I tried staying fit throughout the winter so that come spring and summer, I wouldn’t have much work to do for the ‘shirtless’ season. Weight wise, I was about eight pounds over my usual weight. Yes, being near 120 lbs isn’t bad – most people would kill to see that number on the scale – but for me, 110 or so is normal and anything more than that sends my nerves on end. So, what’d I do? I resorted back to being mostly vegetarian because that’s how I managed to go from being overweight with a high BMI with an expanding waistline to a slimmer, leaner, healthier me over the course of two years.

Yes, being vegetarian is not easy. When you think of being one, the images of being starved, deprived and skin-and-bones comes to mind. Is it doable though? Yes. The hardest part of being vegetarian is simply getting started, enduring the criticism from your peers and family and sticking to it.

So, you’ve probably clicked on this article because you’re curious, skeptical and want to secretly become vegetarian yourself. Great! The best way to start is to understand what it’s all about. The basics – if you’re a vegetarian, you’re mostly eating naturally. You’re going to have an eating lifestyle that’s centered around fruits and vegetables and is devoid or skimpy on meats. Now, you’ve probably heard or have thought a lot about what it means to actually be a vegetarian. It does not mean you have to be a card-carrying member of PETA. It does not mean that you can never ever in your life eat meat. Being vegetarian means you need, and accept the challenge, to be more mindful of what you eat.

People are always looking for quick ways to lose weight, slim down and look great. They will spend tons of money on special products, weird exercise equipment and ‘cleanses’ to drop one or two pounds and then will go back to bad habits because to their “surprise” (it’s expected, thus the quotes) their “diet” didn’t work, they’ve wasted their time and money so why bother? People … the easiest way for you to lose weight healthily, quickly and with ease is to go vegetarian. Why? Because most people have no idea how fatty their diets are. Milk, cheese, creams, sodas (even diet), bacon, steaks and other meats and products coming from animals are fatty. Yet, most of us shun vegetables because we think they’re disgusting and nasty. Really?

As with any food, the key to not being bored or turned off by vegetables is seasoning. Get creative! Do you crave sweet and sour chicken? Then look up a recipe for how to make a healthy sweet & sour sauce yourself and mix it with tons of hardy vegetables like snap peas, mushrooms and carrots. Like Mexican dishes? Well, cut up a zucchini and tuck it into a quesedilla in place of the chicken and top with some salsa and black beans. The possibilities really are endless and you can eat all day without packing on the pounds.

There’s also the myth that once you go vegetarian, you can’t ever have meat again in your life. This will be a controversial statement, but not true. The problem with most people’s ways of eating is that it’s heavy on fatty foods and drinks like dairy and meat and barren of healthy options like fruits and vegetables. Make the biggest portion of your meal vegetables, and eat those first, and you’ll find that you’ll need and will want less and less meat. Or, treat yourself to one meal or one day of eating anything while eating vegetables and fruits the other 6 days of the week. There’s various degrees of being vegetarian, find one that suits you.

Do you really want to shed pounds quickly without having to do much work? Take it a step further and go vegan. Vegan is all about avoiding dairy. Some choose to do it because the thought of a cow or other animal being mistreated makes their skin crawl. Others do it out of necessity: they are lactose intolerant. Why should you be a vegan? Because a lot of dairy, though you’ve been told it’s good for you, is fattening. You can get calcium from green leafy vegetables and supplements, vitamin D from sunlight, other necessary nutrients and minerals from eating a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables. There are some non-dairy alternatives to everything from the creamer you put in your coffee to the cheese you top your salads with, made from anything from nuts to tofu. Try some non-dairy options for a week and you’ll see how easy it is.

So, do you want to lose weight, improve your skin, boost your immune system and all without having to exercise much at all? Then adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. You’ll naturally load your body with minerals, vitamins and nutrients and will naturally flush your body of the toxins and hormones pumped into animals that end up on your plate.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve been a vegetarian for two years now and I’ve found that a lot of meat-replacement options that can be very delicious if done right. Unlike most vegetarians I don’t like tofu, so tempeh is one of my favorites! BBQ Tempeh is especially great.

    I like how you mix realism with optimism in this post. A vegetarian diet doesn’t have to be about constraints, but about all the fun you can have with healthier foods.

  2. Excellent advice! I’m a long time vegetarian who really enjoys my food. Most people have the misconception that vegetarian food is boring. Not true. I’ve had some of my best meals while vegetarian.

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