SIGMT Winter 2024 Fall Issue 3

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KITCHEN FROM THE SIGNATURE MONTANA | 71 Plant-based foods are an integral part of my diet, and for good reason. ey are high in fiber, rich in vitamins and minerals, and reduce chronic inflammation. ese types of foods and their associated health benefits literally saved my life. Decades ago, while struggling with an eating disorder, I had my first experience with plant-based food. It was actually a dessert, a simple, non-dairy, peanut buer cup. is seemingly insignificant experience not only introduced me to a whole new way of eating but inspired me to pursue a culinary degree in health-supportive cuisine. Although I follow a diet rich in plant-based food, I'm not vegan (a diet that excludes any food that comes from an animal). Along with a growing number of Americans, I follow a flexitarian diet, which is more about choosing healthy options than adhering to a particular way of eating. According to a recent article in the Institute For Food Technologies, most consumers consider themselves omnivorous (53%) or flexitarian (36%). "Despite not being vegan or vegetarian, omnivores and flexitarians make up the lion's share of consumers who eat plant-based products due to sheer numbers," states Jennifer Mapes-Christ, Packaged Facts food and beverage publisher. Characteristics of a flexitarian diet include a focus on plant-based protein, an abundance of quality vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and meat on occasion (weekly, monthly, etc). Nutritional needs vary, and this is one of the reasons flexitarian eating works well for most. Pay aention to your nutritional needs and adjust your meals accordingly. And Can Change Yours Too to Kick Off the Winter Season, C H A N G E D M Y L I F E Plant Based Food W H Y Plant Based Recipes Here are a Few Delicious and Satisfying E N J O Y ! Recipes & Photography by Laura Crotty

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