The more I learned about meatless eating, the more comfortable I became with the idea of changing my diet. The American Dietetic Association maintains that vegetarian diets are safe and healthful for everyone, from pregnant mothers to children to athletes, so long as they are planned with care. Research has shown that cutting meat usually means getting more dietary fiber, folic acid, vitamins C and E, potassium, magnesium and unsaturated fat, and less saturated fat and cholesterol. Studies have shown that eating less meat reduces the risk of heart disease and perhaps even type 2 diabetes and some cancers. “Vegetarians have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and tend to be a little bit thinner, so vegetarians are automatically going to be at lower risk of certain chronic diseases,” says Virginia Messina, M.P.H., R.D., who has written extensively about vegetarian diets.
Inspired by these facts, my husband and I decided that our family of four (which also includes our 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter) would shift to more vegetarian meals.