At first, I was heartened by these findings. As a family, we’ve always eaten mostly whole foods—including healthy staples like fruits and veggies, brown rice and whole-wheat pastas—and tend to stay away from highly processed foods. But the more I peered at our diet, the more I realized that meat—not vegetables or grains—defined our meals.
So I vowed that, for a month, I not only would cut back on meat and make healthy recipes from EatingWell’s new book, EatingWell Fast & Flavorful Meatless Meals, I would also buy a bigger variety of fruits and vegetables, especially greens and colorful peppers and carrots. I would eat more beans. I would also make sure we were all getting enough of the nutrients that vegetarians need to pay closer attention to: vitamin B12 (only found naturally in animal products); iron (more easily absorbed from meat); DHA and EPA, omega-3 fatty acids (mainly in fish); zinc and iodine. To be safe, I bought everyone in my family multivitamins.