The following is from the
"Vegetarian Starter Kit"
produced by the
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
(see below)

Many of us grew up with the USDA's old Basic Four food groups, first introduced in 1956. The passage of time has seen an increase in our knowledge about the importance of fiber, the health risks of cholesterol and fats, and the disease-preventive power of many nutrients found exclusively in plant-based foods. We also have discovered that the plant kingdom provides excellent sources of the nutrients once only associated with meat and dairy products -- namely, protein and calcium.

The USDA revised its recommendations with the Food Guide Pyramid, a food grouping plan that reduced the serving suggestions for animal products and vegetable fats. PCRM, determining that regular consumption of such foods -- even in lower quantities poses serious, unnecessary health risks, developed the New Four Food Groups in 1991. This no-cholesterol, low-fat plan supplies all of an average adult's daily nutritional requirements. including substantial amounts of fiber.

The major killers of Americans -- heart disease, cancer, and stroke-- have a dramatically lower incidence among people consuming primarily plant-based diets. Weight problems -- a contributor to a host of health problems -- can also be brought under control by following the New Four Food Group recommendations.

Try the New Four Food Groups and discover a healthier way to live!

3 or more servings a day

Vegetables are packed with nutrients; they provide vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, iron, calcium, fiber, and other nutrients. Dark green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens, chicory, or bok choy are especially good sources of these nutrients. Dark yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin provide extra beta-carotene. Include generous portions of a variety of vegetables in your diet. Serving size: 1 cup raw vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables.

5 or more servings a day

This group includes bread, rice, pasta, hot or cold cereal. corn, millet, barley, buglar, buckwheat groats, and tortillas. Build each of your meals around a hearty grain dish -- grains are rich in fiber and other complex carbohydrates, as well as protein, B vitamins, and zinc Serving size: 1/2 cup hot cereal, 1 ounce dry cereal, 1 slice bread

3 or more servings a day

Fruits are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and betacarotene. Be sure to include at least one serving each day of fruits that are high in vitamin C -- citrus fruits, melons, and strawberries are all good choices. Choose whole fruit over fruit juices, which do not contain very much fiber. Serving size: 1 medium piece of fruit, 1/2 cup cooked fruit, 4 ounces juice.

2 or more servings a day

Legumes -- which is another name for beans, peas, and lentils -- are all good sources of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. This group also includes chickpeas, baked and refried beans, soy milk, tempeh, and texturized vegetable protein. Serving size: 1/2 cup cooked beans, 4 ounces tofu or tempeh, 8 ounces soy milk.

Click here to find out how to receive a copy of the Vegetarian Starter Kit,
an informative booklet on the whys and hows of adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet,
or call (202) 686-2210.

Or write to:

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
5100 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.
Suite 404
Washington, D.C. 20016