Vegetarian diet is not a fancy fad of health freaks. It is a conscious choice that helps raise your wellness quotient. A vegetarian diet will not contain eggs, seafood, meat, poultry and non-vegetarian processed foods. The diet is primarily fresh fruits, raw and cooked vegetables with emphasis on all seasonal produce, pulses, legumes, grains and millet. Vegetarian diet is appealing to many these days because the risk of saturated fats intake reduces on avoiding non-vegetarian food items.
Moreover, the hormones treatment given to animal and poultry is of health concern by naturalists. Indian diet is primarily vegetarian although western influence is quickly affecting the way we eat. Expert’s advice that being vegetarian is a wise choice if one has to avoid long term chronic conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. A vegetarian diet definitely has a lowering effect on BMI and blood pressure. The increase in fresh produce, nuts, seeds and whole grains also reduces insulin sensitivity. A common myth is that pure vegetarian diet can cause weakness and fatigue.
On the contrary, a pure vegetarian diet is close to your body’s harmony and keeps it healthy. Proteins, zinc and vitB12 along with iron can be obtained with a pure vegetarian diet as well. It is not necessary to eat meat or eggs to obtain these nutrients.
Let us give you an insight what a healthy vegetarian day’s diet should looks like: Early morning: Green Tea with two whole walnuts or five soaked almonds with skin. Breakfast options:
1. Ragi dosa with coconut chutney.
2. Oats upma with peanut raita
3. Vegetable dalia with buttermilk
Mid morning snack: A bowl of fresh fruits and a glass of unsweetened soy milk or almond milk. Add chia seeds or flax seeds to the fruit salad or milk. Lunch options:
1. Whole wheat pasta and cottage cheese, black olive salad in apple cider vinegar dressing.
2. Brown rice with boiled kala channa curry and mint chutney
3. Idlis with vegetable and drumstick sambhar
Evening tea options: a cup of tea or coffee with roasted soya or roasted Bengal gram Dinner options:
1. Tomato soup with spinach and methi parathas in olive oil.
2. Mushroom soup with cabbage wheat roti rolls
3. Hot and sour vegetable soup with tofu noodles
Post dinner: figs or prunes with a cup of turmeric milk.
These are just few of the varied delicious options you can try on a vegetarian diet. The plan if you notice is such has everything a nutritionist recommends: salad, fruits, green, nuts, pulses, protein and antioxidants. A diet so rich and balanced will never miss meat which is anyway just adding calories and saturated fats. Vegetarian diet has actually shown to reverse the affects of heart disease and cancer. Experts and nutritionists suggest that it is beneficial being a vegetarian. American Dietetic Association emphasize that vegetarian diet should ‘appropriately planned’. It can include all balanced nutrients with a little foresight. The nutritionists recommend on following the rainbow plate and 5-A-Day serving system when on a vegetarian diet. This means, that you eat at least five servings of fresh fruits and raw or cooked vegetables, all preferably different with varied colors. The more the merrier is the key as it provides a variety of antioxidants. The antioxidants help you fight against cancer, arthritis, dementia and Alzheimer.
Dietary tips for vegetarian diet.
1. Eat a fistful of trail mix daily. Trail mix is a mixture of your favorite nuts and seeds. Remember to add flaxseeds or oats for a little more healthy crunchy. This trail mix gives you a rich dose of Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium.
2. A fresh fruit salad or juice in breakfast or midmorning is best vitamin supplement. Adding berries like goji berries, blueberries, Indian gooseberries, beetroots, spinach or wheatgrass is a wholesome option.
3. Salads before lunch and dinner give you the fiber you need for the day. Clear bowels ensure no belly weight and reduce risk of cancer.
4. Protein can be obtained from a vegetarian diet as well. Cottage cheese, soya nuggets, tofu are very healthy option to calcium rich protein.
5. Eating grains like quinoa, chia, ragi and amaranth can raise the nutrient quotient of your vegetarian diet.
6. Lentils and legumes are protein and fiber rich. Pulses and dals should be included daily in diet. Pulses and legumes are rich in folic acid, vitamin B complex, zinc and iron. These are wholesome alternative to meat products and the benefit of eating pulses and legumes is that the agriculture of these reduces carbon foot print.
8. Fermented foods like kefir, yakult, saukrekaut, pickles as well as digestives like chutneys and sauces should be relished. These improve the digestive tract keeping the gut healthy.
Vegetarian diet has been accepted and followed by many well known individuals. Amongst the famous Indians P.M Narendera Modi and Mahatma Gandhi are the known ambassadors of vegetarianism. Many individuals decide to skip non-veg or adopt vegetarianism on Gandhi Jayanti 2nd October. Summing up: Planned vegetarian diets are good option for all individuals including pregnant women, infants, and teenagers as well as for athletes. A vegetarian diet does not include meat, poultry or seafood products containing those foods. It is best to prevent heart disease as vegetarian foods are fiber rich and improve BMI, B.P and lower lipid levels. Initial diet for diabetes is best planned as vegetarian meal plan. Experts preach that you will actually feel more agile and energetic on a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables. It is important to avoid fat, oil, ghee, trans-fatty acids and butter in all kind of diets.
Being vegetarians does not mean that sugar, desserts, soft drinks and processed food can be eaten without a thought. Eat wise. Seek assistance from a nutritionist to plan your diet. Certified experts will acknowledge your needs and limit and increase intake of foods accordingly. Fiber, omega- 3, protein, iron and much more can be accurately planned if you consult a diet expert. Permutations and combinations are the trick of trade for a nutritionist and when done wisely help solve a lot of problems. Renal patients need a scrutiny on potassium and proteins, heart patients on sodium and fats, diabetes on magnesium and carbohydrates. Only an expert in vegetarian meal planning can advice you best food charts. A diet expert who is a registered dietitian or post graduate in therapeutic nutrition is best counselors to consult or try BeatO app, a diabetes management application. Beware of quacks as diet can make or break you. Go vegetarian, eat wise, exercise and, practice mindful eating. Vegetarian diet is motto of the millennia as it saves human health from chronic conditions, saves environment from carbon foot print. Check all packaged foods for hidden ingredients making sure that oils and fats are from vegetarian sources. Try out new cuisines and make any meal a delicious treat than regular food. There are so many vegetarian options that can be invigorating try Ethiopian, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Indian. All of these cuisines have remarkable vegetarian dishes.
Thanks for reading.
Anoop Nain is a health blogger, also passionate about tech, music cars and all things fun. His website is www.beatoapp.com, you can contact him on twitter @philosopher.