Magazine article Vegetarian Times

The Pyramids Go Veg

Magazine article Vegetarian Times

The Pyramids Go Veg

Article excerpt

DESPITE THE constant barrage of evidence linking vegetarianism to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, a decreased incidence of obesity and improved heart health, turning the meat and potatoes set onto a plant-based diet is no small feat. But this past November it got a little easier when the Oldways Preservation & Exchange Trust unveiled its new Vegetarian Diet Pyramid at the International Conference on Vegetarian Diets, held in Austin, Texas, and sponsored in part by Vegetarian Times.

Oldways is a Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization devoted to the promotion of healthy, environmentally sustainable and multicultural foods. The organization also is behind the development and introduction of the Asian, Mediterranean and Latin American Pyramids.

Unlike the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Guide Pyramid, which promotes meat, fish and poultry as primary sources of protein and lists servings-per-day requirements, this pyramid promotes protein from soy, legumes, dairy, nuts and seeds and tosses out the notion of daily servings per category. "[Cornering] people doesn't work....We try to say have fun, think about what you want and use common sense," says K. Dun Gifford, Oldways' founder and president. "If you want to be healthy, eat like a healthy person-people respond so strongly to that message."

Other notable differences in the vegetarian pyramid are its emphasis on daily physical activity and the inclusion of alcohol. While the alcohol issue may be a point of contention for some, Gifford shrugs it off, "Some people like to have a beer with dinner. Let them have a beer with dinner. …

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