A vegetarian diet can be used for effective weight loss, or it can be a disaster. A vegetarian diet does not necessarily mean a healthy one. Potato chips, cheese, cookies, and soft drinks can all be part of a vegetarian diet. A healthy vegetarian diet, however, can help you lose weight and feel great.
Types of Vegetarianism
If you decide to go the most popular lacto-ovo vegetarian route, be sure to limit the amount of cheese in your diet. It should be used to garnish a meal, not be a major part of it.
Balanced diet is the key!
So what makes a vegetarian diet so effective? Done correctly, a vegetarian diet is lower in calories and higher in nutrients. It balances proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, while reducing or eliminating the bad fats and simple carbohydrates. You'll have more energy with this diet and will be able to eat large meals.
Vegetarian Cookbooks offer delicious recipes
Find cookbooks that focus mostly on fruits and vegetables. If you hate cooking, pick up cookbooks geared towards quick and easy meals. Another good investment is a slow cooker. With a slow cooker you can prep the food before you leave for work and have a meal ready for you when you get home.
In addition to cookbooks, pick up a book on general vegetarian nutrition. Some people lose weight quickly when they switch to a vegetarian diet because they don't know what to eat! When this happens, the metabolism slows and the person, tired of starving, stops dieting completely. Find a few meals that you enjoy before you start your diet.
When you start your diet, make sure that you have a healthy balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. This is easy to achieve if you eat a variety of whole foods.
Important components of a balanced diet
Many new vegetarians are worried about not consuming enough protein. Fortunately, it is extremely difficult to become protein deficient if you are eating enough calories. The body's protein requirements are half of what the average American consumes.
It's simply to discover your Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of protein. Multiply your body weight (in pounds) by .36. A person weighing 150 pounds would need to consume 54 grams of protein a day.
Protein is not just found in animal sources. A cup of black beans contains 15 grams of protein. A cup of cooked peas contains 9 grams. A cup of brown rice has five grams, as does a cup of spinach. A medium sized potato has four grams. A cup of 2% milk has 8 grams while a cup of soy milk has 7.
It's true that carbohydrates can make losing weight difficult, but not all carbs are bad carbs. Cut out the simple carbs from your diet. Things like cookies, crackers, and bread should only be eaten in moderation. Your body turns these simple starches into sugar.
When you consume carbs, go for complex carbohydrates. Have a sweet potato or some brown rice. Your body converts these carbs into energy. If you are trying to lose a maximum amount of weight, limit your carb-filled food to one meal a day. Focus on fruit and vegetable dishes for the other meals.
Just like carbs, there are good fats and bad fats. The good fats can actually help you lose weight. Since you're eating a vegetarian diet, it is easy to avoid most of the bad fats, such as saturated fat. What you need to focus is on adding good fats to your diet.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are the fats that you want to incorporate. Foods that contain good fat include walnuts, avocadoes, and flax seeds or flax seed oil are all great for any vegetarian diet plans.