Diets aren’t always focused on weight loss or gaining muscle. People are always changing their diets to meet their needs. How and what you eat depends on multiple factors, but it starts with a little research. This guide compares plant-based vs. vegetarian diets so you can decide which one is best for your lifestyle.
There are a few key differences to these diets even though they seem nearly identical. These tips may change how you picture your dietary future and what you eat to fuel your body.
Consider Your Motivations
Changing your diet requires long-term commitment, so it’s time to consider your motivations. What made you interested in learning about new eating styles? Maybe you want to feel better about your body or need to reduce health stats like your cholesterol. Your doctor might have advised dietary adjustments after a recent checkup.
List your motivations and find ways to remember them. Post your list on your fridge or write it on a note in your phone. When you get tired of cooking new meals or find yourself tempted by old eating habits, you can reflect on those motivations to stick with your new lifestyle.
Once you know why you want to switch things up, read more about these specific diets and why people implement them.
Research What Plant-Based Means
A plant-based diet places a heavy focus on organic foods and anything that grows from the ground. It has many health benefits like reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and eliminating gut inflammation. These are a few ways to live a plant-based life and why they’re so good for your body.
Ditch the Meat
Plant-based people stop eating meat as their primary protein source. It’s not for the sake of being restrictive either. Avoiding meat helps you skip high amounts of fat and calories that could result in medical complications.
Eat Whole Foods
Your grocery list will expand to natural whole foods if you go plant-based. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are a crucial part of optimizing your nutrition. You might also avoid plants treated with chemical fertilizers to purify your diet further.
Find New Protein Sources
You’ll still need protein to fuel your metabolism, so get it from new sources like beans and other legumes. They’re easier on your health and provide the same amount of protein as a standard serving of any meat. You can still meal prep for your family and host an at-home dinner party with well-rounded meals centered on plant-based protein.
Avoid Certain Foods
This diet is health-focused, which won’t work if you still eat refined grains, processed snacks and artificial sweeteners. Leave those things off your grocery list and replace them with natural snacks and drinks instead. It’s part of learning how to strive for improved wellness without expensive products or classes.
Discover the Vegetarian Diet
The vegetarian diet is slightly different. People usually begin this diet for religious or ethical reasons. They might want to call attention to animal welfare or believe in a religion where animals are sacred. These factors define the diet and may match your personal goals more closely.
Stop Eating Meats
Both of these diets replace meats with other protein sources, but plant-based people might occasionally get a steak dinner or eat a burger. Vegetarians won’t make exceptions for meat because it goes against their personal beliefs.
Stay Clear of Animal Byproducts
Vegetarians also stay clear of animal byproducts, which experts define as non-meat parts harvested from an animal or made by one. That includes honey, eggs and milk.
Adapting to this part of a vegetarian diet requires changing your cooking and baking habits, but it’s so popular that it’s easy to find replacements for any recipe.
Consider Your Stance on Fish
Some vegetarians define fish as meat, but it depends on your personal stance. It may not count as meat to you because it’s processed differently. You might avoid it because your religion defines fish as meat because it’s a living animal. Read arguments for and against these points of view if you’re not sure where you stand.
Decide on Dietary Additions
Processed foods, sugar and alcohol are other components of the vegetarian diet. Because this way of eating isn’t solely to improve your health, this is another personal choice. You can always eliminate them from your normal routine and slowly reintroduce them to discover how they affect your body and if you want to continue eating them.
As you discover more about what your body likes and doesn’t like, you could always replace old foods with new alternatives. If you want to skip deep-fried chicken sandwiches, you start using coconut oil in your daily life. It’s a healthy, natural fat and it’s great for your skin, so you’ll get more from it than canola oil.
Dietary additions will depend on your health goals, so determine what you want from your new diet. You’ll personalize your vegetarian meals so they align with your beliefs without feeling like you’re too restricted to enjoy eating.
Evaluate Plant-Based vs. Vegetarian Diets
Now that you’ve compared plant-based vs. vegetarian diets, evaluate how they align with your personal preferences and beliefs. Research recipes for each lifestyle and see if they match your health goals.If you’re still unsure which is right for you, talk with your doctor or a nutritionist to safely start your new diet.
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