Vivid Veges! It's National Vegetarian Week

A rainbow of fresh...look at all of this beautiful healthy color! 

A rainbow of fresh...look at all of this beautiful healthy color! 

It is national vegetarian week and what a great time to jump start a healthy lifestyle going into summer! This time of year is perfect for eating a little lighter as the temperatures begin to heat up and of course we want to look and feel good in our summer attire and swim wear. (check out the photos and recipes of some of my favorite vegetarian dishes below!)

There are a multitude of benefits related to a mostly plant based diet rich in fiber, folic acid, vitamins C, E and magnesium. In addition to feeling better, lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of heart disease, many studies suggest that eating a vegetarian diet can improve your mood, reduce the risk of diabetes, certain types of cancer, cataracts, and even kidney stones!

Eating “Vegetarian” doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor, in fact, most dishes that do not include meat have more flavor and are very satisfying. Here are a few of my favorites! I did throw a couple of vegetarian pasta dishes in the mix, but they can be prepared with gluten-free pasta or zucchini ribbons or spirals to keep them super healthy! (click on images for recipes)

“Vegetarians” come in several varieties. The common denominator of course is that none of these vegetarian diets described below include meat.

Vegan: (total vegetarians) whose diet includes only plant based foods.

Lacto-Ovo: whose diet includes only plant based foods, but do consume eggs and dairy.

Lacto: whose diet includes only plant based foods and dairy products.

Ovo: whose diet includes only plant based foods and eggs (no dairy)

Pescatarian: whose diet includes plant based foods and fish

Pollo-Vegetarian: whose diet includes plant based foods and chicken

Partial-Vegetarian: whose diet includes plant based foods, chicken and fish

I have been a Pescatarian most of my life.  Due to my A blood type (natural vegetarian) and a very sensitive digestive system, I consume mostly plant-based foods along with fish (no more than 2-3 times per week).  My weakness is definitely carbohydrates, I love my pasta, my favorite comfort food, but should be consumed in moderation due to the glycemic index (sugar content). I will touch on this in another blog coming soon.

Join me in celebrating National Vegetarian Week by sticking with a diet rich in plant-based foods (at least 80%) and maybe a serving or 2 of your favorite fish or chicken this week, and let me know how you are feeling by week’s end! I guarantee you will have more energy, sleep better and maybe even shed a few unwanted pounds! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts and experiences, and don’t forget to share photos of the “vegetarian” dishes you enjoyed this week! Cheers...

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Why Farm to Table? 5 Good Reasons


Beyond the obvious, nouveau restaurant catch phrase, what does Farm to Table or Farm to Fork mean… really?  So, you go to your local farmer’s market on a Saturday morning, bring home some beautiful fruits and vegetables, even meats, cheeses, eggs, nuts and baked goods, then get in the kitchen and cook a little dinner with them.  Simple right?  Yes!  It is so simple and so good!  Good for you, good for the community, good for the environment and good for the economy!  This concept is nothing new but a re-connection to our roots and an attempt to minimize the distance that food travels and must be preserved before being eaten. 5 Good Reasons for Farm to Table:

It's Good For You. The health benefits of fresh local are undeniable.  Since it is not being transported from a long distance, local fruits and vegetables can be picked at the peak of ripeness, not beforehand, when they have not yet fully absorbed their nutrients, to make up for shipping time which means you are eating them at the peak of their flavor. According to the San Diego Tribune, the average produce travels 1500 miles to reach your grocery store, a large percentage of which is coming from outside of the country.

Local Community Impact.  By supporting local farmers you are supporting your own community, creating demand for labor and getting out in a fresh, healthy environment to visit, taste and enjoy!

Environmental Sustainability.  If produce travels 1500 miles at an average of about5 miles/gallon in a large transport truck, it takes 500 gallons of fuel per truck, not to mention emissions polluting our air.

Animal Welfare.  By supporting local farmers who do not practice in industrial factory farming, you are supporting animal welfare.

Economic Impact. By supporting the local farmers, you improve local economic vitality, increase labor demand, and decrease the need for a large supply chain, imports and shipping costs to the food that you are buying.    

Not only are restaurants adopting this brilliant concept, schools are offering Farm-to-Cafeteria lunches promoting healthy eating and nutrition education. Check out my list of my favorite Farm to Table restaurants across the country on Gigi’s Dish List. (click here)

Enjoy this beautiful start to fall, with healthy farm to fork foods!