When it comes to food, we all have different food preferences. However, even with these differences, more and more people are making an active choice to maintain healthy lifestyles. This means dumping some old habits as you pick up new ones. One of the recently fast-growing communities is the Vegetarian community.
A vegetarian is a person who actively chooses to cut down any animal products or byproducts from their diet. Gone are the days when being a vegetarian was only considered to be a dietary option for people who want to lose weight. Many people are going vegan due to personal beliefs, environmental issues, health issues or just pure choice. However, just like everything else, there are a couple of things you need to know before you commit to it.
It does not guarantee weight loss.
A vegetarian diet is often linked to weight loss because plant products have considerably fewer carbs and fat than animal products. However, weight loss is determined by your overall diet. This means that other elements that go into your body play a role in your weight fluctuations.
Vegetarians still indulge in junk food. There are various vegetarian styled desserts in restaurants too. So do not eat a salad then live on junk food and expect to lose weight. If you are becoming a vegetarian to lose weight, you are privy to all other weight loss routines like working out and eating clean just like everyone else.
Alternative sources of nutrients.
Cutting away animal products or by-products actively takes away the nutrients received from one food group- proteins. However, your body needs to function as every other body does meaning that it needs a good amount of protein.
Ensure that your meals consist of a balanced diet. For protein focus on legumes such as beans and peas. When making your smoothies, you can add protein powder or add natural sources of protein such as peanut butter. Additionally, you can take supplements to boost your vitamin intake too.
Taking twice as much iron as you did before you were a vegetarian
While still on the subject of diet, let us talk about iron. It is one of the most important vitamins required by your body. If your body becomes iron deficient, your body becomes the target of a couple of conditions. Plants contain nonheme iron. This is an iron combined with a protein that reduces the ability of your body to absorb iron from your food into your bloodstream.
Iron from animals is heme and it is absorbed at a relatively higher rate. That means that as a vegetarian you will need to double up on your iron intake to ensure your iron levels are still where they need to be.
Being a vegetarian does not limit you to a boring lifestyle
Just because you are a vegetarian now does not mean you are stuck with the same old boring food. These days many restaurants have extensive vegetarian meal options so you can eat from a wide range. Additionally, when cooking at home, be open to experimentation with your food. Check online or buy cookbooks to spice up your meals. If your meal options bore you, switch things up a little.
A rushed jump into veganism may be counter-effective
Our bodies often lean on what feels familiar. It sometimes tends to fight off quick changes. So cutting out all animal products and by-products altogether may cause you to slip up and eat those products. Let your vegan transition be a gradual process.
Start by cutting out a few animal products from your diet such as dairy then go from there. Take little steps and condition your body to be comfortable with certain food choices. This way, you have better chances of success.
There is a difference between being a vegetarian and being a vegan.
If you do slip up and eat what you had cut out, get back on the journey. This is not a cult where one mistake can cost you your life. Take your time and make it a slow and steady process.