No, WHFoods does not directly advocate a vegetarian meal plan. However, our approach to food is definitely plant food-based, and we steer clear of large portion sizes when incorporating animal foods into our recipes. Since we include seafood, dairy, and eggs in many of our meal plans, and since we also offer recipes containing grass-fed beef, grass-fed lamb, and pasture-raised chicken and turkey, our overall approach would probably best be described as "semi-vegetarian." Also, since our meal plans do not contain milk by the glass, cream, or butter—but frequently include seafood—we would also describe ourselves as leaning more toward a pesco-vegetarian approach than toward a lacto-ovo vegetarian, vegan, or omnivore approach.
Vegetarian diets are clearly associated with health benefits in research studies. In addition, they often include greater emphasis on food intake from the vegetable group. This emphasis on vegetable intake is near and dear to us at WHFoods! So why don't we directly advocate a vegetarian meal plan? Our reasons are as follows:
- We communicate with many people who simply do better on a non-vegetarian diet. They regularly consume land animal foods, and they tell us that they feel their best with routine intake of these foods. Since we are not aware of any research showing an impossibility of optimal health on a meal plan that relies on regular intake of animal foods, their experience makes sense to us.
- Depending upon a person's individual nutrient needs, we realize that a relatively strict vegetarian diet may require a level of personal commitment that is not a good fit for some people. For example, only 55% of U.S. vegetarians meet the requirement for B12, and it can be challenging to develop a relatively strict vegetarian meal plan that provides ample amounts of this nutrient. We place a high value on development of a meal plan that feels comfortable in terms time, expense, and implementation in the kitchen.
- Some people love the tastes and textures of animal foods, and they greatly look forward to preparation and enjoyment of these foods in their meal plan. We believe that the pleasure of eating delicious food is a factor that motives many people to get personally involved in their meal plan.
- Animal foods can be part of long-standing culinary, cultural, and religious traditions. Their significance to a person can go far beyond their nutrient content or their health benefits. Whatever approach to diet that a person chooses to take, we believe that it is helpful when a diet serves a meaningful role in that person's life.
More Information on Vegetarian Diets
For more information on the subject of vegetarian diets, please see our overview article "A Practical Look at Vegetarian Diets" as well as the following Q+As.
To see the research articles we reviewed in the writing of these articles, see here.