Everyone knows that the food they eat has a profound effect upon their health, mostly people who follow the vegetarian diet.
Cultures that traditionally eat little meat are inevitably healthier, live longer, and live better quality of life than those that eat a meat heavy diet.
While the vegetarian diet has always had proponents, for both ethical and health related reasons, the increase in the number and quality of ingredients and the clearly documented benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle has created new interest in this sustainable way of life.
Becoming a Vegetarian
Making a conscious choice to become vegetarian is admirable.
For some it is a matter of ethics, for others a personal preference, or the vegetarian lifestyle may be chosen for health reasons.
No matter the underlying cause, some research is advisable.
It is neither healthy nor wise to simply start eating huge quantities of peanut butter, cheese, and eggs instead of meats, but all too often it happens.
It is essential to make the transition wisely, or you can end up depleting your body of important nutrients instead of feeding it well.
The easiest way to transition is to eliminate all red meats first.
Poultry can go next.
At that point you can make the decision about whether you want to eliminate fishes, dairy, and eggs.
Many vegetarians will eat dairy products and eggs as long as they are produced ethically.
This does expand your dietary options, but it is completely possible to get everything your body needs eating only produce.
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Stocking Your Kitchen
Six kinds of lettuce and a bowl of bananas don’t make for a good vegetarian kitchen.
Granted, you want to have a good selection of greens, root vegetables, fruits, berries, and all things vegetable, but you need much more than that.
Contrary to the belief that being vegetarian has to be boring or expensive, you do have options.
Beans are a great source of both protein and fiber.
There are literally hundreds of types of beans you can eat, each has a distinct flavor, texture and appearance.
Chickpeas turn into hummus. Lentils – technically a legume – make excellent soups.
Kidney beans are the basis of delicious vegetarian chili, and mung beans, when sprouted, are wonderful in salads and stir fry.
Expand beyond beans into grains.
Quinoa is full of protein, cooks quickly, and makes a great warm breakfast with nuts and raisins.
Buckwheat is nutty and is delicious with sauted veggies.
Brown rice is tremendously adaptable.
Explore the grain family and find out how to mix these grains with beans to maximize their nutritional punch.
The Vegan Diet
Of course, moving from a carnivorous diet to a vegan diet takes a bit more work.
Do yourself a favor and try not to rely on prepackaged foods – at least at first.
Taking the time to learn proper nutrition, preferably from someone with extensive knowledge, is important.
For example, you don’t need to ingest dairy products for calcium, greens such as spinach, kale, and bok choi have more calcium that is more readily available.
But it is important to note that you must get the calcium you need or your body will harvest it from your bones.
Remember that making the transition will take some time, but the effort is well worth it in the long run.
Get your free 7-day vegan meal plan here.
You’ll discover how to eat a vegan diet for fat loss plus easy vegetarian recipes you can make at home.