Vegetarian Awareness Month
October 3, 2016
By Carly Hagemann, Recruitment Coordinator
It is October and along with celebrating the beginning of fall, let’s celebrate Vegetarian Awareness Month!
What is a vegetarian anyway? A vegetarian eats a plant-based diet with no meat products. There are several variations such as lacto-ovo, lacto, pesco-, and ovo-vegetarians. Some types eat dairy foods, eggs, and fish while others don’t eat any animal byproducts of slaughter. People choose a vegetarian lifestyle for many reasons such as health concerns, religion, or personal preference. Some of us are life-long vegetarians while many of us have attempted maintaining the plant-based lifestyle after watching disturbing documentaries on Netflix.
Ovo-vegetarian: Eats eggs but no dairy
Lacto-vegetarian: Eats dairy but no eggs
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: Eats both dairy and eggs
Pesco-vegetarian: Eats fish and seafood
Are there any benefits to being a vegetarian? Studies have shown that there are possible connections between a plant-based diet and disease prevention. Vegetarians typically consume more vitamin E, C, folic acid, potassium, calcium, fiber, and phytochemicals resulting in lower cholesterol levels, BMI, and blood pressure. These results are additionally based on the vegetarian diets of non-smokers, non-excessive drinkers, and adequate exercise.
A few deficiencies commonly associated with vegetarians are B12, iron, zinc, and calcium. Leafy greens, meat substitutes, beans, nuts, and fortified grains are good sources of these vitamins and minerals. Also, iron absorption can be increased with vitamin C consumption. The most important thing is to maintain a well-balanced diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains to ensure that your body gets all of the nutrients that it needs to avoid any deficiencies.
Here are 4 ways to celebrate Vegetarian Awareness Month even if you’re not a vegetarian:
- Visit your farmers’ market and buy local fruits and vegetables. This is a great way to give back to your community and also learn about the produce grown in your area seasonally.
- Go meat-free for the month of October. Give it a try! Meatless meals do not have to be taste-free! Research some new recipes online and even try some vegetables you’ve never heard of.
- Participate in Meatless Mondays. This is a better option for those not ready to fully commit to being meat-free. Try and spend only one full day a week without meat! Learn more here.
- Host a vegetarian potluck at work. Join us at Dietitians on Demand and host your own meat-free potluck! Our employees will each be bringing in an item containing at least one vegetable or fruit to share. Creativity is encouraged.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, let us know how you plan to celebrate Vegetarian Awareness Month!