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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Mathes


Studies show that vegetarian diets are statistically higher in vitamins A, B2, C, E, beta-carotene, calcium and folate than non-vegetarians. There is also recent research stating that vegetarians have lower BMI’s and overall lower incidences of diabetes, cancer, and other chronic diseases. Vegetarian diets also tend to be higher in fiber, which we not only know helps decrease blood sugars, cholesterol, and aid in weight loss/maintenance, but also play a vital role as a nutrient for the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is responsible for 75% of your immune system, and keeping this microbiome healthy by feeding it plenty of foods high in fiber will help maintain gut integrity and has been shown in recent literature to help keep inflammation down by it’s metabolites from the bacteria in your colon. The current recommendations for fiber are 25-38grams per day, and the typical American consumes about 12-15grams per day. Increasing whole grains, legumes, and organic fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) as found in a healthy vegetarian diet will help Americans meet the current recommendations. Example, 1 pound of beef contains zero fiber, but 1 cup of lentils contains 16grams of fiber. There is a national movement to incorporate MEATLESS MONDAYS. Learning about how consuming less meat in your diet cannot only help save money, but can also help improve your health. Meat accounts for an estimated 10% of American food spending. Eating vegetables, grains, fruit, legumes and nuts in lace of approximately 250 pounds of beef, chicken and fish each non-vegetarian consumes annually could cut individual food bills by an average of $4,000 dollars per year. Respect for the environment and sustainability by choosing organic produce not only helps the environment, but your overall health by choosing to not consume any pesticides, fertilizers and preservatives. Beef is not environmentally friendly when conventionally raised, the type of feed, ranching practices, and the methane produced have a large carbon footprint on the environment.

Vegetarian definitions:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: This is a plant based diet containing dairy (milk, yogurt, kefir, cheeses) and eggs

  • Ovo-vegetarian: A plant based diet including eggs

  • Lacto-vegetarian: A plant based diet that includes dairy

  • Pesci-vegetarian: A plant based diet including fish

  • Semi-vegetarian: A plant-based diet that includes fish and poultry and often times contains eggs and dairy as well.

  • Vegan: Solely a plant based diet, animal derived food is completely omitted from this diet

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have stated that a properly planned vegetarian diet is “healthful, nutritionally adequate and provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” Regardless if you choose to be vegan, a type of vegetarian, or stick to being an omnivore, choosing a diet high in plant derived foods is undeniably healthy for your body and the environment.

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Tacos High in iron lentils, add tomatoes for the vitamin C component to help absorb the iron and skip the calcium containing cheese!

INGREDIENTS Cauliflower 1 large head of cauliflower, sliced into bite-sized florets 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper Seasoned lentils 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup chopped yellow or white onion 2 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced 2 tablespoons tomato paste ½ teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon chili powder ¾ cup brown lentils, picked over for debris and rinsed 2 cups vegetable broth or water Chipotle sauce ⅓ cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 to 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers) or chipotle hot sauce to taste Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste Everything else 8 small, round corn tortillas ½ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves (cilantro haters, substitute some fresh spring greens instead)

INSTRUCTIONS To roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Toss cauliflower florets with enough olive oil to cover them in a light, even layer of oil. Season with salt and pepper and arrange the florets in a single layer on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, tossing halfway, until the florets are deeply golden on the edges. Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic with a dash of salt for about 5 minutes, until the onions are softened and turning translucent. Add the tomato paste, cumin and chili powder and sauté for another minute, stirring constantly. Add the lentils and the vegetable broth or water. Raise heat and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes to 45 minutes, until the lentils are tender and cooked through. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, and add more broth or water if the liquid evaporates before the lentils are done. Once the lentils are done cooking, drain off any excess liquid, then cover and set aside. To prepare the chipotle sauce, just whisk together the ingredients and set aside (if you have no choice but to use whole chipotle peppers from the can, use a blender to purée it all). Warm tortillas individually in a pan over medium heat. Stack the warm tortillas and cover them with a tea towel if you won’t be serving the tacos immediately. Once all of your components are ready, you can assemble your tacos! Top each tortilla with the lentil mixture, cauliflower, a drizzle of chipotle sauce and a generous sprinkle of chopped cilantro.


8 eggs, OR 3 eggs and 5 egg whites ½ cup of fat free milk 2 cloves of garlic ¼ cup of Parmesan grated cheese or goat cheese 1 T olive oil ¾ pound butternut squash (you can buy it already chopped to make life easier 1/3 “ cubes chopped is best) ¾ cup of yellow onion chopped pinch of salt and pepper.

INSTRUCTIONS 425 degree oven Large bowl whisk eggs and milk, garlic and black pepper, pinch of salt. Whisk in cheese. In a 10” cast iron skillet, or oven safe one, warm the olive oil in the skillet. Add the chopped onion and stir to coat, for a few minutes until onions are translucent. Add the squash and the pinch of salt. Cover the pan and reduce the heat slightly. Cook until the butternut squash is tender and cooked through for about 8 minutes. Take off cover and let excess moisture has evaporated and the butternut squash is turning golden on the edges (5-10 minutes). Arrange the squash in an even layer on the pan. Whisk in the egg mixture and pour into the pan and place pan into the oven. Put the pan in the middle of the oven, for about 14-17 minutes. Enjoy.

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