People in our world today are experiencing more health problems than ever before, but in reality, staying healthy has never been easier. With 24-hour gyms, immediate answers to our health questions through online searches and, of course, a wide-variety of healthy lifestyle options, there’s simply no excuse not to be your best self. Let’s explore a few healthy lifestyle options!

Vegan: noun | veg·an

Definition: A person who does not eat or use animal products

According to The Vegan Society, veganism has been around much longer than we realize. There is evidence that over 2,000 years ago, people started making decisions to avoid animal products, while substituting it with a plant-based diet. Veganism has been on the rise in popularity in recent years. It’s no longer coined as a “hippie diet” or a “fad,” as professional athletes, college students and suburban families are making the switch.

The big question is, why are people choosing the organic vegan lifestyle? It’s healthier for you and the Earth! First, it helps reduce your carbon footprint because it’s more sustainable and less resources are used. Did you know that we do not have enough land to feed everyone on an animal protein-rich diet? According to a UC Davis study, producing one-quarter pound of beef requires 110 gallons of water. What? This is why some individuals are joining the organic vegan movement–to conserve our resources and prevent deforestation. People also turn to veganism because they do not approve of the cruelty that animals go through when bred to be consumed by humans.

Last but definitely not least, an organic vegan diet has so many health benefits proven to reduce the risk of:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • High cholesterol and hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancer

Are you interested in learning more? Check out The Vegan Society.

Vegetarian: noun | veg·e·tar·i·an

Definition: A person who does not eat meat, fish, fowl, or, in some cases, any food derived from animals, as eggs or cheese, but subsists on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain, etc.

The benefits of organic vegetarianism are very similar to those of a vegan diet, except a vegetarian still might consume eggs or milk, which are products of animals. According to the Huffington Post, extended consumption of meat is harmful to people because it contains pesticides and chemicals that are harmful to the human body.

Organic vegetarian diet benefits are similar to that of the vegan diet: lower cholesterol, as well as a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and obesity.

Food can taste just as good without consuming animal protein, as a lot of vegetarians substitute in tofu for meat! If you have never heard of tofu, it’s made from soybeans and it is delicious. Are you curious? We’ve got a dish for you to try!

Check out this wonderful recipe for a tofu burger with sweet potatoes that we found on avacadopesto.com

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces firm tofu, with the excess water squeezed out with a paper towel
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cubed, cooked and mashed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (or more if needed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Duke’s Mayonnaise
  • Top with your favorite burger toppings (I used avocado, red onions, sesame seeds and vegan basil pesto)

Instructions

  1. Crumble tofu with your hands into a bowl. Add in the cooked sweet potato and with a fork mash them together. Add in the rest of the ingredients except the olive oil. Mix until combined.
  2. Form patties with your hands.
  3. Heat pan over medium heat and add olive oil. Cook patties for a few minutes on each side until browned. (Can bake these in the oven instead)
  4. Serve in burger buns or in lettuce wraps.

Do you want to look into becoming vegetarian? Check out the Vegetarian Society!

Pescatarian: noun | pes·ca·tar·i·an

Definition: A person whose diet is mostly vegetarian but includes fish and seafood

Pesca-what? Organic pescetarianism is very similar to vegetarianism but with the only difference being that you can eat fish! Some people prefer pescetarianism over vegetarianism or veganism because it’s easier to consume all of the nutrients that your body needs. And, it can be easier to find satisfying dishes while dining at restaurants. Vegetarians and vegans have to work harder to make sure that they get all of the right nutrients, and if they don’t, they become at risk for having nutrient deficiencies that can counteract their choice of a healthy lifestyle diet. For example, pescatarians have a lower risk of developing an iron deficiency, which is something that a lot of vegans and vegetarians might accrue over time when they lack the right nutrients.

When practicing pescetarianism, it’s important to never eat farm-raised fish, but rather enjoy wild-caught fish instead. Studies show levels of cancer-causing chemicals are 10 times higher in farm-raised fish than in wild-caught.

Reasons why pescatarians LOVE their diet:

  • Reduces risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia
  • Fish and seafood are rich in vitamins and minerals
  • Produces healthy skin and hair
  • Helps maintain eye health
  • Boosts brain power
  • Protects against inflammatory diseases
  • Fish are a healthy source of protein

If you’re not a vegetarian, vegan or pescatarian yet, shifting to a pescatarian diet can be a great start towards more health benefits.

Now… Have we inspired you to try out some healthy dishes crafted with vibrant, organic ingredients? We hope so! Check out our menu and come visit us at Mama Gaia. It could be the beginning of a new path to leading a different lifestyle!