Is Chicken Broth Vegetarian? This question sparked an argument at the bridal shower of a friend mine organized in her apartment in New York City.
And the camps were split. Whilst one-third of her guests, the minority, argued in support of the idea, two-third of those present, the majority, argued passionately against it.
Their point? A vegetarian diet primarily is, after all, supposed to be a plant-based diet that is devoid of any meat or poultry, whereas Chicken broth – a soup, is derived from cooked chicken meat or bones, spices, and vegetables.
They argued that chicken broth could not be classified as vegetarian because it is derived from an animal.
As the debate raged in my friend’s house’s living room, so also have opinions been split over what actually constitutes a vegetarian diet these days.
Quintessentially, over the late decade, we have increasingly aligned our lifestyle choices to reflect our personal beliefs and ethics.
Being vegetarian within this frame of time has evolved into becoming a sort of trendy socio-political tag that points to our ethical inclinations; whether they be aligned with the animal rights movement or environmental conservation.
According to recent statistics, about 8 percent of the earth’s population is vegetarian, with the numbers set to increase as we embrace more of our social consciousness.
And although a basic vegetarian diet is supposed to be purely a plant-based diet, variations to the diet have emerged as more people subscribe to the diet tailored to meet their specific health and nutritional needs.
Vegetarian variations that are more accommodating to animal meat or products include the: Lacto- vegetarian diet, the Ovo- vegetarian diet, the Pescatarian diet, and the Flexitarian diet.
The Lacto- vegetarian diet permits dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt as part of a vegetarian diet.
The Ovo-vegetarian diet permits the inclusion of eggs alongside a plant-based diet.
The Pescatarian diet allows the inclusion of fish and seafood as the main protein source in their vegetarian diet.
The Flexitarian diet permits the consumption of meats and animal products in moderation as part of a vegetarian diet.
The flexitarian diet is flexible and perhaps lends the most credence to the inclusion of chicken broth as part of a vegetarian diet.
According to its creator, Dawn Johnson Blatner, renowned food nutritionist, and dietician, “the flexitarian diet guides you to eat more veggies while still enjoying your favorite meats.”
The diet has gained quite a number of followers and perhaps the reason for this is anchored in our desire to achieve holistic health without having to do away with some of the foods that we love.
Researchers have also found that adhering strictly to a purely plant-based could have negative health effects over a long time. It could ultimately lead to deficiencies in vital nutrients such as Iron, Calcium, Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin B12, and Zinc.
These vitamins are essential for our overall mental health, growth, and physical well- being, especially for expectant mothers.
Most health practitioners also advocate that as we step into the new year, we must tailor our diets to meet our specific health needs as we strive to achieve our health targets.
According to Dawn Blatner, “Ultimately, only you will know what makes your body feel healthy, and your mind feels satisfied.”
However, passionate vegetarian advocates would point to plant-based options, such as kale, nuts, and mushrooms, which they say provide these vitamins, but researchers have found that they are quite not as easily absorbed in our bodies compared to when taken in as meats or animal products.
A chicken broth serving provides our bodies with the essential benefits of Vitamin B12, Selenium, Zinc, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D.
Other health benefits from indulging in chicken broth include reduced inflammation, gut health, weight loss, joint health, and gelatin derived from cooked collagen and helps build up the protein in our bodies.
On long winter nights, especially when locked down at home with family, nothing could be more satisfying than servings of hot chicken broth combined with vegetables to keep us warm and help boost our immune systems.
Although the flexitarian diet is usually classified as a vegetarian most are opposed to its inclusion in this category.
Some dieticians still argue that the flexitarian diet should either be classified as a semi-vegetarian diet for its inclusion of occasional meats or should altogether be declassified from being considered a vegetarian diet.
In summary, just like the guest at my friend’s bridal shower, the jury is still out over what foods can or cannot be included as part of a vegetarian diet as trends change, and we come more to terms with what our bodies need nutritionally, rather than pursue after passing trends.
Now back to the question; Can chicken broth be classified as vegetarian?
My answer is – absolutely!