Transitioning to a Plant-Based Diet
The leaves are turning orange, marking the start of October and with it the start of National Vegetarian Month. To celebrate, dining services is throwing VegFest once again to introduce LVC students to the leafy green lifestyle that 8% of the world follows. All month LVC students can stop by Mund, lunch or dinner, to try nutrient and protein-rich plant-based recipes that will satisfy even the hungriest carnivore.
Research shows that following a vegetarian lifestyle can be very beneficial. However, incorporating more plants into your diet doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing affair. Making a conscious effort to introduce more plant-based foods in your diet is always going to be more effective than trying to stick to a fully vegetarian diet and failing. This week, I talked with LVC’s Dietician Morgan Walker to see if she could offer some insight into what transitioning to a healthy plant-based diet looks like.
The most important lesson that Morgan taught me was that “plant-based can but does not necessarily have to mean vegan or vegetarian. Individuals can still eat eggs, poultry, fish, meat, and dairy products, and still obtain the benefits of eating a diet rich in plant-based foods.” I think in a world of diets, each with their own strict guidelines that must be obeyed like dogma, it can be easy to forget there is always a middle ground. By substituting plants into your current diet slowly, you can avoid the risk of burning out and having that late-night binge on oily cheeseburgers and fries (not that I have any experience in that). In a majority plant-based diet, you can think of meat and dairy similar to the way you might think about dessert now: not for every meal, but occasionally doesn’t hurt. So, how might you start introducing plants into your diet here at LVC?
“Eating primarily plant-based may take time for some individuals, especially if you currently consume a high in very processed foods. Start with small changes and goals for your intake, here are some tips for eating plant-based at LVC to get you started!
Need assistance with special dietary needs, achieving your individual wellness goals, or fueling an active lifestyle? Morgan Walker, MS, RD, LDN, our campus dietitian is here to help. Morgan is a Registered Dietitian who believes that a well-nourished body is fundamental to optimizing health, well-being, and academic success. She is available to help the Dutchmen community with nutrition needs and questions.
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Brody Johnson is a senior digital communications major at Lebanon Valley College. He is also the marketing intern for Metz Culinary Management at LVC for the 2021-2022 academic year.