Vegetarians often get mislabeled as bleeding-heart pacifists that only eat a plate full of dry, organic, non-GMO lettuce while wearing Uggs and drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte (with soy milk of course). While vegetarianism does carry specific ideological beliefs as an approach to health and wellness, it isn’t so simple to judge.
What is Vegetarianism?
Vegetarianism is a diet where people abstain from eating animal meat (red meat, poultry, seafood and the flesh of any other animal) and, for some, animal bi-products. People become vegetarian for many reasons, such as environmental sustainability, animal rights, health implications, religious and/or spiritual restrictions or simply a distaste for meat.
What Vegetarianism Is Not
Vegetarianism is not an I-only-eat-salad diet, nor is it the OK to live off Twinkies and chocolate bars just because they don’t contain meat. Gastronomically speaking, people are all very different, with unique dietary needs.
How We Define Vegetarianism
Living a Vegetarian lifestyle requires users to make conscious decisions. A vegetarian diet requires people do not eat meat, but animal bi-products (milk, eggs, honey, etc.) are okay to consume. Tasteful emphasizes quality over anything else, so a great restaurant will serve higher quality and minimally processed foods (organic, local, seasonal) for vegetarians.
Do’s and Dont’s of Vegetarianism
Do eat a diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Be sure to consume ample amounts of protein from sources like legumes, lentils, yogurt and nuts. Do consume organic, non-GMO soy.
If you are new to vegetarianism, the sudden withdrawal from animal products can leave your body craving more protein. Substitute with higher quantities of vegetables and avoid processed sugars. Cheese can be a great source of protein for vegetarians, but consume in small quantities. Cheese can have excessive salt and calories which can lead to weight gain.
Do not eat prepackaged or processed goods. Just because they do not contain meat does not mean they should be consumed on a vegetarian diet. Avoid any and all processed foods.