by Sabra Rebo, R.D. Down to Earth Community Outreach Team Leader
Across cultures love is shown through food. The making, cooking, serving, and eating of food can bring people together and provide an expression of love… such as when I walk into my mom’s kitchen and she asks “Are you hungry? What can I make you to eat?” or when college students across the world receive care packages of comfort food from home. These are just a couple examples of how love is shown through food, and there might be specific examples you can think of in your own life. This month let’s talk about how a plant-based diet is a way to show love for the people in your life while also being a compassionate choice.
Health is a common reason cited for choosing a plant-based diet, and for good reason. Studies have shown that it is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes1. Feeding your family and/or friends a nourishing plant-based diet is a great way to show that you love them and want to keep them healthy and nourished.
Beyond health, a plant-based diet is a compassionate choice. Taking the time to learn about where our food comes from and how it is produced is a good start. Often, people are unaware of how animals raised for meat are treated. By eating a plant-based diet, we make a choice to not harm animals. Food as an expression of love goes full circle with compassionate eating: we choose to show compassion for animals while also feeding ourselves, our families, and our friends in a way that doesn’t involve harming other creatures.
With the start of the holiday season, try some new, healthy, plant-based recipes or try modifying family favorites for a great way to connect with your loved ones. As always, Love Life! Eat Healthy! And have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Tips for Plant-Based Meals
- Modify favorite recipes: Special or favorite recipes can be modified to be plant-based. Replace meat in recipes with beans, tofu, mushrooms, or grains. Recipe modification can be a fun way to be creative and spend time in the kitchen with family or friends!
- Explore new recipes: Finding new plant-based recipes is easy -- there are lots of amazing vegetarian and vegan blogs on the internet, and Down to Earth has great recipes on its website.
- Try a new restaurant: Gone are the days when the only vegetarian menu item was a salad. Most restaurants now have plant-based menu choices that are creative and delicious. Spend a little time researching local restaurants and you will have a list of places to try in no time!
1 Position of the American Dietetic Association: Vegetarian Diets. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2009. 1273. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19562864. 18 October 2016.