Vegetarian Diet VS Meat
A lot of people are turning into vegetarians as time progresses. It is estimated that 18% of the total world population are vegetarians. A vegetarian diet is a meal devoid of meat, fish, and poultry. A meat diet consists of both red meat and white meat. Red meat is made up of animal meat, whereas white meat consists of poultry and fish.
In as much as vegetarians do not eat meat, some still eat a variety of animal products such as dairy and eggs. There are different types of vegetarian diets, which differ in terms of restrictions. These are:
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet- This vegetarian diet is devoid of meat, fish, and poultry. However, it allows for eggs and other dairy products.
Lacto-vegetarian diet- Lacto-vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, and poultry. They, however, allow dairy products in their food.
Ovo-vegetarian diet- The ovo-vegetarian diet excludes meat, fish, and dairy products but allows eggs.
Pescatarian diet- The Pescatarian diet excludes meat and poultry but allows occasionally allows eggs and dairy products.
Vegan diet- The vegan diet is an extreme vegetarian diet that excludes meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, including animal-derived products.
Flexitarian diet- The Flexitarian diet is a more relaxed vegetarian diet that allows for occasional meat, fish, and poultry.
Vegetarians do not, therefore, eat meat. Some may, however, eat other dairy and animal products depending on the sub-diet they choose.
Vegetarian diet for health
The vegetarian diet has several health benefits. Some vegetarians, however, heavily rely on processed foods, which are high on sugar, fat, and sodium, thus beating the entire logic behind the vegetarian diet. The best vegetarian diet for health, therefore, requires you to take enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and foods rich in calcium, so that one does not miss out on any nutrient, which can be derived from other excluded foods.
For optimum health benefits, a vegetarian diet requires discipline. One should, therefore, cut back on unhealthy choices such as sugar, fruit juices, and refined grains. The vegetarian diet excludes several foods. Here ere are some of the nutrients that you need to look out for if you are into a vegetarian diet for health:
Protein- Serves several functions in the human body. Proteins help in muscle development and maintenance of healthy skin. The best sources of proteins on a vegetarian diet are eggs and dairy products since meat is excluded. A good source of protein would also be plant-based foods. These include soy products, legumes, lentils, nuts, whole grains, and a number of seeds.
Calcium- Calcium plays a vital role in bone development. On a vegetarian diet, the best calcium sources are milk and dairy foods. If your diet excludes milk and dairy products, however, dark green vegetables would be ideal too. These include kale, broccoli, turnip, and collard green. Other viable options would be cereals, soy milk, soy yogurt, and certain natural juices.
Vitamin D- Vitamin D also helps in bone development. On a vegetarian diet, vitamin D can be found in cow’s milk, some soy, and rice milk brands. There are also other plant-based Vitamin D supplements that you can choose.
Vitamin B-12- Vitamin B-12 is an essential nutrient since it is vital in red blood cell production. You, therefore, need this vitamin for anemia prevention. It is, however, challenging for a vegetarian since this vitamin is mostly found in animal products. A vegetarian diet for health should, therefore, incorporate vitamin supplements, vitamin-enriched cereals, and fortified soy products.
Iodine- Iodine deficiency causes swelling of the thyroid glands. Iodine is, therefore, crucial since it plays a part in metabolism regulation and the growth of major organs. The vegetarian diet excludes some critical sources of iodine. The vegetarian diet should, therefore, be complemented by ¼ teaspoon of iodized salt daily.
Omega-3 fatty acids- You need Omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy heart. Your vegetarian diet should, therefore, include eggs. However, for vegans, canola oil, walnuts, soybeans, and soy oil can play a significant role in Omega-3 fatty acid production. Plant-based omega-3 conversion is usually inefficient, and therefore as a supplement, fortified products would serve just right.
Iron and Zinc- Iron makes part of the red blood cells. A healthy vegetarian diet should, therefore, include dried beans and peas, whole-grain products, dark green vegetables, dried foods, and lentils. Vegetarians should also intake double the amount of iron since iron is not easily absorbed from plant sources.
