Vegetarian consumption in India is growing and growing rapidly as more and more people are becoming aware of the benefits of a healthy diet. Being a vegetarian means abstaining from all animal products or animal byproducts. Indians are opting for vegetarian diet to adopt a healthy lifestyle and avoid non-vegetarian food. Animal-related eating habits are wreaking havoc on our planet, which is another reason why people are turning to plant-based diets. According to studies, animal or dairy products contribute to heart diseases, some cancers, diabetes etc. With increased awareness of this information, many people are turning to a diet rich in plant-based foods.
However, there are some myths associated with the term vegetarian. Well, nutritionist Sonia Bakshi decodes half of them and presents what are some real truths. Let us know the truth about vegetarian diet and dispel the myths associated with it.
#Myth 1: You can lose weight
Sorry, but vegetarianism is not a sure shot path to weight loss despite your celebs saying so. Eating more plant and less processed foods can help you lose weight. But, vegetarians can also make the wrong choice, which will not lead to weight loss. If vegetarians eat a lot of vegetarian junk food, they too will not lose weight. So beware: “Vegan” on the label doesn’t have to mean healthy!
#Myth 2: You won’t get enough protein
Despite popular belief, meat, eggs and dairy are not the only proteins available. There are countless plant foods that are rich sources of protein. Lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, soybeans are excellent sources of protein. In addition to protein, soy products also provide iron and calcium.
#Myth 3: You can feel weak and tired
There are a few reasons why this myth is so prevalent. Meat is rich in iron and vitamin B12, which helps with energy as well as much more. However, giving up animal products doesn’t necessarily make you weak and tired. Fortunately, there are many healthy, nutrient-rich vegetarian options to keep your energy level up and prevent anemia deficiency. Plant-based sources of iron include chickpeas, legumes, pumpkin seeds and spinach. And here’s a handy tip – if you add a little lemon juice to your hummus (or mix with vitamin-C rich food), you’ll boost your body’s ability to absorb iron. When it comes to vitamin B-12, nutritionists suggest that vegetarians include vitamin supplements, vitamin-rich cereals, and fortified soy products.
#Myth 4: Fish is the only source of omega-3
If you’ve heard about all the benefits of omega-3s, you know that there is almost nothing these fatty acids can’t do. They support your heart and brain, can promote bone and joint health, help with cognition and memory, and the list goes on. But many people think that the only good sources are salmon or fish-oil chestnuts. Chia and flax are good foods because they are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which helps with heart health.
#Myth 5: Vegetarianism is expensive
Many vegetarian foods and ingredients are affordable in India, especially if the diet focuses on inexpensive foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, beans and other legumes. A vegetarian diet that is well planned can be less expensive than animal products.