World Vegetarian Day
World vegetarian day is celebrated annually on October 1.This day is celebrated to create awareness about the benefits of vegetarian lifestyle and encourage others to become vegetarian.
A vegetarian is one who does not eat meat and whose diet is filled with fruits and vegetables, mostly the food items that come from plants.
Different people have different reasons to adopt vegetarian lifestyle. Some people firmly believe in not killing animals for their appetite. People also switch to vegetarian diets for health reasons as this diet is rich in fruits and vegetables and tends to be low in fat and cholesterol, which is good for the heart. A major chunk of people cite culture and religious issues for sticking to vegetarian diet.
Types of Vegetarian diets:
Vegan: This diet includes only plant-based food. It does not include any animal protein or animal by-products such as eggs, milk, or honey. It generally includes raw fruits, vegetables, legumes, sprouts, and nuts.
Lacto-vegetarian: includes plant food and dairy products but not eggs.
Lacto-ovo vegetarian: includes plant food, dairy products and eggs.
Benefits of being a vegetarian:
• It lowers the risk of major heart diseases and cancers.
• It boosts metabolism and thus helps in lowering body weight.
• Vegetarian diet comprises of whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables, which supply fibre, antioxidants, vitamins as well as essential minerals.
• Avoiding meat is one of the best ways to cut down your fat consumption.
• Cholesterol levels are much lower in vegetarian meals as compared to non-vegetarian meals.
• It helps to save animals.
A well-planned vegetarian diet can meet the nutritional requirement needs of people of all ages, including children, women and elderly people. The key is to be aware of your nutritional needs so that you plan a diet accordingly.
Debunking the myths:
What are the health benefits of following a vegetarian diet?
A vegetarian diet is low in fat, rich in fibres, vitamins and minerals. This helps in reducing the risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart attacks. A vegetarian diet is low on cholesterol and also helps in improving immune system. It makes one feel light as well as energetic.
Are there any side effects of being a vegetarian?
There are generally no ill effects of vegetarian diet. You might feel "less full" if you were a strict non- vegetarian. You may increase the quantity of dals, veggies and salads in your diet in order to overcome the feeling.
Is it feasible to be a vegetarian all your life?
Yes, you can follow a vegetarian diet for lifetime as long as it is nutritionally well planned. You should ensure that you get all the nutrients in the right amount.
Are Vegetarians Healthier Than Non-Vegetarians?
Generally, vegetarian diets are lower in saturated fats, cholesterol and animal protein, and higher in fiber than non-vegetarian diets. As a result, vegetarians tend to have substantially reduced risks for obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer. However, differences in lifestyle also play a huge role in vegetarian health. So, stick to a balanced meal and avoid junk food to stay healthy.
Is it true that vegetarian diet helps in maintaining a healthy weight?
It is easier to maintain a healthy weight if you eat vegetarian meal because they tend to be naturally low in fat and calories. Plant based food are also high in fiber and complex carbohydrates which help boost metabolism. In the process, you burn more calories, do not accumulate fat and stay fit and slim.
I am a meat lover but I want to switch to being a vegetarian, please suggest me how can I develop this habit?
Be firm that you want to be a vegetarian. Learn about the benefits of being a vegetarian. Initially you might feel starved in comparison to the non- vegetarian meals. Eat a balanced vegetarian meal which has optimal amounts of the essential vitamins and minerals.
Does it cost more or less to be a vegetarian?
Vegetarian meals are more budget friendly as compared to meat. You need to spend at least 30-50% more when you order non-vegetarian meal in general.
Is it true that vegetarian diet lacks vitamin B12?
It is true that you can almost get all the essential vitamins and nutrients being a vegan except for vitamin B12 as there is no source of vitamin B12 in plant based food. Though if you are Lacto-ovo vegetarian or Lacto vegetarian, you can get B12 from these sources:
ii. Milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, and other dairy products
iii. Food sources that have B12 added to them (fortified), such as cereal and soy products
What are the best sources of food for vegetarians in order to get a balanced diet?
People having different type of vegetarian diets can enrich their meal with some of these sources: