Vegetarian diets have proven to be powerful weight loss tools and a way to reduce our impact on the environment. A vegetarian diet plan does not include any meat, fish, or slaughter byproducts, such as gelatin, lard, bone char, and rennet. However, unlike vegans, the standard vegetarian is either an ovo-vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, or lacto-ovo vegetarian. Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but opt not to include dairy and dairy products, such as milk and cheese, in their diet. Lacto-vegetarians drink milk and eat dairy, but do not eat eggs or egg products. Lacto-ovo vegetarians, perhaps the most common, do not eat meat, fish, or slaughter byproducts, but do consume dairy and egg products. A vegetarian weight loss diet that is not based on philosophical, ethical, religious, or moral reasons will be most successful with the lacto-ovo route. This vegetarian diet plan is much less restrictive and includes the weight loss benefits of dairy products and eggs.
A vegetarian diet plan has less cholesterol and saturated fat and higher levels of fiber, phytonutrients, and complex carbohydrates than the average meat-eater’s diet. Vegetarianism has been shown to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes and lower the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, renal disease, digestive disorders, and gallstones. In addition, vegetarians tend to live longer. Vegetarianism, even when practiced once a week, hence the Meatless Monday movement, can have important health benefits and decrease one’s carbon footprint. The meat industry generates a large percentage of man-made greenhouse gas emissions and uses an astonishing amount of water and fossil fuels. Eliminating meat from your diet will allow you to play a role in conserving precious resources.
From a weight loss standpoint, a vegetarian diet plan can help you shed pounds and keep them off. Studies have shown that children and adults who are vegetarians tend to have a lower body weight and have an easier time maintaining it. However, simply giving up meat and munching on pizza, pasta, and desserts will not help you slim down. It’s still important to engage in portion control and a eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy. Including moderate exercise most days of the week will further the health and weight loss effects of vegetarianism.
Research has debunked the myth that vegetarian diets are missing essential nutrients. When a vegetarian eats a wide variety of healthy, nutritious foods, their diet is adequate and even healthier than those who eat red meat. To ensure that you receive the necessary vitamin D, protein, B12, iron, and calcium, food combinations can be helpful. Whole soybeans, tofu, and soy products are the few plant-based sources of complete proteins. However, combining legumes, such as lentils, with whole grains, nuts, or seeds will also provide a high amount of complete protein. Eat iron-rich foods, like legumes, quinoa, dark leafy green vegetables, nuts, and seeds with vitamin C for maximum absorption. Also consider taking a gelatin-free microalgae supplement for omega-3 fatty acids. Take the supplement in conjunction with omega-3 rich foods like flaxseed, flaxseed oil, canola oil, hempseed oil, and walnuts. For vitamins B12 and D, include vegetarian-friendly supplements and choose fortified milk and cereals. The high fiber content in a vegetarian weight loss diet can inhibit the absorption of some nutrients. Therefore, don’t take a multivitamin or supplement at the same time as a high-fiber meal. By planning ahead and paying attention to certain details, you can lose weight and bolster your overall health.
A vegetarian weight loss diet is a great way to expand your culinary horizons. You will be introduced to new, fresh foods and perhaps experiment with different types of cuisine. Since vegetarianism has seen such a jump in popularity among health conscious individuals, newcomers rarely miss meat. There are diverse options for meat substitutes and ways to create flavorful meatless meals. Consider a vegetarian diet plan to shape up, increase your energy, and achieve optimal health.