A Complete Guide To Vegetarian Diet
Modern age people tend to follow an insanely unhealthy amount and types of diets including the Keto diet, Paleo diet, Low-Carb diet, Mediterranean diet, and numerous others. Yet, another diet has gotten a hold on marketability recently.
According to researchers, nearly one and a half billion people follow this dietary regime. Out of which, 75 million follow this diet as per choice and the rest are just following it as a necessity. However, the number is expected to grow with increasing affluence and education. The name of this meat-free and dairy-free diet is none other than the “Vegetarian Diet”.
This popular diet claims that you don’t always have to cram down on meat to get your hands on the nutrients that are essential for healthy wellbeing. Rather the consumption of fresh, healthy, and plant based foods is the ultimate way to attain health benefits and stay active.
New to this diet? Don’t worry we have an ultimate guide planned out for you. Here’s the list of everything that you’ll learn in this article.
- What is a vegetarian diet?
- Difference between a vegan diet and a vegetarian diet
- What are the 4 types of a vegetarian diet?
- Health benefits
- What do you eat on a vegetarian diet?
- Foods to avoid
- Nutrients from a vegetarian diet
- Beginners guide for switching to a vegetarian diet
- Recipes and ideas for meals and snacks
What Is A Vegetarian Diet?
Refraining from consuming meat, poultry, fish and any animal product is known as a Vegetarian Diet.
The main food groups that Vegetarian Diet entails are fruits and vegetables, whole grains, pulses, beans, peas, oils, seeds, and nuts. However, such individuals refrain from consuming any kind of animal product and rely mainly on fortified foods or low biological value proteins - plant proteins.
Another diet named the vegan diet is popular these days. Nonetheless, there is a lot of confusion between individuals regarding the two diets i.e. veganism and vegetarian diet. Let’s clear that out for you.
Difference Between A Vegan Diet & A Vegetarian Diet
People following a vegetarian diet are only restricted to eat meat, poultry, and seafood. However, a vegan diet or veganism excludes everything that promotes animal cruelty including animal-based foods, clothing material made from animals, products tested on animals, and using animals for entertainment purposes.
Now that you are well aware of what a vegetarian diet is, let’s move on to some of the types of vegetarian diets followed worldwide.
What Are The 4 Types Of Vegetarian Diets?
The most common types of a vegetarian diet are:
- Lacto Vegetarian:
Lacto vegetarians diet doesn’t include meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs along with the foods that have them as an ingredient. However, they do eat dairy products.
- Ovo Vegetarian Diet:
Ovo vegetarians diet avoid all animal products and consume eggs only.
- Lacto Ovo Vegetarian:
Lacto Ovo vegetarians tend to exclude all meat based products but people who follow Lacto Ovo diet can eat eggs and dairy products.
This type of diet consists of excluding all the meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products like milk cheese but includes fish. However, some people are flexible in their vegetarian diet which means that they follow a plant based diet but occasionally eat products that consist of meat, fish and poultry, eggs and dairy.
Associated Health Benefits:
Research shows that a vegetarian diet has been associated with:
- Lower Low-density lipoprotein LDL levels
- Lower risk of ischemic heart disease (Ischemic heart disease is defined as the lower level of blood to the heart resulting in a heart attack and stroke)
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower rates of hypertension & Type 2 diabetes
- Lower body mass index BMI
- Decreased risk of cancer
- Weight Loss:
A vegetarian diet may be effective if you’re planning to lose some extra pounds. Studies show that people following a vegetarian diet tend to lose weight faster than non-vegetarian people. Thus a vegetarian diet may accelerate weight loss.
- Lower Cholesterol Level:
Recent studies revealed that vegetarian diets lower the blood concentrations of total cholesterol and improve heart health. These diets are proved to be useful to treat hypercholesterolemia.
- Decreased Risk Of Cancer:
Vegetarian diets are highly linked to decrease the risk of breast, colon, stomach, and rectum cancers. Recent research shows that high isoflavone intake and high albumin levels are inversely associated with breast cancer risk. However, this research is based on observational studies only.
- Helps People With Type 2 Diabetes:
If you’re following a vegetarian diet, you are at a relatively lower risk of having type 2 diabetes than a non-vegetarian person. A higher intake of plant based foods and a lower intake of unhealthy fats might be the reason. However, refraining from eating meat or getting meat free isn’t the solution to the problem. A modification of your overall healthful lifestyle and a balanced diet is necessary to provide major health benefits.
- Lowers Risk Of Heart Diseases:
Vegetarian diets are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. As high blood pressure level is the main risk factor in promoting heart disease, research shows that consuming plant based foods lower blood pressure levels.
When it comes to the foods that you’re allowed to eat in a vegetarian diet, there’s a variety of foods to choose from. These include:
- Whole grain
- Brown rice
- Soy products
Foods To Avoid:
As mentioned earlier, a vegetarian diet excludes animal products. Some of the excluded foods are:
- Dairy products and eggs
Nutrients Found In Vegetarian Diet:
Nutrients vary in different foods. Some nutrients are available in trace amounts in vegetarian food sources than in animal-based foods. This might lead to the deficiency of essential nutrients if you are on a vegetarian diet.
You have to pay attention to get all the nutrients while following a vegetarian diet.
- Omega 3 fatty acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B-12
How To Follow A Vegetarian Diet?
To begin your transition to a vegetarian diet, start by incorporating fruits and vegetables more and minimize the intake of meat based and animal-based products.
Increasing the number of meals that are without meat means adding more greens to your daily meal plans. Try out your favorite recipes but exclude meat based products in them because it allows you to stay on track and adapt to the change. Start slow and then proceed weekly because slow and steady wins the race!
Scrumptious Ideas For Meals & Snacks:
Following a vegetarian diet isn’t as easy as it seems. You need highly nutritious snacks to enjoy throughout that prevent nutrient deficiencies. We have gathered a list of some easy to make and healthy vegetarian snacks that you can enjoy on the go!
- Roasted chickpeas
- Roasted nuts
- Kale chips
- Green vegetable smoothies
- Mixed salad
- Dried fruits
- Peanut butter with apple slices
- Soy milk
- Fruit vegetables smoothies
- Dark chocolate
- No-bake energy balls
- Frozen fruits vegetables
The Final Takeaway!
There are countless tasty vegetarian recipes to try out and they taste amazing too. You can try any of these easy-to-make, fewer calories, and nutritious recipes and satisfy your cravings.
However, switching to a vegetarian diet will not show results overnight. You have to maintain the diet, calories and modify your lifestyle for a longer time to see visible results.
Have a happy vegetarian lifestyle!
DISCLAIMER: The content of this article is for informational purposes only, and although Reshape.Me strives to keep the information up to date and correct, it does not replace the advice of a healthcare practitioner. Be sure to consult a licensed medical professional if you require personalized support that may affect your health. Any reliance on this information is therefore strictly at your own risk.