A long time ago before I ever went on a vegetarian diet myself, I noticed that there were a lot of vegetarians that ate a lot of candy, sugar-filled sodas, pasta with artery-clogging sauces and a lot of other junk. At first I didn’t think much about it because at the time I didn’t know much about eating healthy. But I was doing a lot of reading about it and learning about unprocessed whole foods such as grains, fruits and vegetables. The more I learned about it, the more my eyes opened up and I started to question the habits of the so-called vegetarians.
Is Vegetarianism A License To Eat Everything But Meat?
The first thing I thought was that just because you’ve decided to go on a vegetarian diet and not eat meat doesn’t mean that you can freely eat everything else in the world. I mean, the junk foods are probably worse for you than eating lean meat, right? Candy bars and other sweet treats can be high in sugar and fat, which can cause obesity that leads to all kinds of health problems. In fact, when I was in the service my commander was a vegetarian and he had a little bit of a pouch on his belly. You would think that eating so many vegetables would keep you thin, but he liked his sweets.
Shouldn’t Vegetarians Eat More Vegetables?
Eventually I joined the crowd and decided to go on a vegetarian diet myself. In studying up on how to go about vegetarianism I read a lot of books about it and came across a lot of recipes. I found myself eating some pretty healthy things like brown rice, tofu, beans and whole grains. But one day it I started to wonder about something – why do vegetarians not eat more vegetables?
The things I was eating weren’t meat, but they sure weren’t vegetables. They were solid foods that were missing some things very important to our health like certain vitamins and minerals, and live enzymes for good digestion. Don’t get me wrong – the other foods are good for you, too, but you need to be sure you get plenty of fruits and vegetables in a vegetarian diet.
I read one time that our bodies are about 70% water, and that our diets need to be about 70% fruits and vegetables because they are not as concentrated as beans, rice, grains, etc. That made sense to me. After all, highly concentrated foods sit heavy in your stomach and require more energy for your body to digest, thus robbing of the energy you need for healing and daily activities. This is good theory to live by even if you aren’t on a vegetarian diet.
How To Get More Vegetables Into Your Diet
The short answer is, “just start eating them”. But most of the time, even on a vegetarian diet, they are an afterthought. You need to get used to having a nice large salad with your meals and make sure it has several different fresh raw vegetables in it. You also need to have other vegetable side dishes with your meals. Doing these two things are a good start, but don’t stop there.
I recommend you buy yourself a real good vegetarian diet cookbook. Make sure you can thumb through it and see the vegetable side dishes, and more importantly, make sure it has a lot of vegetable entrees. There are all kinds of soups, stews, casseroles and other main courses that can be made primarily with vegetables, or that can be added to your other staples; the beans, rice, tofu, etc.
Wraps are popular these days and I love to make vegetable wraps for lunch. Even just a plate full of steamed vegetables is tasty, and I like to add a little potato or acorn squash to help make the meal more filling. Eggplant parmesan and spaghetti squash with spaghetti sauce are great meals, too. There’s really no end to the variety in vegetarian diet recipes.
You should also make sure you are getting enough fruits, and those are easy to add because most of us like something sweet. Fruits make for a good breakfast, snack or desert. To get more benefit from them, eat fresh fruits rather than canned. Also, dried fruits have more benefit than canned. This means you could make your own granola for a nice breakfast.
So, if you are going to be a vegetarian, eat like one. Not only will you be getting more healthy, but you’ll be adding a lot more variety to your vegetarian diet. See you at the salad bar