Vegans are no longer left out; now, they too get a food pyramid to call their own. In response to the growing popularity of vegan and vegetarian lifestyles, Oldways has released a new pyramid. The pyramid is an updated version of the one created in 1997, and places more emphasis on fruits and vegetables than the original version.
Like in the traditional food pyramid, foods are broken down into categories. Whole grains have the most recommended servings (5-8), followed by vegetables (4-6) and fruits (3-4). Beans, peas, lentils and soy make up another level of the pyramid; then nuts, peanuts, seeds and peanut/nut butters. On the top levels are herbs, spices and plant oils and eggs and/or dairy. Covering up the tip of the pyramid, where dairy and eggs are located, reveals a completely vegan diet.
The old pyramid from 1997 did not place much emphasis on fresh produce. Though designed for vegetarian diets, the images of fruits and vegetables were not emphasized and limited to the sides of the illustration. Now holding the largest space on the pyramid, they demonstrate Oldways’ continued commitment to quality and whole foods.
A team of ten scientists were gathered to create the updated pyramid. After reviewing the data on plant-based diets that had been gathered over the years, they provided their recommendations on how the pyramid should be structured. Multiple variations of vegetarian diets have existed in different cultures throughout history, and the pyramid reflects the most recent iteration.
According to the Oldways website, “A plant-based diet can be an excellent source of all the necessary nutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and all nine essential amino acids) for optimum health, particularly when a wide variety of foods are eaten each day.”
Oldways says their goal is for people to use their pyramid to help start and stay on a meatless diet. From the Oldways website, “This new pyramid reflects the vast variety of delicious, healthy foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, herbs and spices that fit into a healthy eating pattern.”