One of 10 review questions I’ve been working on this week for my Whole Food Nutrition class  .. as I prep for my final exam & webcam review with my instructor  (I’m slightly nervous!).  

Throughout the world .. omnivores are by far the majority.  This way of eating is defined by Webster as “eats both plants and animals” .. though he should probably add a ps: this includes every known whole food & there aren’t any specific ratios attached to the is most general of titles

It’s not terribly hard to fall under this enormous umbrella.  At one end of the spectrum are those that have some meat at every sitting .. at the other end are those that follow a more “flexitarian” diet & consume it rarely.  There’s even a home here for those that forgo it altogether and only eat animal products like eggs & dairy

If you’re an omnivore who follows a pretty balanced diet .. with whole foods from all of the major food groups .. you’ve got a pretty good shot of getting in all of your essential nutrients

Moving on .. let’s talk about the Vegetarians we know & love.  They’re actually quite rare .. making up only 10% of the world’s population and .. you guessed it .. they don’t eat meat.   I’ve always assumed it was that cut & dry .. Not so much.

An ovo-vegetarian will eat eggs .. but no dairy.  Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy .. but no eggs.  Ovo-lacto-vegarians .. eat both eggs & milk products.  Then there are the semi-vegetarians who you might see at the meat counter buying fish or poultry (or sometimes other meat) .. but infrequently.   Pescatarians eat fish & seafood .

At the furthest end of the spectrum are Vegans (or total vegetarians).  Their meals consist only of foods that originated as a plant .. and often forgo anything that’s come from animal.  Included are milk products .. eggs .. honey .. and gelatin (which comes from bones & other animal tissue).

A few noteworthy categories:  Raw foodies .. eat mostly raw fruits & veggies .. legumes .. sprouts .. and nuts.  Fruitarians .. whose kitchens are filled with fruits .. nuts & seeds .. along with other plant-based foods.

There are lots of reasons people choose a Vegetarian or Vegan lifestyle .. most often cited are political .. spiritual .. or financial.  In many circles .. it’s also considered a healthier way to eat.

While everyone has their own take on “healthy” .. one woman offers her humble opinion.  The simple act of eliminating meat from one’s diet doesn’t equate (on it’s own) to healthier eating.  I’ve been surprised by the number of voices in Vegetarian & Vegan spaces (blogs, cookbooks, etc ..) that are offering as healthy alternatives .. recipes loaded with sugar .. heavily processed .. and refined foods.  It’s really no different than those of the mainstream .. there just aren’t animal products involved

With a busy week on tap for both of us .. over the weekend .. The Chef made sure we were stocked with protein .. and I love him extra for it.  His marinated grilled chicken (both versions) .. turned into all sorts of wonderful by the time he was finished

Half he grilled .. as he would any other chicken breast.  The other half were cut into strips .. which were then skewered amongst colorful bell peppers .. Granny Smith apples, and bok choy.   They were then basted with a glaze of hoisin & dark soy sauce .. as they cooked on the grill

Balsamic vinegar .. garlic .. and simple seasonings gave the chicken breasts fabulous flavor.   They were moist .. juicy .. the flavor of the marinade a perfect blend of tanginess with a hint of sweet.  Warmed up & added to a salad with lots of veggies .. it’s made for many quick & easy meals.

Not to mention the chicken with the dark .. rich glaze!  I liked it so much .. I’ve been requesting he add it to pretty much everything that heads to the backyard on a plate .