We tell you how to follow a vegetarian diet, how to start it, what to eat and how to organize your menus. We include a downloadable menu in pdf and jpg to make it easier for you to follow.
A vegetarian diet is one that is composed of plant foods (fruits, vegetables, vegetables, legumes, cereals, nuts …) and that may or may not include some foods of animal origin as long as they do not involve the death of the animal, such as milk and derivatives , eggs or honey.
VEGETARIAN DIET TYPES
- Lactoovovegetariana. In addition to plant-based foods, it includes dairy and eggs.
- Ovovegetarian. The only food of animal origin that it includes are eggs.
- Flexitarian. It is basically a person who eats food of plant origin but who, occasionally, can eat any food of animal origin.
- Vegan He does not eat any food of animal origin.
VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN ARE NOT THE SAME
The vegan diet is on the other end of the lactoovovegetarian or the flexitarian, since it does not admit any food of animal origin, not even honey. Many times, vegans also try not to use anything that has animal origin or in their clothing, hygiene products, household cleaning, etc.
And among those who are vegans, there are those who define themselves as raw vegan, that is, they only consume products of plant origin and their food is never cooked at a temperature higher than 42-45º.
WHY GO VEGETARIAN
The reasons for eating a vegetarian diet are very varied. According to The Vegetarian Resource Group, these would be the main reasons for their subscribers:
- About 82% of people who declare themselves vegetarian cite health reasons.
- 75%, for ethical reasons that have to do with the environment and animal rights.
- 31% is due to the taste of the food.
- 26% are for economic reasons, since a well-planned vegetarian diet is usually cheaper than the traditional one.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF A VEGETARIAN DIET
As long as the vegetarian diet is well planned, it has many health benefits:
- Helps you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. And there are many studies that show that being overweight and obesity are linked to many diseases such as cardiovascular diseases or cancer.
- They serve to keep cholesterol levels under control. According to the American Heart Association, both vegetarian and vegan diets reduce total and bad cholesterol and are therefore helpful in preventing heart problems.
- It is beneficial if you have diabetes. According to various studies, plant-based diets reduce blood glucose levels and, in addition, they also decrease insulin resistance, which favors the prevention or control of diabetes.
- Improves osteoarthritis and arthritis. The aches and pains of these ailments can be alleviated thanks to a vegan diet rich in whole grains according to the University of Michigan (USA).
WHAT IS THE BEST VEGETARIAN DIET
The important thing is not whether the vegetarian diet is lacto-ovovegetarian, ovovegetarian or vegan, the important thing is that whatever type of vegetarian diet you have decided to eat, it is always well planned, so that there are no nutritional deficits.
In other words, even if the pizza, pasta or sponge cake does not have any ingredient of animal origin, if we only eat these dishes, it will not be a healthy diet. As explained by the nutritionist and popularizer on vegetarian nutrition Lucía Jiménez in her book Vegetarians with science, “there are vegetarians who have toast with margarine and jam for breakfast with a coffee with oatmeal drink, at mid-morning they have Oreos, which are vegan, yes , with another coffee, they eat macaroni with fried tomato and a chocolate soy dessert, in the afternoon some canes with corn quicos and olives, and they dine on vegetable sausages with potatoes ”, but no matter how vegetarian they are, they are not following a diet fury.
- For a vegetarian diet to be healthy and balanced, it must be based on eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and raw and cooked vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes.
WHAT TO EAT EVERY DAY IF YOU FOLLOW A BALANCED VEGETARIAN DIET
For you to make a diet of what you should eat daily if you follow a vegetarian diet, keep in mind:
- Vegetables. 2-4 servings of about 200 g, ideally half be raw and the other cooked.
- Fruit. 2 or 3 pieces a day (1 of them you can take in homemade compote without sugar).
- Cereals. 4-6 servings (one serving corresponds to 1 slice of bread, 30-40 g of rolled oats, 60-80 g of raw rice or whole wheat pasta, quinoa, millet, etc.).
- Proteins 60-80 g heavy raw legumes (chickpeas, lentils, beans, soybeans …), 1 cup of edamame, 120 g of tofu, tempeh, seitan, 30 g of nuts, and if you follow a lacto-o-vegetarian diet you can take 4 to 7 eggs a week, and dairy products (a serving is 60 g of fresh cheese or 30-40 g of aged cheese or 2 yogurts or 1 glass of cow’s milk).