Health benefits of vegetarianism

go largely unheralded

You hear the same message from every health-related organization: Americans should eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables. One of the simplest ways to accomplish that is to become a vegetarian. Consider these facts:

To help ensure an adequate vegetarian diet, it's essential to choose a wide variety of foods and consume a sufficient number of calories to meet energy needs. The following daily food guide for vegetarians can help plan food choices:

Food group

Breads, cereals,

rice and pasta

 Suggested daily servings

6 or more

 Serving sizes

1 slice bread

1/2 bun, bagel or

English muffin

1/2 cup cooked

cereal, rice or pasta

1 oz. dry cereal

Vegetables  4 or more

 1/2 cup cooked

or 1 cup raw

Legumes and other meat


2 to 3 

1/2 cup cooked beans

4 oz. tofu or tempeh

8 oz. soy milk

2 tbsp. nuts or

seeds (these tend to

be high in fat, so use

sparingly to follow a

lowfat diet)

 Fruits 3 or more  

1 piece fresh fruit

3/4 cup fruit juice

1/2 cup canned or

cooked fruit



 Optional-up to 3 servings

1 cup lowfat milk

or skim milk daily

1 cup lowfat or

nonfat yogurt

1 1/2 oz. lowfat cheese 

 Eggs Optional-limit to 3 to 4 

1 or 2 egg whites

yolks per week

 Fats, sweets

and alcohol

 Go easy on these foods

and beverages

 Oil, margarine and

mayonnaise; cakes,

cookies, pies, pastries

and candies; beer,

wine and distilled spirits

Vegetarian food can be delicious, easy to prepare and incredibly varied. Just think about the few types of meat available to cook versus the large number of vegetables, grains and beans. Try making a spicy chili or a pasta with a red sauce or pesto or have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a big salad with dark green leafy or other vegetables with a vinegar-based dressing or eat pizza without cheese.

Try local health food grocery stores such as Rainbow (at N. Decatur and Clairmont), Return to Eden (Cheshire Bridge and LaVista), or Sevananda (Little Five Points) after work. Vegetarian cookbooks The New Laurel's Kitchen, Simple, Lowfat and Vegetarian, Fields of Greens, and Food for Life are especially good ones to try.

If you would like more help with improving your diet and lowering your risks of heart disease and cancer, call the Emory cholesterol clinic at 778-3664.

Erica Frank is a preventionist in the Department of Family and Preventative Medicine and the Department of Medicine. She is the co-editor-in-chief of Preventive Medicine. Randall White is a psychiatrist teaching in the Human and Natural Ecology Division.

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