Becoming a Vegetarian
Have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian? I know, I have!
After watching What the Health, a documentary that highlights the benefits of veganism, I went vegetarian for a month. Surprisingly, a few of my girlfriends did as well. But, over the course of 30 days, I knew I was doing the right thing for my body. Since I already practice healthy eating, I thought cutting out meat would be a breeze. And to be honest with you, it was. However, I wasn’t losing any weight and traveling to South Africa didn’t help me stay on track. If you’re transitioning from a carnivorous diet to a vegetarian diet, there are three mistakes that ought to be avoided in order to promote a more efficient transition.
3 common mistakes vegetarians make!
Substituting Meat for Dairy
By definition, vegetarian means having the willpower to stop eating meat, but continuing to indulge in dairy products such as eggs, cheese, milk, and yogurt. While dairy consumption is necessary in order to maintain a balanced diet, overeating dairy products can cause health complications. For example, substituting meat for cheese isn’t good for the body. Cheese contains high levels of saturated fat, sodium, and lactose, which is a sugar that lactose-intolerant people can’t digest. Ultimately, this can result in some constipation and weight gain, which is counterproductive.
Eating Processed Fake Meats
Although it’s great to support companies that aren’t killing animals, eating too much artificial meat can be detrimental to your health. Some vegan meat substitutes contain high levels of sodium, oils, artificial ingredients, and MSG. These ingredients can cause heart disease and high cholesterol. This is not stating that you can’t have processed fake meat as a vegetarian, but limit your consumption. Not every plant-based/whole food is considered “healthy.”
Not Consuming Enough Calories
If you’re transitioning into a vegetarian lifestyle, make sure you consume enough calories. Many people claim at the beginning of their transition they feel weak, dizzy, or fear they aren’t getting enough nutrients because they are consuming under 2,000 calories a day. Aside from eating fruits and vegetables, it’s good to add brown rice, beans, quinoa, oatmeal, and nuts to help reach your daily calorie goal. All these foods are high in carbs and fiber but have nutritional benefits.
Key Take Away
Before altering your diet, do your research. Understand that there are pros and cons to every diet, but you have to find what works best for YOU!