One of the best ways to lose weight is to become a vegetarian. It’s been shown in various studies that vegetarians and vegans are leaner than their meat-eating peers, says Reed Mangels in the Vegetarian article “Weight Control the Vegan Way.”
When people think about a vegetarian diet plan, they usually believe it means no meat, poultry or fish. There are, however, different categories of vegetarians that could affect weight loss.
Vegans. Vegans do not eat any meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. Basically, vegans don’t eat anything that has a face or anything that contains anything made from something with a face.
Lacto-vegetarians. Lacto-vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry and eggs or anything that contains these items. Lacto-vegetarians do, however, eat dairy products like yogurt, butter, milk and cheese.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians. Lacto-ovo vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry, but they do eat dairy products and eggs.
Some people eat a semi-vegetarian or “flexitarian diet.” This type of diet includes foods such as meat, poultry, fish dairy, and eggs; however, flexitarians eat these types of foods only occasionally or in very limited quantities.
Vegetarian Food Pyramid
The vegetarian food pyramid from the 2003 American Dietetic Association suggests that each day vegetarians should eat six servings of grains, five servings of protein-rich foods like legumes and nuts, four servings of vegetables, two servings of fruits and two servings of fats.
The best way to lose weight on a vegetarian diet plan is to eat all or mostly plant-based foods. You should also avoid unhealthy foods like processed foods, refined sugar, white flour, junk food and most fast food. Keep your fat intake under 30 to 35 percent of your total daily calories. The more you avoid “unhealthy” foods and the more plant-based foods you eat, the faster you’ll likely lose weight. Effective weight loss is attainable for many who follow a vegetarian lifestyle.
The best thing about a plant-based diet is it’s not a fad diet. You don’t need to invest any money in some gimmick or crazy crash diet to drop pounds. All you need to do is grocery shop judiciously. Many health experts such as Dean Ornish, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. state that a lifelong plant-based diet will not only help you lose weight and stay slim, it will also help you avoid chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers.
Supplements for Vegetarians
When you follow a vegetarian diet plan, it’s important to take the following supplements:
- Vitamin B12
- Omega 3s (There are fish omega 3s and omega 3s made from plankton.
Start out Slowly
If you’ve been eating a mostly meat-based diet, it may be a good idea to start out slowly by just eating like a vegan or vegetarian a few days a week. Then, slowly add more plant-based days in the following weeks so you can more easily adjust to your new lifestyle.
Learn ways to substitute your favorite foods with vegan or vegetarian choices. There are many tasty vegetarian products available at most grocery stores and health food stores. Many vegans and vegetarians use legumes or tofu to replace meat in recipes like stews or fajitas. Because going vegan or vegetarian is becoming more and more popular, there are a lot more choices for people who follow plant-based diet.
Talk to Your Doctor First About Switching to a Vegetarian Diet Plan
As always, be sure to talk with your doctor before you change your diet. You should also ask him or her about necessary supplements.
Mangels, Reed. “Weight Control the Vegan Way.” Vegetarian Journal. 2006, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p6-11.
“Vegetarian Diet: How to Get the Best Nutrition.” MayoClinic.
Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. in Forks Over Knives Documentary
Dr. Dean Ornish