The Basics of a Vegetarian Diet

A vegetarian diet is what a lot of modern-day people are currently adopting these days. Someone will just come up to you and say he or she is a vegetarian, and you will somehow be amazed at how this person is able to totally eradicate animal products in his diet.

In all fairness to people who prefer to go vegetarian, it takes a lot of courage and self-control to let go of their food cravings. It is never easy to completely drop the meat and the dairy products out of one’s system, but then these individuals are able to do that.

Who are the vegetarians?

Generally, vegetarians are those individuals whose diet is only comprised of vegetables, pulses, fruits, nuts, and grains. Basically, they consume only plant-based foods. But when you hear the word “vegetarian,” you should understand that this kind of diet also comes in various forms. In fact, the term itself can mean a lot of things. A person who claims he or she is a vegetarian may eat only a couple of food groups, and restrict the others. Some people may be plant-food purists, while the others may include a few meat products in their diet.

What are the categories of vegetarians?

Vegans – People who adopt such a diet eat purely vegetables, and totally do away with all sorts of animal products, as well as the by-products. Among which are honey, eggs, and the dairy products.

Fruitarians – This is the kind of diet of people who just eat fruits, seeds, nuts, and other plant components.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians – These people consume eggs, and several other forms of dairy products. This is the most common category so far.

Lacto-vegetarians – Individuals who adopt this diet eat different dairy products, with the exception of eggs.

Pollo-vegetarians – Those who go for this diet eat turkey and chicken, but not pork and any sort of red meat.

Pesce-vegetarians – People who have this kind of diet only take in fish.

Flexitarians – Those who have this diet consume vegetables primarily, but also eat other food groups from time to time.

How can you change your own diet into being a vegetarian?

Of course, it is possible for you to become a vegetarian. However, the transition itself will take time. You don’t become a vegetarian overnight. Neither can you easily give up those foods that you have loved all your life. All it takes is for you to gradually change your diet. If you want to consume pure plant-based foods, then slowly lessen your consumption of meat products and other related animal by-products. Start by decreasing the quantity, until such time that you can fully eradicate such foods from your daily meal.

What are the benefits of being a vegetarian?

Health-wise, the vegetarian diet can bring loads of benefits. Since such a diet mainly constitutes healthy vegetables and fruits, you also get rid of the bad fat by cutting out the animal products from your food intake. The so-called bad fat is known to be the saturated fat, which is typically contained in meat products. If you devour too much of it, then you are most likely to have high cholesterol that may lead to stroke and other types of heart ailments. So, it is much better to avoid it, right?

Are there any side effects to this kind of diet?

Sadly, being a vegetarian doesn’t mean you become 100% healthy. While this kind of diet basically lessens your risk of developing a couple of deadly diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart ailments, crossing out the meat products means losing access to vitamin B12. Not only that, you can also be prone to calcium, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acid, and iron deficiencies. The good news though is that you can always find meat substitutes in the forms of soya, and a lot other vitamin supplements. That way there is balance, despite you being a vegetarian.

Because a vegetarian mostly consumes plant-based foods only, he sacrifices balanced nutritional intake. Therefore, he must be keen about using meat substitutes. To be able to make up for the lost vitamins and nutrients, a number of foods like legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds, soy products, and whole grains, to name a few, need to be taken. Add to it the fact that one needs the help of a variety of nutritional supplements as well.

So if you are a real health buff by nature, and are considering the vegetarian diet, better take a look at both the positive and negative sides.

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