Share This Article
Food plays an important role in our life. Food is required to provide us with energy to work, to live, for growth, to play, for metabolism and for all the processes related to our body.
Food is required for the production of new tissues and cells as well as for repairing tissues and cells of our body, to provide nutrients, for the efficient working of the body and a lot more. Food is one of our basic requirements mandatory for our survival.
Being vegetarian always has an edge over the non-vegetarian diet as it has a lot many benefits as compared to non-vegetarian food.
Today there are a lot of people who have adopted a plant-based lifestyle and have found that adopting a vegetarian diet is much better than a non-vegetarian diet. A vegetarian diet is not only followed in India only but in other countries as well. In recent reports, it has been observed that not only vegetarianism but vegan diet has also gained a lot of popularity over the past few years.
People are taking interest on what plant based diets are and searching on internet to know the benefits of plant based foods. There are many awareness programs which highlight the importance of being vegetarian and how to start a plant based diet.
India has got the highest number of vegetarian population. Various surveys and researches have stated that approximately 40 percent of the Indian population follow the plant based diet. After India, Switzerland, Taiwan, Israel, and Italy are a few other counties where a significant number of vegetarians live.
A. Benefits of being vegetarian
There are uncountable benefits in being vegetarian. Below stated are a few reasons why we should switch to vegetarian diet:
1) All the essential nutrients required by the human body to survive and grow can be single handedly fulfilled by the plant sources .
2) Plant based diet has got a lot of health benefits and also prevents chronic diseases among humans. It is also favorable to prevent diseases like blood pressure and diabetes etc.
3) For the preparation of plant foods less fuel is required as compared to animal products. A whole vegetarian meal can be prepared within half to one hour. On the other hand it takes a couple of hours to prepare animal products.
4) Plant-based diet can easily be digested by our body and isn’t fatty and contains negligible amount of cholesterol so there are no chances of heart disease and heart stroke in a person.
5) Plant-based diet is also low on calories so if you want to reduce weight then you can adopt fully plant based diet.
6) Most importantly when a person switches to vegetarian diet you prevent killing of many innocent animals and birds.
B. Types of vegetarian diets
It is easy to distinguish between vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods. As mentioned earlier there is a lot of diversity in plant based food that are beyond imagination.
The plant based diet can further be divided into the following categories:
A) Vegan diet
This is diet that is purely dependent on plant sources and excludes any types of animal products. It even doesn’t even include milk or dairy products. Rather they replace cow’s milk or any other animals milk with plant based milks to get sufficient nutrients.
This type of diet is beneficial in case you want to reduce weight and contains sufficient calories and high quality protein.
B) Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet
As the name suggests this type of diet consists of two components lactose part and ovo i.e. ovum part. Lactose refers to milk and ovum means eggs. So this type of diet consists of animals milk ( cow, buffalo, goat etc.) in addition to plant based nutrition.
This diet also includes dairy products such as butter, cheese, curd etc. and is beneficial to prevent type 2 diabetes and controls blood sugar.
C) Lacto-vegetarian diet
In this type of diet people consume dairy products but do not eat eggs. This is the type of diet that is followed by maximum of people all over the world.
This diet is important as milk is important for our health and provides us calcium and makes our bones strong.
D) Ovo-vegetarian diet
This is defined as the type of diet in which a person eats eggs or dishes which use egg as an ingredient but doesn’t consume any types of dairy products.
Ovo-vegetarian diet can be helpful for the people who have weak eyesight or people who are Vitamin-D deficient.
Eggs are a good source of protein hence people prefer to add egg to their diet. People whose body is not efficient in extracting plant proteins eat eggs.
C. Perks of being vegetarian
1. Plant-based diet has got uncountable benefit. From serving as a healthy diet to cutting your costs plant based diet is enough to fulfill all your nutritional needs alone. It is a budget friendly diet.
It has been scientifically proven that a plant-based diet eliminates all sorts of health risks keeping you fit and fine both mentally and physically. Studies have shown that plant based eaters stay active for a longer period of time during the day.
2. They have almost zero contribution towards carbon footprint. So you contribute towards a greener planet. They are also eco friendly as they release almost negligible greenhouse gas emissions.
More plant based foods as meat alternatives means a healthier environment. From the view of sustainability also we need more plant foods as the waste produced from plant foods is biodegradable in nature and doesn’t cause any harm to the environment.
Contrary to this, animal products generate a lot of waste which is harmful to environment. These foods have higher greenhouse gas emission and carbon footprints. This is one of the major reasons why the concept of going vegetarian is gaining a lot of popularity now these days globally.
3. It is good for people who want to reduce weight. If you are someone who is desperate to lose weight, then vegan diets are perfect for you. This diets is effective in weight loss and is undoubtedly a healthy lifestyle. A balanced plant based diet is enough for weight loss.
Plant based diets are low on fat and mostly contain healthy fats only so you are saved from any types of heart diseases or cardiovascular disease. Not only the above mentioned diseases are prevented, green food also eliminates risk of heart attack.
