When you think of a good diet for losing weight, we are programmed to ignore a meat-free vegetarian diet. For some reason, we believe the only protein comes from animals… Vegan diets are all the rage right now, but why go to that extreme when a healthy vegetarian diet isn’t as restrictive as a vegan one. A well maintained and planned vegetarian diet will improve your overall health and help you lose weight quickly. When you cut out meat, you need to act accordingly by replacing the nutrients lost from lack of meat.
Basically, vegetarian diets exclude meat and meat by-products, like fats or broths made from meat. Diets include veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds and occasionally dairy and eggs. Sometimes a vegetarian will eat fish and these are called Pescatarians.
Here are the four types of vegetarians.
-Ovo-Vegetarian: Vegetarian who eats eggs but no dairy.
-Lacto-Vegetarian: Vegetarian who eats dairy but no eggs.
-Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian: Vegetarian who eats eggs and dairy.
-Partial Vegetarian: Eating vegetarian meals more often than not.
Going vegan is seen as extreme by most and possibly the most restrictive, mainstream diet out there. Basically, going vegan is excluding all animal products and by-products. That means no butter, eggs or dairy.
How to get Started
One thing to think about is how much protein your body needs, this is crucial. When thinking about starting a vegetarian diet, one must look at how to get protein into their diet on a regular basis. Obviously, there are tofu and tempeh, which are made from soybeans.
When starting out on a new diet, it’s important to start slow and introduce things as slow as you remove items from your diet. Just remember that plant-based protein is not as abundant as animal-based proteins, so you need more.
Vegetarian Traps to Avoid
A vegetarian diet isn’t an automatic way to lose weight, there are certain downfalls and traps that catch most people making the switch.
Too many Carbs
Just because something like bread or pizza are vegetarian, doesn’t mean you need to eat it all the time. Carbohydrates affect us the same no matter if they are vegetarian or not. Just because pasta or sandwiches are vegetarian, you should try and avoid these foods when trying to lose weight. No one in history has lost weight eating fettuccini alfredo every day.
Too much Dairy
Same goes for dairy products, which are usually bad for you anyway. Try and find healthier alternatives to your dairy needs…
Big Portion Sizes
Portion control is key to losing weight, even if you are going full vegetarian. Use smaller plates and eat actively so you know when you are full.
Meat -Free Replacements
Stop simply replacing meat with meat-substitutes as they make you continue to cook unhealthy. Stop eating like a meat eater, when you are not, it’s time to change it all up.
Vegetarian Doesn’t Always Equal Health
Just because something is vegetarian, doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy. Oreos may not have any meat products in it, doesn’t mean it makes a healthy dinner, see what I mean?