For maximum absorption, a vegetarian should eat foods rich in Vitamin C, including strawberries, tomatoes, cabbages, and broccoli. Zinc is also mainly obtained from animal products. A vegetarian therefore need to eat grains, soy products, legumes, wheat germ, and nuts for zin absorption.
Here are some of the reasons why you need a vegetarian diet for health:
Helps in weight loss- Unhealthy weights come with several health risks that we should all avoid. A vegetarian diet may help a person lose weight since it is devoid of fatty foods and meat.
It lowers cholesterol levels- Vegetarian diets are usually cholesterol-free since they are devoid of animal foods. In case you are worried that you will miss out on cholesterol, have in mind that the body can make all the cholesterol it needs from the foods you eat as a vegetarian. Too much cholesterol exposes you to certain long-term conditions such as diabetes.
Reduces the risk of diabetes- The vegetarian diet cuts on sugar, which causes diabetes. One can, therefore, maintain a constant flow of blood sugar on a vegetarian diet, which lowers the risk of diabetes.
Healthy skin- Vegetarian diet involves a lot of vitamins and minerals, which are vital for healthy skin. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of Vitamin C, which promotes skin health. Vegetarian foods also have a high amount of antioxidants, which promotes overall health, giving you a healthy skin.
Improves overall body metabolism- Vegetarian diet is usually easy to digest, which is a plus since it ensures the body is never devoid of energy. As a result, the resting metabolism rate of vegetarians usually is higher as compared to that of non-vegetarians. The higher the RRM of an individual, the faster fats are burnt, and the better the body metabolism.
Reduces the risk of cataract development- No, there is a co-relation between cataract development and the diet we eat. People who eat meat are always at a higher risk of cataract development as opposed to vegetarians.
Vegetarian diet for picky eaters
Peaky eaters are usually challenged when it comes to finding the right food to eat, which is also common for people starting on a vegetarian diet. When you switch from sugary foods to plant-based food, it might take time to adapt. However, there are a variety of vegetarian meals for picky eaters.
Veggie omelets- It is possible to come up with a veggie omelet by adding healthy greens to your omelet for breakfast.
Banana bread- The banana bread is delicious and can serve a picky eater well.
Vegan French toast with bananas- By adding some bananas to your French toast, you can have a delicious meal devoid of any animal product
.Potato pancakes- A breakfast meal of potato pancakes is something that picky eaters won’t resist, especially when served with applesauce.
Quiche in pepper pots would also be a delicious meal for picky eaters.
Tempeh Hash- You don’t need corned beef to make hash. As a vegetarian, therefore, you can use tempeh as a base when making your hash, giving you one delicious breakfast.
Tofu salad- At first, the tofu salad may taste odd for beginners, but with time even picky eaters grow fond of it.
Taco salad- You are probably wondering how you can make taco without any meat in it, but yes and alas, it is possible. With the correct style, even picky eaters will have no choice but to enjoy.
White bean Burritos- Instead of using animal products, you can make delicious lunchtime burrito using white beans.
Vegetarian club sandwich- Picky eaters will love a fancy and properly made vegetarian sandwich.
Black bean Burrito- In case you thought that vegetarians could only use white beans to make Burritos, you are wrong. Picky eaters will also enjoy the classic black bean Burritos.
Salad pittas- In case you are a vegetarian who doesn’t like salad, adding pitas in the recipe may be a good move.
Garden vegetable soup- The garden vegetable soup is one of the tastiest soups in the vegetarian diet. You can always be sure that a picky eater will enjoy.
Veggie chili- With the veggie chili, you don’t even need meat.
Lentil soup- Lentils don’t look that good, but the taste of lentil soup can turn a picky eater into a full-fledged vegetarian.
Tomato soup- You can easily take the tomato soup with grilled cheese if you are a picky eater.
The vegetarian diet is one of the simplest but highly rewarding diets. Being a vegetarian comes with several health benefits that you should not miss out on. Vegetarians do not eat meat and, as a result, rely on plant-based foods. In case you are a picky eater, there is also a vegetarian diet for you. There is always something for everyone.