This week on Healthy You! our guest is Amanda Strombom. Amanda is a co-founder of Vegetarians of Washington, an independent non-profit group, with partner Stewart Rose and two other supporters. Over the past nine years, Vegetarians of Washington has grown to be the largest vegetarian society in the United States. Stewart and Amanda have also collaborated on three books, including a guidebook to vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants and natural food stores, a cookbook featuring some of the best vegetarian meals from these restaurants, and also an informative book on the many benefits of a vegetarian diet. They are currently writing a vegetarian book for young people. Her largest project is co-producing Vegfest, the biggest vegetarian food festival in the country, every year.
We hear all the time that we should eat a healthy diet, but people are often confused as to just what that means?
Usually we hear “eat more fruits and vegetables and less meat,” but people worry how to do that in a way which fits with their lifestyle.
Smaller portions of meat and bigger portions of vegetables can make some difference, but for many people, you start to feel like you’re depriving yourself at every meal, and that takes away some of the pleasure of eating.
An easier way to make a real difference is to include some vegetarian meals into your weekly meal plan. Cutting out meat totally for a few meals will feel different, and when you choose really tasty vegetarian meals, you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. It doesn’t have to be every day – make Tuesday night veggie night as a start.
What are some of the health benefits of eating vegetarian food? There are so many health benefits, it’s hard to list them all. Reductions in the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes, are just a few. Evidence for the health benefits of a vegetarian diet is that vegetarians live on average 13 years longer.
Are the other benefits of eating a vegetarian diet? Not only our health, but health of the environment – pollution reduced, global warming reduced, reduced amounts of resources – oil, water and especially land. It helps the world’s hungry too, since feeding crops to animals means 90% is wasted. And of course it helps the animals themselves quite a bit. The way we raise animals today, in so-called factory farms, is very hard on the animals.
Eating vegetarian food, everyone wins – the animals, the hungry, the environment and our own health.
So how can people learn more about changing to a vegetarian diet?
Try buying a good vegetarian cookbook, and start experimenting with some different kinds of meals – look for one which doesn’t base all the meals around dairy and eggs, because these are still animal products which are high in cholesterol and often fat, and low in fiber, so it’s better to minimize dairy and eggs as much as you can.
You can also start by looking in the grocery store for some of the imitation meat products and experimenting with switching ingredients.
Want more information and to speak to some people live and in person? Come to Vegfest, “Great Food Good Health,” on April 10th & 11th.
- Vegfest is the biggest vegetarian food festival in the country
- It’s being held at Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, on Mercer Street
- Time – 10am –6pm
- Admission – Adults – $8, Kids 12 & under are free
- Tickets available on the door
- For more information – Website – http://www.vegfest2010.org
Everyone is welcome – you don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy great vegetarian food. There will be free food samples – over 500 different kinds to try. 500,000 samples to give out! Cooking demonstrations by many chefs, including cookbook author Alan Roettinger – author of Speed Vegan. Local chefs from the PCC Cooks program, including: Jennifer Adler, Lee Baker, Pranee Halvorsen, Ami Karnosh, Becky Selengut, Archana Verma.
Hear the latest information on nutrition from speakers:
Dr. Helmuth Fritz MD – Internist and Professor of Medicine
Dr. Keith Hanson MD – Chief of Medical Staff
Dr Chan Hwang MD – Physical and rehabilitative medicine
Dr Esther Park Hwang MD – OBGYN
Sarah Taylor – author of Vegan in 30 days
Choose books from the largest vegetarian bookstore in the world, for two days. Vegetarians of Washington have written three books, The Vegetarian Solution, an informative look at the many benefits of a vegetarian diet, Vegetarian Pacific Northwest, a guidebook to restaurants and natural food stores in Washington and Oregon, and The Veg-Feasting Cookbook, a wonderful selection of recipes from local restaurants and leading chefs. These books will be available at Vegfest and at bookstores throughout the area.
There will be a special kids section, in association with PCC Natural Markets, with kids food tasting, entertaining clowns and even a special area for nursing Moms.
So listen in this week and find out more about how introducing vegetarian meals, or converting to a vegetarian diet can be a benefit to you and your family.
To your health!