Today more and more people want to lose weight. We understand that so many diseases and medical conditions are either caused by or aggravated by our being overweight. We all have genetic flaws that make us susceptible to some condition or another. The fact that we are carrying too much fat in and on our bodies increases our risks of disease, causes us to lack energy and mental clarity, and lowers our self esteem. Not only are there physical reasons to lose weight but there are many social and professional reasons to drop a few pounds. The social pressures lead to mental stress which causes physical problems and lead us in a never ending circle as we seek to find a simple way to lose weight.
Why not give up meat and become a Vegetarian?
Many people have become vegetarians for health reasons. One of the main health reasons is to lose weight. But not all vegetarians lose weight. Some vegetarians actually gain weight. I have two friends who where vegetarians. My wife and I would wonder why they were so big if they did not eat meat, fish or poultry. I have learned that even though as a protein, meat has the most fat, there are many other ways we gain weight. Excess fat from is just one way we gain weight. We must avoid these pitfalls to successfully lose weight.
First, have you ever wondered why the cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys are so much bigger and plumper today? Simply because the farmers fatten them up. The primary means to fatten them up is corn, a vegetable. When we eat corn many times it comes out of our stool because we cannot fully digest it like other animals. But, corn flour, corn meal and millet have had the tough outer shell broken down and makes it more easily digestible. Even popcorn has had the tough outer shell broken for our consumption and digestion. There is a theory to just avoid the excess salt and butter and popcorn could be a low calorie healthy snack. Well it is low calorie and healthy, but popcorn with no butter or salt can help you gain weight just like the cows who are fed corn to fatten them up. We should not totally avoid corn but like many other things we should not eat too much of it.
A balanced healthy Vegetarian Diet is fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans. With these food groups anyone can eat a well balanced diet if they had the diversity and variety to provide all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients we need. The term is Vegetarian because that should be the predominant food you eat. Many of the same vitamins and minerals are found in both fruit and vegetables. There is never just one source for any nutrient. To many people fruit taste better than vegetables. Therefore they eat more fruit. Characteristically fruit is generally higher in fructose than vegetables. Fructose is a natural sugar found in fruit and vegetables. Natural fructose found in fruit and vegetables usually is not a problem and is very helpful to the body if you do not eat too much of it. That is why the USDA suggest 3-4 servings of fruit daily and 4-5 servings of vegetables daily. Many vegetarians eat more fruit and therefore gain weight. FRUIT IS GREAT FOR YOU. But if you eat more than 5-6 servings of fruit daily and you may gain weight.
Just like fresh fruit, fresh fruit juices have natural fructose that is a sugar. Aside from the benefit that natural fructose is great for energy, too much fructose causes us to gain weight. It is rare for someone to eat more than 5 to 6 pieces of fruit daily. But when you drink fruit juices you can consume 2-3 or more servings in a single glass. Additionally fruit juice does not have the same amount of fiber as the whole fruit. The fiber absorbs some of the sugar and is not like getting a straight shot of fructose. It is even worse when you drink processed fruit juice. The processing takes the natural out and adds back a unnatural fructose and eliminates much of the nutritional value and all of the fiber. Commercially made fruit juices (any processed drinks for that matter) provide fewer vitamins, minerals and nutrients and more sugar preservatives and additives. Sugar is the main cause of weight gain. Like fresh fruit, fresh fruit juice is great for you. Just do not drink too much of it.
A common challenge of many people who give up meat to lose weight is they replace meat and eat more junk food. This is contrary to the healthy diet you choose as a vegetarian. Avoid the urge to overindulge in sweets, deserts and unhealthy snacks. The sugar is addictive. One way to do this is to eat smaller portions more often. If we eat regularly 5 to 6 times a day and drink 8 – 10 8oz. glasses of water throughout the day we will not feel hunger urges. Be prepared with healthy snacks and get the junk food out of the house.
These are but a few most common pitfalls that sabotage our weight loss program and success. Whether we give up meat or not if we adhere to these tips avoiding these pitfalls we will increase our chances to lose weight.