The word “vegetarian” tends to make some people visualize hippies from the 1960s and ’70s eating nothing more than tofu and bean sprouts.
This is a completely false image. Hippies no longer exist. And vegetarians eat more than tofu and bean sprouts.
Today’s vegetarian lifestyle includes people from all walks of life: celebrities, politicians, athletes, even your average person. More people are cutting out animal foods and going vegetarian.
If you’re interested in becoming a vegetarian, here’s some information to help you better understand this major lifestyle change in your eating habits.
Defining a Vegetarian
A vegetarian is an individual who doesn’t eat meat, seafood, poultry, or any products containing these foods.
There are three types of vegetarians:
Vegan:A vegan who doesn’t eat animal products or any sort. This includes the above meats as well as dairy foods and eggs. A vegan might even avoid honey. Some vegans take their vegetarian lifestyle further by refusing to wear wool or leather.
Lacto vegetarian: While avoiding meat, a lacto vegetarian eats dairy foods, but not eggs.
Lacto-ovo vegetarian: This type of vegetarian doesn’t eat meat, yet will eat dairy foods and eggs.
Regardless which vegetarian lifestyle a person chooses to follow, there’s always a reason a person decides to become a vegetarian. For some people, becoming a vegetarian is based on religious reasons. Others choose this eating lifestyle for the sake of their health.
Other reasons for people’s choice of becoming a vegetarian are as follows:
· Animal lovers don’t want to sacrifice the lives of animals for the sake of a meal.
· Environmentalists don’t want to take resources from the environment.
· Vegetarian food can be cheaper than animal based foods.
The Benefits of Being Vegetarian
Since vegetarian food derives from plants, it can be beneficial to your health. It’s the reason for the following health risks being lowered:
· High blood pressure
· Heart disease
· Type 2 diabetes
· Certain cancers
· Kidney stones
Additionally, a vegetarian diet means less calories, sodium, cholesterol and fats (both saturated and trans fats).
Its goodness also includes a higher level of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and other nutrients that are combative in fighting off some diseases.
Although becoming a vegetarian can be healthy, it must be done right in order to be beneficial. In other words, just because you’re eating as a vegetarian doesn’t mean you’re getting all the nutrition you need.
For example, eating only carbohydrates such as pastas, cereals and breads will not provide you with enough protein, minerals and vitamins. Furthermore, some carbohydrates aren’t even healthy.
Even eating too much dairy food can be problematic. This eating plan results in too much unhealthy fat – unless you’re eating non-fat or low-fat foods.
So to get the nutrients you need, plan your meals carefully.
Examples of Vegetarian Foods
Here are some vegetarian dishes that you can enjoy:
· Black beans and rice
· Bean burritos
· Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
· Macaroni and cheese
· Vegetable lasagna
· Lentil soup
· Minestrone soup
· Vegetable stir-fry with tofu
· Pasta with tomato or pesto sauce
· Pizza with vegetable toppings
· Veggie burgers
How to Become a Vegetarian
If you’re still interested in becoming a vegetarian, here are some tips to help get you started:
· Consider what type of vegetarian you want to be.
· Start off slowly. Give your body time to adjust to stop eating meats and whatever others foods you want to eliminate.
· Read more information on being a vegetarian.
· Purchase a cookbook on vegetarian meals.
· Discuss your vegetarian plans with your family. Discover if they’re also interested in changing to a vegetarian lifestyle.
· Consult a dietician. He or she can provide you with some food ideas.
· Consult your physician. Although becoming a vegetarian is healthy, it’s still best to talk to your doctor before making any decision on your own in regards to your health.
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