Lecture 17: Vegetarian Nutrition and Current Health Trends

Yea!!! You’ve made it!!!

Required: Vegan in Volume: Chapter 11,12

**FINAL EXAM: if you are taking the final, please email me (or snail mail me a note where you’d like it send: email is much better) so it can be emailed to you. You need to return it within two weeks, by email or snail mail.

By the end of this lecture, the student should be able to:

  1. Suggest how a vegetarian life style may contribute to a healthy life style
  2. Explain how to incorporate vegetarian eating into a healthy life style

You Are What You Eat
By now, you’ve got a pretty good idea about vegetarian nutrition. The lectures and the readings should give you an idea that living the veggie lifestyle can be associated with a healthier you and a healthier planet. We are not going to site studies in this lecture, but you do have a resource for citations in Simply Vegan. There have been many studies showing that a vegetarian, especially vegan, lifestyle can assist in improved health or decreased disease processes.

Some of the research has included:

  1. Heart Disease: much heart disease is linked to the intake of cholesterol. Vegan diets contain no cholesterol, although they can be high in saturated fats (such as palm or coconut oil) if you don’t choose food items wisely. In a very disciplined program, cardiac patients who followed a vegan diet, exercised and attended stress reduction classes were able to reduce their cardiac disease. For an example of such a program see Heart and Stroke A-Z Guide and MedCast Channel.
  2. Diabetes: diabetics who decreased or eliminated their intake of animal fat, maintained a vegan low-fat diet and included high fiber in their diet every day displayed a reduction in their diabetic symptoms.
  3. Cancers: in demographic studies, populations that had primarily vegan diets displayed fewer incidences of certain cancers.

Obviously, these are very general statements and you would have to do a lot of reading and researching to ascertain degrees of disease suppression, types of diet needed for success, etc. However, as a generality, vegan diets have helped with the suppression of certain diseases and have helped to decrease the recurrence of other diseases.

Can You Really Eat Healthy and Enjoy it, Too?
Not only that, you can be as elegant or as informal as you like. You can have a five-course vegan dinner by candlelight or run a vegan greasy (but healthy) spoon. Leaf through all the recipes in both books. Where else can you find a cuisine that is healthy, flavorful, low fat, cutting edge and fashionable and helps saves the planet at the same time? Review Chapters 6 and 8 in Vegan in Volume. These chapters have catering recipes that can be used at the most sophisticated events, and are still vegan and low fat. You may also want to review the portion on French cuisine in Lecture 13; if all else fails, impress them with some French cuisine!

As a final note, I’ve included a portion of a brochure that might be useful to you when “selling” vegan cuisine. In addition to this, you might want to check out This site has a “restaurant vegetarian starter kit” and a “personal starter kit.” They’re both useful, concise pieces of information.

Here is a portion of a brochure I wrote to introduce healthy, vegetarian eating to a community nutrition class. Feel free to paraphrase this and use it to get your message across:

Healthy Living

Here are some ideas to think about when you are shopping and preparing your meals:

Kids do it, why shouldn’t you? Swapping from your lunch box that is! Veggies and nonveggies alike know that the sandwich is always better from someone else’s knapsack. Form a lunch club; you bring appetizers one day and dessert the next. You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy humus and crunchy veggies, falafel in pita, veggie bean chili with corn bread, mushroom burgers with “the works” or lemon-poppyseed muffins (and yes, they can be made without eggs; substitute 1 Tablespoon of firm tofu for each medium egg). Breaking bread together at school or work will tempt your taste buds and perhaps help to form great working relationships or friendships.

Congrats on completing your vegetarian nutrition class!

Isn’t modern technology wonderful?! I’m proud of all your work and stick-to-it-tiveness. Vegetarian nutrition is a wonderful subject and you’ve now got some wonderful resources for it.

Eat healthy and be well!

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Last Updated
December 13, 2000

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The contents of this web site, as with all The Vegetarian Resource Group publications, is not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional.

All contents of these lectures are copyright Chef Nancy Berkoff and The Vegetarian Resource Group.

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