For everyone interested in lowering their consumption of meat, there’s a new food pyramid to tape to your refrigerator. And from the bottom to the top, the advice couldn’t be simpler: Eat these foods every day.
Unlike other recommendations that say eat “50% of this” or “25% of that,” the Oldways Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Pyramid offers an abundance of colorful, delicious, healthy foods you’ll want to eat every Meatless Monday: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, herbs, spices and, for vegetarians, eggs and dairy.
“The old ways of eating around the world focus on food from plants,” explains Sara Baer-Sinnott, the President of Oldways. “The Mediterranean, Asian, Latin American, and African Heritage diets all have plant foods as the foundation of healthy eating. Therefore, food from plants are at the center of the plate.”
The good news is, this “old way” of eating is new again, reflected by the national trend towards plant-based diets, farmers’ markets, and a reduction in the consumption of meat. “Interest in following a plant-based diet is at an all time high, whether people pack their plates with vegetables once a day, once a week, or all their lives,” says Baer-Sinnott.
The first Vegetarian Diet Pyramid produced by Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition education organization, was created in 1997. “Today there is more scientific evidence for the health benefits of plant-based eating,” Baer-Sinnott explained. “And with growing awareness about this lifestyle, we knew it was really important to update the 1997 version.”
To produce the new Vegetarian Pyramid, Oldways gathered a world-renowned scientific committee to review extensive data on plant-based diets and provide recommendations. Complementing the pyramid is a printable Vegetarian/Vegan Diet brochure that fully explains all the delicious options available on the pyramid and the proven benefits of switching to a plant-based diet. What can everyone who has taken the Meatless Monday pledge do with this new information? “Cook!,” laughs Baer-Sinnott.
“Try cooking more plants. Put plants at the center of the plate a few times a week, and on Monday, of course. It’s not difficult, it’s affordable, and it tastes great.”
With an emphasis on cooking together, staying active, and eating everything from fresh vegetables to ancient grains, the Vegetarian Pyramid is a plan for good health that anyone can follow. “I am excited about the positive changes being made in the last 5-10 years, and am optimistic about the future for healthy eating,” says Baer-Sinnott. “With movements like Meatless Monday and the increased awareness about plant-based diets I feel that we are on a better track than 10-15 years ago. The evidence of so many more people going to farmers’ markets, as well as the variety of foods from around the world that people are willing to try, gives me hope that people will keep cooking more and make healthy eating a priority for themselves and their families.”