Class days in the UMD dietetic internship are designed to make us well rounded dietitians and teach us about every aspect of our field. Today’s class day was with the Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) in Baltimore. A number of us have already come across vegetarian patients during our rotations thus far and anticipate seeing more in our future jobs. The VRG taught us why a variety of people choose this lifestyle as well as personal tactics to ensure sufficient intake of essential nutrients typically found in animal products. Everyone in attendance was required to bring a vegan dish to pass at lunch. It was noted that our class had provided the “best” vegan pot luck lunch in the history of intern classes. The VRG succeeded in exposing us to new healthy dishes, and helped us better understand our future vegan/vegetarian clients.
I think we can all learn something from vegetarians: how to make your vegetables more fun and exciting! I wrote a blog a couple months ago about building meals around vegetables instead of meat. American food typically calls for a lot of special attention to the meat portion of meals. Extra time and effort is required for meat seasonings, sauces and specialized cooking techniques. Vegetarians have gotten very good at shifting that special attention towards their vegetables and creating amazing meatless meals. For recipes that give special attention to vegetables, visit the Vegetarian Resource Group’s recipes page.
My respect for the VRG combined with my admiration of the “hunter-gatherer” way of life got me thinking about the flexitarian diet. The Flexitarian diet has no precise or widely accepted definition. It is simply a title for decreasing meat consumption and increasing vegetable intake. Multiple medical studies have proven that too much meat can be harmful to our health. And studies of the American diet have revealed that the typical American eats too much meat. Is flexitarianism the solution?