Vegetarianism is a term that refers to person’s feeding pattern in which the person in does not consume animal flesh and animal related products. Such people may also abstain from the by-products of animals or by-products gotten through the slaughter of animals.
There exist many different reasons why people decided to go into vegetarianism. Some, do it for religious beliefs, others for personal philosophies of life, still others do it for cultural, environmental, political or even economic reasons.
Lacto vegetarians are quite peculiar in their eating habits in the sense that they abstain from anything that has to do with animals except milk and Ovo-Lacto vegetarians do include both milk and eggs in their diets. Semi-vegetarians include certain animal elements in their diets and not others. Vegans are known to include vegetables only in their diets while pescetarian diet includes fish and no other flesh.
Vegetarianism has become a popular fad with many people undertaking the practice without any real known reason for doing so. Although the practice has many benefits both health-wise and financially as well.
Pop culture and trends always allude to the fact that vegetarianism is almost cult-like in lifestyle. While this may be true on some level, it is just as important that those who do succeed in maintaining a vegetarian lifestyle are flexible with their diet slightly to adjust for nutrition’s’ sake.
Vegetarianism has long been advocated by many notable figures the World over. From the Seventh Day Adventist Church to political leaders like Benjamin Frankin and Mahatma Gandhi, philosophers such as Nietzsche and Musicians such as Bob Marley. It is obvious that vegetarianism over the years has built a huge fan base.
The various health benefits of a vegetarian diet are listed but not limited to those depicted below:
1. Vegetarian diets are known for their ability to beat heart disease.
Saturated fats that are the prime cause of many major heart diseases are known to originate from animal flesh and animal-based products.
It has been shown that combining vegetarian diets with exercise and cessation of damaging habits such as smoking and alcoholism are sure ways to reduce Cholesterol levels and reduce and in some cases reverse the process and the rate of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
Apart from that, nutrients that aid in the healing of heart tissue such as Vitamin A, zinc, vitamin C and several other critical nutrients are found in vegetarian diets.
2. In lowering of blood pressure.
Animal fat present in flesh related products is known to thicken the blood, thus making it more viscous.
This also works regardless of the amount of sodium which is present in the bloodstream. Vegetarian diets and fruitarian diets (those diets that are fruit only) are known to known high levels of Potassium which is very effective in keeping even levels of blood pressure.
3. In the prevention of cancer.
Vegetarian diets are known to be rich in phytochemicals which are known to help in the prevention of cancer.
Certain hormonal regulations such as estrogen which when produced in irregular levels can cause certain cancers are also brought to heel by nutrients available in vegetarian diets.
Flesh and animal products are known to contribute significantly to a person’s predisposition to cancer. Vegetable based diets are known to conquer certain cancer-causing compounds (also referred to as free radicals and others) and also to create a more alkaline environment within the human body.
For instance, Carrots contain the compound beta-carotene which is a major tool that is used in the fight against many types of cancers. Most of the treatments are done using only vegetables and other fruits which can aid the fight against cancer.
4. In the prevention, treatment, and reversal of Diabetes.
Since vegetarian diets are low in fat, it does indeed help diabetics especially those of non-insulin dependency (adult-onset diabetes). Alongside regular exercise and monitoring of blood sugar levels, this is known to contribute to no small degree for those who suffer from this condition.
Vegetarian diets are also known to help reduce the amount of insulin that those with insulin dependent diabetes (type 1) may need from time to time.
5. In the reduction of risk of gallstones and kidney stones.
Higher protein diets are known to produce high-risk situations where people are more at risk of gallstones and kidney stones.
Proteins generally especially animal proteins force the body to excrete more calcium, oxalate and uric acid. These are the main substances that form urinary tract stones.
Vegetarian diets also help the excretory system to function normally without the accumulation of such compounds that put it at risk.
How being on a vegetarian diet can help you lose weight
When it comes to the matter of losing weight, it is a known fact that adopting a vegetarian diet can indeed serve as a booster in one’s efforts to lose weight. However, as in all things, there are rules to consider when considering the issue of diet and weight loss.
Vegetarians are generally “Slimmer” than meat consumers. This is because Vegetarians have a lower fat content in their diet than in animal-based foods. This does not mean however that if certain basic nutrition rules are not followed that the vegetarian diet will be effective. It will end up being a waste of time, energy and other resources.
For example, the issue of the B complex vitamins always comes into play when considering the switch from an animal-based diet to a vegetable-based one.
The vegetarian always has to ensure that foods rich in Vitamin B are consumed alongside other vegetables.
Soya beans (or soybeans as it is known internationally) is rich in the B complex of vitamins and offers a sure substitute for beef of all kinds.
The following points depict the steps necessary to be taken in order to lose weight as a vegetarian.
1. Always watch what you’re eating.
There are some vegetables that aren’t filling yet they contain high calories. It is better yet to select filling vegetables with a lower calorie count. That way, a pattern of what to eat would be established and will help to improve nutritional knowledge.
2. When it comes to fluids, the more natural the better.
Water has always been referred to as the safest drink in the house or water has no enemy. In the journey to weight loss, this is so true and evident because water does NOT have a calorie content. So, all fizzy drinks and colas should go out of the window while natural fruit juices and lots of water should remain.
3. Avoid snacks. It is that simple.
Snacks even those that are prepared with the vegetarian in mind contain higher calories than normal. Salads could offer a great alternative to random snacks as long as one knows what one is doing as per calorie concerns.
4. Reduce the amount of oil used in cooking.
This is because of the high amount of saturated fat in oils which may not be healthy.
5. Eat smaller portions even with the vegetables in mind.
In this regard, larger portions are equal to larger calories and this is the ONE thing that must be avoided at all points in time.
6. Know your plants and the nutrients that they give.
While one may not do this for the sole purpose of being a nutritionist, a wide knowledge of different plants and their nutrients will aid planning for the right kind of diet that will bring about the desired change which is weight loss!
Timing always has the effect of creating and instilling discipline so as to enable order. This will help as there are always little distractions here and there that would be extremely tempting even though it is certain that those distractions will lead to an ultimate end which is more calories and more weight.
8. Be extremely fanatical about fruits.
Fruits provide a very sure source of the many nutrients that vegetables may lack on way or the other. They fill in the needed gap that makes the weight loss equation more balanced.
9. Remain committed to sticking to your goal.
This is the part where the most important person in the room is you!! You have to make sure that your commitment is absolute towards losing weight. The kind of commitment that is required should also be the kind of requirements that is kept. This is because it takes a certain kind of discipline to be able to stick to a vegetarian routine.
10. Make sure to use local vegetables that are readily available in dieting.
This enables one to be able to have pocket-friendly options that can do the job of providing the required nutrients at lower costs to the individual.
In conclusion, it is indeed possible for weight loss to occur on a vegetarian diet. Vegetarians have been misunderstood but the results that they provide not just to themselves makes it impossible to deny that weight loss is an impossible task with a vegetable-based diet.
Written by: Christopher Haruna Hamman is a strategist, Writer, and Entrepreneur. He also writes extensively for internet, publishing, film, and television.