How to become a part-time vegan

If taking on a plant-based diet is not for you, consider reaping the benefits part-time.

Black rice and edamame salad.Photo, John Cullen.

Black rice and edamame salad.Photo, John Cullen.

Dare to go vegetarian this summer and you may enjoy a much needed energy boost. Increasingly, there is evidence to suggest that a diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains and pulses can offer significant health benefits. Recent studies suggest vegetarian and vegan diets are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, to mention a few.

And while there are a host of both practical and ethical reasons to support making the leap from a carnivore’s diet to a plant-based plan, it’s not for everyone. Still, you can do your part and reap the nutritional benefits by making small, incremental changes to your eating.

NYTimes food writer Mark Bittman, for example, has come out in support of the part-time vegan diet. He doesn’t eat animal proteins for breakfast or lunch but saves them for dinner, a choice he wrote about in his book VB6 (Vegan Before 6).

There are some concerns to keep in mind when you reduce animal products from your diet, however. In particular, you need to ensure that you’re getting sufficient protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B12. Make sure that your new meal plan includes foods rich with those vitamins and minerals throughout the week.