Did you know that May 19-25 is National Vegetarian Week? I never knew there was such a thing, but my mom forwarded an article about it earlier today. I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly 25 years, so every week is veggie week to me! But there are lots of good reasons to replace some meats with veggie-based foods on a regular basis. Here are just a few:

1. Weight loss: if you’re trying to lose weight, try replacing meat with beans or soy-based proteins as lower fat alternatives. (“Meat-eaters have three times the obesity rate of vegetarians.”)

2. Health: Reduce your risk of lots of diseases, including heart disease and cancer. Just as an example, vegan diets have been shown to prevent and reverse heart disease.

3. Going Green: Eating greens is definitely a way to “go green”! A vegetarian diet is healthy for the environment, too. According to “Diet for a New America” by John Robbins, seven times more deforestation in the US is due to the creation of grazing land and livestock crops than to creating housing, parking lots, etc.; 85% of our topsoil losses every year can be attributed to livestock grazing; and a pound of meat takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce.

If you’re someone who has been known to ask, “Where’s the beef?” maybe all it takes is finding out how great veggie alternatives can be! I’ll share some recipes this week and I think you’ll agree that it’s pretty easy to take the Veggie Challenge!!