Monday, June 20, 2011

Be a Smart Vegetarian! Don't Pack on the Pounds!

by Kris Pitcher

There are plenty of myths out there about health and wellness. And here's one I wanted to pass along to make sure you don't get type cast.

“Becoming a vegetarian will help me drop a size.”
Eliminating meat from your diet can result in great health benefits, but if you don’t follow a vegetarian diet properly, you could accidentally pack on pounds.

Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, author of The Flexitarian Diet, explains common vegetarian beginners’ mistakes that may cause weight gain. Vegetarian “types” to avoid becoming:

Cheese-aholic vegetarians: They cut out meat from their diets and turn to cheese as a protein source. But cheese is a high-calorie, high-fat food and should be eaten in moderation.

Faux-meat fixators: All they eat is boxes of frozen faux meats, such as soy chicken nuggets, vegetarian sausage links, and veggie bacon strips. These products are okay once in a while, but they are heavily processed and can have a lot of sodium, resulting in bloating and water retention.

No-veggie vegetarians: A lot of vegetarians don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. They eat only grains, beans and veggie burgers, all of which can be high in calories.

Same-meal-minus-the-meat vegetarians: These people eat the same meals they did before, but without the meat. If they’re not replacing the protein, they’ll probably have a ferocious appetite and may be missing out on essential nutrients.

“Vegetarian” food label fans: These people find any recipe or packaging that contains the word “vegetarian” or “meatless” and then overeat that food. They often wind up taking in too much junk food. Be aware that the word “vegetarian” is not synonymous with “healthy” or “low calorie.”

If you're a vegetarian newbie be sure to look for protein rich alternatives like beans and legumes, get creative and look for variety. Experiment with recipes and do your homework to make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need.

It's easy to make the meatless switch in a healthful way...just don't get type cast or you may pack on the pounds!

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