Becoming Vegetarian for Weigh Loss
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Amber
Posted on: March 28, 2002

I have recently converted to being a vegetarian.

I only eat mixed grains and nut, fruits which are fresh or dried. I have been drinking lots of water and cranberry juice (more then 8 glasses). I eat a half sandwich of fresh veggies once a week with bread. I have lost my appetite completely and I walk 3-1/2 miles a day.

Am I going to be alright? I decided to do this two weeks ago for weight loss. I am 5’2, 168 lbs. and carry my weight well.

The main concern with a vegetarian diet is daily, good quality protein. You can get good quality vegetarian protein in tofu or eggs or dairy or a combination of whole grains and legumes. A second concern is vitamin B12, which comes mainly from animal sources. There is B12 in meat, fish, wheatgerm, spinach, dairy products and seaweeds. If you are unsure, it is best to supplement vitamin B12. A third concern is a good balance of oils. I recommend daily consumption of freshly ground flax seed, hemp oil or fish oils to ensure that the health balancing omega-3 fatty acids are available.

Many people just stop eating meat when becoming vegetarian. Care must be taken to eat well balanced meals, with protein and whole foods. If you ensure that any cereals, breads and pastas are all whole grain and that these are well balanced with a variety of fruits and vegetables, legumes, protein and good omega-3 oils, you will have a healthy diet.

Drinking 8 glasses of water is generally good for hydrating the body and supporting elimination, but I do not recommend drinking more than one glass of cranberry juice daily unless you are worried about a urinary tract infection.

Your daily walk is excellent and necessary for weight loss and other health benefits.

I recommend Dr. Dean Ornish’s "Eat More, Weigh Less", (Harper Collis Publishers) which describes the basic philosophy behind a fat free diet for weight loss and health benefits, and includes hundreds of delicious recipes.

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