I’ve written this email with the intent to showcase the positive effects, discuss some myths and give back some information about Vegetarian Diets despite me personally being a full out carnivore and prefer a mixture of a Mediterranean Diet.
As a fitness coach for over 23 years my main concern when it comes to helping my members follow or stick to a diet is that FEMALEStry to maintain a min or average of .8 -1g or protein per pound of body weight and for MALESto consume 1-1.5g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Sometimes even suggesting 1.7-2g of protein per pound of bodyweight depending on the size and height of the athlete and how much lean mass they have.
Say what you will about vegetarianism, but the truth of the matter is more and more people are making the change to a plant-based diet, even if it’s only one day of the week hence meatless Monday. October 1stwas World Vegetarian Day, but the day has been expanded to Vegetarian Awareness Monthto celebrate and highlight the benefits of a plant-based diet. Stereotypes come with every “diet”, but vegans and vegetarians face some misconceptions that are held with popular beliefs. Here are a few myths we are busting up about vegetarians.
Myth 1-Vegetarians and Vegans don’t get enough protein?
Despite the stereotypes associated with vegetarianism and its many forms, if you want to be a bad ass and think about it plants provide ten times more protein per acrethan meat. Which means vegans and vegetarians have a variety of protein sources including: beans (black, soy, garbanzo, etc.), nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews) quinoa, leafy greens, tofu, tempeh, seitan, buckwheat, seeds (hemp, pumpkin, etc.) jackfruit. Plus, plant-based proteins contribute to a more heart healthy diet because they contain more fiber and less saturated fat than meat.
However, if a client or person wishing to shed bodyfat doesn’t understand how their mesomorphicor endomorphicmetabolism and body types contribute to eating a diet that is typically higher in carbs and less in protein they can spike blood sugars very easily and store more sugar to fat than they want to. That’s why you should always mix a plant based protein with a carb either something high in fiber (fruits & veggies) or a healthy nutrient dense measured out grain based carb (quinoa, oats, wild /brown rice, grain crackers ect) and a healthy fat (avocado, olives, cheese, nuts, seeds, nut butter, salmon, sardines) so that you eat all 3 macronutrients tougher and slow down the release of the carb you choose to not spike blood sugar.
Myth 2- If you don’t include dairy in your diet you have weak bones?
Most people think of vegans and vegetarians as waifs or skinny and weak because they think: A – they don’t get enough protein and B – because they don’t get the nutrients from consuming dairy products. First, not all vegetarians are against dairy. Vegans don’t eat anything that comes from animals including dairy and eggs, but most vegetarians are Ovo Lacto Vegetariansand consume eggs and dairy. So if anything I highly recommend anyone who is Vegetarian to follow this slightly less restrictive form as you can beautifully consume higher amounts of protein per pound of bodyweight male and female and thus never be catabolic (where your losing lean mass due to being more active and consuming less protein than your body requires or are deficient. Someone that is an Ovo Lacto Vegetarian can for example have fresh omelettes with 4-5 whites and 1-2 yolks a few times per day and consume a total of 25-45g of protein per serving! Add some delicious burrata cheese, Mozzarella, Ricotta or Feta cheese to every salad per day and there can easily be another 15-35g per day so this is more something that I can give my Spartan Stamp of Approval to.
However,even if you are vegan, the nutrients needed for good bones – calcium, vitamin D and protein – can be found in kale, broccoli, bok choy, tofu and soymilk. So for anyone that claims that Vegans or Vegetarians have poor bone help take a hike because your mistaken. There is a difference between what macronutrients and vitamins are needed for muscle grown and sparing and other foods for bone health. Anyone that claims to talk down to a Vegetarian Diet is simply uneducated and needs to know that facts!
Myth 3- If it’s vegetarian it’s healthy?
Wouldn’t that be amazing! But that is absolutely not true. Sugar is vegetarian and is a huge contributor to obesity and other diseases. It’s easy as a vegetarian to load up on processed foods like veggie burgers or “chikn” because it doesn’t take a lot of work, but those processed foods can be full of sugar, oils and sodium. Remember unlike a lean piece of red meat, chicken, turkey, or fish being grilled on a BBQ with minimal to now sugar ALL the MEATLESS PATTIES consumed are full of ingredients to help promote and extend shelf like because its man-made. And, to add to it there are many labels to claim they are PURE Vegetarian but have ingredients like sugar, and corn syrup as the first 2 ingredients meaning they are of highest values.
However,As expected with a well-balanced diet that for anyone in general should try to avoid processed foods and make sure it looks like it was yanked out of Yia Yia or Nona’s garden (grandmother in Greek & Italian).
Myth 4- A vegetarian diet is full of carbs?
Carbs are not a bad word and yes, vegetarians on average consume more carbs than meat eaters, but a vegetarian meal isn’t just pasta. Just like a well-balanced diet that includes meat, requires planning, so does a vegetarian diet. While it’s easy to whip up a vegetarian pasta dish, make sure you’re eating whole food sources of carbohydrates. They contain more water and fiber to make and keep you full and don’t contain added sugar, fats or chemicals. Oats, beans, root vegetables and fruit are all whole foods sources.
That’s why is essential for anyone who wishes to change or stick to an ALL VEGAN or some form of LACTO OVO or VEGETARIAN diet that they learn the importance of knowing how to gauge and measure your macros so you can properly and precisely create a plate that has a mixture of food that all give you protein , carbs and fat.
a) Breakfast of 3/4c beans with 1/2c diced veggies +1.5 tbsp of olive oil and 2oz of nuts and feta cheese
b) Protein shake with khale, +water + ½ avocado and nut butter
c) Mixed green salad with 1/2c chick peas , 1/2c pumpkin seeds, 1tbsp olive oil and vinegar and1 cup of red cabbage
***All these are a great mix of min 25-30g of protein, 25-50 g of carb and 10-25g of healthy fats. This is way better than just having oats and fruit for breakfast or salad nd fruit on it. ****
However,Plants are full of phytochemicals, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber and eating a plant-based diet is one of the most nutrient dense, healthy ways of eating and dieting because lets face it if your 25-55lbs over weight it 80% due to you eating months or years of highly processed foods, carbs or nutrient deficient caloires and not moving enough…So…if you want to shed the “cheecho” (Italian for love handles)its time to imagine replacing your carbs you eat each day in high amount to veggies in each day in high amounts and watch how fast your tummy and thighs slim down.
YES ITS THAT EASY!!!!
But it takes work and thoughtful planning to reap the benefits of this lifestyle. Make one small change this month, even if it’s finally including a meatless Monday, to celebrate plants as a bountiful food source.
ATTITUDE is everything,
Fitness, Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach
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