“The vegan diet is interesting, but when people focus on what they no longer do, they lose sight of the adventure,” says host and author Cristina Pirello. “And they can lose nutrients if they focus on just taking away food without replacing it with something healthy.”
Focusing on what you’re taking out of your diet without thinking about what you’re putting in is the biggest mistake vegan beginners make. When you no longer eat meat (or eggs, dairy products), it can be easy to assume that all other foods are suitable for your diet. Oreo cookies, nachos, various sweets and chocolate are all, in principle, vegetarian products. But these are processed foods with a lot of sugar and fat.
The author of The Flexitarian Diet, Don Jackson Blatner, says that vegetarianism is a way to lose weight, get healthy, prevent disease, and prolong life, but there are many pitfalls in a plant-based diet.
“Newly vegans will read the ingredients like crazy to make sure they don’t have meat in their diet, but they won’t have fruit or vegetables on their plates,” he says.
Balance your diet, eat more vegetables, fruits and greens, rather than processed processed foods. Try something you haven’t even looked at before: spinach, chicory, asparagus, artichoke and more. Experiment with new foods, look for healthy recipes, and don’t focus solely on animal-free ingredients. This will help you avoid weight gain.
Vegetarians breathed a sigh of relief as the low-carb benefits began to debunk. Pasta, rice, buckwheat – all this has returned to the list of healthy foods. And with that came a lot of refined carbs. For many, this has led to weight gain.
Pasta must be handled with care. It takes 20 minutes to feel full, but you can empty a huge bowl of pasta in 10 minutes.
Switch to whole wheat pasta and explore the world of whole grains, which are rich in dietary fiber. Cook brown rice instead of white, quinoa and barley. These complex carbs fill you up slowly, so you won’t get hungry soon.
If you can’t live without traditional pasta, keep them in your diet, but cut down to ½ cup – no more than 25% of your plate. Make a sauce with broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, and onions.
These days, it’s easy to replace hot dogs, hamburgers, nuggets, and even chicken wings with soy-based vegan alternatives. And it turns out that being a vegetarian or vegan is easy – the stores are full of cutlets, sausages and many other things without meat.
“We don’t know if these foods are actually better for you,” says Pirello. “Yes, they are lower in saturated fat, but they can also be high in sodium, preservatives, fat, and fractionated soy protein.”
The key here is moderate and vigilant consumption and the study of labels. Look for foods that include whole grains and legumes.
“The biggest problem with these products is that they are very convenient as well,” says Ph.D. and vegetarian nutrition consultant Reed Mangels. “It’s so easy to heat them up in the microwave and overdo them.” You’ll get more protein than you really need and too much salt.”
Another point: if you prefer a ready-made meat substitute every night, you can consume too much soy, especially if you eat soy milk porridge in the morning, snack on edamame beans and eat a tempeh burger for lunch.
“Soy is great, but no one gets healthier just by eating one food,” Blatner says. – You rely on beans for protein, but there are many legumes, and each has its own unique nutritional properties. Instead of grabbing a ready-made pie, try adding beans with tomato and basil to dinner, making lentil soup.”
Even if you know what’s best for you, it’s easy to get into the habit of grabbing whatever is convenient. Too often it’s high-calorie vegan cheeses, starch. If you eat a lot, you are especially willing to rely on ready-made foods. When you go to a restaurant for lunch or dinner, you can order a vegetarian pizza or french fries. But even in restaurants, you can ask the waiter not to add this or that ingredient to the dish.
But this is especially important when you cook at home. One of the best ways to lose weight or not gain weight is with a balanced meal plan. Think about what you eat and how much. Fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with whole grains, and a quarter with protein foods like beans or nuts.
If you’re new to vegetarianism, start planning your menu for the week. You don’t have to strictly stick to the plan, but you will get an idea of what you need to eat and what you want. Once you understand this and master the art of a balanced diet, you can relax.
A small planning bonus: when you replace the fries with carrot sticks or some other vegetables, you can add something more delicious to your plate.
No time to cook
The most important thing you can do for your nutrition is go to the kitchen and prepare your own food. But people often say that they are so busy that they don’t have time to cook. In many cultures, dinner is an event. But more often than not, we eat lunch and dinner quickly so that we have time to do something else.
When the world was filled with convenience foods that make our lives easier, we lost the art of cooking. It’s time to spice it up, especially if you’re a vegetarian. Learn to fry, bake, stew, go to cooking courses and learn how to cut correctly and quickly. In the end, in addition to a large number of processed foods, technology also comes to our aid: multicookers, double boilers, smart ovens. You can always throw prepared ingredients into them and continue doing your business.
Organize the space in your kitchen so that you are comfortable. Hang shelves from which it will be convenient to take the necessary ingredients. Buy cereals, legumes, balsamic and wine vinegar, oils, spices, get a good knife. If everything is organized, you will spend less time preparing food.