Vegan … Vegetarian what is the attraction?
There are a lot of reasons people choose to become vegetarians.
There are environmental reasons, religious convictions, health considerations, and of course, animal welfare concerns.
It may even be a budgetary requirement, perhaps you simply can’t afford to be a meat-eater.
There has never been a better time in history to shun meat and embrace vegetarianism.
Fresh, affordable produce is more than just appealing, it’s accessible.
There are more options when eating out, and many restaurants are geared entirely to vegetarians.
What’s clear from the research into vegetarian diets is that it’s a smart health decision.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re currently dealing with heart disease or you’re trying to future-proof your health, it’s a good choice.
Following a vegetarian diet properly will help you manage your BMI, lose weight, and protect against a wide range of health issues.
All of these things work hand in hand to improve heart health and prevent issues like blood pressure and cholesterol from occurring.
The key is this, following a proper vegetarian diet.
You cannot simply drop meat and choose unhealthy food items to replace them.
A healthy diet is vitally important to your overall health and wellness.
That’s something that everyone, not just vegetarians, needs to take into consideration.
There’s no point in going meatless if you exchange that protein for candy and soda.
It’s all about embracing whole grains, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and other healthy food items.
A plant-based diet is an excellent tool to improve your health, boost your energy, and protect your body.
There just so happens to be the added benefit of cost-efficiency.
If you aren’t quite ready to commit to an entirely vegetarian diet, you can increase your intake of plant-based meals and snacks.
This will help you reduce bad cholesterol levels and boost your heart health.
There’s nothing wrong with mixing meatless meals into your meal plan.
Most of the saturated fats consume come from full-fat dairy products and meat products.
Decrease that animal fat intake and you automatically (and easily) reduce your saturated fat intake.
As you reduce the animal fats, you can increase plant foods.
Going meatless doesn’t mean a boring diet, nor does it mean giving up on some of your favorite comfort foods.
You can do most family favorites meatless.
It’s easier to go meatless when you move the spotlight and shine it on the traditional side dishes.
Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, those should be the star of every meal.
They’re rich in fiber, packed with minerals, vitamins, and phytonutrients.
Half of your plate should be filled with vegetables.
Now you’re talking.
If you’re struggling to get started, then the easiest way forward is to go meatless one day a week.
It’s important to note that not only is a vegetarian diet great for your wallet, it’s also good for your waistline.
Vegetarians often consume fewer calories.
As for your bank balance, legumes as a protein are far cheaper than meat.
Per pound, meat is the most expensive protein source available.
On your meat days, you may want to consider ditching red meat and instead embrace oily fishes and skinless poultry.
If you can’t resist meat, keep your portions to 3 ounces, and always opt for the leanest option possible.
You can make it healthier by grilling or baking it.
It’s so important that you make your choices healthy ones.
It’s easy to drop meat if you decide to eat a quiche instead.
A vegetarian diet should be about making healthy decisions.
Make your life easier by stocking your pantry and refrigerator with plant-based foods.
Keep tofu, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, and beans on-hand.
You may want to plan your meals as well; this will make life a little easier if you feel tempted by unhealthy meals.
Seek out meatless meal recipes.
You might be surprised to learn just how many options are out there and how fun cooking without meat can be.
Keep meatless meals and healthy plant-based snacks handy when you’re at work and on the go, too.
Addressing Vitamin Deficiency
There are concerns about certain vitamins and nutrients that a vegetarian diet may lack.
We’re happy to address them here.
This is a vitamin that is mostly found in animal products, which includes dairy and eggs.
So, if you choose to go meatless but still embrace eggs and low-fat dairy, you’ll still get plenty.
If you have cut out all animal products, you’ll need to choose foods that are fortified with vitamin B12 or opt for a supplement.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
We typically think of fish when we discuss omega 3 fatty acids.
Fish is a great source of it, but it’s also available from nuts, soy, and oils.
So, you should still be able to get plenty of it from a healthy diet.
Most vegetarians should have no problem getting plenty of protein.
Eggs and dairy products are an excellent protein source.
If, however, you do not eat animal products at all, there are options.
Plant-based foods like lentils, nuts, peas, chickpeas, whole grains, beans are all fantastic sources of protein.
These are likely the foods that will replace meat in your diet so it’s a good like for like exchange.
Simply combine plant-based proteins at each meal to make sure you’re getting the protein and nutrients you need.
Iron & Zinc
Despite concerns, there is no evidence that vegetarians in western countries struggle to get enough iron.
In fact, it appears as though vegetarians and meat-eaters get the same amount of iron from their diets.
The difference is that the iron that comes from red meat is quickly absorbed.
You can improve your body’s ability to absorb iron with vitamin C.
Likewise, there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence that vegetarians suffer from zinc deficiencies.
Zinc is found in all of the healthy foods a vegetarian should be eating, such as whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
It’s okay if you’re not quite ready to commit yourself to a completely vegetarian diet.
Just follow the tips to get started.
You might just find that it’s much easier than you anticipated – from there, you can do anything.
Experimenting with meatless recipes is a great opportunity to get creative and see what you’re capable of in the kitchen.
Are you a Vegetarian or Vegan? We would love to hear your experiences and results please leave a comment below.