Since its veggie week, let us provide you with a little bit of knowledge on vegetarianism!

The term vegetarian can be tricky sometimes, so what does a total vegetarian qualify as?

What does it mean to be “Vegetarian”?

It can be defined as a diet excluding meats, poultry fish, or any product derived from animals, inclusive of eggs, dairy and gelatine. Although, there are a few people amongst those who still consume eggs and dairy products and are categorised as Lacto-ovo vegetarians. Additionally, there are people who are strictly vegetarian but include fish in their diet (as an added source of protein) and are known as pescatarians.

Is it difficult to become a vegetarian?

Switching to a completely vegetarian diet for people who are not used to eating a lot of fruits and vegetables or have always followed a meat based diet can be challenging. However, there are several benefits of giving up meats which will motivate one to follow a veggie diet, even if it’s a start with small steps towards meat-free Mondays. There are several ways to make a beginner’s journey towards being a vegetarian interesting and easy.

Benefits of being vegetarian:

1)Reducing risk of disease  

Embracing in a vegetarian diet significantly reduces the consumption of saturated fats along with cholesterol. This is a sign of lesser chances of suffering from heart-related diseases, obesity, cancer, gallstones, constipation, psoriasis and kidney stones amongst many other health-related issues.

2)High Energy Levels

There are several veggie foods which are low calorie, providing a boost of energy along with longer and healthier lives at the same time. This prevents the mid-afternoon crash and instead keeps one going throughout the day. Foods like legumes, tofu, soy, spinach, edamame beans, whole grains, quinoa and almonds are essential to include.

3)Providing Nutritional Value

A healthy vegetarian diet mainly focuses on a high intake of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, usually accompanied with lentils or soy and complex carbohydrates. All these foods hold added nutritional benefits through providing the body with higher amounts of fibre, folic acid, zinc, magnesium and several vitamins when compared to a meat-based meal plan.

4)Protecting the Environment

Once you commit to following a veggie diet instead of opting for a meat-based one, you will be proud of the little contribution you made towards helping the environment. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions and plenty gallons of water from being wasted, as well as the polluting waterways with livestock.

5) Animal Welfare

Promoting a step forwards towards humanity and showing love towards animals would be motivation for several to become vegetarian. Billions of chickens, cows, sheep, duck and turkeys are ill-treated in tiny cages until it’s time to cruelly slaughter them. Even if people try to cut out meat from their diet some days a week, it would make a large impact on the welfare of these animals.

Quick tips for becoming a vegetarian:

1) Take slow steps and start with being vegetarian 3 days a week.

2) Look for recipes with vegetables/protein of your preference, this way you will look forward to the meal.

3) Make sure to balance out the meal with a good source of protein, carbohydrates and fat, to receive nutrients.

4) Include fruits, nuts and healthy snacks bars as fillers between meals to keep you satisfied.

5) Inform friends and family of your new diet, so they are aware and motivated by your food choices, and develop an interest towards it.