Are you thinking about becoming a vegetarian? Here's exactly what you need to know!
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More and more people are becoming aware of the need to eliminate animal protein from their diet. According to a 2018 study, 8% of the US population were vegetarian in 2018. The reasons for this are different. For some people, it's an attempt to eat healthier; for others it has to do with cultural and social issues, such as environmental protection.
While becoming a vegetarian has undeniable health benefits, it is obviously an important lifestyle change. If you are considering cutting meat from your daily diet, you need to be prepared so that the transition doesn't become too difficult. It is not enough just to decide which foods to stop eating; You also need to plan the best way to get all of the nutrients your body needs.
Know your reasons
People tend to become vegetarians for health or ethical reasons, although many adopt this lifestyle due to the influence of friends or partners, or even their favorite artist. Whatever your case, you should know and understand your reasons in order to make it easier to stick to the new diet. If you want to improve your health, a vegetarian meal can help prevent obesity, high blood pressure, and even reduce the risk of cancer. If you think the processing of animal meat is too cruel, becoming a vegetarian is a small step to reduce unnecessary slaughter. There is also the environmental reason. The livestock industry now uses more arable land than humans to feed animals. When in doubt on these topics, check out documentation on vegetarianism or study the nutritious benefits of a diet free from animal proteins to better understand the effects on your health and the environment.
To have a plan
So you woke up and decided to go vegetarian. And now? It's not just about not eating meat, you have to change your daily meals and review your entire shopping list to make sure you are getting the most nutritious ingredients or your body will feel the difference.
Ideally, you start with small steps. Add grains, vegetables and fruits to your normal diet and gradually cut out meat. Then create a meal plan to make sure the transition is less stressful. Decide what you'll be eating next week, how to replace animal protein, and what ingredients to buy.
A great tip for beginners is to customize your favorite recipes by using plant-based proteins (like lentils and chickpeas) with plant-based proteins instead of animal-based protein. There are many vegetarian cookbooks that will introduce you to the most varied and tasty meatless dishes.
Make sure you are getting the right nutrients
Although a diet full of fruits and vegetables looks healthier, you need to look for supplements to replace some of the nutrients and vitamins from animal protein. For example, vitamin B12 is not found in plant foods, but rather in dairy products, eggs, and some types of breakfast cereals. Another important element is iron, found in red meat and poultry, which vegetarians can find in beans, peas, and lentils.
The lack of these substances can lead to weakness, fatigue, and even anemia. Before embarking on a vegetarian diet, speak to a nutritionist to make sure that your new menu is varied and includes what your body needs. You can also use alternatives like taking gum vitamins to get all of the recommended vitamins.
Eat enough calories
By eliminating animal products from your diet, you begin to lose weight. For some people, that's a good thing. But remember that vegetarian foods are often lower in calories; Hence, it becomes more difficult to gain weight.
To ensure that you are consuming enough calories every day, you need to eat a menu of high-protein foods. Rice, sweet potatoes, nuts, and dried fruits are the most common sources of calories, but you can also use grains like quinoa and oils made from coconut and olives, which are high in monounsaturated fats. You can also eat healthy snacks like popcorn, vegetable chips, or granola throughout the day.
Every change starts with planning
A vegetarian diet will encourage you to eat more fruits and vegetables and improve your health. But if you've eaten meat and other animal products your entire life, it can also mean a radical lifestyle change. Like any change, it must start with planning. Read and research a lot, speak to your doctor, and consider making an appointment with a specialist to learn how to meet your nutritional needs when switching to a vegetarian diet.
Remember that the main goal of becoming a vegetarian is healthier eating. Hence, there is no point in cutting animal protein from your diet and doubling your consumption of sugar, bread, pasta, and processed foods. A healthy vegetarian diet goes far beyond simply avoiding meat.