Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Protein Sources and Our Needs 

By: Matthew Nguyen, CSUN Dietetic Intern Cohort 2022-2023 

Protein is the unsung hero of our diets – a nutrient that plays a critical role in our bodies, yet often goes overlooked. From building strong muscles and bones to regulating hormones and aiding in digestion, protein is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. But with so many conflicting opinions and fad diets out there, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to protein. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the world of protein – exploring what protein is, uncovering how much protein you should be consuming, and dispelling common myths. So, grab a fork and join us on this protein-packed journey! 

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The Power of Plants: Purslanes

By: Estefania Ramos, CSUN Dietetic Intern Cohort 2021-2022

There is an underrated green that deserves recognition for having similar properties to the highly consumed leafy greens, spinach and kale. Research shows that the common purslane contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C, and vitamin A.1,2 The power-packed leaves contain higher amounts of ascorbic acid, also known as vitamin C, than spinach leaves.3,4 A comparison study found that purslanes also have more phytochemicals than spinach and kale.3,4 Moreover, the stems and roots contain essential amino acids that aid in muscle repair, and carotenoids used for their antioxidant properties.1 The common purslane (Portulaca oleracea L.) is an herb that comes from the Portulaca family. This elongated annual, with a thin, fleshy stem is commonly found in fields and lawns.3 Furthermore, purslanes can grow in various climates and types of soil, from mud to clay.2 Purslanes grow well in vineyards, roadsides, and gardens.2,5 This vivacious succulent is a bio-accumulator that absorbs and stores minerals and other nutrients from the soil. With that being said, it is important to be cautious of where the edible weed is grown before it is consumed. The herb contains succulent-like leaves that produce small yellow or white flowers and tiny pods that store seeds to help cyclic growth.5 Do not underestimate the unique properties of the self-perpetuating herb!

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Dandelion Greens: An Urban Delicacy

By: Jason Garvin, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Image: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Move over kale, there’s a new powerhouse green in town! Kale has long been the go-to leafy green for healthy eaters, but research shows that the dandelion plant (taraxacum officinale) may pack equal amounts of nutrients.1 The sustainability and weed-like disposition of the dandelion is what makes it an intriguing option as a food source. The dandelion plant grows easily in many climates and can readily be found in urban settings.2 This is no ordinary weed though, nutrient density testing shows high levels of B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium, zinc, carotenoids, and xanthophylls.1,3 Some other greens still pack more nutrient density than the dandelion, but those plants may not grow with the same ease and likely cannot be harvested from the confines of your front yard!

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Living Healthy on a Vegetarian Diet

By Caroline Pak, DTR, CSUN Dietetic Intern

Image: Lisovskaya Natalia/Shutterstock

Individuals choose to adopt a vegetarian diet due to environmental interests, animal rights, or health concerns. Whatever the reason, vegetarians should be aware of how to customize their meals to meet their nutrient needs.

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The Sweet Facts About Sweet Potatoes

By: Talia Bondelli, DTR

Raw Sweet Potato on a Wooden Table
Image: Africa Studio/Shutterstock

What does it mean to eat the rainbow? Eating the rainbow signifies eating a variety of fruits and vegetables.1 All of the colors of fruits and vegetables have different health benefits that may reduce your risk of diseases.Sweet potatoes have a deep orange color, which is the pigment called beta-carotene.3 They are very nutritious and they are also fat free, which means they also have no saturated fat or trans-fat.4 Furthermore, they are low in calories and sodium, with about 100 calories and 70 milligrams of sodium for one medium sweet potato.4 Sweet potatoes can definitely sweeten up your life, and in a healthy way!

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Meatless Mondays

Written by Elizabeth Kaoh, M.A., CSUN Dietetic Intern

There are a plethora of health and cost benefits in switching up a few of your meals throughout the week to vegetarian dishes. Common misconceptions of vegetarian meals are that it limits you to the monotonous salad for lunch, or that going plant-based means you won’t get adequate protein. Vegetarian dishes can be hearty, delicious, and creative! Plant protein also packs a solid nutritious punch, packing in a number of essential vitamins and minerals as well as fiber and protein. Continue reading