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USDA Recognizes Value of Vegan Foods

The antiquated food pyramid is slowly toppling: the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee—a panel established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—recently recognized the value of a vegan diet and instructed people to eat more plant-based foods! While the new dietary guidelines still aren’t as good as they should be, they do stress the importance of eating healthy vegan foods more than previous guidelines have. Hopefully, they’ll even convince more people to opt for chickpeas rather than chicken flesh.

wikimedia / CC
Vegan Food Pyramid

 

With all the health benefits of a wholesome vegan diet—including a slimmer waistline, fewer cataracts, and protection against heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease—I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t aspire to be vegan. I lost nearly 30 pounds when I incorporated more fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes into my diet, and I’m the only one in my family who doesn’t suffer from weight problems, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. (Of course, I feel even better knowing that I’m saving animals and the environment too.)

Healthy eating is hardly a chore with supermarket produce aisles and farmers markets bursting with fresh berries, juicy melons, ripe tomatoes, citrus, corn on the cob, and lots of asparagus, avocados, artichokes, and other delicious and nutritious fruits and vegetables. If eating mouthwatering produce—as well as barbecued veggie burgers, pasta primavera, spicy soy sausage, hummus wraps, falafel, coconut-pineapple curry, wild mushroom risotto, faux-chicken sandwiches, black cherry sorbet, and other tasty vegan foods—doesn’t sound like a hardship to you, why not take PETA’s “Fit for Summer, Healthy for Life” pledge?Or, if you’re already vegan, click here to recruit your nonvegan loved ones to take the pledge. They’ve got nothing to lose but pounds, plaque, and polyps!

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  • Susana says:

    I can’t read the calcium-rich foods, it’s too small. Can you please tell me what it says there?

  • Robert says:

    Not sure about the soy part…..Have you read “The Dark Side of Soy”? It doesn’t just talk about soy’s nutritional value, but about its impact outside of nutrition….on the environment….genetics… wildlife habitats. A read worth considering. Another insightful read is “The Untold Story of Milk”. Regardless of personal beliefs, it cites some interesting examples of a complete clean, raw milk diet(not commercial or pasteurized milk) and its nourishing and curative properties with the human body. Food for thought.

  • Judy H says:

    I thought soy sauce was vegan??

  • Jaya Bhumitra says:

    @Jess – You should read Thrive and Thrive Fitness by Brendan Braizer and Vegan Body Building and Fitness by Robert Cheeke. Both books are excellent resources for athletes. Also, Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids is a great soy sauce substitute (soy sauce isn’t vegan) in addition to contributing to your nutrition.

  • Lauren says:

    Thanks so much! Especially for the food pyramid, all my friends have been saying how if I become vegan I’ll only be able to eat bark and I’ll be deficient in nutrition. This proves them wrong, thanks! (:

  • bunny says:

    i wish i could find really nice vegan milk and white chocolate bars :3 i’ve found some online but havent tried them yet.
    im interested to know what vegan chocolate PETA and PETA staffers love and would reccomend?

  • Melissa says:

    @Jess- Do some research. There are plenty of vegan athletes out there! Here’s an article by vegan triathlete Brendan Brazier:
    http://www.vegparadise.com/otherbirds510.html

    And info. on quinoa: “Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids.”
    http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice

    As for benefits for animals, how much TIME do you have?! Ever see a dumpster full of writhing baby chicks & broken shells? Cows put on rape racks so they will be pregnant so they can “give” milk hooked up to a machine, only to have their baby used for veal? Again just google it. The truth is out there. Too much to include here. Good luck.

  • Jess says:

    I´m a vegetarian, but not vegan and I am curious as to the specific benefits to animals and how as a NCAA division 1 athlete I can have enough protein while still having a balance of the six amino acids that are necessary to make a complete protein?

  • Jennifer says:

    6 servings of grains seems like an awful lot. I typically eat 2 servings of fruit, 3 of veggies, 2 of legumes, and 3 of grains in a day and still can’t lose weight.

  • Jeri @godsdreamsforme says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I’m so glad to find more resources to point to.

    I have one question. Why doesn’t anyone mention “organics” when referring to plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, etc. diets?

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