Vegetarian diets are becoming more popular than ever before. Increasingly, people are looking to live a healthier lifestyle and diet, and are increasingly choosing to avoid meat and other animal products. In the United States, meat-eaters are the largest percentage of the population, but many people are coming to realize that a plant-based diet can be just as healthy and better for you. If you are looking to go vegetarian, or have been thinking about it, here are a few tips and ideas on how to transition. The transition to vegetarianism can be both easy and difficult, but when you follow the right plan, it can be very rewarding.
Most vegetarians live well outside the United States, but in other countries, especially Europe and Asia, seafood is taboo. Some people will eat fish occasionally, but others will never touch seafood. Vegetarians can find hearty, delicious dishes that use seafood in their recipes without being forced to eat it through fear or ignorance. Many seafood dishes can be cooked with soy sauce, which makes them even more accessible to those with vegetarian diets.
While many vegetarians tend to be lactose intolerant, it can be difficult to get enough calcium and vitamin D in their diet. However, fortified soy milk and tofu make it possible for lactose-free vegans to enjoy many of the same health benefits as meat-eaters. Of course, dairy products should not be totally eliminated from your diet. They are important for protein, calcium, and vitamin D.
Many vegetarians avoid refined sugar completely, or at least choose to eliminate it from their diet entirely. This may be because they are tired of the sugar-filled, preservative-laden taste of processed foods. Some people say that they simply don’t like the flavor. Others swear that it’s worth the switch from regular table sugar to organic, pure sugar. Still others report no flavor issues at all, even when consuming sugar-free products.
Most vegetarians may be tempted to follow fast-food restaurants’ nutrition facts sheets and choose a burger topped with cheese and a vegetable. This sounds like a healthy and convenient way to prepare a meal, but it is actually very wrong. While there may be some low-calorie substitutes (such as frozen corn chips and rice), eating the bun or taco is almost always higher calorie than eating the natural ingredients of the burger. Fruits and vegetables contain tons of nutrients that are difficult to turn into fat. Vegetarians also need a lot of water to help remove toxins from their body.
If you’re a vegetarian and struggling to find healthy, nutrient-dense foods, give lentils a try. They’re low in fat, low in cholesterol, and high in protein. They’re easy to cook with and have loads of nutrients. When preparing lentils, however, it’s wise to use them sparingly and to make sure that they are well cooked before adding them to soups or salads. Also, make sure that you always add them fresh, not canned.