I constantly wanted to be a vegetarian. It always seemed like such a noble cause: saving the animals, the environment, and my health all in one fell swoop. But my actual experience with vegetarianism is somewhat mixed.
Going Vegetarian or Vegan Can Change your Life
In high school, I stopped consuming meat altogether for about six months, much to the chagrin of my meat-loving household. Eventually the weight of fixing my own vegetarian suppers was too burdensome, so I chose to integrate chicken into my meals. A few months after that, pork discovered its method back into my diet. I managed to prevent beef entirely for 10 years, prior to I lastly broke down and had a hamburger.
A lot people are probably similar to me. Vegetarianism sounds like the right thing to do, but you’re not sure you can in fact go all the method.
October is likewise National Vegetarian Awareness Month, so for the past 3 weeks, my hubby and I have actually taken on a new obstacle: consuming a vegetarian diet. Neither people have an interest in ending up being full-time vegetarians, however we likewise realized that we were maybe depending on meat a little excessive. This would be our experiment to obtain us used to blending more vegetables and fruits into our meal preparation.
Like lots of people with diabetes, I was a bit concerned that eating vegetarian may be an entrance to a diet loaded with pasta, cereal and bread — which in moderation isn’t really a bad thing, but it’s hard to develop a healthy diet based solely on carbs. Fortunately it ends up that being vegetarian does not necessarily imply giving up all your preferred protein alternatives.
I found there are really several various kinds of vegetarianism, with differing degrees of seriousness in diet constraints:
- Ovo vegetarianism leaves out all meat and dairy, however includes eggs
- Lacto vegetarianism excludes all meat and eggs, however consists of dairy
- Ovo-lacto vegetarianism excludes all meat, however includes both dairy, milk and honey — this kind of vegetarian is what most people commonly call plain old “vegetarian”
- Veganism excludes all meat (and animal products like leather) plus dairy, eggs and honey
- Raw veganism includes just fresh and raw fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Veggies can only be cooked up to a particular temperature
- Pescetarianism excludes all meat, but includes fish
- Flexitarianism is not really a kind of vegetarianism, however those who call themselves “flexitarians” eat a mostly vegetarian diet, with periodic inclusion of meat, dairy or eggs
Whew! So many options … For our little experiment, my hubby and I chose to go with “Ovo-lacto vegetarian.” It gave us the motivation to eat meatless and try out more veggie alternatives, however it didn’t limit us so much that we could not have a vegetarian omelet (eggs) for breakfast or cheese (dairy) on our Gardenburgers.
I likewise connected to some other PWDs to learn more about their experiences with vegetarianism. Chrystal, a 30-something type 2 in California, said she has actually recently ventured into this world as well, and is still exploring the options.
“It’s about discipline and determining what is the right thing to do with yourself and your body,” Chrystal says. “I have actually decided to take ownership of my body and end up being healthy. I am not sure what type of vegetarian path I ought to follow. I have actually not decided yet if I wish to be a rigorous vegetable or an individual that will still eat fish. I am favoring still eating fish only.”
Some individuals have found the most success as flexitarians or, like Chrystal, as pescetarians, since it’s also versatile adequate to allow some indulgences at dining establishments or family events, but motivates folks to fill up on fruits, veggies, beans and whole grains. This means you’ll likely consume fewer calories, less saturated fat and cholesterol, and more of the good things, like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
What is the Best Vitamins for People with Diabetes?
Although a vegetarian or vegan diet won’t magically “cure” your diabetes — despite some erroneous claims — scientists have actually discovered that a meatless diet can do quite a bit of helpful for individuals with diabetes. A study in Diabetes Care showed that people with type 2 diabetes on a vegan diet lowered their cholesterol and improved their kidney function, as compared to people who were on the standard American Diabetes Association diet (hmmm). Paradoxically, the vegan diet was actually simpler to follow for the participants, and fewer individuals dropped out of the vegan group compared to the folks in the ADA diet group.
Naturally, consuming more veggies and carbohydrates that are short on the glycemic index can assist make it much easier to handle your blood sugar level. However the risk of taking in a lot of carbs is always an obstacle, and it can be a slippery slope when you cut down on protein. For my month-long experiment, I have absolutely observed a boost my carb intake, since I’m relying more on pastas and sandwich-based entrees. Nevertheless, I can likewise inform I’m eating a lot more veggies due to the fact that I’m purchasing pasta with eggplant, or grilled veggie paninis.
Pamela, a 36-year-old type 1 PWD from Missouri, says that when she first started on a vegetarian diet in high school, she consumed tons of pasta and carbohydrates to change meat, which of course made it more difficult to manage her blood glucose.
“As I ended up being more aware of excellent nutrition my diet became a lot more balanced,” she explains. “Just because it’s ‘diabetic-friendly’ or ‘vegetarian’ doesn’t imply it’s great for you. I found out more about cooking and the concepts of clean eating. I learned I needed quality lean protein, healthy fats and nutrient-rich carbs.”
Elizabeth Edelman, a 30-year-old type 1 in Ohio and co-founder of Diabetes Daily, found her vegan diet to be an advantage to her diabetes, but not to her waist when she began taking in more carbohydrates instead of protein. “I did increase my carb intake by a lot. I’m not a fan of tofu or the other vegan meat substitutes, so my primary source of protein was beans and nuts. I consumed primarily beans and rice with loads of fresh veggies and fruit. Great deals of oatmeal with almond milk and fresh fruit for breakfast and hummus and tortilla chips or vegetables for snacks.”
Caroline Bohl, an RD and CDE who works as a registered diet professional and educator at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, states, “With diabetes, we count on protein foods to assist keep people feeling complete, replace carbs, and assist stabilize blood glucose. So, being vegan or vegetarian limits the proteins offered.”
She says that if you’re a vegetarian, but are still eating dairy, eggs, and even fish (if you’re a pescatarian), then you’re probably good on protein consumption. If not, make sure your diet meets your dietary requirements and examine other sources of protein (a few of which might include carb):
- nuts and nut butters, which include peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower butter
- soy products, like tofu and tempeh, and soy replacements like soy milk and soy cheeses
Caroline says it’s essential to pick your carbohydrates sensibly: “The vegetarian or vegan diet is typically greater carbs so patients will desire make certain to pick high-fiber carbs (whole grains, entire wheat products, beans). If not, they might notice they are seeing greater blood sugar level and using more insulin.”
There is no shortage of locations to find vegetarian and vegan recipes if you’re up for the difficulty, like The Vegetarian Times and VegWeb.
“Cookbooks are your buddy, vegetarian or not,” Pamela states. “I suggest the Eat Clean series of books by Tosca Reno, along with a book called La Dolce Vegan. I make my own seitan (“wheat meat”) and bread from dishes in that book.”
Caroline advises The South Beach Diet book, not to follow implicitly, but because “they tend towards high-quality carbs, excellent fat sources, and alternate proteins.”
My personal favorite thing to eat needs to be Gardenburgers on an entire wheat bun. Gardenburgers are very delicious, and you can put anything on top — from standard lettuce and tomato, to avocado and cheese, to chipotle hummus. Yum! We’re likewise huge fans of ethnic foods, like Thai, Indian and Mexican, which all come with truly excellent vegetarian choices.
However inform us, Dear Readers, what are your ideas on vegetarianism? If you have any recipes to share, I’m all ears — I still have 10 days to go!