Shepherd’s dietitian explains the “flexitarian diet”

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(THE PICKET)—Jennifer Miller, Shepherd University’s dietitian, offered a free class to University staff on Monday, Sept. 28. The class was designed to teach employees about ways to naturally lower cholesterol, prevent heart disease and increase intake of vitamins and minerals by using the “flexitarian diet.”

“The Flexitarian diet is not necessarily a diet, it’s more of a way of eating,” Miller said. “What that means is you are incorporating more plants into your diet and trying to cut back on meat.”

The Human Society website defines a flexitarian as someone who actively integrates meatless meals into his or her diet.

Most Americans consume more protein than they need a day and are not getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables they need, Miller said.

“Some people might give up meat one day a week, where others may give up meat every day of the week. Any of those people would be what we call a flexitarian, which is just being more flexible and not being a full-fledged vegetarian,” Miller said.

Miller said that one of the benefits of cutting back on meat and focusing on plant-based protein is getting rid of fats in your diet, specifically saturated fat, which is the fat that is bad for your heart.

“In exchange for the saturated fat, you get a lot of vitamins and minerals from whatever plant protein is that you’re eating. Some examples of plant-based proteins would be beans of any kind.”

Along with the flexitarian diet, Miller has found another way to eat less meat by participating in “Meatless Monday.”

According to the Meatless Monday website, Meatless Monday is an international movement to help people reduce their meat consumption by 15 percent to improve personal health and the health of the planet.

On average, Americans consume 8 ounces of meet per day, which is 45 percent more than the USDA recommends, according to the site.

The site says that by going meatless once a week, you can reduce your risk of colorectal, ovarian, and breast cancer as well as decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.

For more information about the flexitarian diet and other ways to improve your health, contact Jennifer Miller at 304-876-5147 or email her at jmiller@shepherd,edu.

Her office hours are Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the main floor of the dining hall.

Veggie Chili Bowl Recipe from Jennifer Miller:

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Ingredients:

2 Tbsp- Olive or vegetable oil

¾ cup- Fresh onions, chopped

½ cup- Colored peppers, chopped

1/2 tsp- Chili Powder

½ tsp- Ground cumin

1 Tbsp- Minced garlic

2 Tbsp- Brown sugar, packed

1 large can- Crushed tomatoes with juice

1 small can- Diced tomatoes with juice

2 cans- Beans of your choice, drained

½ cup- Bulgar

¼ cup- Water

Directions: Heat oil in pot. Add onions, peppers, and garlic. Saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add seasonings, brown sugar, and tomatoes. Simmer 15 minutes, uncovered. Add beans, bulgar, and water. Simmer 15 minutes, uncovered.

Nutrition Facts: 6 oz. serving. 133 calories, 6 grams protein, 25 grams carbs, 2 grams fat, 645 IU Vitamin A, 233 mg sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Hayley Butler is a staff writer for The Picket. She can be reached at hbutle01@rams.shepherd.edu or followed on Twitter @haybutler