A Guest Blog by Registered Dietitian Leslie Goldstein of HealthyStepNutrition.com
Wondering what the new trend is in foods right now? Vegan, vegetarian and raw foods top the list. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports that both vegan and vegetarian diets are both nutritionally adequate when well planned, have been shown to lower body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and cancer risks.
So, what are the differences? Vegetarians avoid meat and foods that contain meats, and on occasion chicken and fish; typically they consume dairy products. Vegans avoid all animal products (fish, chicken, meat, eggs, dairy). These diets may be low in vitamin B12 and iron and doctors may recommend a supplement.
The raw food diet is a more recent trend in which a person eats mainly fruits, vegetables, beans, grains and nuts. This diet is similar to a vegan diet; however, food is not cooked at temperature greater than 115 degrees Fahrenheit. At home, a dehydrator may be used to dry out fruits and vegetables. Followers of this diet insist they have better digestion, lower weight and greater energy. Additionally, they feel more of a connection with nature. The raw food diet has it’s set backs in that it can be low in protein, although it has shown to lower cholesterol and blood glucose. In some cases it may cause extreme weight loss at too quick a rate and followers may require a vitamin B12 supplement, as well. The raw food diet is also quite difficult to follow, hard to adjust in the beginning, requires lots of planning, and a great deal of preparation cutting, chopping, straining fruits and vegetables. Most restaurants do not accommodate this way of eating, which makes it difficult to eat out. Additionally, not heating foods does not kill bacteria in the, putting a person at increased risk of infection.
You don’t need to change your eating habits, or beliefs. However, including a vegetarian day or meal into your diet may help you to reap some of the benefits such as decreased weight, cholesterol or blood pressure. If you do choose to follow a strict diet, consult a Registered Dietitian first to make sure your diet is not missing protein or nutrients.
If you choose to follow any of these trends here are some NYC restaurants to check out:
- Gobo; vegetarian, 2 locations in NYC
- Zen Palate; vegetarian, multiple locations in NYC
- Candle 79; vegan, Upper East Side
- Cinnamon Snail; a vegan truck located in Hoboken, NJ
- Blossom; multiple locations in NY
- Pure Food and Wine; raw food/vegan only
- Leslie Goldstein, RD
Leslie Goldstein is a Registered Dietitian (RD) practicing in North Bergen and Hoboken, New Jersey. Leslie is an avid exerciser who combines her nutrition knowledge and passion with motivational support in counseling to help her clients make lifestyle changes. Leslie specializes in weight management, general wellness, Diabetes, bariatric surgery, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Leslie accepts most major insurances. Telephone and/or online consults available.