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Julie is Dr. Reeder, Senior Research Analyst, Oregon Health Authority, WIC 

Are you vegetarian or vegan?

I am vegetarian because while I obviously do not eat meat, poultry or fish and I do not eat eggs, I do have dairy occasionally especially when on the road and a slice of cheese pizza or grilled cheese sandwich might be my only option.

How long have you been vegetarian/vegan?

More than 10 years.

Why did you decide to become vegetarian/vegan?

If I can do something that improves my health, and health of the environment and decreases the suffering of animals why wouldn’t I do that? It is a complete win-win for everyone. To me, it is a no-brainer.

What benefits do you receive from being a vegetarian/vegan? 

I get to eat a ton of delicious food. Often people think that being veg means eating less variety but I actually eat so many more different foods than the meat-eaters I know. Just this week I’ve made a delicious roasted bell pepper and lentil curry, authentic Mexican enchiladas with potatoes and carrots, grilled tofu steaks with chimichurri sauce and mashed root vegetables. When you can’t just grab that same old turkey sandwich every day or go through a fast food drive-thru, you automatically eat a much great variety of foods. And a ton of fiber too.

Are there any difficulties with being vegetarian/vegan?

Not really. Sometimes you’ll be stuck in a hotel or airport where choices are slim, but I always find something. Portland, Oregon where I live is very vegetarian-friendly. You wouldn’t have a social gathering here without having a veggie option.

Once you became vegetarian/vegan what there anything you missed?

What would I possibly miss? The fundamental aspects of your life are still the same, you’re just 100% plant-powered after becoming vegetarian.

What is the best advice you would give for anyone thinking about becoming vegetarian/vegan?

Give yourself the treat of a vegetarian diet. You will feel better, you may save money, you will be introduced to so many new foods, and show your love for animals. There are lots of great recipe resources out there. Check your local library for vegan cookbooks and start with just one recipe per week. You’ll be on to the next recipe in no time because you will love the food.

For additional plant-based eating information, watch the pre-recorded webinar:  “Plant-based Eating: Enhancing Health Benefits, Minimizing Nutritional Risks”.


This blog was posted by Robin Allen, a member of OneOp (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the OneOp Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebook, on Twitter, and LinkedIn.