The vegetarian lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular these days. Also known as a plant-based diet, vegetarians do not eat any meat or fish, but still, eat eggs and dairy products.
People choose to avoid certain animal products for many reasons including health, animal rights, and the environment. This article will focus mostly on a plant-based diet and its health benefits.
Please keep in mind, that just because a diet is free of meat, it doesn’t mean that it is healthy.
TYPES OF VEGETARIAN DIETS
- Fishatarian Diet – only Fish
- Chickenatarian Diet – only Chicken
- Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian – eat Eggs and Dairy
- Lacto-Vegetarian – only Dairy
- Vegan – no Animal Products, no Honey, no Leather Products
THE TOP 10 BENEFITS OF A VEGETARIAN DIET
1. Better Mood: Research is suggesting they are happier than meat-eaters.
2. Disease Fighting: When done right, the diet is naturally low in fat and cholesterol, and has been shown to reduce heart disease risk. Epidemiological data has shown vegetarians suffer less from diseases caused by the modern western diet (coronary heart disease, hypertension, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancers). This must be attributed to a higher intake of fiber, phytonutrients, and antioxidants.
3. Lean Figure: Vegetarians typically weigh less than a result of a diet that has fewer calories in the form of grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
4. Less Toxicity: Plant sources are safer than animal foods. Particularly, when consuming organic fruits and vegetables. Food-borne illnesses, antibiotics, bacteria, parasites, and chemical toxins are more common in commercial meat, poultry, and seafood when compared to plant foods.
5. Saving the Planet: Plant-based diet is better for the planet, as it requires less energy and farmland to feed a vegetarian.
6. Sight: Vegetarians tend to have better sight.
7. Money-Saving: Plant foods tend to be less expensive, except for a few delicacies.
8. Better Athletic Performances: A high carb/low fat and vitamin and mineral-rich vegetarian diet may be optimal for sports performance.
9. Supporting Animal Rights: Animal welfare is improved.
10. Longevity: Vegetarians have been found to enjoy longer and healthier lives when compared to meat-eaters.
FOODS TO EAT ON A VEGETARIAN DIET
- Brussels Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
- Tomato Zucchini
BEANS & LEGUMES
- Bean Sprouts
- Black Beans
- Black-Eyed Peas
- Butter Beans
- Green Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Mung Beans
- Navy Beans
- Pinto Beans
- Soy Beans
- Brazil Nuts
- Pine Nuts
TOP PLANT-BASED SWAPS
Milk —> Nut Milk
Cream —> Coconut Cream
Butter —> Olive Oil
Cheese —> Nutritional Yeast
Eggs —> Flax Egg
Meat —> Tempeh
Honey —> Agave Syrup
Ice Cream —> Frozen Bananas
TOP VEGETARIAN PROTEIN SOURCES
- Peanut Butter
- Veggies Burgers
- Black Beans
- Kidney Beans
SPOTLIGHT ON SOY
Soy is a popular and sometimes controversial ingredient, it is derived from the soybean legume. A complete protein and rich in calcium, iron, zinc, fiber, and potassium. Soy can replace dairy and/or meat in the diet, although it may be considered healthy food, not all soy products are created equal.
Soy products, both fermented and unfermented, range in their degree of processing, from soy flour and soy protein to more traditional foods like miso, soy milk, and tofu. Highly processed items to avoid include soy cheese, soy yogurt, and imitation meats. Focus on traditional forms to maintain the soys nutrient density.
TOP SOY PRODUCTS
A thick paste made from fermented soybeans, rice, or barley malt.
Finely ground up soybeans, soaked and strained to produce a milky liquid.
Whole soybeans are fermented into a cake or patty.
Whole, green soy bean.