While the US vegetarian/vegan population remains small, there is a significant rise in flexitarians, or those people that are consciously reducing their meat intake but still occasionally enjoy animal protein. The popularity of “Meatless Monday” developed in association with John Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health lends evidence to this growing trend towards occasional vegetarianism.
Flexitarians can be categorized into two groups, semi-vegetarians and meat reducers. Semi-vegetarians follow a vegetarian diet part of the time, but still eat some meat and dairy products. Meat reducers are not trying to follow a vegetarian diet, but are trying to reduce the amount of meat they eat and incorporate a more plant-based diet primarily for health reasons.
There is little doubt of the health benefits of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables have been found to be protective against many cancers, reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis, help to control weight, and lower the risk for other diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, constipation, diverticular disease, gallstones and appendicitis.
So when you make your New Year resolutions for 2012, consider being more like a flexitarian. And check out this great cookbook, Greens Glorious Greens to introduce you to a dazzling array of fresh, crisp and nutritious leafy greens, how to buy them and how to cook them.
Wishing you all good health and happy cooking and eating in the new year!