4. Easy to digest: Plant based foods are easy to digest. Plant based food is also easy to grow and requires less maintenance as compared to animal agriculture. In addition to this, plant foods are easy to cook and can be cooked faster in comparison to animal products.
Transitioning to a plant-based diet can also combat diseases such as constipation, abdominal pain etc. Eating fibrous fruits like banana, berries and food like whole grains, brown rice makes it easy to pass the stools.
D. How to start a plant based diet?
How to start a plant based diet is still a question for many people. If you are confused on how to start a plant based diet then let us help you with this.
With the right motivation you can achieve all the impossible tasks and adopting plant based lifestyle is just a small thing that can be done at a very small level and requires no heavy procedures.
It takes time to adopt changes initially but with time you get used to it. You couldn’t completely quit animal food overnight. It will either take some days or some months. All you need is patience and determination to succeed. So don’t lose your patience and accept the challenges that come in your way.
Here are a few suggestions on how to start a plant based diet in the initial stage:
1) You can start with eating vegetarian food once a day. You can begin with a plant-based breakfast and then increase your plant based intake gradually. Don’t force yourself into completely switching to plant based eating within a day.
This will be forceful and things that are forced aren’t enjoyed. So don’t force yourself rather accept the change slowly for the positive results. You will feel less lethargic once you adopt vegetarian lifestyle.
You can add more and more plant based foods once you get comfortable with the plant based eating.
2) Start with your favourite plant-based meals. When you eat things you love, your interest in vegetarian diet will develop. Eat from some good and famous restaurant so you don’t lose your interest as good experience also will draw your attention towards plant based diet and you will be attracted more towards the plant based nutrition.
But make sure whatever you eat is healthy so that you don’t fall ill. Falling ill can put a negative impression on you so don’t make that mistake.
3) If you are a good cook then you can even try making snacks for yourself. This will encourage you to explore more recipes and draw your interest more toward plant-based diet. You can learn these plant based recipes from you tube channels which show mouth watering vegetarian dishes that you won’t resist to eat.
Experimenting with various recipes will be a fun activity which you will definitely enjoy. So what to wait for grab a recipe book and get started.
You can also read the following article on iron rich vegetarian food:11 Best Iron-Rich Foods Vegetarian Choices
4) Study about the benefits of going vegetarian. When you will learn how healthy vegetarian food is, its importance in your life you will definitely get attracted towards the healthy eating and then the question,” how to start a plant based diet” won’t bother you.
5) If you are habitual of eating meat and it isn’t easy for you to to give up animal food, then start with dairy products initially. After a certain period of time you can try plant based food sources. It isn’t necessary that you start with plants since the first day. You should take time before beginning your plant based journey.
6) Start with adding more plant based foods rather than eliminating animal products: This approach can also be used by people who eat meat on a regular basis. This can be helpful in giving up highly processed foods over a period of time. In this approach you can start with adding stuff like nuts, fruits, vegetables salad, soup in your regular diet.
7) Replacing ingredients of your dishes instead of the dishes. For example, if you eat burgers and sandwiches or pizza or any such food item then you can consider using replacing the non vegetarian ingredients with vegetarian ones. Like you can use meat alternatives with some healthy and plant based component.
8) Following the principal of replacing, reducing and then eliminating. This technique can be used to efficiently eliminate animal foods from your diet. For people who are completely dependent on animal products shall adopt this methodology to add more plant based meals in your diet.
Start with replacing non vegetarian ingredients of your food with plant based components and then reducing your non vegetarian food consumption and slowly with time completely eliminating the animal products.
9) The urge to not give up. At times you will like giving up when things won’t go as expected. But this is just a part of process and not the whole process. You should always keep in mind that change has never been easy.
It requires lot of sacrifices but what is important is that we stick to our decision no matter how difficult it is. With regular efforts and consistency you will definitely achieve your goal and change your eating habits for the well being of you as well as your family members.
If ever this question strikes your mind that how to follow a diet that is healthy, nutritious, low on fats and prevents any sorts of diseases then without wasting a single minute you should switch to plant based diet.
Transition to a plant based diet is not a big deal you can do this step by step with constant efforts and patience.
Many great leaders have also supported the concept of vegetarianism. World famous scientist Albert Einstein also wrote “Nothing will benefit and increase the chances for survival of life on Earth as the evolution to the vegetarian diet”.
Pythagoras, Leo Tolstoy, Leonardo da Vinci are also the examples of people who turned vegetarian and found it to be a good decision. Now a days not only in India people from all over the world are trying the plant based diet neglecting processed foods and have felt that this decision of switching to plant based eating was a great one. If these people would have wasted time on thinking how to start a plant based diet, they would have never started their journey.
So what to wait for, don’t waste your time thinking that how to start a plant based diet, if you want to start the plant based lifestyle then go to some good food from nearby restaurant, or pick up books or watch videos which have got delicious plant based recipes and enjoy your journey towards being vegetarian.