How to Switch to the Vegetarian Lifestyle

vegetarian-lifestyleI have to admit, with all the “labels” we give to eating styles, it sure can be confusing to a new vegetarian. The broad definition of a vegetarian is a person who does not eat meat.

Vegetarians eat all other foods from fruits, veggies, nuts, grains, and oils/fats. From this foundation there are subgroups that choose to eat or avoid certain foods. People choose their diet based on many different reasons and from many different perspectives.

Some people choose to be vegetarian for health reasons, religious reasons, or maybe they grew up vegetarian and it’s always been a way of life, while others believe the slaughter of animals is inhumane. Whatever the reason, we should honor their choice.

Semi-Vegetarian
• Eats less meat than average person.

Demi-Vegetarian
• A person who eats no or little meat but may eat fish.

Pescetarian
• A vegetarian who also consumes fish.

Lacto-Vegetarian
• A vegetarian who eats all dairy products but no eggs.

Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian
• A vegetarian who eats dairy products and eggs, no beef, lamb, pork, poultry or fish.
• This is the one of the most common types of vegetarian.

Vegan
• A vegetarian who does not eat any animal products. Some vegans do not use animal products such as wool, leather, honey or animal tested products.

Fruitarian
• A vegetarian who only eats foods that don’t kill the plant (apples can be picked
without killing plant, potatoes cannot) and consumes mainly raw fruit, grains & nuts.

Raw Foodist
• A person who only consumes un-cooked, un-processed, typically organic foods. They
don’t consume any animal products and believe that the greater the percent of raw
food in the diet, the greater the health benefits.

Primal Raw
• Someone who eats raw foods and includes raw meat prepared a certain way.

How is a Vegetarian Diet a Healthy Diet?

Let’s start by looking at what is NOT a healthy diet. There are some well documented health risks by eating processed meats and high-meat diets.

One of the by-products of digesting meat is uric acid. Uric acid creates an acidic environment in the body setting up an environment for inflammation to deposit in the muscles and joints, causing gout.

Consuming processed meat has also been linked to many types of cancer including colon cancer. Processed meats are ground up, mixed with sodium, flavoring, preservatives and chemicals and shaped for selling as sandwich meats or other foods. Nitrites and nitrates are commonly found in sandwich meat and have been linked to health problems.

And of course we can’t forget the serious risk of food poisoning caused by bacteria in meat. Almost every year we are terrorized by food-poisoningan outbreak of E.coli or some other bacteria in hamburger meat or Listeria (bacteria found in a meat processing plant in Canada that killed 20 people in 2008).

On the other hand, you can AVOID all of these diseases by eating a plant based diet that will easily give you all the protein you need while helping you achieve optimal health.

As Hippocrates said:

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food.”

I look at food as my first defense against nutrient deficiencies (rather than using supplements) and I believe in being PROACTIVE rather than reactive with my health. So many people wait until they are really sick before they will change their lifestyle.

But why wait when you can start changing your health today through better nutrition?

I wasn’t going to wait until I got seriously sick to take action so I researched the healthiest foods on the planet. My goal has been and vegetarian-super-foodsstill is to fill my diet with super foods that have been studied and found to contain the highest amounts of vital nutrients and to incorporate these super foods into my daily diet so I will stay in optimal health living a vibrant life into my 80’s and 90’s even past 100!

If you have been neglecting your nutrition, then I want you to march down to your doctor’s office and talk to your doctor about the changes you should be making.

You should also have a physical exam every year after age 35.

This will insure you are addressing the correct issue and you will have a clearer picture of what your next step should be. Self diagnosing a health problem can be dangerous and you may lose precious time if you misdiagnose. Doctors have amazing testing capabilities so utilize these resources.

How to Remove Meat from Your Diet:

If you need help cutting back on meat in your diet, here’s how to do it:

If you are currently eating red meat, then start switching to more chicken and fish. Then start substituting the Easy Veggie Meal Plans meals – one per day – in place of meat entrees.

Your next step is to try a totally meatless day – that’s the first step in the Veggie Lifestyle. I know you can do it!

Just remember though, it’s best to do a transition to allow your taste buds and routines to change over time. Going “cold turkey” might not appeal to you because your new diet will be so unfamiliar.

Start with baby steps and go from there.

Just follow the Easy Veggie Meal Plans and listen to the Quick-Start call for more secrets to success.

3 Comments Leave a Comment

Comment by Jill
2010-01-10 14:27:25

Kardena,
This is a great post. I have many runner clients who do not eat meat or they want to stop eating meat, so this article is very helpful. I will pass it along. Recently, I stopped eating red meat for digestion issues and my system has improved dramatically. Thanks

 
Comment by Kardena Pauza
2010-01-11 01:30:25

Hi Jill, Please pass it along. It’s all about living at our optimal and being healthy. Red meat is a huge culprit for inflammation in the body. Great job! Kardena

 
Comment by Patrick
2010-01-28 18:49:42

Kardena, I absolutely love the passion you have for natural foods! It’s very inspiring! Love that you walk the walk and talk the talk!!!

 
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