Best Vegetarian Diet Plan for Healthy Life
Everyone who is a vegetarian has his or her own personal reasons for being so. Whether or not their reasons are based on religious, health, or animal cruelty issues is not for anyone to question or condemn. But the decision to adopt a vegetarian diet plan is a growing trend in modern America, especially among health-conscious individuals and young people.
I could fill this article with a thousand reasons to become vegetarian, but it is not my place to tell you what you should or should not eat. I am only trying to express why I am a vegetarian, and provide those thinking about nixing meat from their diet with some general information about staying healthy as an herbivore.
I became a vegetarian for virtually every reason possible. After studying a good deal of Hindu philosophy in college, I spent some time traveling throughout India and came to the conclusion that a vegetarian diet plan is practical for both the body and the mind, and in my case especially, the conscience. I always thought it was hypocritical that so many of us treat our cats and dogs like royalty, yet we don’t care if thousands of other animals that aren’t quite as cute and cuddly die in slaughterhouses every day.
But it is admittedly very easy to look at a hamburger as a meal, rather than the flesh of an animal that used to eat, drink, sleep, and breathe just like a human being. After the last major hurricane hit my home state, millions of gallons of hog sewage were washed into streams and rivers, which wound up destroying much of the marine life and wetlands of my quiet coastal community.
That was it for me. I decided that I would no longer support the meat industry that continues to pollute and deplete our natural resources around the world, by eating the meat they sell.
Being a vegetarian is dangerous! Excluding the rolling eyes and heaving sighs of those who say, “You’re some kinda weirdo if you don’t like bacon,” finding true vegetarian foods can be tricky. From potato chips to canned soups, many of the seemingly vegetarian foods in your local supermarket contain some kind of animal product. Chicken and beef stocks, chicken and beef fat, and good ole, heart-healthy lard are the most common.
You must be very careful and read all food labels to avoid being slipped a chunk of meat in your purchases. Restaurants also use meat in the preparation of many so-called vegetarian dishes, so make sure to find out if what you ordered is 100% vegetarian.
You might get frustrated at first because it seems like everything has meat in it, but once you shop around at various stores (health food stores usually have a large vegetarian/vegan section) you will find a ton of products that are tasty and safe to eat.
Critics of the vegetarian diet love to harp about its lack of protein, and while this can be true, you must make sure you eat enough protein every day. Protein is essential to numerous functions within the body, including brain functions.
But you can find ample protein in plenty of foods that do not contain meat. All dairy products contain generous amounts of protein, as do foods like tofu, nuts, wheat gluten, and soy milk. For extra protein, I usually drink a whey protein milkshake once a day, and they don’t taste like dirt either!
You should try to eat at least 80-100 grams of protein each day to stay healthy, but it is really not as hard as it sounds. If you have two slices of cheese pizza at lunch, for example, that is about 30-40 grams of protein.
Of course, you need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and as much starch and carbs as you want to. Many of these new diets call for really low levels of carbohydrates in the diet, but carbs do provide a lot of energy. If you like meat dishes but don’t want the meat, there are tons of meat substitutes out there.
There are vegetarian hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken nuggets, chicken patties, sausage patties, and just about any other type of meat imposter you can think of. I recommend organic Farms products because they are high in protein, low in fat, and in many cases, you won’t even know it’s not meat! The options for the vegetarian today are endless.
Yoghurt For Vegetarian Diet Plan
Yoghurt has taken over the dairy section in most supermarkets! It is understandable though, because it has so many great health benefits. Yoghurt was one of the very first health foods and it is still one of the best! Plain natural yoghurt is produced by fermenting pasteurized milk. It is rich in potassium and protein, high in calcium needed to build healthy bones, supplies the B vitamins and folic acid which help build a healthy blood supply and contains friendly bacteria which can assist in keeping a healthy gut.
Natural yoghurt is a good source of protein. Usually the less fat it contains, the higher the protein content. Fat free natural yoghurt contains approximately 13 grams of protein per cup, low fat natural yoghurt contains approximately 12 grams per cup and whole milk natural yoghurt contains about 8 grams per cup.
Natural yoghurt is an excellent source of calcium. One cup of plain, low fat natural yoghurt contains approximately 450mg of calcium. Some of the calcium in natural yoghurt is in the liquid whey that sometimes separates out from the solid portion of yoghurt. To get all the calcium provided by a serving of plain natural yoghurt, it is important to stir the liquid and solid portions together.
Natural yoghurt is a good source of the B vitamins riboflavin, B12 and pantothenic acid and it also provides some thiamin, B6 and folate. These B vitamins play an essential role in energy metabolism and the maintenance of healthy skin and other organs throughout your body.
Yoghurt can work as a substitute ingredient in all sorts of recipes. Plain natural yoghurt can take the place of sour cream and you can also substitute yoghurt for some of the oil or butter called for in some baking recipes. Plain natural yoghurt is great as a dessert with some chopped fruit – think strawberries and cream!
If you want to create your own flavoured yoghurt, start with your favourite plain natural yogurt and stir in all sorts of foods and flavours. Here are a few ideas:
- Add chopped strawberries and a dash of vanilla extract to some plain natural yoghurt to make strawberries and cream yoghurt
- Add some crushed pineapple and some flaked or shredded coconut to some plain natural yoghurt to make pina colada yoghurt
- Add a small amount of cool espresso or extra strong coffee to some plain yoghurt to make cappuccino yoghurt
- Add some chopped orange segments or mandarin and some artificial sweetener to some plain natural yoghurt to make orange burst yoghurt
The health benefits of yoghurt are so impressive that many health conscious people make it a daily habit. You should too!
PROTECTING YOUR BODY FROM THE INSIDE
Many of us never forget to put zinc on our bodies when we go out to protect our skin from the sun, but the zinc levels in our bodies are just as important to protect us. Zinc is an essential mineral that stimulates the action of more than 100 enzymes in the body. It also supports healthy immune systems, is necessary to synthesize DNA, is essential for wound healing, and supports the healthy growth and development of the body in younger years.
Minerals such as zinc are inorganic elements naturally occurring in the earth. We can get zinc in our diet by consuming plant foods since they naturally absorb zinc from soil and water and animals also get zinc in their bodies when they consume plants, so we can get zinc indirectly by consuming certain animal foods.
However, the levels of zinc in our soil are unfortunately slowly being depleted. A small amount of zinc is included in most single tablet over-the-counter daily vitamin and mineral supplements as well. In some cases, it may be a good idea to take a zinc supplement on its own as well.
Zinc is beneficial to the body’s immune system. Our bodies require zinc to make T-lymphocytes, or T-cells, a type of white blood cell that fights off foreign invaders in our bloodstream. Having low levels of zinc may leave us more susceptible to pneumonia or other infections. Zinc is a popular treatment for the common cold.
While it most likely does not cure colds, it can help relieve symptoms by reducing inflammation in the nasal cavity. Additionally, zinc helps speed up the healing process after an injury by maintaining skin and mucous membranes.
It is also believed to possess antioxidant properties, which may protect against accelerated aging of the skin and muscles of the body. Indeed, zinc deficiency may have effects on virtually all parts of the human immune system, so it is very important to make sure we are getting enough of it.