Vegetarians have a LOT of questions with regards to fat loss. Some of the most popular include:
- How do I know I’m getting enough protein, and where do I get it from?
- How can I keep my nutrition exciting enough to stick to it?
- Does a Vegetarian diet alter your energy levels? Do you get weaker with a Vegetarian diet?
As a lifelong vegetarian, I can say that I get ample amounts of protein in my diet. I’m never bored with my diet – partly because I don’t see eating as an “event.” I have no problem eating the same foods day in and day out.
As for getting weaker….nope. I’m almost as strong as my meat eating friend who weighs more than me. In fact, in some lifts – especially those that require lots of core strength – I’m stronger then him.
So switching to a vegetarian lifestyle will NOT effect your strength. Vegetarianism is a lifestyle choice. I’m not a PETA member trying to shove down vegetarian down your throat. But if you’re willing to make the switch, or if you’re already a vegetarian, then read carefully:
You can be a vegetarian and be healthy. You can also be a non vegetarian and be healthy. On the flip side, you can be a vegetarian and be sick. And you can be a non vegetarian and be sick. It all depends on your food choices and eating habits.
The primary difference is that with a vegetarian lifestyle, you’re relying on a lot more fruits and vegetables to maintain your energy levels – as it should be. It may help some people, as instead of reaching for a hamburger, they reach for a piece of fruit.
Now, with regards to fat loss on a vegetarian diet, the most important thing (especially those of Indian decent) is to cut down your sugar intake. Americans in general eat a lot of sugar. But Indians eat a TON of sugar.
The only reason you don’t see high cases of diabetes in India, compared to that in the U.S., is because most Indians don’t get regular doctor check ups the way they do here. But trust me, it’s there.
They’re obesity levels are not as high either because of the high level of poverty. America’s obesity level is 30.6% according to Nationmaster.com. However, when I go to India and stay with my family, who belong in the lower middle class socio-economic class – I have to constantly yell at them to put less sugar, oil, and ghee (clarified butter) in their foods.
But that is the first step in cleaning up your diet – take a look at how much sugar and fried foods you’re eating. Eliminate the fried foods and cut down your sugar intake.
As for protein intake, I would turn to supplements. There are a lot of great protein powders for Vegans, such as Sun Warrior. However, if you don’t mind, you can also just use regular Whey Protein.
I use GNC brand Whey Protein and mix it with Glutamine after an intense workout. Mix it with milk for some extra casein (slow digesting) protein. I also eat about 2-3 handfuls of almonds throughout the day. This provides me with more protein, some healthy fats, while ingesting foods low in carbs.
In addition, if you still consume eggs, milk, and cheese, you’ll have no problem getting the protein that you need. If you’re 100% Vegan (no animal products), then you want to check out Sun Warrior Protein, rice protein, pea protein, soy protein, and hemp.
But go easy on the soy protein, as it has been linked to increasing estrogen levels.
You must also realize that oatmeal, pasta, and bread has lots of protein in it in the form of gluten. However, if you have problems consuming gluten, then you want to stay away from these foods. You’re going to have to rely on the sources I mentioned earlier.
Beans are also a great source of protein. A friend of mine used to eat 1-2 cans of beans every day. I’m sure he cycled through they type of beans he was eating, as eating Kidney beans every day would get quite boring.
Overall, protein powder supplementation is absolutely crucial. The more muscle you need to pack on, the more protein shakes you’ll have to consume throughout the day. I don’t see this is a huge problem.
I only need one. But if you need to pack on lots of muscle mass, taking 3 protein shakes with 30-50 grams of protein in each should help you tremendously.
When it comes to variety, the key is recipes. There are lots of great Vegan cookbooks at the bookstore and online. However, not all of them are focused around people who need to pack on muscle or lose fat.
Once you find a few recipes that can help you get the amount of protein and calories required to achieve your goals, you want to hit the supermarket. Most supermarkets are not built for Vegetarians.
Best option is Whole Foods. Although, they can get a bit expensive.
Making the switch is hard. Even if you’re already a Vegetarian, you need to go through the extra steps of breaking bad habits such as eating too many carbs, eating fried foods, and cutting down on your sugar intake.
But the world is changing. You know have vegetarian restuarants, cookbooks, and specialty stores. So it is now much easier to be a vegetarian then it used to be. The more explore, the more you realize that there are many alternatives out there for you.
One of the best vegetarian guides out there is called Easy Veggie Meal Plans.Click here to learn more about this incredible book.
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