Oldways Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Pyramid
 

Many different cultures around the world, especially in Latin America, the Mediterranean, Africa, India, Japan, and China rely on vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, herbs, and spices to bring great flavors, colors, and sound nutrition to their daily meals. Health professionals encourage everyone to boost consumption of these delicious plant-based foods, and there are a lot of ways to go about doing that. 

Here’s a quick look at several popular, healthful diets that all focus on increasing the amount of plant foods you eat every day. Which plant-based diet is right for you?

  • Semi-Vegetarian or Flexitarian Includes dairy foods, eggs, and small amounts of meat, poultry, fish, and seafood. 
  • Pescatarian Includes dairy foods, eggs, fish and seafood, but no meat or poultry. 
  • Vegetarian (also known as Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian) Includes dairy foods and eggs, but no meat, poultry, fish, or seafood. 
  • Vegan Includes no animal foods.

10 Small Steps to Healthier Plant-Based Meals

Are you looking for ways to get more vegetables and other plant foods into your diet? Set small, manageable goals for yourself and ease into a healthier way of eating.

  1. Tomato Purslane Relish
    Build your breakfasts around oatmeal, whole grain cereal, or a slice of whole grain bread spread with guacamole or nut butter. Include some fresh fruit, too.
  2. Make a vegetarian meal one night a week. Include beans, whole grains, vegetables, herbs, and spices in a simple sauté or stew. Then try two nights a week, then three…
  3. Fill at least half of your dinner plate with salad greens and cooked or raw vegetables.
  4. Reach for healthy fats: Include small amounts of nuts, peanuts, nut butters, seeds, olives, avocados, and olive oil or other plant oils in your daily meals.
  5. Build a meal around salad. Fill a bowl with delicious salad greens. Add an assortment of chopped fresh or roasted vegetables, nuts, fresh herbs, beans, and sprouts and finish off with flavored vinegar or your favorite dressing.
  6. Include a side of barley, quinoa, brown rice, farro or any other whole grain with dinner. Top with a sprinkling of sesame seeds, chopped nuts, and/or chopped fresh herbs to boost the flavor.
  7. Go for the greens. Find ways to include spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collards, and other greens in daily meals. Steam or stir fry to preserve their tender flavors.
  8. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and reach for water as a beverage with meals.
  9. Eat fresh or dried fruit for dessert.
  10. Sit down with friends or family as often as possible to enjoy a meal together.

Our “Veg 101” Brochure: Welcome to the Vegetarian and Vegan Diet

If you’re new to a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet, we have the overview that will bring you up to speed quickly. This trifold brochure, available either as a downloadable PDF or in hard copy, includes the 10 simple steps above, plus more – to introduce you to Vegetarian and Vegan Diets.

Download “Welcome to the Vegetarian and Vegan Diet”

To purchase hard copies of this brochure, please visit our Oldways store.

Vegetarian Diets for Good Health

Around the world and throughout the centuries many – if not most – societies have relied heavily on plant foods, with small amounts of animal protein. While these diets grew out of a mix of available foods and cultural patterns, today many people choose a vegetarian diet for its proven health benefits.

Research shows that people following a vegetarian diet (plant foods plus eggs and dairy) or a vegan diet (plants food with no animal products) enjoy many of the following health benefits:

  •     Lower blood pressure
  •     Reduced risk for coronary heart disease
  •     Decreased risk of colon and breast cancers
  •     Lower cholesterol
  •     Less risk of diabetes

Oldways’ Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Pyramid illustrates a healthy model of vegetarian eating, incorporating foods from many traditional diets around the world. Check out our Health Studies page to learn more about the health benefits of a vegetarian diet.

Oldways’ Development of the Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Pyramid

The original Vegetarian Diet Pyramid, the fourth traditional diet pyramid released by Oldways, was presented at the 1997 International Conference on Vegetarian Diets held in Austin, Texas. In October 2013, Oldways introduced a new version of the pyramid, which for the first time includes vegan guidelines

To create this updated Vegetarian & Vegan Diet Pyramid, Oldways brought together a world-renowned scientific committee to review extensive scientific data on plant-based diets and provide recommendations. Meet our Vegetarian Scientific Advisors.