Should you be a flexitarian?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flexitarian/MY00750
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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Feb. 22, 2011
Should you be a flexitarian?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
The recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans urge Americans to eat a plant-based diet. Plant-based diets have many health benefits. With their emphasis on fruits and vegetables, grains, beans and legumes and nuts, this way of eating is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients.
Does this mean you have to become a vegetarian? Not necessarily, though, people who follow a vegetarian diet generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less and have lower cholesterol levels than do nonvegetarians.
You can still eat meat, poultry and fish in moderation as part of a plant-based diet if you're willing to be flexible. Indeed, many people who eat this way call themselves flexitarians. Want to give it a try? It could be just the jump start you need to begin eating healthier.
Start by going meatless one or two days a week. On those days, try the following protein-rich foods instead of meat:
- Beans and legumes — great in casseroles and salads
- Vegetarian refried beans — good substitute for meat in burritos and tacos
- Tofu — perfect addition to stir-fry dishes
Plan menus that feature entrees you like and that are typically meatless, such as veggie lasagna, minestrone soup and pasta salad. If you need a snack, try a handful of nuts and some fresh fruit.
Do you have other suggestions for ways to transition to a more plant-based diet? Have you made the transition to a flexitarian or vegetarian diet? Please share your experiences.blog index
- Dietary Guidelines 2010. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-PolicyDocument.htm. Accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
- Key TJ, et al. Health effects of vegetarian and vegan diets. Proc Nutr Soc. 2006 Feb;65(1):35-41.