TIME Diet/Nutrition

10 Foods That Make You Look Younger

These foods pack the building blocks of healthy hair and skin

You can head off a lot of your most common beauty concerns simply by downing the right foods. That’s right—eating well not only does wonders for your waistline and bolsters your immune system but can also provide some very real get-gorg benefits, such as smoothing wrinkles, giving hair a glossy shine and strengthening flimsy nails. “Your diet directly affects your day-to-day appearance and plays a significant role in how well you age,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD. The smart approach, Dr. Zeichner says, is to create a plan that includes what he calls “the building blocks of healthy skin and hair”—nutrients, minerals and fatty acids—as well as antioxidants to protect your body from damaging environmental stresses. Get ready to nab some beauty-boosting perks by tossing these essential face-saving edibles into your grocery cart.

  • Coffee

    Coffee
    Getty Images

    Grabbing some java every morning doesn’t just jump-start your day—that cup of joe has bioactive compounds that may help protect your skin from melanoma (the fifth most common cancer in the U.S.), according to a recent report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Researchers found that the more coffee people downed, the less likely they were to get the disease: Those drinking four cups daily had a 20 percent lower risk of developing malignant melanoma over a 10-year period than non-coffee drinkers.

  • Watermelon

    Watermelon
    Getty Images

    The summertime fave is loaded with lycopene. “This antioxidant compound gives watermelon and tomatoes their red color—and helps skin stave off UV damage,” says nutrition pro Keri Glassman, RD, founder of NutritiousLife.com. Researchers believe that the melon contains as much as 40 percent more of the phytochemical than raw tomatoes; that’s the equivalent of an SPF 3, so use it to bolster (not replace) your daily dose of sunscreen.

  • Pomegranates

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, pomegranates, fruits
    Danny Kim for TIME

    The seeds of this wonder fruit are bursting with antioxidants, like vitamin C, that prevent fine lines, wrinkles and dryness by neutralizing the free radicals that weather skin. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that higher vitamin C intake lessened the likelihood of dryness and wrinkles in middle-aged women. Also in the fruit’s arsenal: anthocyanins (which help increase collagen production, giving skin a firmer look) and ellagic acid (a natural chemical that reduces inflammation caused by UV damage).

  • Blueberries

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, blueberries, blueberry, fruits
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Boost radiance by popping some of these plump little beauties. Blueberries supply vitamins C and E (two antioxidants that work in tandem to brighten skin, even out tone and fight off free-radical damage), as well as arubtin, “a natural derivative of the skin lightener hydroquinone,” Dr. Zeichner says.

  • Lobster

    lobster
    Getty Images

    High in zinc, shellfish has anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat a range of skin annoyances, acne included. “Zinc accelerates the renewal of skin cells,” says Whitney Bowe, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “That’s why you find the nutrient in many acne medications.” In fact, research shows that people with acne have lower levels of zinc than people with clear skin.

  • Kale

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, kale, greens, vegetables, salad
    Danny Kim for TIME

    On the long list of this leafy green‘s nutrients are vitamin K (it promotes healthy blood clotting, so the blood vessels around the eyes don’t leak and cause Walking Dead-like shadows) and loads of iron. “Insufficient levels of iron in your diet can cause your skin to look pale, making it easier to spot blood vessels under the skin,” explains Howard Murad, MD, associate clinical professor of medicine at UCLA. To max out the benefits, eat the veggie cooked, not raw.

  • Eggs

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, eggs, breakfast
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Your fingernails (toenails, too) are made of protein, so a deficiency can turn those talons soft. Keep yours thick and mani-pedi-ready by cracking smart: “Eggs are a good source of biotin, a B complex vitamin that metabolizes amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein,” says Frank Lipman, MD, director of Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in New York City.

  • Walnuts

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, walnuts
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Omega-3 fatty acids (found in the natural oils that keep your hair hydrated) and vitamin E (which helps repair damaged follicles) are two secrets behind strong, lustrous strands—and these nuts are full of both, Dr. Lipman says. All you need is 1/4 cup a day. What’s more, walnuts are packed with copper, which will help keep your natural color rich: Studies show that being deficient in the mineral may be a factor in going prematurely gray.

