There are many valid reasons why people choose not to eat animal products, but a vegan or vegetarian diet has its nutritional challenges as well. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your meals, whether you are veggie all the time or just on meatless Mondays.
First, let’s discuss the differences between these two words, vegan and vegetarian. Here’s a basic concept that’s important to remember: All vegans are vegetarian, but not all vegetarians are vegan.
Vegetarians do not eat any form of meat, but some do eat eggs and dairy. Vegans, however, abstain from all animal products, both as a source of food and in the form of other products. This means not just giving up foods like honey, but also goods made of animal-derived products — such as leather and silk — and any products that may have been tested on animals or use animal by-products in processing.
Maybe you can live without that leather purse or that gorgeous silk blouse, but when it comes to nutritional needs, the restrictions of a vegan diet can pose a big challenge. In addition to B12 and several minerals, both vegans and other vegetarians need to be sure they get adequate essential Omega-3 fatty acids.
Not sure how to do that? Turn to avocados! Avocados From Mexico are available year-round and have good fats. And they’re incredibly versatile, too. You can add them to your favorite classics, like deviled eggs or hummus, to beef up your fatty acid intake. Also, you can add vegetarian sources of protein to avo-based dishes like guacamole to boost the nutrient content. If you’re a fan of make-ahead meals, be sure you know how to keep guac fresher longer by squeezing a lime on it and putting it in the fridge.
Check out a few of these great recipes for including more avocados in your veggie lifestyle.
Getting enough good food energy into a day without the caloric and protein density of meat can be a struggle. Smoothies are one way to get more fruits into your diet, including avocado. Vegetarians can try this minty avo shake, with an optional tequila shot if it’s happy hour and you feel like winding down. Vegans should try whipping up this delicious mango concoctioninstead.
Going veggie doesn’t mean having to give up your favorites. You can buy all sorts of “meat alternatives,” such as tempeh, tofu, seitan, or make your own replacements right at home. Sub in veggie broth for the chicken broth in this avocado burger, or use veggie dogs in this Mexi-Rollup, and you’ll be set for any summer BBQ.
Need to know how to determine when an avocado is ripe? Here’s a quick video demonstration to help you out. It’s pretty easy. You just hold it in the palm of your hand and give it a gentle squeeze. If it gives a little, not too much, but a little, you’ve got one that’s good to go.