I grew up in Center City Philadelphia in the 1970s, an enclave of clog-wearing moms and bearded dads. I went to a school run by peace-loving Quakers, and even my own mother, more preppie than hippie, went through a phase of growing alfalfa sprouts on our kitchen counter. Of course I rolled my eyes at all of it, but looking back, many of the food and lifestyle choices these aging hippies espoused were spot on. Here are five ways the “me” generation got healthy living right:
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That tofu burger wasn’t the only non-meat meal I encountered growing up; odd, sesame-coated macrobiotic noodles, seaweed salad, and an oatmeal-colored dip someone told me was called “hummus,” which would later become best friend to baby carrots and afternoon snackers everywhere.
In addition to the ethics and environmental benefits of eating a vegetarian diet, studies show vegetarians weigh less and have lower risk of all major diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes. And more and more Americans are following a vegetarian or modified vegetarian diet—currently about seven million people in the US consider themselves vegetarian.