Health & Sports

You Don’t Have to Be a Vegetarian to Eat Like One

Fall classes begin today, and with them comes the chance to make a new-semester resolution.

You may have already decided that this time around, you will try to get more sleep, drink more water, exercise more often, and eat better, but it can be daunting to try changing so many habits all at once. Still, you won’t let that stop you.

You’ve decided that not only do you want to set new health goals, but you also want to stick to them, and luckily, The Argonautica wants to help you stay motivated. This semester, we will tackle one health-related challenge at a time and explore ways to make simple changes that can have a positive impact on your physical, mental, social, sexual and emotional well-being.

In this first session of Community Health Mondays, we will begin with a very common area to start making healthier choices: diet. Why the diet? The short answer is that you get out of your body what you put into it. Our bodies perform best when we fuel them with plenty of vitamins and minerals and healthy fats, carbohydrates and proteins—all of which we can find in plants. As much as Flaming Hot Cheetos and Red Bull have kept so many of us going, they are composed of ingredients whose names sound like something a scientist cooked up in a lab. It is only logical that as organic beings, we will benefit most from eating foods that occur naturally instead.

One way to do that is to adopt a more plant-based diet. Now, I know what some of you may be thinking, and I’m not here to tell you that you shouldn’t eat meat because it hurts animals—although, let’s be honest: it does hurt animals. I’m also not here to discuss the ways that eating a plant-based diet is better for the environment—although, according to the Nature International Journal of Science, adopting a more plant-based diet could reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent by the year 2050. But that’s not the point. I am simply here to tell you that you can have affordable, plant-based meals that will taste as good as they will make you feel, and you don’t have to call yourself a vegetarian or a vegan to eat them.

Here are some simple and satisfying plant-based recipes that will fill you up without emptying your wallet:

Photo credit- Feel Good Foodie’s Yumna Jawad

BREAKFAST
Start the day with one of these Avocado Toast recipes and get some healthy fats and fiber in your diet. Add a fresh fruit salad like this one, and you’ve got a light yet satisfying start to the day.

Photo credit– Peas and Crayons

LUNCH
This Black Bean Quinoa Salad will not let you down. It’s perfect in lunches because it can be eaten heated or chilled, and it’s filled with a variety of things that are good for you. If you’re worried you’re not getting enough protein, no problem! When you pair legumes and grains, such as beans and quinoa here, their combined amino acids work together to create a more “complete protein” similar to what you would get from an animal protein, so you’re still getting the protein you need.

SNACK
When that junk food craving creeps up, you’ll be ready to stay on track with this vegan No-Bake Cookie Dough recipe.

DINNER
This Lemon Garlic Pasta is delicious, and it has become one of my favorite quick-and-easy meals to make. If you want an even healthier option, try using whole grain pasta, and if you’re still craving a meaty texture, toss in some mushrooms or a soy-based “grilled chicken” substitute from the vegetarian frozen food section of your grocery store.

Eating healthier doesn’t have to be a difficult thing. We can all have a more plant-based diet with just a little effort. And hey, if we save a few animals or reduce our carbon footprint in the process, well, that’s just icing on the carrot cake (insert rimshot sound). 

Have a meatless Monday, everyone!

Disclaimer: The author of this article is not a medical professional.

Kristil is a senior at the University of West Florida where she is an English major. She is passionate about world travel, social justice, and education. When she is not raising a family of empathetic, independent, creative thinkers, she is obsessing over Game of Thrones and dancing like nobody's watching (even though she loves it when they are).

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