There is more than one vegetarian diet. If someone tells you that they are a vegetarian that could mean many different things. With each style of a vegetarian diet there are certain foods that are restricted. With each food that is restricted it is important to consider what those foods do for your body so that you can find other ways to get the nutrients they used to provide. Any of these ways of eating can help you to lose weight and more importantly keep it off and be healthier.
Here are a few categories of vegetarianism:
· Vegan – a vegan diet is one that does not have any animal products in it at all. There is no meat, diary, fish, poultry, eggs, or any products that contain any of these items. Many times vegans will also not eat honey.
· Lacto-vegetarian – a lacto vegetarian consists of a diet that cuts out meat, fish, poultry, and egg, but diary is allowed.
· Ovo-lacto-vegetarian – an ovo lacto vegetarian will not eat meat, fish, or poultry, but they will eat eggs and dairy products.
If you are considering switching over to a vegetarian diet for weight loss there are a few things that you can do to slowly change you meals. It might not be a good idea for you to completely cut out the meat, especially if you have had a diet heavy in meat for a long time. Instead slowly change what you eat. Start this process by increasing the meat free meals that you already eat. For example if you make a vegetable stir-fry make this more often.
Once you are comfortable with a few more meat free meals during the week add in substitutions. For example there are many meat free versions of faux ground beef, or fake chicken. Some of these are really great and much healthier for you than their fleshy counterparts. Try to substitute a few meals with these alternatives. Even with this simple switch you will start to see a change in your waistline.
Finally try new menus. There are hundreds of great vegetarian cookbooks and the internet has a never ending supply of interesting recipes that you can try. There are also many vegetarian restaurants or restaurants that offer vegetarian options. Try some of these places and when you find foods that you enjoy ask for the recipe so that you can try to make them at home.
It has been proven that people who eat a vegetarian diet, no matter what style of that diet eat fewer calories than people who eat meat. A vegetarian does need to be more careful with their protein choices. It is easy to pick high fat proteins on a vegetarian diet, like cheese. But there are many low fat proteins that are good for you and have less negative dietary issues and less fat. Many of the protein foods that you love can also be found in low fat options. So feel free to eat the cheese if you want it, just try it in low fat.
How you cook your foods can also affect their nutritional value. If you are changing your diet for weight loss it is important to know that foods that have been fried are the least good for you. If you enjoy fried foods try to bake, grill, or steam instead. Often these cooking styles can make your food taste better and they are much better for you. If you do a lot of stir-fry cooking try to use less oil which will help make that cooking process healthier as well.
For any type of healthy eating diet, it is a good rule of thumb to always choose whole foods. This means eating foods that are natural. If you have the choice between French fries and an apple, go for the apple. If you have a choice between spaghetti with canned tomato sauce or roasted vegetables, go for the vegetables. This way you are making the healthy choice with foods that are fresh and natural.