The Vegetarian Diet can help you achieve a variety of health-related goals including weight loss, cardiovascular benefits, diabetes control and diabetes management. The basic idea behind the diet is eliminating meats and adapting a Vegetarian lifestyle. This can be difficult for people who are used to eating meat on a regular basis, but the benefits can definitely be worth it.
Before beginning the diet, you’ll need to decide which type of Vegetarian you would like to be. Some Vegetarians eat dairy products, while others eliminate all animal byproducts from their diets. If you opt to include dairy products, the government’s 2010 dietary guidelines can help you determine where your calories should come from and how many you should consume.
So you may be wondering what types of foods you can eat on the Vegetarian Diet. Here is a list of common foods that people enjoy:
- Whole wheat breads
- Veggie burgers
Going meatless sounds difficult to most people who are used to consuming a steady diet of protein, however finding tasty ways to get the nutrients you need really isn’t that difficult. Vegetarians enjoy the benefits of diets that are lower in fat and sodium (learn how much sodium per day is healthy) than traditional dieters. Many people find it easier to control their glucose intakes on Vegetarian Diets as well.
Weight Loss And The Vegetarian Diet
Another benefit of the diet is weight loss. Many people to take part in a Vegetarian Diet find themselves losing weight due to a decrease in calorie consumption. Finding low calorie food options is much easier once meat is eliminated from the diet. Also, fruits and vegetables tend to fill you up quicker than meat, leading to a fuller feeling with fewer calories. Eating less than your daily calorie allotment will lead to weight loss(how many calories does a person burn in a day?). Add in a little bit of exercise and you have a recipe for shedding pounds. Visit our how many calories to lose weight page to learn more about burning calories and losing weight.
Control The Types Of Food You Eat
You can control your own weight loss by eating less calories and exercising more(like for example: swimming for weight loss). The Vegetarian Diet is very easy to tailor to your own needs. It’s important to note that while foods like french fries or donuts are technically Vegetarian, eating too many of those types of foods will not lead to weight loss or health improvements. Like with any diet, the types of foods you eat will significantly effect the outcome of the diet.
Best of all, the Vegetarian Diet is risk-free. There are no known health risks associated with being a Vegetarian and in fact, many dieters notice improvements in their overall health, particularly in their cardiovascular and diabetic health. The Vegetarian Diet is meant to be a lifestyle change, rather than a temporary solution how to lose weight.
High Protein Vegetarian Diet
Many people think that a vegetarian diet can’t be high in protein. They falsely believe that a vegetarian diet is similar to a raw food diet, when in fact it’s quite different. There are many ways you can tweak a vegetarian diet to suit your needs, and going high protein is just one of those ways.
Don’t Limit Yourself To Only Eating Tofu
Just because vegetarians don’t eat meat it doesn’t mean they are limited to tofu as a protein source. Beans, nuts, eggs and cheese are all great sources of protein. Not only are vegetarian protein sources meat-free, they are also high in essential amino acids, low in fat and high in antioxidants.
60-100 Grams Of Protein A Day
It’s entirely possible to eat 60-100 grams of protein per day on a high protein vegetarian diet. If you choose this type of eating regimen, you can expect to feel more energized, more focused and have a decreased appetite at the same time. A meat-free diet can also lower the risks of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and certain types of cancer.
Length Of Your Diet
The length of time you spend on your high protein diet will vary depending on your own nutritional needs. Some people prefer to only go on a vegetarian diet for a short length of time while they undergo a medical procedure or try to lose weight. Others stick to the diet for their entire lives. How long you participate will be up to you.
Switching Between Diets
When you change from your regular diet to the high protein vegetarian diet, you should make the switch gradually. This will reduce side effects, such as stomach cramps and excess gas. If you consume a regular diet of meat, you should slowly cut out different types of meat, one at a time to make the change. Supplementing your diet with a high-quality multivitamin can also help with the change.
While you’re on the high protein vegetarian diet (like the first phase of the Dukan Diet), you should strive for food diversity. Look for different protein sources and try various preparation techniques to get the greatest variety. Keeping things new and exciting will help you stay interested in the diet, which will lead to a higher success rate.
Meat-free Days Instead Of Totally Meat-Free
If you don’t want to go entirely vegetarian, you can try having a meat-free day once a week and working your way up from there until you reach a balance that results in you feeling satisfied while still seeing the health benefits you want. In general, almost everyone can benefit from incorporating one meat-free, high-protein vegetarian day into their weekly meal plans.
Vegetarian Diet Foods List
When you think of vegetarian, the first thing you probably think of is salad. Most people envision vegetarian diets as being similar to the raw food diet. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, vegetarians enjoy a huge variety of foods and dishes, and the diet is really nonrestrictive compared to other popular diet plans.
