What is a vegetarian, aren’t they the same as vegans?
A vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat, poultry or seafood but can still eat other animal products such as eggs, milk, and honey.
There are a few other types of vegetarians. You have Lacto-Ovo vegetarians who will eat dairy and eggs. Pesco-Pollo vegetarians who will eat fish and poultry but no other types of meat. Strict vegetarians, who are the most similar to vegans since they tend not to eat eggs or milk but will eat honey.
A vegan is someone who doesn’t eat meat, poultry, or seafood and doesn’t use any animal products. Vegans also avoid using products that are either made of animals or by animal products such as leather, silk, certain types of candles, honey, etc.
Both are similar in many ways, but the vegetarian diet tends to be less restrictive and meets nutrition standards better than the vegan diet.
A few reasons why people go vegetarian
People opt out of eating meat for a wide variety of reasons. Some of those reasons are:
- Health: by eating more plant-based foods you increase your intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids, and other nutritional goodies that help prevent many chronic diseases and slow down aging. Some people’s bodies are also more receptive to a plant-based diet by their micro-flora in their GI tract.
- Religion: some religions are against meat eating such as Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Zoroastrians. Even some Jews, Muslims, and Christians also go vegetarian.
- Morals and values towards the sanctity of all life that are unrelated to religion: Not everyone follows a religion, but most still have a strong value towards life, including animals. Some people go vegetarian as a protest against animal cruelty, fur farms, animal farms and many other reasons.
- Economics: despite how good the first world is many people around the world don’t eat meat because it is simply too expensive to purchase.
- The social circle of the person: everyone has maybe one or more people in their life that don’t eat meat. Often people choose the vegetarian diet because of friends or family being vegetarian or vegan. Makes it easier to stick to the diet when others are doing it too.
- Some people simply don’t like the taste of meat: contrary to what some people might think, there are people who don’t like the taste of meat for a wide variety of reasons.
What about protein!
The go-to excuse made by every meat eater who scoffs at the idea of a plant-based diet. Be prepared to teach them a thing or two about nutrition. Meat isn’t the only way a person can get protein. Nuts, seeds, beans, and various legumes (peas, other types of beans, and lentils) all pack a substantial protein punch.
In fact, plant-based protein even gives you an advantage because you get a consistent amount of dietary fiber to help you digest that protein on top of more minerals and vitamins. By having that added fiber, you also stay fuller for longer periods of time.
How to go vegetarian for a week
Doing the vegetarian diet for a week challenge opens your horizons and cooking skills to a whole other world of food. There are thousands of recipes to try, and you can pick and choose which taste best for you or fit your budget.
The best healthy food tip is to eat your vegetables and fruits raw or lightly steamed. Cooking them kills all the goodness of the vegetables and fruits.
Cakes, cookies, and pie- oh my!
Yep, vegetarians get to have their cake and eat it too. Many vegetarian/vegan recipes offer great low-calorie and low sugar options. This makes having that cookie all the more enjoyable knowing you won’t regret it tomorrow.
A healthy food habit would be to eat sweets in moderation and always strive to eat more fruits, nuts, seeds, and berries as your go-to snack.
The benefits of being vegetarian
The vegetarian diet offers many great benefits. One of the major ones is you will lose weight and keep it off longer than if you did crash diets.
Being vegetarian is a lifestyle and requires you to be consciously aware of what you eat.
This a good healthy food habit to have since you can cut all the bad foods out and become more aware of what you put in your body.
By eating more minerals and vitamins, you lower your chances of chronic diseases like heart disease. You help your psychological health since many mineral and vitamin deficiencies contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
You will lose weight and maintain a healthy weight on top of having a clearer complexion and overall better health.
Anyone can go vegetarian, even diabetics. In fact, going vegetarian helps and benefits those who suffer from pre-existing conditions and can even aid some of the ailments that come with the various conditions.
How to incorporate vegetarian days into your diet when you can’t quit meat
Some people, despite their best efforts, still like that occasional steak or stack of ribs. But there is some good news!
A great health food habit is to minimize the amount of meat you eat and try to have at least one day out of the week be strictly vegetarian. This way you still get that guilty pleasure and reap a few of the health benefits out of the vegetarian diet.
What you will need to be aware of when going vegetarian
Vegetarians can miss certain vitamins in their diet if they aren’t careful. Vitamin b12 is one example. You can get this vitamin from milk, eggs, some types of edible algae and supplements.
Some healthy food habits to adopt is not eating too much garlic or onion. Garlic and onion are antibiotics in natural medicine so eating too much of these two can hurt your GI tract as well as make you smell a bit garlicky or like onions.
Flatulence will be a more common occurrence, but this is a healthy sign that your body’s digestive tract is functioning correctly. Whatever you do try not to mix cabbage and peas on the same day, you may experience a not so great smell. Asparagus and some other vegetables will also affect your body’s smell, but this is all natural.
If you concerned you can always consult your doctor for the best ways to meet your dietary needs while on the vegetarian diet.
How to stick to your diet while among your fellow carnivores
When you do the vegetarian diet, you will face some social challenges. You might be the only person who is a vegetarian among your social circle. Don’t fret, though. There are a few tips you can use when around your fellow carnivores.
When going to social gatherings like a potluck or barbecue, bring along a vegetarian dish you can share. This way you don’t offend the host, you show off your cooking skills, and you get something you can eat while there without looking like the odd one out.
Another great tip is when having friends and family over show them some of the nice recipes you’ve been eating. Doing this brings you closer to your friends and family and may even convince one or two to try the vegetarian diet with you.
When asked why you aren’t eating meat, you can say you are trying to get in shape and healthy for a goal or doctor’s orders.
There are more ways to navigate your social circle but always be confident in your choices. If people can respect a healthy change in you, then they don’t make for good company.
Do your research and consult your doctor so that you understand what you need to eat the most and which things you shouldn’t eat at all. Some herbs and spices can conflict with medications.
You should still include exercise while going vegetarian. Movement helps the body grow, prevents degenerative conditions, and, if done properly, will also boost weight loss.
It is an all-around great diet for long-term use whether it is one day out of the week or every day of the week.
Remember all things are good in moderation and some things not at all.