Your Complete Guide To Going Vegetarian
Buh-bye, burgers. Sayonara, sausages. With retail sales of plant-based foods on the rise, meat has gone from juicy star of the dinner plate to something more and more people are cutting out. Health reasons, environmental concerns, compassion for animals, religious beliefs, and plain ol culinary preference are just some of the reasons people have been veering vegetarian lately. In a nutshell? Plants are in popular demand.
But its one thing to move meat to the sidelines its another to figure out exactly what a vegetarian diet looks like day to day. Can you still have seafood? What about eggs? Where do you get your protein? The good news: The answers are pretty much up to you. Read on to explore some of the most popular approaches to vegetarian eating and learn how to incorporate more meatless meals into your rotation.
Understanding Muscle Building And Plant Proteins
To build muscle, you need to eat a lot of food and work out even more. They both go together and are dependent on each other. If you eat a lot of food and dont work out, you gain body fat. If you work out without eating enough, you risk losing the muscle you currently have. With that said, it is easy to work out to build muscle since there are so many guidelines on what to do, how to do it, and how long you should be doing it to achieve your dream physique.
For muscle growth to occur, studies show that a person should eat around 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight every single day. Proteins are essential when it comes to building muscles and strength. The main function of proteins is to build muscles and repair existing muscles. Proteins also help in the recovery of muscles after a workout. This just shows how important proteins are when it comes to bodybuilding.
How To Prepare The Vegetarian Diet & Tips
On the lacto-ovo vegetarian and lacto-vegetarian diet, you consume foods in all food groups including vegetables, fruit, grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, protein foods, and oils. Those who adhere to an ovo-vegetarian diet would not consume foods from the dairy group. But milk alternatives are widely available.
Instead of meat and seafood, vegetarians consume protein-rich grains, soy products like tofu, and vegetables with protein. It is fairly easy to eat a balanced diet on a vegetarian plan and to get your recommended intake of nutrients.
You don’t need to follow any specific meal timing when you begin a vegetarian diet. However, if you currently consume a traditional American diet, experts often recommend a gradual approach to make the transition easier.
Some people try going meatless one day each week before fully adopting the vegetarian diet. Others use the flexitarian diet and slowly eliminate meat from their diets.
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Common Foods That Surprisingly Aren’t Vegan
If you want to dive in headfirst and eliminate all animal products from your diet, you may be surprised at some of the items you’ll be cutting. Animal products are present in or are part of the production process for many surprising foods, and strict veganism requires avoiding all of them.
In addition to the big no-nos , here are a few unexpected foods and items you may not have realized may contain animal products:
How To Get Protein On A Vegetarian Diet
We need protein in our diet for growth, repair and normal function of the body. If you like digging into science, proteins are responsible for all sorts of amazing processes including carrying vital substances around the body.
For example, you may have heard of haemoglobin but not known that is a metallo-protein that carries oxygen in the blood. Hormones like insulin are also proteins pretty awesome stuff.
The good news for vegetarians is that meat eaters typically get more protein than they actually need. So meeting protein requirements shouldnt present any issues for vegetarians but there are a few factors that you should be aware of.
Historically vegetarians were told to combine different sources of proteins at meal times to ensure the full range of amino acids were being met. Protein is an umbrella term used to cover all the different amino acids. Meats contain a full complement of all the amino acids but most plants sources do not .
Amino acids fall into three categories essential meaning that as humans we cannot make them ourselves non-essential meaning that we can use nitrogen and carbon to make these proteins and conditionally essential meaning that under certain conditions our bodys needs may outstrip its ability to make them.
The historical advice to combine protein was based on two factors.
Key message: A varied vegetarian diet can provide all the protein you need.
Vegetarian sources of protein
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Tips On How To Start A Raw Vegan Diet
What is raw veganism? It is a subgroup of the vegan diet whereby those who follow it only consume raw foods or those that have been heated at temperatures below 4048°C. Those who subscribe to this way of eating claim that they do this because it helps prevent them from becoming ill 01281-7/abstract” rel=”nofollow”> 15).
If you are looking to start a raw vegan diet :
Somethings to do before starting on a raw vegan diet include :
So Now That Thats Out Of The Way
I know real strong case Ive made for going vegetarian, right?
But seriously, I dont think it should be about health or performance claims compared to omniviorous diets. It just doesnt need to be.