The Banned Foods
The only food that is banned is meat. Red meat, poultry and pork are all on the no-no list for vegetarians. Some people choose to stop eating meat for health reasons, while others focus on the moral side of meat consumption. Whatever your reasons are, the vegetarian diet can make a positive impact on your life and your health.
Which Foods You CAN Eat
Rather than focusing on the foods you can’t eat, lets take a look at some of the things you can eat. Read on to discover some of the delicious options the vegetarian diet holds in store for you:
- Pasta – Pasta is a meat-free food and vegetarians frequently use the pantry staple to bulk-up their meals and add vital nutrients. Try choosing a whole wheat pasta for the greatest nutritional bang for your buck. Adding sautéed vegetables, beans, tofu or other additions is a great way to dress pasta up and turn it into a well-balanced vegetarian meal (an example of a well-balanced weight loss diet is The Zone Diet).
- Vegetables – Popular carb-restriction diets put many vegetables on the do-not-eat list, but the vegetarian diet gives you access to all of nature’s delicious and unique varieties. Thanks to modern supermarkets, you’ll have access to a wealth of options all year round. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and discovering new vegetables to try.
- Fruits – Fruits are nature’s answer to the sweet tooth. They are full of unrefined sugars and they take the edge off of sugar cravings almost instantly. Instead of eating your fruit the way you normally do – raw and whole – try adding some to a salad or using it in a pureed form for a sauce or marinade. Grilled fruit is also delicious and completely acceptable in a vegetarian diet. You can also use juice as your drinks (as in a the juicing diet and juicing for weight loss is considered a healthy choice).
- Dairy products – Vegetarians do not restrict their dairy products like vegans do. Milk, butter, cheese and eggs are all fair game and they are all great sources of protein as well. Dairy products not only add protein to your diet, they also make food more appealing and more flavorful.
- Beans – Beans are a great way to get some much-needed protein in any vegetarian’s diet. There are tons of different types of beans on the market and thanks to the recent surge in vegetarians throughout the world, there are more bean recipes available than ever before. Beans are also high in fiber, which is great for your digestive system.
- Meat substitutes – If you just can’t shake that craving for a juicy hamburger, fear not. There are tons of meat substitutes on the market, so vegetarians don’t have to give up their beloved burgers or hot dogs. Many of the substitutes taste just like the real products, so you’ll never have to feel deprived of your favorite foods.
The vegetarian diet is very relaxed compared to other types of diets. Dieters are free to explore the different options available to create their own meal plans that are tailored towards their likes and dislikes. Going meat-free isn’t a sacrifice, it’s a food adventure.
Going meatless and becoming a vegetarian has several benefits, not all of which are strictly dietary. The change in eating habits can spark a whole host of changes within your mind, body and spirit. Becoming a vegetarian is a journey and a change of lifestyle, not simply a short-term diet.
Health Benefits Of A Vegetarian Diet
Vegetarians don’t eat meat. This results in several health benefits, including a reduction in weight, a boost in energy and reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer. The health benefits of a vegetarian diet have been well-documented to the point that even meat eaters are encouraged to forego meat one day a week.
The reason vegetarians experience such numerous health benefits is because the vegetarian diet is also low in fat. Most meats contain fat and since vegetarians don’t eat meat, they eliminate a huge source of fats from their diets. Fats in a vegetarian diet usually come from dairy products and food preparation styles using oil or butter.
In addition to the health benefits, vegetarians also have the added benefit of feeling good about their dietary choices. Many vegetarians choose the lifestyle because of their distaste for the way that commercial meat animals are raised and slaughtered. Awareness of farm conditions has led to a surge of young adults that are choosing to pass on the meat to appease their waistlines as well as their consciences.
If you do decide to go vegetarian, you can expect a small adjustment period. You may experience excess gas or even constipation when you make the change. Stomach cramps are also normal. This is because your body is actually getting rid of the excess fat and toxins accumulated from meat sources, some of which may be contaminated with growth hormones and other products used in the farming industry.
Exposure To Pesticides
Vegetarians are still susceptible to exposure to pesticides that farmers use on their crops. You can limit your exposure by buying organic produce or growing your own in your backyard. If you choose to grow your own produce or raise your own chickens, you will also enjoy a huge reduction in your weekly grocery bill!
Lots Of Reasons To Go Vegetarian
Going vegetarian makes sense from financial, moral and health perspectives. With all of the benefits of foregoing meat, it’s worth it to try to eliminate it from your diet at least once per week. The move towards healthier lifestyles and a more conscious consumer is showing people the benefits of becoming vegetarians and in turn the lifestyle choice has surged in popularity.