Have you ever considered a vegetarian diet? I have tried a vegetarian and a vegan diet in the past. I didn’t stop these diets because they were “too expensive” or “too difficult”, I stopped them because they just didn’t fit my lifestyle. Even though I do cook meat for most of my meals, I eat very small portions of meat. My meals are centered around veggies and grains, and meat acts as a side dish.
There are many benefits to eating a vegetarian diet, such as lower cholesterol levels and lower risk for obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. One important thing to remember when following a vegetarian diet is that just because a food is considered “vegetarian” or “vegan” doesn’t make it healthy. They make vegan cakes and muffins that are full of empty carbs and calories, just like regular cakes and muffins. Calories still count, and if you eat too many calories, you will likely gain weight.
In order to follow a healthy vegetarian diet, make sure you are eating foods high in fiber, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Does this sound familiar? The same concept applies for a vegetarian diet as a diet that includes meat. If you do decide to go vegetarian or vegan, make sure you are aware of vitamins and minerals that you may have to supplement, such at vitamin B12 and calcium.
Here are some of the types of vegetarian diets:
Flexitarian: This diet consists mostly of a vegetarian diet, but meat is sometimes eaten in small portions.
Lacto-ovo vegetarian: A vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy, such as cheese, milk, butter, and yogurt – this is the most common type of vegetarian.
Lacto-vegetarian: A vegetarian diet that includes dairy products.
Vegan: This diet excludes ALL animal products. No dairy, eggs, sometimes honey – anything that comes from an animal.
If you would like to venture out to a vegetarian or vegan diet, consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian to help build a diet that includes all of your essential nutrients.