Veg­e­tar­i­an­ism comes in var­i­ous forms

North Penn Life - - OPINION -

Fre­quently, I’m asked about my diet. Not the lose 10 pounds in 10 days sort of diet, but my daily choice of food.

Since I’m a pescatarLDn PDny IRONV finG LW GLI­fiFuOW WR SURFHVV wKDW Py daily diet con­sists of. lften peo­ple ask me if I in­dulge daily on things like pasta and salad in­stead of mak­ing non-tra­di­tional sub­sti­tutes. And while I love these two foods, it would equal a very dan­ger­ous, un­bal­anced diet.

Five years ago when I told my fam­ily I was be­com­ing a veg­e­tar­ian, you would have sworn it was the end of the world.

My mother looked shocked and dis­heart­ened. My grand­mother asked me what trou­ble-mak­ing friend had turned me onto this ir­ra­tional idea. And my fa­ther stood by not sur­prised but con­cerned that in a colOHJH GRUP , wRuOGn’W finG the right nu­tri­tion.

So what is the right way to bal­anc­ing a veg­giebased diet and why face a chal­lenge like that at all?

Be­fore I go any fur­ther, OHW’V GHfinH VRPH WKLnJV. There are var­i­ous types of veg­e­tar­i­an­ism, which most peo­ple don’t typ­i­cally un­der­stand. ln the ex­treme side are ve­g­ans. A ve­gan is some­one who does not eat any an­i­mal prod­ucts or byprod­ucts, in­clud­ing eggs and dairy.

ln the other hand, the less ex­treme ver­sion is a veg­e­tar­ian, who does not HDW WKH flHVK RI Dny DnLPDO. This means they do con­sume some dairy prod­ucts and eggs, but no meat or chicken.

My life­style fol­lows pescatar­ian diet, which a fancy term for peo­ple who do not eat meat or poul­try but do con­sume fiVK DnG RWKHU DnL­mal byprod­ucts.

Now for bal­anc­ing that daily diet. WKLOH GLI­fiFuOW DW fiUVW, LW LVn’W TuLWH as painful as peo­ple think.

For any­one who misses those week­end sloppy joes or the oc­ca­sional grilled hot dog, there are meat al­ter­na­tives.

My mother was big on WKHVH wKHn , fiUVW FKDnJHG my eat­ing pref­er­ences. How­ever, these are not some­thing one should eat reg­u­larly. They are loaded with sodium, choles­terol and fats. In­stead, the bal­anced diet in­cludes items like beans, nuts, sprouts, len­tils and other nat­u­ral pro­teins, vi­ta­mins and min­er­als al­ter­na­tives. a is

But why be a pescatar­ian, veg­e­tar­ian or ve­gan? Sev­eral peo­ple I’ve en­coun­tered con­sider this be­ing SLFNy RU GLI­fiFuOW WR wRUN with. But as veg­e­tar­i­an­ism has be­come more pop­u­lar across the world, many restau­rants have started to add op­tions to their menus that aren’t just sal­ads.

There are great al­ter­na­tives now com­pared to even 10 years ago. And of­ten peo­ple don’t even notice there’s no meat on my plate at restau­rants or in the food I pre­pare at home.

My mother, who KDV finDOOy FRPH around to the prospect of no meat, loves the black bean tacos I make. It’s one of her fa­vorite dishes.

But still, the ques­tion of why is al­ways on peo­ple’s minds.

Well, there are more rea­sons than I could pos­si­bly fiW Ln KHUH.

lne of the most im­por­tant for me is veg­e­tar­i­ans have lower risks of lifethreat­en­ing health is­sues. Ac­cord­ing to the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion, bal­anced veg­e­tar­ian di­ets can pro­tect against obe­sity, coro­nary heart dis­ease, high blood pres­sure, some forms of can­cer and cer­tain types of di­a­betes be­cause of lower in­takes of bad choles­terol and more in­takes of plant nu­tri­ents.

With my fam­ily his­tory, all of this is a good thing.

But when some­one asks me about my pescatar­ian life­style, I usu­ally don’t rat­tle all this off to them. In­stead I just al­ways ask why they are a car­ni­vores. The pop­u­lar an­swer? Meat tastes good. Well, so can veg­e­tar­ian food. I’ve even in­cluded that sim­ple black bean tacos recipe to prove it. Black Bean Tacos 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 large can of Goya black beans

1 packet of taco sea­son­ing 6 oz. frozen corn Sea­son with black pep­per and gar­lic pow­der

Rinse and drain black beans in a colan­der. Heat the one ta­ble­spoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the wet black beans and thor­oughly heat. Mix in the frozen corn. When the corn has thawed and cooked all the way, add half the taco sea­son­ing, black pep­per and gar­lic SRwGHU. ,I WKH WDFR fiOOLnJ is too salty, add a cou­ple ta­ble­spoons of wa­ter. Serve wLWK DOO WKH fixLnJV.

Food for Thought Caitlin Burns

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