dietitian, for example, can offer guidance on what foods or supplements to include to ensure you’re getting adequate amounts of vitamin B12, calcium and iron in your vegetarian or vegan meal plan.

Are you a current or former vegetarian or are you considering this type of diet? I want to hear all about it! Tell me about your experience in the comments section.

5 thoughts on “Celebrating Vegetarian Awareness Month

  1. I have followed the lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet for over a year now. My blood panels are all back in the normal range with the exception of my pesky blood pressure still it is better than what it once was. I have maintained a fairly steady weight which is frustrating because I have about 40 pounds to lose to goal. You may find it interesting that the year prior to giving up meat, I lost 30 pounds on the keto plan. So it was a total life style change and I was never a lover of vegetables but I know they are capable of being my medicine if I eat properly. I try to follow Dr Esselstyn and Dr John Mcduggal. My fav recipes are from

  2. I follow Whole Food Plant Based Lifestyle, and SOS free(no salt,oil,or sugar). Dr. McDougall and Chef AJ are my hero’s, getting me on the right track to good health and pounds dropping off! Thank you TOPS for highlighting Vegetarians this month! Awesome!

  3. I LOVE my vegetarian diet. It started as giving up meat for Lent. Then our Marine son deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. I continued in an effort to stay healthy while he protected our freedom ( yes, I used it as a bargaining chip for my sanity)! This days it helps me maintain my KOPS status. I love trying different vegetable recipes. I admit I do go overboard in protein with beans etc. I feel better than I ever thought I would. My doctor is VERY happy with my health. So am I!!

  4. I am a Vegan and am thankful that TOPS is addressing WFPB in both magazine and web site. I have a congenital heart condition, have had surgeries. I eat for health and desire support following the work of Dr. Ornish, Dr. Esselstyn, and Dr Barnard.
    All meal planning ideas and recipes appreciated.
    I have questions I would like to see answered pertaining to the counting of beans as a split between protein and carbohydrates. Quantity? Is Using the Exchange program or One Plate rule most sensible for a serious vegan?
    Thank you for the work being done to support us.

  5. Been learning about a Plant-Based Food Plan.
    Seems I am not loosing weight. Just going
    back and forth on the scale.

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