Various vegetarian diets are all the rage at the moment and have been growing in popularity over the last 15 years. There are several kinds of vegetarian diets, one of the most popular is Lacto-vegetarianism. If you have ever considered going vegetarian but can’t stand the thought of giving up cheese, Lacto-vegetarianism might just be the solution for you.
What is Lacto-vegetarian?
The Lacto-vegetarian diet consists of wholesome plant goodness with the added bliss of creamy dairy deliciousness. Simply put, Lacto-vegetarians don’t eat meat, eggs, or fish. Their diets consist of fruit, veggies, legumes, beans, whole grains, and dairy products.
Lacto-vegetarian diets include plant-based meat alternatives such as Tofu, soy-protein, TVP, seitan, and other quickly found alternatives. Just as with any diet, balance is essential for the best health and well-being. Everyone needs to make sure they are getting the right amount of nutrients no matter where it comes from.
What’s the Difference?
Being a vegetarian these days is not always as simple and straightforward as “I don’t eat meat”; there are many different interpretations out there. Here is a quick guide to other diets:
- Lacto-vegetarian: No meat, fish, eggs, or poultry is eaten; this diet includes all plant food sources. The main difference is that anyone on this diet may eat dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt.
- Ovo-vegetarian: Ovo stands for eggs, and in this case, this diet may include eggs; however, no dairy or milk products are included. Ovo-vegetarians eat fruits and vegetables and do not consume animal products such as meat or seafood.
- Vegan: Perhaps the strictest diet of them all, no animal by-products are used whatsoever. Vegans only consume plant sources of food.
- Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: Perhaps the most common form of vegetarianism in the West, this diet includes eggs and dairy products alongside healthy fruit and veggies. No meat, poultry, and seafood are consumed.
- Pescatarian: It’s all about the seafood with this diet; pescatarians eat vegetables and fruits; however, they don’t eat any red meat or poultry. Some do, however, choose to consume eggs or dairy to their own personal preferences.
Several benefits come with a Lacto-vegetarian diet, whether you are an ethical vegetarian or opting for a healthier diet of plant goodness. Here are some ways in which this diet can benefit you:
Several studies have shown that vegetarian and Lacto-vegetarian diets have contributed to a lowered LDL cholesterol levels. Heart health issues often stem from poor diets rich in bad cholesterol levels. By reducing the amount of bad LDL usually found in meat products, you lower your heart disease risk.
Another benefit is a reduction in blood pressure, significantly lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease.
The Lacto-vegetarian diet is associated with a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes. Some studies have shown that people who consume a Lacto-vegetarian diet are as much as 33% less likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes or develop problems associated with blood sugar levels.
It is a well-known fact that different types of vegetarian diets are all associated with weight loss and a lowered BMI compared to diets that include meat products.
Vegetarians and Lacto-vegetarians often consume fewer calories leading to improved weight loss. Vegetarian diets are rich in fiber, promoting better gut health.
Reduced Risk of Cancers
Diets that are lower in meat and animal products are often better for reducing the risk of certain cancers. Colorectal and breast cancer risks are lowered with a vegetarian diet.
Plant-based foods are rich in macro and micronutrients, all extremely good for lowering cancer risks and supporting better overall health.
A Balanced Diet
Any healthy diet needs to be balanced. A vegetarian diet excludes any meat products and does require a little additional planning around protein consumption.
Fruits and Vegetables
Perhaps one of the essential parts of any healthy diet is fruits and vegetables. If you are transitioning to a vegetarian diet, you will need to eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, peppers, and complex carbs.
Try including these:
- Spinach, kale, chard
Grab your tofu pres because protein is vital for every diet; it is the building block for muscles and other functions. Great sources of plant-based protein include:
- Tofu is perhaps one of the most accessible and easy-to-use forms of plant protein on the market. All you need is a great veggie marinade and a tofu press (like the one here at Tofubud), and you can have realistic meat alternatives.
- Pre-packaged meat substitutes that are vegetable protein-based.
- Legumes such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas are all excellent sources of protein.
- Burmese Tofu – an alternative to soybean-based Tofu, this high protein option is excellent for anyone with a soy allergy that loves Tofu.
- Nuts – nuts are much needed and an excellent protein source that has just the right amount of healthy fats and oils.
Dairy is well known to be an excellent source of protein and calcium. There are several excellent choices and healthy options to choose from. Try selecting the cleanest and least processed versions that are available on the market.
- Cheese – make sure your cheese is vegetarian as many parmesan kinds of cheese and hard cheeses are often made with animal rennet.
- Whole Milk
- Double cream plain yogurt
Whether you are going vegetarian for health reasons or just want a slight change in your life, the science is out on this one; it is healthier for you. As long as you eat your beans and get some greens in, you cannot go wrong.