What is a Vegetarian Diet?
A simple definition of “vegetarianism” is a diet that is normally free of fish, meat, and poultry. However, there are many different varities of vegetarians diets, such as these:
- Lacto-Vegetarians, who do not eat eggs but do eat dairy items
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians, who do not eat meat but do eat milk products and eggs
- Pescatarians, who exclude poultry, meat, dairy, and eggs but eat seafood and fish
- Vegans, who do not eat any animal products
- Raw Foodists, who eat mostly raw vegetables, fruits, nuts, sprouts, and legumes
- Fruitarians, who eat only fruits, seeds, nuts, and other plant food that drops naturally from plants
- Flexitarians, who are primarily vegetarians but will sometimes eat fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy.
Choosing a Healthy Vegetarian Diet
Healthy vegetarian diets usually include a variety of healthy, plant-based foods. These could include vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and more. It’s a good idea to avoid less wholesome choices, such as processed fruits juices, refined grains, and sugary drinks. Processed foods should also be consumed sparingly as they are usually high in fat, sugar, calories, and sodium. Below are some tips for choosing a vegetarian diet that will work best for your body and lifestyle.
- Consult a registered dietitian to help create a plan that includes a healthy eating pattern and is right for you as an individual
- Explore vegetarian cuisine cookbooks to find meal options to try
- Try making your favorite recipes without meat, or with meat substitutes such as tofu
- Gradually reduce the amount of meat you eat in your regular diet while increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables
- Include greens like kale, spinach, collards, or Swiss chard in your daily meals
- Be sure you get all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and calcium-rich foods that your body needs.
Great Reasons to Try a Vegetarian Diet
Many modern celebrities, such as actors like Alec Baldwin and Paul McCartney, follow vegetarian diets and advocate them as healthier and a more ethical way to live. This type of attention has increased the popularity of vegetarian diets. However, there are many good reasons to try a vegetarian diet.
Health Benefits – There are many health benefits associates with vegetarian diets. It is suggested that vegetarian diets reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and other physical ailments. Vegetarian diets can also help reduce weight, BMI, and fat mass.
The Environment – Industrially raising animals for food can have a negative impact on the environment, and on the animals. Huge farms with too many animals can harm the land. These large operations can also lead to instances of animal abuse.
Simplicity – A vegetarian diet is easy to follow, and has few health risks, especially if prepared by a nutritionist. Vegetarian diets can be arranged to meet the needs of children, teenagers, pregnant or breast-feeding women, and people of all ages.
Are you ready to try some vegetarian dishes for yourself? Drop by Mochas & Javas, a San Marcos coffee shop, to try some of our delicious vegetarian drinks and dishes!