For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/
On Monday why not take part in ‘meat free Monday’ and become a part time veggie. The idea is that one day a week you eat vegetarian or vegan meals. There are now an estimated two – three million vegetarians in the UK, who for a variety of wide-ranging reasons have given up meat and fish. You could become one of them
The number of vegans in the UK is also growing as the evidence that a plant based diet has health benefits increases
Why should you bite the bullet (or rather the carrot!)?
- Weight – According to recent research by Cancer research UK vegetarians and vegans have a lower body weight. Meat eaters who continue eating meat will carry on putting on more weight over a five year period, compared to those who switched over to vegetarianism. The World Health Organisation believes being overweight can increase the risk of serious health consequences such as cardiovascular disease (mainly heart disease and stroke), type 2 diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders like osteoarthritis, and some cancers. What is not widely known is that the risk of health problems starts when someone is only very slightly overweight, and that the likelihood of problems increases as someone becomes more and more overweight
- Cholesterol – vegetarians and vegans generally have lower cholesterol levels. A recent study demonstrated that a vegetarian diet made up of specific plant foods can lower cholesterol as effectively as a drug treatment.
- Longevity – many vegetarians and vegans will live longer due to their reduced risk of becoming obese, developing diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases; in fact vegetarians have 32% less chance of having heart disease than their meat-eating friends.
- Saturated fat – Red meat, especially processed meat, contains a lot of saturated fat (plus sodium, nitrites etc) that have been linked to increased risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
- Cost – as food prices rise its good to know that you can still buy good quality inexpensive protein like beans and pulses and turn them into delicious meals such as veggie chilli or cauliflower chickpea curry. Buying seasonal vegetables and fruit will also make your meals less expensive and more nutritious. More delicious veggie and vegan recipes can be found on my blog
- Add a tin of beans to your soups, curries, chills and pasta dishes. You’ll be adding low fat, low cholesterol protein
- Make a frittata bursting with veggies like peppers, onions, courgettes and mushrooms.
- Homemade soups are a great way to introduce a vegetarian meal. Add lentils for additional protein.
- Spiralise vegetables and have them instead of pasta
- Nuts can be ground to make your own nut butters – packed with protein and good fats
- Chickpeas make great hummus. Add to jacket potatoes, enrich a cauliflower curry or smear on to a piece of toasted sourdough
However the veggie garden isn’t completely rosy. There is a higher risk of developing a B12 deficiency, which can lead to anemia. Eating plenty of milk, cheese and eggs or certain fortified breakfast cereals, non dairy milks, nutritional yeast if you’re a vegan, should provide enough of this essential vitamin
If you’d like to increase your vegetarian repertoire then why not come along to my vegan and vegetarian cookery classes in West Bridgford? They occur most days from 11am (Tuesdays start at 12.15), I also run a session on a Tuesday evening at 5.30pm
Contact me for more details or to book a place 07946 301338
More detailed information about healthy eating can be obtained from my previous healthy diet blog