Sunday, June 10, 2007

Veganism or vegetarianism and “effortless” weight loss/maintenance

In my previous post, I discussed some of the benefits to the environment that going vegan or vegetarian even part time provides. Committed environmentalists will see the merit in this, but a more immediate and personal effect you might not have considered is that becoming vegan or vegetarian (even partially) is a wonderful, nearly effortless way to help control your weight.

With something like 60% or better of the US population overweight or obese, it’s clear that the country has a chronic health problem it needs to address. Of course, the biggest reason for this explosion in obesity is our lack of activity, coupled by a dependence on refined foods, fast food, and high sugar intake.

But what if, at least to start, you could “have your cake and eat it,” too? If you just replaced a high-fat meat-based meal with lots of refined carbs three days a week with a veggie-based one, you’d save yourself anywhere from several hundred to a thousand or more calories a week, boost your fiber intake without having to ingest any artificial or expensive “fiber supplements,” and improve your nutritional profile without even trying.

Don’t think you can do a whole meal at first? Then just start “cutting” your meat intake in soups, stews and stirfries by replacing part of the meat with beans and veggies. Lentils are a wonderful “invisible” hamburger substitute; if you replace a third of the hamburger in your favorite meatloaf or burger recipe with cooked lentils, you won’t be able to tell the difference, but you’ll have cut calories and boosted fiber substantially. A bonus is that lentils are super easy to make and cook as quickly as rice. Just rinse a pound of lentils, put them in a saucepan and add enough water to cover by two inches, cover with a lid and simmer on medium heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, adding water midway if necessary. The lentils are done when tender.

For more “lazy vegan” recipe ideas, visit my website at:

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