There are many reasons that someone will choose to take on a vegetarian lifestyle. It might be that you are concerned about the treatment of animals. Perhaps you are trying to be get healthier by cutting out red meat. You might not realize that a vegetarian diet can also help you to lose weight. If you choose to start a vegetarian diet for weight loss you need to make sure that you are making healthy choices. By cutting out meat you can see dramatic changes in your waistline, but you want to do it the right way. If you change to a vegetarian diet plan and all you eat is bananas, you are not going to give your body enough fuel to keep you moving throughout the day.
Changing to a vegetarian diet for weight loss is a great idea; just make sure that you pay attention to what you are eating. This way you are sure to get all the nutrients you need. It is not just about cutting out red meats or fatty animal protein; it is about making lifestyle changes to help the way you look and feel.
Here are five areas of nutrition that you need to be aware of when cutting meat out of your diet. The average meat eater gets these vitamins and minerals from meat, so you have to keep an eye out for these things in other places.
1. Protein – no doubt you have heard people say to vegetarians “how do you get enough protein?” There are actually lots of places to get protein that do not come from animal flesh. Protein helps to fuel our bodies and keeps our muscles working properly. You can get plenty of protein from other foods like legumes, nuts, whole grains, and soy or tofu.
2. Iron – again people tend to think that vegetarians are all anemic because they don’t get enough iron in their diet. This is something you need to pay attention too, but just like protein there are many other places to get iron. Iron helps to keep your blood flowing and strong. You can get iron from whole grains, dark leafy vegetables, dried beans, and dried fruit. Keep in mind that your body needs vitamin C to properly absorb iron, so make sure that you are getting plenty of that in your diet as well.
3. Vitamin B12 – the truth is, most people do not get enough of this vital vitamin in their diet. Vitamin B12 can help with the production of red blood cells. This can dramatically affect energy and mood. There are only a few non animal related places where you can get vitamin B12; dark and leafy vegetables are one of them. You can also find this vitamin in eggs, cheese, and other dairy sources. If you are cutting back on dairy you might want to consider taking a supplement.
4. Calcium – this mineral keeps bones strong as well as teeth. Everyone knows that you can get calcium from dairy, but often vegetarians try and cut back on dairy products as well as other animal products. Dark green vegetables like kale, broccoli, and spinach all have high amounts of calcium in them.
5. Zinc – this is a lesser known mineral that people typically get from eating meat products. Zinc helps your body to create enzymes and which help process protein in the system. On a vegetarian diet you can get zinc from wheat germ, nuts, soy, and whole grains.
If you are able to watch the levels of all of these vitamins and minerals you should be well on your way to a healthy lifestyle. Being a vegetarian means paying attention to the foods you eat and how much you are taking in to stay healthy.