Vegetarian diet plan is not a fad. It is a healthy meal plan followed by people who wants to be healthy, loose weight and improve their over all wellness. However, starting on a vegetarian diet requires discipline and motivation to make it successful.
What is Vegetarian Diet Plan?Â
Vegetarian diet plan or vegetarianism is a healthy diet plan that eliminates some or all foods, which are associated with animal in origin. It is a popular meal plan long that is being practiced by a large portion of worldâ€™s population even long before fad diets were discovered.Â Vegetarianism is classified according to foods that are excluded in the meal plan. The classifications of vegetarianism are:
- Vegans or total vegetarians only eat plant foods. They do not eat meat, poultry, fish and dairy products and all foods that may contain one of these products.
- Lacto â€“ vegetarians eat plant foods as well as dairy products. Â Yogurt, butter and cheese are also allowed but they avoid meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
- Lacto â€“ ovo- vegetarian include plant foods, milk and eggs but they exclude meat, poultry and fish.
- Pesco/pollo vegetarians eat plant foods along with seafood and chicken but they exclude other meats like pork and beef.
There are different reasons why majority of people prefers vegetarian diet plan. Some of the reasons for choosing vegetarian diet plan are:
- Many people choose vegetarian diet plan because of health reasons. Vegetarian diets have lower saturated fat, lower sodium and lower cholesterol. It is rich in antioxidants, folate, potassium and fiber. Those who have high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary artery disease benefits well in vegetarian meal plan.
- Some start vegetarian diet plan for ethical reasons. The philosophy of non-violence and giving importance for value of life makes them decide not to eat any animal foods like fish, poultry and meat products.
- Religion plays a role in being a vegetarian. Several religious groups in India teach vegetarianism in their religion.
- Some choose this diet plan for economic reasons. The cost of meat is higher than a vegetable that is why some people prefer vegetables than meat products.
How Can I Start Vegetarian Diet Plan?
Strict discipline and enough motivation are needed for you to start vegetarian diet plan. Here are some things to consider before you get started:
- Do not eliminate all poultry, meat and fish all at once in your meal plan. Each week cut back your intake of these types of foods and starts introducing variety of vegetables to your meals.
- Find healthy recipes of vegetarian meal plan in magazines and internet. This will ensure that you are eating various types of vegetables. A variety is needed to avoid missing some nutrients.
- Learn to substitute. Instead of using meat, you may substitute it with other great tasting ingredients like tofu or black beans.
- If you have chronic illness, ask first your doctor if you can start on vegetarian diet plan.
Guide to Vegetarian Diet Plan
Vegetarian diet plan will not cure any illness but it can help anyone to be fit and healthy. However, no single type of foods can provide all the nutrition the body needs. A restrictive diet like vegetarian diet needs variation and food creativity to ensure that you meet all the dietary requirements of your body.
Here are some important nutrients that your body requires and the good source of these foods while you are in vegetarian diet plan.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1. Calcium
Calcium is needed for maintaining strong bones and teeth. Since you are eating vegetarian meal plan, you may lack calcium because you had eliminated milk products. To substitute them, you may eat dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale. Soy milk and tofu may also be a good alternative.
Protein is needed to keep skin, bones and muscles to be healthy. In vegetarian diet plan, protein is found in legumes, whole grains and nuts.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3.Â Iodine
Iodine is required by out bodies for metabolism and function of key organs like brain, kidney and thyroid. Low intake of iodine may result to thyroid problems like goiter. To ensure enough iodine in the diet, use iodine salt for cooking.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4. Iron
Iron is important in production of red blood cells. To ensure that you are not iron deficient, include foods rich in iron like dried beans, whole grain products, peas and dark leafy vegetables in your vegetarian meal plan.
5. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is important to prevent anemia. This vitamin is found in animal products like eggs and cheese. To prevent vitamin B12 deficiency, vegetarians may consider taking vitamin B12 supplements.
These are the nutrients needed to keep our body healthy and strong. Consult your medical health provider or licensed dietician to ensure that you are getting all the proper nutrients with your vegetarian diet plan.