Gradual Vegetarianism: The Easy Way to a Slim Waist
Faithful reader and commenter Ann M. wrote recently about her new habit of going meatless for one day a week:
During Lent, I didn't eat any meat on Fridays. It didn't bother me too much because I don't eat that much meat anyways because it's tough to cook meat for one person! My plan is to continue this habit of no meat on Friday's even though Lent is over. While it's not being vegetarian, it's still (generally) healthier than eating meat again. I actually did this for a little while last year too I think.
This is similar to how I became a vegetarian, and it's a great idea. Many of you have gone a day or two without eating meat before, I'm sure … you might eat at an Indian restaurant and try some of their spicy and delicious dishes … or even try a vegetarian restaurant now and then. If you have, you know that there are a lot of very tasty dishes that don't require meat. My favorite soup is vegan, as is my favorite chili recipe, and I make some great stir-frys, fried brown rice, and tacos. My sister and brother-in-law recently made some great vegetarian Greek food for us. Yum! The list is endless.
So if you're looking for a way to eat healthier, but have a hard time "dieting", try going one day a week without eating meat. It'll cut back on the amount of cholesterol and saturated fat you're taking in, increase the fiber, nutrients and healthy fats, and slim down your waste while adding to your lifespan.
Sound interesting? Here are some tips:
- The Big Day. Set one day a week as your Vegetarian Day. Plan ahead so that you're prepared with different recipes and ingredients to try out.
- Be adventurous. Look online for some great recipes. Start with GoVeg, the Post Punk Kitchen, the Vegan Chef, and Fat Free Vegan, and branch out from there. Shop for your recipes beforehand. Try a different ethnicity each week: Mexican, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Greek, Moroccan, South American, Caribbean … there are many! You'll love this stuff.
- Eat out. If you're going to be on the road at lunch or dinner time, try and find a good vegetarian restaurant to check out. Try Happy Cow or VegDining for eats in your area.
- Veg potluck. Have a great time and invite your friends and family over, and have everyone bring a vegetarian dish. It'll be a blast! Everyone gets to try out a lot of new dishes. Mmmm. I'm getting hungry.
- Try vegan. Be even more adventurous, and try vegan dishes — those without dairy or eggs or other animal products. I do it all the time and it's my fav! It's even more healthy, because eggs and milk have a lot of saturated fat.
- Try frozen. If you're lazy, and aren't we all, try prepared vegetarian dishes once in awhile. Amy's is one of my favorite — it's usually organic too. Amy's has great chili and soups, burritos, pizzas. Don't do this all the time, but once in awhile's not a bad thing.
- Fruits and veggies. Get plenty of tasty and fresh fruits and veggies to snack on. Apples, berries, bananas, carrots, salads, broccoli, peaches, plums …. yum. Snack on them throughout the day and get your vitamins and fiber.
- Breakfast ideas. Breakfast is probably easiest, with cereal and whole wheat toast and oatmeal (add flaxseeds and frozen blueberries!) … but get creative and try scrambled tofu (with onions and spices and veggie sausage), or veggie fried rice: fry up some onions and garlice, toss in some veggies like carrots, bell peppers and broccoli, some tofu marinated in soy sauce (or tamari) and a little brown sugar, brown rice, spice it up with soy sauce or tamari and black pepper, and you're good to go!
- Lunch ideas. There are some great salads (try Greek, with feta and olives and nuts), or you can have a veggie burrito, a faux-chicken sandwhich, a veggie burger, some veggie chili. Pack your lunch and take it to work.
- Expand to slim down. In a month or two, if you're enjoying Vegetarian Day, consider expanding to two days, and eventually 3-4. Your life will be better off for it, and so will your waist. You don't need to do it all at once, but gradual change won't be hardly noticeable at all.
- Join a vegetarian forum. You don't have to be a vegetarian to join … but these forums are great sources of information, along with very friendly members who are willing to share recipes, links, resources, restaurants, cookbooks, and tips for becoming part or full vegetarian. Awesome resources. Some to start with: Hip Forums; Vegetarian Forums; VeggieBoards; Healthy Pages.