  • Avocado

    healthiest foods, health food, diet, nutrition, time.com stock, avocados, fruit
    Danny Kim for TIME

    Like you need another reason to love them: These rich fruits are high in oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that helps skin retain moisture in the outer layer to keep it soft, plump and supple, Dr. Bowe says.

  • Cantaloupe

    canteloupe
    Getty Images

    The sweet melon contains beta carotene, or vitamin A, which is believed to regulate the growth of skin cells on your scalp and sebum in the skin’s outer layer, Dr. Zeichner says. This keeps pores from getting clogged and causing flakes.

    This article originally appeared on Health.com

    More from Health.com:

TIME Diet/Nutrition

5 Kinds of Food-Shamers (and How to Deal With Them)

aerial-view-meal-table
Getty Images

“You’re so lucky you can eat ALL that.”

If you’ve ever had anyone walk in to your cubicle as you were inhaling a Quarter Pounder with Cheese and say, “I didn’t know anyone ate fast food anymore,” congrats: You’ve been food shamed. You should know you’re in excellent company, as it’s happened to Health staffers at previous jobs (see No. 2 and No. 4), Olympic athletes, even celebs like Heidi Klum and Demi Lovato.

“Once foods are called ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ then the people who are doing the eating are judged good and bad as well,” Pamela Peeke, MD, author of The Hunger Fix, told Health. But don’t let food bullies get under your skin: People who are made to feel embarrassed about their guilty pleasures are less likely to make future healthy choices, according to a 2015 study in the journal Appetite. Instead, fight back with this field guide to the biggest Judgy Jennies out there and how to hang on to your dignity and your more-evolved-than-theirs approach to healthy eating.

The passive-aggressive metabolism praiser: “You’re so lucky you can eat ALL that.”

On the surface, this person is praising your superhuman metabolism and digestive tract, so why do their words make you feel all queasy inside? Because she is getting her jab in, implying that you suck down food like you’re going for gold at the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest. Just remember, though, it’s not about you, it’s aboutthem. “People tend to declare more negative comments and judgements when they themselves feel less grounded in their own eating behavior,” explained Dr. Peeke, who is also an expert in food addiction and senior science advisor at Elements addiction treatment centers. “There are mixed emotions involved—envy that perhaps a more slender person can ‘get away with it’; terror and fear that the judging person will fall to temptation if overeating is going on around them.” Your best bet? Don’t engage. “Simply smile with grace and change the subject,” she advises.

The food fascist: “You can’t eat a tuna melt in this office.”

That’s what a Health senior editor was told at a fashion industry job she once had (it was orders of the boss lady). No faux flattery here; these people are straight-up with their efforts to control what everyone else consumes. Take the family member who says, “I don’t permit sweets in my house” when you come bearing a bakery box, or the diet-trend-hopping friend who announces, “I can’t have any gluten at the table,” evidently suffering from the only known case of Sudden Sight-Induced Penne Intolerance. “Women especially tend to veer toward perfectionism in their eating,” Dr. Peeke explained. This kind of rigidity, though, “sets people up for disordered eating.” And it can be contagious. So why not be conveniently busy the next time a dinner-out invite comes from your super-obsessive friend?

The snack obituary writer: “Whoa, I didn’t know they still make double-stuff oreos.”

In a golly-gee tone, this trickster feigns shock that your occasional treats are actually on store shelves in America in 2015. Really—if they find you eating a donut, it’s like you were caught smoking opium and must have some overseas connection to secure your illicit goods. Hold your head high and enjoy your occasional Ring Ding, Dr. Peeke advised. In fact, she recommends following a reasonable 80/20 rule: “Nourish yourself with delicious whole foods 80 percent of the time and leave room for treats 20 percent of the time. This way you have breathing room to just be human.”

The mean minimalist: “You’re eating…Chipotle.”

They present, as fact, your lunch choice. It’s as if there’s no need for commentary; the simple statement about what is on your plate is damning enough. One Health.com editor was subjected to this understated put-down at a previous job. “I felt ashamed of my choices and I never got it again for lunch,” she recalls. “But how is it their business? They don’t know what I eat at home.” If you’re always having to defend your Taco Tuesday, Dr. Peeke added, “limit your time together because it’s just plain too toxic to hang out with people like that.”

The salad slammer: “Look at you with your teeny kale salad again.”

