What Are The Health Benefits of Vegetarian & Vegan Diets
The COVID-19 pandemic has been playing havoc with our daily routines. Quarantines are leaving many people without the usual physical activity to which they are accustomed and dietary routines for many are completely disrupted. To make matters worse, the pandemic is creating chaos within our food processing and distribution networks. Since quarantines began earlier in the year, grocery stores have struggled to keep shelves stocked with chicken, beef, and pork. Meanwhile, there have been multiple reports of meat processing and distribution centers being struck by the virus and forced to reduce or even discontinue production. This combination of circumstances might have you questioning your normal eating habits and you might be looking to change things up by seeking alternative protein sources and adopting a healthier diet. In this blog, Organic Restaurants explores the dietary requirements of vegetarianism and veganism, as well as the health benefits of transitioning from eating meat to a vegetarian or vegan diet.
The Vegetarian Diet
Transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle offers some flexibility and isn’t necessarily a complete absence of animal proteins. While there is a focus on increasing consumption of grains, vegetables, fruits, you’ll also need to substitute plant-based protein-rich foods for animal-based proteins. Common approaches suggest nuts, legumes, seeds, tofu, tempeh, and seitan as your foundations for protein, but you have a little flexibility from here, depending on your dietary needs and how strictly you want to adhere to cutting out animal-based protein.
- Ovo Vegetarianism has you skipping red and white meats, fish and seafood, and dairy products, but as the name implies you’re still eating egg products.
- Lacto Vegetarianism allows for some flexibility so that while you’re not eating red or white meats, fish or seafood, or eggs, you do get a pass on dairy products.
- Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism combines the above two dietary approaches, provides the most flexibility, and is considered the most common approach.
There are other dietary approaches that only allow for either seafood or poultry proteins, but these are not vegetarian approaches in the strictest sense.
Go Further and Go Vegan
Veganism takes vegetarianism further and incorporates the approach into one’s lifestyle as well. Vegans attempt to remove foods and food products that are sourced from animals from the diet as well – which means that honey and foods using animal fats or animal by-products such as gelatin are off the table. In the course of transitioning to veganism, it’s common that those following this dietary approach also discontinue the use of products made from leather and other animal by-products.
Reap the Health Benefits
A plant-based diet has a number of health benefits if managed and maintained properly.
- Control your weight more effectively with a plant-based diet that is lower in saturated fats and processed foods.
- Keep disease at bay, as vegetarianism is low-fat, low sodium approach, and keeps cardiovascular diseases at bay and lowers the risk of cancer.
- Increased energy levels, because your cardiovascular system will be healthier and better able to circulate oxygen to your muscles.
- Your digestive system will be healthier with the increased intake of fiber from fruits and vegetables.
Get to Know Your Vegetarian and Vegan Options Locally
Once you’ve decided to transition your diet to vegetarianism or veganism, you’ll want to be able to find organic vegetarian restaurants that support your shift in eating, so you’re new diet is easier to adhere to and incorporate into your everyday life. And as you explore local restaurants, you’ll want to support your favorites by sharing with others. Here at Organic Restaurants, we can help you accomplish both of these tasks. Our directory is constantly growing from user reviews and additions to our database of restaurants that provide healthy and organic dishes. Have a favorite local restaurant that isn’t listed? Tell them to visit our page where restaurant managers and owners can claim their listing.