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Vegetarianism For the New Year
The experts agree—vegetarianism is the healthy alternative to a traditional American diet
consisting of fatty meats and refined sugars. And with the increasing variety of
vegetarian alternatives to be found in our local markets (especially your neighborhood
cooperative grocery), many people are considering a change in lifestyle. But don’t panic!
The friendly folks at Rainbow are here to help you make the transition easy and fun!
First, get educated! Aside from our vegetarian-savvy staff, there are numerous books,
online publications, and cookbooks available to help you learn about this healthful way of
eating. Rainbow Whole Foods’ website, www.rainbowcoop.org, also contains links to
various vegetarian resources packed with helpful hints. Remember, vegetarianism no
longer means spending all your time in the kitchen preparing elaborate meals with
obscure ingredients. Frozen vegetarian entrees, quick meal ideas, even meatless fast food
options abound for today’s hectic pace. Become a label-reader, though. A meal can be
meatless and still not be good for you. Items that contain large amounts of full-fat dairy
or have been prepared in animal fats are still high in fat and calories.
When you’re ready to start making changes, you can do it slowly or all at once.
Experiment and see what works best for you. For a gradual transition, start by removing
red meat from your diet. Meat substitutes made from soy protein or textured vegetable
protein are satisfying alternatives. Check out Rainbow’s wide variety of meat
alternatives, such as veggie burgers, soy sausage and deli-style cold cuts, and veggie
crumbles for casseroles and sauces. After several weeks without red meat, begin to
abstain from white meat as well. Various types of tofu (a form of soy bean curd), from
plain tofu in soft, firm, or extra-firm varieties to flavorful marinated and baked options,
make great white meat substitutes. Many people consider fish an optional part of a
vegetarian diet because fish are a great source of essential fatty acids. However, essential
fatty acids are also available in nutritional supplement form, as well as many other
vitamins and minerals that are vital to a healthy lifestyle.
Not ready to take the vegetarian plunge? For the unapologetic carnivore, consider
introducing some meatless variety into your diet. Many vegetarian dishes offer a
refreshing alternative to a bland meat-and-potatoes lifestyle. Try experimenting with
international dishes, which are often vegetarian since many other cultures eat less meat
than Americans. Rainbow’s vast array of bulk spices will compliment any new dish. Try
marinating vegetables or substituting mushrooms for meat to impart a rich, smoky flavor.
So whether you’re quitting meat “cold turkey” or just enjoying a wider variety of meal
choices, Rainbow Whole Foods Cooperative Grocery is here to meet your nutritional
needs!