The standard American diet is so bad that almost any whole-foods based diet will beat it in a humiliating fashion, no less. So if a plant-based diet is aligned with your values, particularly as they relate to how human beings treat animals and the environment, then go for it.
Or if you just think itd be fun to try eating vegetarian or vegan to see how you like it, then of course I encourage you to do it.
If you want to try eating less meat or even go all the way, heres how Id do it.
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What Are The Health Benefits Of A Plant
Many people choose a vegetarian or vegan diet for its health benefits.
Some people may have heart disease or high cholesterol and theyve heard these diets can help manage those conditions, says Gudzune. You can definitely improve your cholesterol levels, particularly lowering your LDL cholesterol. Its often called the bad cholesterol because it can adhere to the walls of your arteries, which may increase your risk of heart disease.
People with underlying coronary artery disease might combine a vegan or vegetarian diet with other treatment approaches like stress management and physical activity. These diets can also help with weight loss if people follow them in a calorie-reduced format.
But like any diet, its all about balance. A balanced vegetarian or vegan diet means getting all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients from a wide range of sources.
What Are The Scientifically Proven Benefits Of A Plant
In the United States, having a poor-quality diet is the biggest predictor of early death. A classic American diet thats high in saturated and trans fats, sodium, and processed meat puts you at a disadvantage when it comes to health and longevity, while a diet that promotes whole foods and plant-based ingredients appears to have the opposite effect. As the following studies show, adopting a plant-based diet may help reduce the likelihood that youll need medication, lower your risk of obesity and high blood pressure, and maybe even help prevent or manage type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
In a review published in July 2019 in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that following a plant-based diet was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The nine studies involved about 307,100 participants, and were adjusted for factors such as smoking status and exercise frequency that otherwise could have affected the results. Researchers therefore deduced that the lower risk was due to participants diet choices.
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What Vegetarian Foods To Avoid For Weight Loss
Although cutting down on your meat intake has a slew of benefits, not all vegetarian foods are created equal. “Packaged and highly-processed foods such as potato chips, pretzels, dried cereals, bread, and crackers” will not leave you feeling full and satiated, so they are best to be avoided in large quantities, says Ben-Asher. It’s better to focus on adding whole foods to your diet rather than avoiding any particular food group or type.
With a vegetarian diet, some of the calorie-counting work is already done for you. Braude explains that animal protein, especially meat, is high in saturated fat, “so by cutting this out of your diet, you save a lot of calories.” She even said that despite chicken’s “healthy” label, “certain cuts of poultry, such as dark chicken with the skin on, are extremely high in fat and, therefore, calories.”
The Benefits To Going Vegetarian:
From cutting down your grocery bill to serving up some serious health benefits, the pros of a vegetarian lifestyle are vast. Here are just a few reasons to motivate you on your journey:
Not only are plants great for your health, but they do wonders for the earth too. Following a vegan diet may be the single best way for us to create a greener and more sustainable earth. Probably the most compelling stats out there to support the shift towards plant-based come with reducing your water footprint.
Meat has a significantly higher water footprint than grains, vegetables or beans. Research shows that a pound of beef alone can take anywhere from 2,000-8,000 gallons of water to produce, but the same amount of tofu only requires 302 gallons of water and a pound of unprocessed oats needs 290 gallons of water. By adopting a meat-free diet, research suggests that you can reduce your water footprint by up to 55%. But even just a small reduction in your meat consumption can make a significant difference over time on this planet and can provide you with consistency and peace of mind.
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How To Get Started As A Beginner
Having recently become a vegan myself, I feel compelled to give you some insight into how to get started, even if you aren’t quite ready to give up animal products. Don’t go all in, but do start incorporating plant-based meals into your life as a starting place.
Prep your shopping list. Whether you go in with the idea of what you want to eat or just wing it, it helps to have an idea of what you want to eat. You’ll probably end up eating some of your favorite foods, like quinoa or tofu, but you may find it a lot easier to avoid certain animal-based ingredients. Get the staples on your lists like beans, nuts, seeds and fruits and veggies, but also opt for extra protein sources, like dried peas or lentils, which aren’t difficult to find in many grocery stores.
While the basic tenets of a vegan diet are easy to follow and you can easily go vegetarian and eventually vegan, there are a few crucial things to know before jumping into this eating plan. Try and plan your first month or two around organic fruits and vegetables and nutrient-dense whole foods, like beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.
