More and more Americans are making a lifestyle change and have decided to enjoy a more plant-based or plant-centered diet. This does not necessarily mean you are going to be a vegetarian or a vegan, but you are committed to making an effort to reduce the amount of animal products you consume.
Trying to figure out where to start on your journey to a healthier plant-centered diet can be confusing and it is not always easy to find help without being bombarded by vegans who want to impress upon you the ethical reasons to be vegan.
Choosing to live your life based on the principles of a plant-centered diet may be a choice you have made for health reasons. There is nothing wrong with making this your priority. You and only you can make the decision on where to start and how far you want to go in your quest to eat a healthier, plant-centered diet.
Here are some general terms used in the plant-based nutrition community:
Vegan: A vegan does not use or consume any animal products at all. Not only does a vegan not eat meat or dairy, fish or poultry, some do not eat honey, and some do not consume products with yeast. Vegans do not wear leather, fur or silk.
Ova-lacto vegetarian: An ova-lacto vegetarian may consume dairy products such as eggs, milk, cheese and butter but does not eat meat, poultry, shellfish or fish products.
Vegetarian: The word vegetarian by itself crosses many boundaries and has caused much debate in the vegan/vegetarian community. Some will call themselves vegetarians because they do not eat dairy or meat, but they do eat fish. The term vegetarian can also be used to describe a vegetarian who does consume dairy in addition to fish and shellfish. Vegetarians generally do not wear leather, silk or fur.
Plant-based or plant-centered or flexatarian: Many people have adapted their diets to include more plant-based proteins and less meat, poultry and dairy. Though fish does seem to be a popular source of protein in this category, the main sources of plant-based protein comes from beans, legumes and dark leafy vegetables.
You have made the decision to adapt a plant-based lifestyle, now what?
- Follow The Reluctant Vegan on Facebook: a kinder, gentler, more health-based and frugal community for those interested in pursuing a more plant-centered lifestyle on a budget.
- Meatless Monday: One of the most helpful sites for those seeking to reduce their meat consumption gradually.
- Pledge to Go Veg: Take one week out of the year and go vegan. Pledge to Go Veg will cheer you on all the way and provide you with a starter kit to jumpstart your plant-based lifestyle choice.
- Vegan Action: good resource for those who want information about a more plant-based diet and it is not quite as controversial as PETA. Vegan Action offers information about veganism, going vegan and many vegan recipes and resources.
- Vegan Mainstream: a softer and gentler resource for a beginner searching for plant-centered diet information and recipes. Vegan Mainstream also offers an active and user friendly Facebook page where fans can interact in real time with each other.
- Follow my blog for frequent updates and frugal plant-based recipes
- Find out how the simple chickpea can provide you with all the plant-centered protein you need
- Check out "Eat Healthier for Less" and learn more about beans, legumes and grains that can provide you with the protein and nutrition you need without animal-based products.
Choosing a plant-based lifestyle should not be stressful. No two people who choose a plant-centered lifestyle make the choice for the same reasons. Many become vegetarian or vegan for ethical reasons, some choose veganism for health reasons and some choose a plant-based lifestyle for a combination or reasons.
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