Try Being a “Sometimes-atarian” Print

A new way to think about vegetarian meals

CTV_NEWS_CHANNEL_PRINT_PMSAs a foodie and fan of food diversity, family traditions and enjoying the best of the world’s cultural cuisine, I love vegetarian food (but a fully vegetarian lifestyle would be challenging for me). If you are like me (and the vast majority of Canadians) and not interested in following a vegetarian diet completely, you may want to consider becoming what I call a “sometimes-atarian.”  Read on to find out more.

Is vegetarianism on the rise?

Although there are no recent statistics on the current number of vegetarians in Canada, in 2003 it was estimated that 4% of adults in Canada were vegetarian*.  Food trends in grocery stores and restaurants show that the numbers are likely on the rise. There are many types of vegetarians including lacto-ovo vegetarians (allows dairy and eggs), pescetarian (allows fish) or vegan (allows no animal foods).

If being a full vegetarian isn’t for me what could I do instead?

vegetarianIf a flexitarian is a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat why not think about being what I have coined a “sometimes-atarian” which I define as a meat eater who occasionally eats vegetarian.

A sometimes-atarian is a good fit for me and perhaps for the vast majority of Canadians who are resistant to becoming a vegetarian but could really benefit from the healthy foods included in vegetarian meal planning.

What is beneficial about vegetarian meals?

Plant based diets are lower in saturated fat and higher in fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, magnesium and phytonutrients that are health protective.

Legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans are the foundation of healthy vegetarian meals.  These foods are wonderful sources of fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals which reduce our risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.

Vegetarian meals can also be cost effective and more sustainable and green (considering animal food production creates a higher demand on the environment).

How often should I go for a vegetarian meal?

You could choose a vegetarian meal as often as you like.   If you currently rarely eat vegetarian food start out by picking one meal a week that you make meatless.  Often many of our clients go for a “Meatless Monday” approach.

What are some meal planning ideas for Meatless Monday?

The key to healthy vegetarian meals is making sure the meal is fully balanced with three things:

1. Grains or starchy foods (such as rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, quinoa and other grains), which are essential for your brain and muscles for energy.

2. Vegetables and/or fruit (such as fresh/frozen veggies, salad, canned tomatoes, fruit or dried fruit)

3. Source of protein (such as chick peas, lentils, beans, soy-foods,  tofu, nuts, seeds, eggs or cheese), which are needed for fullness and muscle repair.

Meal planning for Meatless Mondays:

Here are some great ways to use legumes for a healthy and yummy Meatless Monday meal:

  1. Pasta bean toss:  Toss pasta with sautéed onions, mushrooms and green/red peppers along with canned stewed tomatoes and canned drained mixed beans.
  2. Sensational salad: Tossed green salad with grated carrots, cucumbers, canned chick-peas, feta/goat cheese and your favorite vinaigrette.  Serve with garlic toast on whole grain bread.
  3. Black bean quesadilla: Layer half a wrap with canned drained black beans, frozen corn, diced red pepper, green onions and grated cheddar cheese.  Fold over the wrap and pan fry or bake until browned and melted.  Served with salsa and guacamole.
  4. Slow cooker cowboy beans.  There are a million great recipes on google.  Find one that works for you.  The general ingredients include dried pinto beans, onion, garic, canned stewed tomatoes as a start.  Serve cowboy beans over rice or a baked potato with a tossed green salad or coleslaw.
  5. Bean salad: Canned beans/chick peas/lentils with cherry tomatoes, red pepper, green onion, corn kernels and a vinaigrette.  Serve in a pita bread or as a salsa with tortilla chips.
  6. Mexican wrap: Spread canned cold/heated refried beans on a wrap along with sliced avocado, grated cheddar/feta cheese, salsa and cilantro.  Roll and enjoy!
  7. Red lentil, peanut and sweet potato soup by www.lentils.ca.  Combine all of the following ingredients except cilantro leaves) in a slow cooker and cover for 6-8 hours on low heat.  Leave chunky or puree with a hand held immersion blender.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1-19oz can diced tomatoes with juice
1/3 cup split red lentils
¼ cup chopped cilantrol stems, saving leaves for garnish
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup peanut butter

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF of this article

Sources:

*Dietitians of Canada and the American Dietetic Association position paper on vegetarianism. J Am Diet Assoc. 2003;103:748-765.

 

About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This