There are few words in the english language that make us cringe as much as the word “Diet” does.
When we hear the word “diet”, you probably conjure up the image of a life full of boring salads and flavorless boiled vegetables with every meal. It’s no surprise, this image --diets have become somewhat of a joke in modern times, as so many see “diets” as a set up for a failed attempt at weight loss.
While I do agree that the act of “going on a diet” is more than likely not going to be successful for most people, as the desire to sustain it normally dwindles after mere weeks, I do believe very strongly in a change in lifestyle as compared to a change in eating style.
One form of lifestyle change that I do recommend is going vegetarian, a lifestyle change that even if tried for just a few days, can demonstrate some pretty powerful changes in the body.
Today we will discuss why becoming a vegetarian, even if just for a few days at a time, is so powerfully positive for your body and gut health...
...especially for those looking to lose weight.
Going Vegetarian --What to Expect
This isn't the first time I have suggested taking a break from foods common with the Western Diet.
When people hear that you should try and take it easy on favorites like red meat, sugars, and lovable junk foods-- they think that it means you can never have it again, but cutting back is not the same as cutting out.
When starting out on a lifestyle change like going vegetarian, it’s important to test it out before you go all in. That’s why starting by cutting back is so important before you cut it all out.
That being said, here is just a little of what to expect from going vegetarian:
Naturally, our bodies were designed to be omnivores, meaning that we were meant to eat both meat and vegetation.
That being said, so many of us have grown up and lived our entire lives as strictly "carnivores" --meat eaters. For optimal health, there should be a strong balance of vegetation AND meat.
Going vegetarian, even if just for a short time, is a move to counteract the years of what I would refer to as "too much meat".
Going vegetarian even for a short period of time leads to reduced inflammation as a result of the body taking a break from much of the unnatural sugars and additives. The natural pros that come from eating your greens are the higher doses of fiber as well as the concentration of polyphenols and antioxidants that are included, too. Along with reduced inflammation, your blood pressure should also lower considerably, as a very common reason blood pressure is so high in the US is due to the constant consumption of red meat.
Going vegetarian, even if only for a short while at a time, can jump your fiber intake up high enough to combat digestional issues and even possibly reverse some of the damage that has already been done. Plenty of greens (along with a slew of other bright colored veggies) provides an environment for your gut bacteria to flourish within, and make the break down of foods that much easier. This bacteria can also work to replenish much of the lining of your digestional tract and reinforce it.
Like any habit --you have to ease in and build a support system if you want a new habit to stick. Here is how you can build up to painlessly adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, even if only for a couple of days.
The argument for protein
A question that is often asked is “If I cut out meat from my diet...where will I get my protein from?”
The answer to this is simply that protein from meat is not the most essential form of energy for your body. Carbohydrates are. It is also important to know that protein can be gleaned from countless other sources of food that are not cut out from a cow or pig or chicken.
Foods such as dairy (in moderation), beans, nuts and even breads and grains are all sources of protein that we all seem to have forgotten about. Certain fresh fruits and vegetables also have high levels of protein within them, too.
One thing to realize about protein is this: cows, pigs and chickens are all made up of protein...but what do they eat? Certainly not other cows, pigs and chickens.
Is Pausing on Eating Meat Hard?
Start small and push yourself.
Once you see that you can go for a few days, you will see that you really do possess the self control to go longer and longer. Eating meat is okay in moderation… but it’s when we eat it each and every day that it can begin to cause issues in our gut and digestive tract. Work towards reducing how often you take in a meat filled meal...and you'll be shocked at how much of a difference you’ll feel.
So consider taking a break from meat. You’ll love how you feel, and who knows --you may want to make that change into a lifestyle that sticks.
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Szeto, Y.T., Timothy C.Y. Kwok, and Iris F.F. Benzie. "Effects Of A Long-Term Vegetarian Diet On Biomarkers Of Antioxidant Status And Cardiovascular Disease Risk." Nutrition. 2004.
"Vegetarian Dieting May Lead To Greater Weight Loss” National Library Of Medicine - Pubmed. 2017.
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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with questions regarding a medical condition. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read here. This article is for general information only.