This is the reverse food diss, in which you feel criticized for happening to like green juice, salmon over greens, and a teeming quinoa bowl. The implication is that you’re showing off, or trying to make friends and colleagues feel bad about their lunches (you aren’t, right?). Nobody should feel self-conscious breaking out their lentil-tofu bake. So why the snide comments? “When someone is the outlier and practicing a healthier lifestyle choice, it will make people who are not uncomfortable,” Dr. Peeke said. “My advice is to smile and say, ‘I’m feeling great and enjoying my meal. I hope the same for you.’”

Just try not to say it through a snarl.

This article originally appeared on Health.com

More from Health.com:

TIME Diet/Nutrition

The 7 Best Food Combinations for Weight Loss

Bowl of black and kidney bean salad
Getty Images

Try corn and beans

Would you pay top dollar for a comedy performance by…Peele? Or expect a great film from a singular Coen brother? Or rock to the sounds of just one of those robots from Daft Punk?

There’s a reason why people love the music of the Stones more than either Jagger or Richards: amazing things happen when two great collaborators work in tandem to create magic. That’s true in art, and it’s just as true in nutrition. More and more research confirms what great chefs and home cooks have always known: Foods weren’t meant to be eaten alone. They’re meant to work in partnership, each bringing its own set of unique flavors (and nutrients) to create the perfect weight-loss meal.

Case in point: Last month, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that salads were more nutritionally potent if you added eggs to them. The reason is that the eggs made it easier for your body to absorb carotenoids, the pigments that give veggies their color—and help you fight weight gain. Here are 8 other ideal collaborators, each bringing its own unique nutritional talents to help keep you slim.

Weight-Loss Combo #7

Tuna + Ginger

Want to look better on the beach? Look no further than the ocean—or at least the oceanside sushi joint. Pairing a tuna roll, or a few pieces of tuna sashimi, with ginger may help your waistline. The ginger accelerates gastric emptying, which helps diminish that bloated look rapidly, and it also blocks several genes and enzymes in the body that promote bloat-causing inflammation. Tuna’s role here is critical, too; it’s a primo source of docosahexaenoic acid, a type of omega-3 fat that can ward off stress chemicals that promote flab storage and down-regulate fat genes in the stomach, stopping belly fat cells from growing larger.

Make a Power Combo: Place the ginger atop your brown rice sushi—but lay off the soy sauce. A single tablespoon has more than 1,000 mg of belly-bloating sodium, more than a Big Mac!

Weight-Loss Combo #6

Spinach + Avocado Oil

If you’re tiring of your usual go-to spinach-and-olive-oil salad, mix things up with avocado oil. Made from pressed avocados, it’s rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats that may help improve cholesterol and ward off hunger. It also contains vitamins B and E and bloat-banishing potassium. Meanwhile, the high-volume, low-calorie spinach will fill you up without filling you out. And studies show that women who eat foods with high water content, such as leafy greens, have lower BMIs and smaller waistlines than those who don’t. Go green to get lean.

Make a Power Combo: Sauté a cup of spinach in a tablespoon of olive oil for a quick, easy and filling side dish. Avocado oil also works well drizzled over whole-wheat breads, fish and homemade pizzas.

Weight-Loss Combo #5

Corn + Beans

While eating “a musical fruit” may not sound like the best way to lose weight or reduce bloat, hear us out. A calorie-restricted diet that includes four weekly servings of protein- and fiber-rich legumes has been proven to aid weight loss more effectively than a diet that doesn’t include beans, according to Spanish researchers. And pairing beans with corn can help boost the slimming effect. Corn—like bananas and cold pasta—contains resistant starch, a carb that dodges digestion. In turn, the body isn’t able to absorb as many of its calories or glucose, a nutrient that’s stored as fat if it’s not burned off. Music to our ears.

Make a Power Combo: Make a quick and easy corn and bean side dish. Combine cans of corn (free of both salt and BPA) and beans in a saucepan and warm over medium heat. Season with ground pepper and cilantro. Add the mixture to greens for a waist-trimming salad, use it as a flavorful topper for grilled chicken, or load the mixture into a toasted whole-grain pita pocket for a quick, on-the-go lunch.

