So, you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian! That’s a major decision and based on a lot of research, it’s also a pretty good idea. But I’ll get into the reasons why a bit later.
Vegetarian meal plans can be simple and somewhat complicated at the same time. That’s because there are different types of vegetarians. So I’ve put together a quick guide to the most common and accepted forms of vegetarianism.
Also I found some very interesting history on the vegetarian diet I think you’ll find fascinating. Plus I’ll talk about the health benefits associated with being a veggie lover! Finally, I’ll share two of my favorite vegetarian meals. You’re going to love’em!
Okay, pull up a celery stick and get comfortable.
A Brief History Of Vegetarianism
Accurate history of exactly when vegetarianism actually began is a little sketchy. But many believe it was around the 6th century that the first recorded documentation on vegetarianism was found; in ancient Greece and India.
Still others remind us that long before recorded history, the eastern religions namely Buddhism and Hinduism were practicing vegetarianism. It stemmed from their religious beliefs that one should do no harm to another living creature.
Now here’s something really interesting. Do you remember studying Pythagoras’ Theorem in geometry class? Well that guy was not only a great mathematician, he was also a vegetarian. Get this, up until the early 1800′s people who only ate veggies were called Pythagoreans!
Fast forward to western culture. When Europe became a widely Christian based culture. Vegetarianism almost completely disappeared. In America, it wasn’t until the 20th century that eating a vegetarian diet would become very popular. The reason? More people were becoming increasingly aware of the connection food played in one’s general overall health.
Okay, Now Let’s Get Into The Different Types of Vegetarianism
- Vegan – The most common diet for someone who refers to themselves as a ”plain vegetarian” consists of vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds. They do not eat meat, fish, dairy or eggs. Nor do they wear or use anything made from an animal.
- Lacto – Vegetarianism – This type consumes all dairy products including cow’s milk, cheese etc. But, they do not eat eggs.
- Ovo – Vegetarians – The opposite of Lacto. Eggs are a part of their diet. But diary isn’t.
- Ovo – Lacto – These are vegetarians who eat dairy foods and eggs.
- Buddhist Vegetarians – Do not eat meat and also do not eat vegetables that are part of the Allium family of plant life. There are hundreds of different varieties. The most common are shallots, garlic, scallions, onions and chives.
- Fruitarianism – A person practicing this form of vegetarianism if you will, only eats fruit, nuts and seeds. They do not eat anything or engage in any practice that could harm a living plant.
- Macrobiotic Vegetarian Diets – Beans and whole grains are the extent of their diet.
There are also quite a few vegetarian hybrids. But most vegetarian organizations do no not recognize them as being true vegetarians. Such as those who refer to themselves as Pescaterians. They eat only vegetables, fruits and fish.
Health Benefits Of Following A Vegetarian Diet
There’s no doubt that those who eat vegetarian meals are leaner due to their lack of saturated fat intake. They also have a lower percentage of heart disease compared to meat eaters. They tend to have lower cholesterol and are less likely to have high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. There is also evidence that vegetarians have a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Due to the nature of vegetarian meals, it is common to lack a good amount of B12. That’s important to note, because B12 is needed to help your brain and central nervous system to function properly. Many vegetarians opt to take a B12 supplement. You should check with your doctor before taking any supplement. Especially if you are already on any kind of prescription medication.
The Most Eye Opening Reason For Giving Up Meat
Researchers have concluded that many diseases are transmitted from animal to human. You have most likely either heard of or may have been victim to salmonella. That comes from contaminated chickens. It is estimated that as much as half of all chickens in the U.S. have salmonella. There are also cancers, influenza and even tuberculosis that can be transmitted from eating infected meat from pigs and cows.
Can You Be A Vegetarian And Work Out?
Absolutely. You see most people think you can’t possibly get enough protein on a vegetarian diet. Take a look at the thousands of vegetarian bodybuilders if you have your doubts!
According to a study by Harvard University. The vegetarian diet has more than enough protein. A high protein diet is rich in beans, soy, quinoa, chia seeds, peanut butter, brown rice, hummus and pita. Just to name a few, can provide the proper amount of protein foods.
Now let’s get to the fun part! I thought I would share two of my most favorite vegetarian recipes. The first one is a great one to start your day. It’s great for energy and weight loss. Plus it will help to discourage you from eating too many sweets.
For this recipe I recommend picking up a bag of FitFlax. It’s a delicious blend of ground roasted flax seeds and chia seeds. It has just a bit of salt added. Hmmm delicious. That’s it. Nothing artificial.
Top Of The Morning Energy Drink
1 tablespoon of FitFlax
1 cup of about 8 ice cubes
1 cup of cold water or 1 orange. Fresh squeezed orange juice. (not the store kind in the carton) Better if chilled.
Slice the banana and place in a blender. Add your water or freshly squeezed orange juice. Add your FitFlax. Finally add the ice cubes. Now blend until thick and creamy. Be careful not to blend too long, you don’t want it to be watery. Pour into a nice tall glass and enjoy!
Crock Pot Vegetarian Chili Delight
Mmmm there’s nothing better than delicious vegetarian meals cooked slowly in a crock pot! It’s great because you can really let the spices and all of the other ingredients absorb the natural flavors. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it! By the way the following vegetarian recipe is not recommended for those who practice Buddhist vegetarianism or Fruitarianism.
Here’s what you’ll need:
4 cans of drained black beans (You can also choose dry beans but it will take a lot longer to cook)
4 onions chopped (Or if you prefer not to cry, just pick up a bag of organic frozen pearl onions)
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
1 med sized bag of drained, cubed firm tofu
2 red bell pepper
2 green bell peppers (Make sure you remove the seeds for both peppers)
3 – 4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
2 teaspoons of salt
2 teaspoons of oregano (ground)
1 tablespoon of Tabasco sauce
2 teaspoons of cumin (ground)
6 tablespoons of chili powder
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of white vinegar (distilled)
Take the green and red peppers and chop them up into little small pieces.
Take the olive oil and heat in a medium to large sauce pan. Keep your eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn. Next you’re going to do a quick little stir fry. Add your onions, your chopped peppers, tofu and garlic. Stir fry it for about 10 minutes or until your ingredients are tender and lightly browned.
Now pour the black beans in your crock pot, add your stir fried veggies and the crushed tomatoes. Stir.
Finally add your seasonings. That would be the salt, pepper, oregano, chili power, cumin, vinegar and Tabasco sauce. Stir it all up. Set your slow cooker on the lowest setting and cook for 6 to 8 hours.
450 Calories,17g of fat and 0 Cholesterol
A vegetarian diet plan is not difficult to create. No matter what type of vegetarianism you choose, you can create hundreds of delicious nutritious meals any time any where!