Vegetarian and vegan restaurants are popping up all over the United States. Meat and dairy alternatives can also be found in almost every supermarket. It seems like more and more people are choosing to ditch meat and animal based products.
People choose to become vegetarians and vegans for a variety of reasons. Some people believe it is the ethical thing to do. These individuals believe eating meat and animal based products is cruel. Others simply do not like the taste of meat. Health concerns play a role in vegetarian diet for some people, and others believe it is the healthier alternative.
Vegetarianism rooted in India. Currently India has the most vegetarians on the planet, coming in at a whopping 70% of the world’s population. There are more vegetarians living in India right now, than in any other country.
There are several types of vegetarians. For example, a lacto-vegetarian eats milk and dairy foods, but avoids eggs, meat, poultry, and fish. While a lacto-ovo vegetarian eats eggs, and dairy products. Vegans abstain from all animal based products, including honey and gelatin. Pesto-Vegetarians stay away from meat and poultry, but do eat fish.
It’s a common misconception that all vegetarians are automatically slim and healthy. Granted, vegetarianism has its health benefits for sure! For instance, vegetarian eating patterns have been linked to lower cholesterol, and lower levels of obesity. Vegetarianism has been linked to lower blood pressure, and even a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke. Replacing meat with vegetables certainly increases a vegetarian’s daily fiber and vitamin consumption. So yes, there are plenty of health benefits in vegetarianism.
However, going on a vegetarian diet only will not cause you to shed extra weight that easily. I mean, candy is technically considered a vegetarian food. You still need to prioritize portion control, count your calories, and pay attention to the amount of carbohydrates you’re consuming. You need to make sure you’re still getting a good source of protein from elsewhere. But let’s get more in depth and take a look at 5 ways to lose fat following a vegetarian diet.
1. Be Mindful of Your Portions
If you want to lose weight, and are trying out a new vegetarian diet, do not make the mistake of keeping your same old eating habits, just minus the meat. The weight loss won’t happen. In order to keep your metabolism increased, you need to be portioning out your food wisely, and eating it properly throughout the day.
A huge serving of pasta isn’t going to help you on your weight loss journey. Instead try adding small amounts of each of these to your plate: something protein-packed, something full of fiber, and then something with vitamins. In other words, you could add beans, leafy greens, and tomatoes- and depending on whether or not eggs fall into your vegetarian category, you could have a hard boiled or scrambled egg for the protein.
2. Moderate Your Calorie Intake
Remember, you still need to be mindful of your calorie intake. A calorie is a unit of energy. We all need a certain amount of calorie intake just to survive. But when you stop paying attention to the amount of calories going in versus the amount you are burning off, you may see some weight gain. It’s important that even with a vegetarian diet, you should be moderating your calorie intake. When you exercise regularly, you are able to eat more calories because your body burns off what it needs to. But if you don’t exercise you should be focusing on calorie counting.
3. Avoid Vegetarian Junk Food
What in the world is vegetarian junk food, and is there even such a thing? We know, it’s pretty much unheard of. But this is one of the misconceptions about vegetarianism- that it’s all healthy. What are some examples of vegetarian junk food? How about french fries, instant ramen noodles, Pop-Tarts, and even those little Swedish Fish are all examples of vegetarian junk food. All we’re saying is, if eating all these things is your idea of a vegetarian weight loss diet, you’ll be surprised to find you will actually be gaining weight.
4. Avoid Fried Vegetarian Food
There’s something about deep fried food that’s so comforting, and somehow it always makes whatever you’re frying taste better. If you’ve gotten used to fried fish sticks and fried chicken and are now a vegetarian trying to lose weight, the idea of frying all your vegetables has probably crossed your mind. Unfortunately, fried vegetarian food is going to hinder your weight loss progress. Think fried cheese sticks, fried onion rings, fried vegetable spring rolls. All so delicious and OK to indulge in moderation, but if fried vegetarian food becomes a habitual thing, you can say “good-bye” to losing weight.
Finally, perhaps the most piece of advice on this list- exercise regularly. Becoming a vegetarian, as stated above, has its long list of nutritional benefits. And in the long term, studies have shown that vegetarians have a lower rate of obesity than individuals that consume meat. But if you are not actively exercising on a regular basis, then you aren’t healthy.
Exercise reduces your risks of chronic disease, it lowers bad cholesterol, and decreases your risk of heart disease and stroke. Exercise is great for the brain, it can relieve depression symptoms, and it can improve your memory. It makes you happier, healthier, more confident! And last but not least, exercise can make you lose weight. You can be following a million different diets, but if you’re not getting the exercise your body needs you will not be able to lose weight in a healthy manner.