Today will see us avoid meats for the day. For some this is a particularly hard challenge as we often become so used to any plated meal having meat as the centrepiece. Now we are not advocating a strictly vegetarian diet, meat is an excellent source of protein and full of important vitamins and minerals. But that delicious taste comes at a cost; a high fat and calorie count, particularly compared to non-meat diets. This is very important for weight-loss because if you think about it, how many overweight vegetarians do you know? Personally we don’t know any, and although that doesn’t tell the whole story it can come as a pretty stark realisation.
Now the benefits of a vegetarian diet are many. Vegetarians suffer from fewer incidences of heart disease, some kinds of cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and more. Lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol are also common in vegetarians when compared to meat eaters. The drawback of a complete vegetarian diet is difficulty in obtaining iron and protein and missing out on some excellent flavours. To overcome these some people choose to make just one day a week a strictly vegetarian day whilst adding dairy products, eggs, nuts, legumes, seeds, lentils and whole grains to your diet will keep you nutritionally satisfied.
To make the transition to vegetarianism as smooth as possible, start by making meat-free versions of your favourite dishes. If you enjoy beef chili, add extra beans and spices to your recipe. You’ll get all of the protein you need and will forget about the absence of the meat.
Pizza, spaghetti and lasagna are also good bets to wean you off meat. Take pizza, for example: You may love pepperoni, but considering all of the health drawbacks of processed meats, you’ll do yourself a favour by leaving it off your pizza. Instead, load up on extra mushrooms (which will give you something thick and meaty to bite into) and add more of your favourite vegetables as toppings. The same goes for spaghetti and lasagna; cutting out the meat means you can add more of your other favourite ingredients — and with all that rich cheese and tomato sauce, you might enjoy the dishes just as much.
The one thing nearly everyone says when they become vegetarian (even if only for a day) is how much easier it becomes with experience how easy it makes it to avoid fast foods.