Weight-Loss Combo #4

Honeydew + Red Grapes

Fight fat and banish bloating with a fruit salad comprised of honeydew and red grapes. Melon is a natural diuretic, so it helps fight the water retention responsible for making you look puffy even if you have a toned stomach. Red grapes add fuel to the better-belly fire because they contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin that helps calm the action of fat-storage genes. This dynamic duo makes for a delicious, healthy dessert, perfect for summer.

Make a Power Combo: Throw both into a fruit salad—and add some other red fruits. They pack the most phytonutrients, according to research.

Weight-Loss Combo #3

Cayenne + Chicken

You feel like chicken tonight? Good for you: Protein-rich foods like poultry not only boost satiety, but also help people eat less at subsequent meals, according to research. And adding cayenne pepper fires up your fat burn. A compound in the pepper, called capsaicin, has proven to suppress appetite and boost the body’s ability to convert food to energy. Daily consumption of capsaicin speeds up abdominal fat loss, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found.

Make a Power Combo: Just one gram of red pepper (about 1/2 a teaspoon) can help manage appetite and increase calorie burn after a meal, according to a study by Purdue University researchers. So go beyond chicken and season grilled fish, meats and eggs with a pinch of red chili pepper.

Weight-Loss Combo #2

Potatoes + Pepper

Thanks to the low-carb craze, white potatoes have been unfairly blacklisted. A second look at the science reveals the spuds can actually help you lose weight. Australian researchers found that potatoes are actually more filling than fiber-rich brown rice and oatmeal—and they’re a good source of bloat-banishing potassium. Just be sure to skip the butter in favor of pepper. Piperine, the powerful compound that gives black pepper its taste, may interfere with the formation of new fat cells—a reaction known as adipogenesis.

Make a Power Combo: Enjoy half a baked potato with a bit olive oil and fresh pepper—and not just as a side dish. It can be a snack, too.

Weight-Loss Combo #1

Coffee + Cinnamon

Next time you’re in a Starbucks, ward off diet-derailing hunger by adding cinnamon to your coffee. Cinnamon is flavorful, practically calorie-free and contains powerful antioxidants that are proven to reduce the accumulation of belly flab. Pair that with an appetite-suppressing cup of caffeine, and you’re losing weight first thing in the morning.

Make a Power Combo: If you’re making coffee at home, add cinnamon right into your brew-pot with the grinds for an even better taste.

This article originally appeared on Eat This, Not That!

More from Eat This, Not That!

TIME KFC

Check Out KFC’s Latest Menu Item: The ‘Chizza’

KFC To Stop Using Trans Fats
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Here’s how to improve the lowly pizza

How can the pizza be perfected? Ditch the dough crust and go with chicken instead.

At least that’s the plan that KFC is tinkering with in the Philippines, where the restaurant chain earlier this month has debuted a chicken dish that also serves as the base for a pizza of sorts.

What’s the business rationale for such dishes? Well, they often generate a ton of media buzz, as well as adulation and horror on social media among diners that can’t wait to try the new dish or those that are horrified by the concept.

KFC owner Yum Brands, which also owns the Taco Bell and Pizza Hut chains, has also established a reputation for delivering hybrid food offerings. Last month, for example, Pizza Hut debuted a pizza with a pigs-in-a-blanket crust. Taco Bell has experimented Doritos-flavored shells, though as Bloomberg as pointed out, the sales jolt from that innovation has since ebbed. That’s because many of these wacky food innovations only generate short-term buzz and are rarely long term, sustainable hits.

But whatever KFC is doing, it is working. During fiscal 2014, total system sales leapt 6% while operating profit was up 13%. Those figures outperformed Yum’s Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions.

Here’s the tweet announcing the menu item:

TIME food industry

Restaurants Get an Extra Year to Put Calories On Menus

Ann Hermes
Ann Hermes—AP

The new deadline is Dec. 1, 2016

The Food and Drug Administration has pushed back its deadline for restaurants to display calorie counts.

The Associated Press reported that the deadline has been pushed back from Dec. 1, 2015 to Dec. 1, 2016. Why? Because restaurants and retailers said they didn’t have enough time to comply with the rule.

Although restaurants have more time to comply with the rule, the agency said eating establishments are busy training workers and installing menus across the country. The rule dictates that places that prepare food with over 20 locations must “clearly and conspicuously” post the calories of their products.

