Vegetarian expert Alice Tam says a vegetarian diet is good for your body. A suitable vegetarian diet can provide many of the nutrients the human body needs and it is easier to digest. Beans, a staple in vegetarian diets, are rich in protein, amino acids, and vitamins, which are important as we age.

For caregivers, a vegetarian diet can be good for both aging parents and younger children. “You may be afraid that eating a vegetarian diet will affect your child’s development, but don’t worry. Shaolin Monks and some athletes are vegetarians. They are just as strong. They don't have to eat meat to gain strength. As long as a vegetarian diet is rich in protein and nutrients, you can achieve the same goal,” says Tam.

The general principle in a vegetarian diet is to focus on consuming foods with five different colors: white, green, purple, red, and yellow. If you are considering a vegetarian diet, there are several items that are staples. Soy fiber is a great substitution for dishes that require meat. Black beans can be used to make beef slices, and mushroom stems can be used to make mutton. Dishes where meat can be swapped out that are both healthy, nutritious, and beautiful include:

  • Broccoli wrapped in bean curd skin

  • Broccoli, shredded mushrooms, or dried tofu, with shredded carrots topped with vegetable oil or soy sauce

  • Vegetarian stir-fried twice-cooked pork in a steamer contains vegetarian beef made from black beans, green peppers, red peppers, broccoli and carrots

  • Steamer baskets and lotus leaves

  • Stewed vegetarian mutton with papaya and taro

  • Pumpkin and mushroom soup

  • Heart-shaped vegetarian platters that include yam strips, green beans, yellow peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes

A good way to bring more vegetarian dishes into your diet is to start with “Meatless Mondays” – one day a week where you eat only vegetarian dishes and expand from there. Tam says, "You don't have to stop eating all meat at once. You can eat less meat and more vegetables."

Source: World Journal, September 20, 2023