These GOOD habits lead to weight loss, lowers risks of high blood pressure and diabetes.
I’ve been through vegetarian phases. Many of my friends consider themselves part-time vegetarians. They are just unwilling to give up meat altogether, but they enjoy meatless meals or take part in any number of pro-green movements. Meatless Mondays is one that seems to be very popular these days.
People who even are only part-time vegetarian tend to have a healthier life, weighing less and having lower risks of high blood pressure and diabetes. Besides, taking the focus off meat is an easy excuse to boost your intake of plant-based foods which you may not be getting enough of. 😉
1. Make Veggies the Main Attraction in Your Snack or Meal
Try asking some omnivore person in your life what they had for dinner last night. They will typically reply first with a meat, (“I had chicken with…”). For most, veggies are an afterthought. If you can consciously force yourself to think of veggies first, that will go a long way to get you to plan the rest of the snack or food around them. They say eating more veggies is the way to make the biggest impact on one’s diet, but 75% of adults fall short of recommended daily servings. It’s as simple as planning what to have for today’s lunch or dinner, think of what vegetables you’d like to have, then add a lean protein, good fat, and maybe a healthy starch and there you go: a healthier meal for a healthier life.
2. Pick Plant-Based Fats Over Animal Fats
My boyfriend is from Texas. He grew up eating plenty of meat, and of course meals with other animal-based fats, like butter, dairy-based sauces and bacon grease. He still eats these foods once in awhile, but now he prefers veggies sautéed in olive oil or dressed with balsamic vinegar, guacamole instead of sour cream and other ‘exotic’ flavors to him.
When he switched to this sort of diet, he lost weight and his energy and health improved a lot. Plant-based fats also are found to reduce inflammation, help protect against aging and diseases, including obesity and even help control weight, (it can narrow a waistline without even cutting calories). I’ve found that my jeans fit differently depending on how often I am eating vegetarian friendly food or not.
3. Get Protein From “Pulses”
Lately, I’ve been getting into pulses. Pulses include beans, peas (chickpeas, black eyed peas) and lentils. In numerous studies, those who eat them more often have had weight loss, less belly fat, suppressed appetites, better nutrient intake, lowered risks of diabetes and heart disease. These are often used by vegetarians for their protein source and there are some great ways to enjoy them deliciously such as lentil or split pea soup, black bean tacos and hummus.
Besides protein, pulses are full of filling, a blood-sugar regulating fiber, as well as resistant starch, kind of like a carb that has been shown to up your body’s fat burning power. The antioxidant levels in pulses rival that of berries, so they won’t make you feel sluggish after eating a meal of them, filling you up and slimming you down.
4. Have a Snack of Plants
Some people may be “junk food vegetarians”, but many veg-heads rather make plan-based foods their whole focus, even at snack time. Raw veggies with hummus or guacamole, fresh fruit with nuts or seeds, smoothies with coconut or almond milk, leafy greens or even plant-derived protein powder. Even by just choosing dark chocolate instead of a milk heavy chocolate can give you more plant-based benefits and increases your antioxidant intake.
5. Use Plants in Desserts
My Japanese grandmother loves baking, and every time she comes to visit me in Tokyo, she never fails to surprise me. Sometimes she makes cakes using vegetable flour, but I love her anpan the most. Anpan is like a bread roll with red bean paste inside. There are often many alternative sweets in your local ethnic grocery store or restaurant.