Your New Friend with Benefits for 2015

3 Plans to Become Vegetarian


There are a million diets out there that will tell you to eliminate this or that to achieve results. But what are the results, really? Usually it is rapid weight-loss. However, looking thin on the outside does not indicate impeccable health on the inside. Many find themselves jumping from one diet to the next, without a clear path to health and happiness.

Fortunately, there is a way of eating that can improve your health, eliminating or curing a number of diseases, and helping you look great, too! According to a report from the Mayo Clinic, “a plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. And people who eat only plant-based foods — aka vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than non-vegetarians do.”

It is a common misnomer that people who eat this type of diet eat kale and spinach for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While plenty of leafy greens are a part of a well balanced, whole food plant-based diet, it is virtually impossible to get enough calories from these vegetables alone to form a healthy sustainable diet. This is one reason many fail this lifestyle. People cannot actually live on leafy vegetables alone. If you try, you become deficient in calories. Not eating enough calories causes feelings of hunger, which over time may result in decreased energy, feelings of deprivation, cravings, and even binges. Switching to a plant-based diet does not cause these issues; they are all related to not eating enough.

So, what can you eat? The same food that many generations all over the world have survived on for years: tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes; starchy vegetables like corn and peas; whole grains like brown rice, millet, quinoa, and buckwheat; and legumes like chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, and lima beans. Start filling your pantry and refrigerator with whole food, plant-based items and the meal possibilities are endless. If you need a plan, there are gazillion resources available. Below are three of my favorites!

Transitioning to this type of lifestyle is easier than you may think. All you need is some motivation, a few great resources, some yummy recipes and a realistic plan to get you started.

I find it worked best to ease into the transition (in fact, we are still in the easing phase).  We have transitioned by eliminating certain foods or products each in phases and adding more plant-based food to the routine. Phases can last for as long as fits for you and your lifestyle. For example:

Phase 1: Eat normally, but jazz up your recipes with more plant-based foods. For example, grilled cheese for lunch? Add kale, tomato and mushroom. Spaghetti for dinner? Throw in broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, cauliflower and carrots for instant pasta primavera!

Phase 2: Follow the same as above; however, say goodbye to meat. Maybe it is even less drastic, have a meatless month or maybe a meatless day per week. Regardless, you will find several new ways to prepare meals without including meat.

Phase 3: Follow week one suggestions, but now eliminate dairy (eggs, too). Need cheese or yogurt or milk? Check out these great alternatives.

Another great tip that has worked in my house is to never set limits. The minute you deprive yourself of something you want it more. Therefore, if it is a holiday (like Thanksgiving) we participate. Allow yourself the turkey slice (if you want it); however, fill the plate with sweet potatoes, greens and fresh cranberry.

It is important to note that once you have gone without meat-based products for at least 30 days, and then you try some again, you will notice. Your body has a way of letting you know that it was happy without it!

Whether it takes you 24 hours or 2-4 years to transition to this lifestyle, do what is best for you. Be honest with yourself. Are you pushing yourself a bit outside of your comfort zone? If the answer is no, you might want to consider pushing some boundaries. That’s where real benefits reside, and you are strong enough to discover them!

Written by Yogi + Beauty Barre Member,

Katherine Main