BLOG: Attaching the “V” label to dietsby
October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. That is great news, but to be honest, it’s something I wouldn’t have celebrated a couple of years ago.
Attaching the “V” label to diets
October is Vegetarian Awareness Month. That is great news, but to be honest, it’s something I wouldn’t have celebrated a couple of years ago. To me, the words “vegetarian” and “vegan” were words I vaguely understood and hadn’t considered the true consequences of their meanings. They conjured images of gruesome videos of animals being abused and zealots throwing objects at women wearing fur coats. As it turns out, there are many different types of vegetarians: vegan, ovo-vegetarian, lacto vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, and semi-vegetarian. Who knew? I wasn’t aware of the strong evidence based science showing a plant-based diet can prevent and reverse disease.
Sour Patch Kids and Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos are vegan. Dominos cheese pizza is vegetarian. Hardly the best food choices! Although I am much more familiar with the terms, I try to avoid using the “V” words. I focus less on the label of a style of eating, and more on the individual foods I choose to consume.
When we choose to eat unprocessed foods that are closet to their natural form (blueberry vs. blueberry coffee cake) and derived from plants, we are choosing foods that will provide our body with the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients and antioxidants. When we eliminate refined carbohydrates, processed sugar, artificial colors, chemicals and sweeteners from our diet, our bodies begin to function better, heal, and rid themselves of toxins. I am reminded of Michael Pollen’s sage advice that speaks volumes: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Did you know?
Not consuming animal products is a very personal decision. Many choose to not eat meat to protect animals. Others chose to do so because they believe it is healthier. Perhaps the “V” labeled diets are not black and white. Is it an all-or-nothing proposal? If the idea of using plant-based food to prevent and treat disease intrigues you, there are some simple steps you can take to get started:
Health Coach, Certified Food for Life Instructor
Michael Pollen, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
Rosane Oliveira, DVM, PhD, UC Davis Integrative Medicine Program