In addition, the menus must say that calories are based on a 2000-calorie diet, while other nutritional information should be available to a customer on request.

The move comes amid a push in recent years by U.S. consumers for healthier food options. Fortune’s Beth Kowitt wrote about how big food companies are transitioning to offering less processed and more natural items to buyers.

TIME Food

These Vintage Ice Cream Photos Will Make Your Mouth Water

They all scream for ice cream

Brain freezes, sticky fingers and sugar rushes—oh, the sacrifices an ice cream addict makes for her dessert of choice. Though the treat has origins overseas, it is such a fixture of summertime in America that in 1984, President Ronald Reagan (also a connoisseur of jelly beans) declared July National Ice Cream Month. In his proclamation, Reagan called ice cream “a nutritious and wholesome food” and summoned Americans “to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities.”

And so it was decreed: Eating ice cream—at least for one month out of 12—is not only an American pastime, but an American duty.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter @lizabethronk.

TIME Bizarre

This Guy Just Made a Playable Vinyl Record Out of a Tortilla. And It Sounds Terrible

Don't throw away your iPod just yet

After a joke video of a tortilla spinning on a record player to the Jarabe Tapatio (aka The Mexican Hat Dance) went viral a few months ago, YouTube user Rapture Records decided he could do one better.

So he got himself an uncooked tortilla and a laser cutter and made a playable, albeit shaky, vinyl record.

“I was already familiar with laser cutting records at 78 rpm on acrylic for use in gramophones,” he wrote in a Reddit post. “I decided to see if I could make it work on an actual tortilla.”

Rapture Records says uncooked tortillas work the best, “since they are the flattest” and it takes about half an hour to make a 7” record that lasts around 30 seconds.

As well as the Jarabe Tapatio, he’s made tortilla records that play other tortilla-related songs, including the Macarena, Yakko’s World and Puttin’ on the Ritz by Taco.

And quite possible the best part about this project: “They are edible,” he says. “Just taste rather burnt.”

TIME Fast Food

We Tried Shake Shack’s New Chicken Sandwich

Shake Shack ChickenShack
Shake Shack Shake Shack ChickenShack

Here's what we thought of it

In a move sure to shake up the sandwich world, recently-public burger chain Shake Shack, owned by famed restauranteur Danny Meyer, announced Tuesday that its three Brooklyn locations would for a limited time offer the ChickenShack, a fried chicken sandwich clearly designed to take on the current kings of the cutlet, Chick-Fil-A.

I happen to live in Brooklyn, and the Flatbush Avenue Shake Shack — which went up recently, likely in a bid to get business from hungry basketball fans and concert-goers from the Barclays Center right across the street — is very near my apartment. So, I headed down, handed over my credit card and dug in.

The verdict? This thing is pretty good.

The chicken is juicy, with a crust the flakes off in crunchy, greasy pieces — just the way you want a good piece of fried chicken to do. The bun is the standard potato roll upon which the Shack’s famous burgers arrive — nothing fancy, but it gets the job done and provides a soft, cushy vessel for your piece of fried fowl.

The things I do for journalism…

A photo posted by Ben Geier (@ben_geier1) on

What really sets the ChickenShack apart, though, is the spread. The sandwich comes with an herbed mayo that provides just the right amount of “foodie” class to make you forget you’re eating at a fast food joint — something Meyer and company are clearly going for with their nearly $7 offering.

Some Twitter users gazing upon my photo of the ChickenShack were suspicious about the mayo levels here, and they weren’t entirely wrong. It was a pretty wet sandwich, with the spread sopping into the bun and resulting in some structural integrity issues. But the flavor kind of made up for that, and I didn’t care as much about the excess sauce as I would have it had been straight mayo.

Of course, the question is going to be whether or not this sandwich can hold a candle to Chick-Fil-A’s famous crispy chicken sandwich. First, a disclaimer: I haven’t eaten at Chick-fil-A in a few years. The CEO’s stance on marriage equality has largely kept me away, no matter how delicious the food is. Plus, there isn’t a full-service Chick-Fil-A in New York — at least not yet — so it wasn’t like I was tempted. From what I remember, though, Shake Shack’s attempt is at least on par with its rivals. The chicken at ShakeShack was a bit crispier, which is, to me, essential.

