Part Time Vegetarian

The results are in and every nutritional study has shown that a vegetarian diet is by far the healthiest. After reading the headlines of these studies most people just skip the article altogether because they refuse to give up their Thanksgiving turkey or their favorite steak dinner.

The great news is that if you dig a little deeper you will soon learn that you don’t have to give up your favorite meat dishes to reap the majority of the health benefits of a vegetarian diet, The same studies that show vegetarianism to be the healthiest diet also show that if you just eat vegetarian part of the time you can greatly reduce your risks for colon cancer, heart disease and stroke. The key is moderation, not elimination. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Eliminate excess meat. You probably already eat a few meals that are largely vegetarian. Lasagna, if made without meat sauce, is a good example. Most people never even miss the meat. Look for places in your own recipes where you add meat primarily out of habit rather than actual taste.
Make your vegetable portions larger and your meat portions a bit smaller. While this is good general advice according to the health guidelines published by the government, it also makes your meals a bit less meaty and more veggie. Vegetable casseroles also make a great side dish and you probably won’t miss the meat.
When you have unexpected company add more vegetables instead of worrying about the meat. Not only will this be healthier, you will probably always be ready for drop in guests at a moments notice.
Choose one meatless meal a day. Pasta with marinara is meatless. Make your salad meatless as well and you have a vegetarian dinner that the whole family will enjoy. Breakfast can be easy to make vegetarian if you switch to soy milk on your cereal.
Opt for more stir fry cooking, the traditional way. Westerners tend to add far more meat to a stir fry meal than the Chinese. This is on of the reasons that Chinese restaurants aren’t as healthy a dining option as they could be, they cater to the western palate. Scale back your use of meat in stir fry. The rice and vegetables are supposed to be the focus, not the meat.

The point is that when you generally make good and healthy food choices, a few bad ones will have little effect on your health. As a side benefit to vastly improving your health, think of all the money you’ll save on meat!

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