Ideally, aim to increase these numbers by at least a third, and explore plant-based milk like cashew and coconut. However you start out, you can really get started with just two to three weeks of this new eating lifestyle. Now that you’re on a healthy and sustainable journey, there’s no telling where it will take you!
What To Eat On A Vegan Diet Plan:
For those of you who absolutely want a list of what you CAN eat, this is a very short synopsis to get you started. But just think about all the variety you can enjoy for each of these categories!
- Beans and legumes
Basically, if it grew in the ground, on the ground, on a tree or bush, youre good to go!
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Know Your Protein Sources
Know all the ways to get protein on a vegetarian diet, and have them available.This blog post provides a great list to start with.
Keep pumpkin seeds, nuts, and roasted chickpeas around for healthy, protein-loaded snacks.
Find protein powders you like. I have one that I pick up at Whole Food grocery store for my non-dairy Greek yogurt every morning, and another one for my lunch smoothies.
Helps With Chronic Kidney Disease
Individuals with kidney disease must limit their amount of phosphorous intake and clinical studies11 have shown that following a vegetarian diet can help this.
Patients following a vegetarian diet had lower blood phosphorus levels compared to those on a meat-based diet according to the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.
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Whole Foods And The Brain
The brain is a really hungry organ, and it uses 25% of the total energy you consume from your food. Everything it needs to function at its best isyou guessed ita whole, unprocessed food.
In fact, the best diet recommended for brain health is the MIND Diet. In one study, it was shown that people who follow the MIND diet closely had a 53% reduced rate of developing Alzheimers.
Some of the best whole foods for the brain are:
- Oily fish
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What Are The Meals On The Meal Plan
All of the recipes included in the meal plan are posted on the blog . Heres the actual meal plan page thats included in the PDF:
Ive made some changes to some recipes in order to make the meal plan as a whole more cost effective, so some amounts or actual ingredients may be a bit different than the exact recipe listed on the blog.
Here are all five dinners on this meal plan:
- Friday Personal Pesto Pizzas
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Pros Of The Vegetarian Diet
People following a vegetarian diet may enjoy several benefits documented by research.
- Large variety of foods to choose from: Beans, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds are just the beginning of what you can eat as a vegetarian. You may even discover new foods you hadn’t previously tried.
- May aid weight loss: A vegetarian diet may help you reach and maintain a healthy weight, and some researchers even believe that a vegetarian diet can help you live longer. Whether you lose weight depends on how many calories you consume, not necessarily on the source of the calories, but fruits, vegetables, and legumes are a lower-calorie source of nutrients.
- Better for the environment and animals: Many people follow a vegetarian diet to promote the ethical treatment of animals. While some animal products are consumed , this diet does not promote the farming of animals for slaughter. There is also evidence that a vegetarian diet is better for the environment.
- Reduced risk of diseases: Several studies have shown that those who consume plant-based diets experience a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, cardiometabolic risk factors, and some cancers. There is also evidence that a plant-based diet may have preventative effects against high blood pressure, diverticular disease, eye cataracts, kidney stones, and gallstones.
How To Start A No Oil Vegan Diet
Some people choose to cook without oil as it helps to reduce the amount of calories consumed in a day. Vegan diets already tend to be lower in calories, so be careful to make sure that you are consuming enough energy, and make sure you are getting enough fat from whole foods if you are not adding oil. If you are wondering how to start a no oil vegan diet, here are some things to do :
- Stick to non-stick pans. These types of pans and pots are better for a no oil diet as food never sticks on them. Stainless steel pans, enamel-coated cast iron and ceramic titanium pans are also good options.
- Look for oil free cooking methods. Using water and broth helps with sautéing and stir-frying your meals. Nut butters are used for baking instead of butter and vegetable stock or a light water-soy sauce mixture are used for roasting.
- Oil free condiments. With some research, many sauces and salad dressings can be easily substituted and made without oil.
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Be Mindful About Faux Meat Products
Thanks to their widespread availability, faux meat products have made it easier for vegetarian newbies to give up the real deal. But Feller warns that not all products are created equal, and you should look for ones that use high-quality ingredients, are minimally processed, and have limited added salt. “When you do have them, make it intentional,” she adds. Meaning, don’t eat the same way you did when you were eating meat, just swapping in faux meat products. “You want to make sure your plate is centered around whole and minimally processed plants,” she says.