Chick-fil-A does have one thing on Shake Shack, though — its waffle fries, which are much better than the crinkle cuts Shake Shack offers (I’ve long thought that fries are ShakeShack’s Achilles Heel, but that’s another issue.)

So, here’s the TL;DR: If you live in or near Brooklyn, you should give this sandwich a shot. If you don’t, just hope it’ll arrive at a Shake Shack near you sometime soon.

TIME Fast Food

Shake Shack’s Chicken Sandwich Is Real and it Looks Spectacular

Shake Shack ChickenShack
Shake Shack Shake Shack ChickenShack

But you can only get it at these locations

Chik-Fil-A and KFC, hunker down. Shake Shack is releasing a limited run of chicken sandwiches in its three Brooklyn locations starting Tuesday.

The ChickenShack, which costs $6.29, includes crispy all-natural chicken, lettuce, pickles and buttermilk herb mayo. It’s the first chicken sandwich offered by the trendy burger chain–but probably not the last.

The experimental new offering could be an attempt by Shake Shack to spice up more than its menu. The company’s stock is down about 43% after popping more than 120% on its first day of trading on public markets in January. On a more local level, Shake Shack is also facing competition from Momofuku founder David Chang, who recently opened a fried chicken sandwich restaurant in New York City.

TIME Food

What Meat Eaters Get Wrong About Vegetarians

Getty Images

David Wolpe is the Max Webb Senior Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.

We're not all self-righteous

I was 20 years old and working on a political campaign when I first visited a slaughterhouse. There I saw dead chickens swinging like pale acrobats on a conveyor belt suspended over a vat, and I met a man who called himself, with only a hint of irony, a “goop scooper.” I walked out with the vague idea that I might become a vegetarian one day.

Years later, I stopped eating meat and chicken. On rare occasions, I still have fish, but that grows increasingly less common as the years go by. I am not a vegetable evangelist; I happily coexist with carnivorous members of my family and have friends who worship at the shrine of cooked cow. But permit me to dispense with three myths about vegetarians on behalf of those who, like me, favor beans over beef.

1. Vegetarians are self-righteous. Friends, self-righteousness is a universal quality. Whatever habits people hold dear, they tend to discuss in moral terms. So yes, some vegetarians slide into self-righteousness, but have you ever heard hunters defend their hobby? Or meat eaters talk about the design of the human body, digestive system, and manifest evolutionary advantages? I have had people tell me they cannot be vegetarians because they are “foodies” with the same pride as if announcing they are relief workers in the Congo.

Self-righteousness is more a personality trait than an accompaniment of a political or social position. And sometimes the very accusation is a species of the same malady: “Oh, she is SO self-righteous; I can’t STAND people who are like that. It’s just wrong.” Well yes, it is.

2. Vegetarians are sickly. Yes, I have met sickly vegetarians. But you can be just as healthy on a vegetarian diet as on any other. Someone dear to me told me that when she became a vegetarian, her father, a doctor, said she would be dead in a year. Decades later, his prediction is looking increasingly dubious.

I won’t go on a rant about meat additives, pesticides, disputes about “organic,” and the endless rabbit hole of diet and nutrition advice. But please, let’s not assume that all vegetarians are sick any more than we should assume that all meat eaters are healthy. In a country where obesity is a major health threat, large, heaping plates of broccoli are not the principal culprit.

3. Vegetarian food is tasteless. OK, maybe you don’t like tofu (I do, and it can be prepared in almost endless ways). But good vegetarian or vegan cooking is wonderful, just like good cooking of all types. There are now excellent vegetarian restaurants all across the country where you can test the truth of that statement. And there are vegetarian options in most other restaurants, too. After all, penne arrabiata and bean tacos are vegetarian. Taste in food, as in anything else, adjusts over time, and we come to appreciate nuances in food just as we do in music.

This is not a summer manifesto for change. I do not expect that suddenly Homer Simpson will be tossing seitan steaks on his barbecue. But the cruelty with which most animals are bred, and the resources meat demands from the earth are genuine issues and shouldn’t be simply dismissed. At the very least, let’s concede that vegetarianism is a worthy and thoughtful option and raise a glass (wine = grapes = fruit, after all) to the majesty of plants. Or as a friend of mine puts it, here’s to feeding on things without faces.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com