Being a vegetarian means consuming no meat, chicken or fish, or items that contain by-products of animals. It is something most people do for moral reasons rather than as a diet per se. Not quite as extreme as becoming a vegan, vegetarians still eat dairy products and eggs and a plant-based diet with eggs, legumes and tofu as a source of protein is ideal for promoting weight loss. If giving up meat cold turkey (ahem) is too much for you there’s always the option of becoming flexitarian – being sort of vegetarian but with some meat products allowed every now and then.

Typical Daily Menu

Breakfast: Porridge with almond milk and blueberries

Lunch: Warm quinoa salad with grilled halloumi

Dinner: Quorn shepherd’s pie with green beans

Positives:

  • Helps if you’re concerned about the meat industry. If you’re worried about where you meat comes from and sickened at what sort of life those animals have, going veggie is the obvious choice.
  • Eating a vegetarian diet can be very healthy. As long as you make sure you’re getting a variety of foods and enough iron, switching meat for tofu or Quorn (both of which are low in fat, high in protein and fairly low in calories compared to meat) can mean good things for your waistline.
  • It’s a lifestyle choice that is catered for. It used to be that restaurants would offer one solitary meat-free dish on menus, but that has changed in recent years and there’s no need to feel restricted to a measly pasta dish when eating out as chefs get more and more adventurous with veggie dishes.

Negatives:

  • There’s no meat. This is a no brainer, but if you really love your meat then giving it up may be a challenge for you.
  • It can be hard to stay healthy. Animal products give us a lot of vitamins and minerals which are essential for our health, so cutting them out means you need to make sure you’re getting them elsewhere in your diet.
  • It’s not a diet. Vegetarian does not automatically mean healthy. You can still gain weight as a vegetarian if you’re still going to be piling your plate high with potatoes, pasta and rice so you’ll still need to be wary of your portion sizes and the choices you are making.

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