Enjoy the Health Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

The holy grail of health may well be nutrition. The best nutrition is an elusive beast. We all know we need better nutrition, yet few of us know how to find it. Most of us don’t even know where to look,

One way to get better nutrition is to adhere to a vegetarian or semi-vegetarian diet.

There are many benefits to eating a vegetarian diet.  A vegetarian diet is made up of mostly plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, etc. So, this type of diet usually has less fat and cholesterol, and often has more fiber too.

To get started you’ll need to understand the types of vegetarian diets available. They typically fall into several groups defined by the types of animal foods they eat:

Vegans eat only plant-based foods. Nothing they ingest comes from animals. This means no meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs or cheese.

Lacto-vegetarians still eat milk and other milk products in addition to fruits and veggies. They do not eat eggs or meat, fish and poultry.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat everything that lacto-vegetarians eat with the addition of eggs. They forego red meat, fish and poultry.

Flexitarians (also known as semi-vegetarians) consume a plant-based diet most of the time, but occasionally add small amounts of meat, poultry or fish to their regular fare.

If you decide to try any form of vegetarianism, you may believe that you’ll be stuck cooking at home forever. This isn’t true, though. Even if your busy life requires eating out on a regular basis, you’ll still be able to stick with your new eating plan Many restaurants offer a selection of vegetarian options. Those that don’t can easily leave the meat out of any item on the menu. Unless you go vegan -– the strictest form of vegetarian –- eating out will become much easier with a little practice.

Some people think that if they stop eating meat, they will end up with a serious nutritional deficiency. This isn’t necessarily the case. While it’s true that a vegetarian diet isn’t automatically healthy, all the nutrients our bodies need can be found with the right mix of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. In fact, research has shown that when done properly a vegetarian diet is often a healthier choice than one which relies on meat, milk and eggs.

So, if you’re looking for better nutrition, forget the vitamins! Start with whole food. Think about the food that goes into your body, and you’ll discover that even small changes can make a big difference.

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