What Type of Vegetarian Are You?

As far as vegetarianism goes, you can’t lump it together. According to health and food experts, increasing number of people are adopting some kind of vegetarian diet. There is various type of vegetarian diet and depends on the type,  what you choose to eat and not eat varies.

According to the American Dietetic Association, about 4.8 million of American adults (or 2.5 %) were consistently on a vegetarian diet in 2000, and 20 to 25 % had at least  four meatless meals a week. Experts are convinced this number is increasing, as more and more vegetarian options are appearing on restaurant menus and in pre-packed foods at the stores.

What Does Vegetarian Mean?

In general, a vegetarian eats vegetables, fruits, dried peas and beans,  seeds and nuts,  grains and stays away from meat, fowl , and fish.  Still, there are many subgroups within the so-called vegetarianism, such as:

Lacto-vegetarians who consume plant foods as well as dairy products

Lacto-Ovo vegetarians who eat plant foods as well as dairy products and eggs

Vegans who avoid all animal products including dairy products and eggs and eat plant foods only.

Semi-Vegetarians

And there are so-called semi-vegetarians. Dr. Susan B. Roberts, professor in the nutrition and psychiatry departments at Tufts University in Boston and author of The Instinct Diet explains “Semi-vegetarian can’t be defined as standard one. People often use this word describing their own diet, which is not strictly vegetarian diet.”

A semi-vegetarian could be someone who normally consumes vegetarian food but sometimes eats non-vegetarian food such as meat, or it could be the person who eats white meat but not red meat.

Raw Food Diet

There are some people who are dedicated to raw-food diet. Roberts explains “Raw-food diets put emphasize on eating uncooked food, purely  raw products, non-homogenized, uncooked and so on. There is no one clear definition here either. There are many aspects in it. For example, some of them would only eat 100 % raw food, and others who eat raw food 70% or more and describe themselves as raw food dieter. A raw-food diet might consists of vegetables only, or it could include meat,  fish, and eggs as long as they are raw”.

However, some health risks are involved when you eat a raw-food diet. Roberts cautions “Some of the uncooked foods, such as some meat or fish, could cause food poisoning”. She points out  that some kinds of sprouts also may contain harmful bacteria.

Fruitarian Diet

Fruitarian diet is one of the least common kinds of vegetarian diet. Just like raw-food dieters and  semi-vegetarians,  there is no clear definition of what actually fruitarian means. Generally, fruitarians consume only the ripe fruits.

Roberts is not enthusiastic about the fruitarian diet.  She claims “This is just insane. Fortunately, it is not popular at all, since it is difficult and would make you feel wasted very soon. You just canít consume a balanced and nutritious diet when you follow their rules. You need to add substantial foods to maintain your health,  for example, grains , nuts,  milk, which makes it a vegetarian diet.”

Reason Why People Choose A Vegetarian Diet

The majority of people choose to eat a vegetarian diet for health related reasons. According to a research, vegetarians have lower cholesterol , lower body mass index and lower risk of  dying  from heart disease. They also tend to have fewer constipation problems, less chance of developing diverticulosis, appendicitis, and gallstones.

Some people adopt vegetarianism for religious beliefs, for animal welfare or environmental concerns, because of economic reasons, or simply as they don’t like the texture or taste of meat.

Is A Vegetarian Diet Healthy?

People who strictly stick  to a vegetarian diet ,may not be consuming important nutrients their body to be optimally functioning.  Especially, the concern is vitamin B-12. The animal is the only natural source of vitamin B-12. Other nutrients in concern are iron, protein, calcium, vitamin D, and zinc. Therefore if you are thinking of adopting vegetarianism, better to talk to a nutritionist first to make sure you consume enough nutrients you require to stay healthy.

If you take certain vitamin supplements to compensate deficient nutrients and organize your meal plan carefully, being a vegetarian can be a satisfying, healthy and peaceful way of life.

A Diet for Better Energy

Your daily duties are not that easy to manage. Youíve got family, work, and life, all needs your full attention yet you have very limited time to attend to each task. Despite all these challenges, one thing is for sure, there is no shortcut for maintaining a healthy diet. For your body to function properly, food is the essential need to overcome routine stress and life tiredness.

Turning Food into Fuel

The source of energy in your bodies is the foods you eat and the liquid you drink. The body burns down the three essential nutrients into energy. These nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. But carbohydrates has the highest energy output out of the three nutrients and therefore the body uses it as the primary source of energy. Metabolism is the process by which simple molecules that have been absorbed into the blood are naturally converted to energy.

There are basically two types of carbohydrates, that is, complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. All these types are broken down to the simplest unit of carbohydrate which is the simple sugar glucose. The cells in the body can only use glucose as a source of energy as acclaimed by Melissa Rifkin who is a registered dietitian at the Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, New York.

The Best food for Sustained Energy

Most foods that are slow to digest are usually complex carbohydrates. Taking in whole-grains, high-fiber cereals, starchy vegetables, and dried beans is the best way to acquire high energy that can last longer in the body. The high content of fiber in complex carbohydrates is a result of the slow digestion as noted by Rifkin. The sugar level balance is well maintained by complex carbohydrates which does not require much insulin to be produced by the pancreas, also, these carbs reduce the occasional hunger.

Proteins that also supply energy to the body include turkey, chicken, pork, fish, tenderloin, legumes such as beans and lentils among others. On the other hand, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados and certain oils can supply energy for the body too.

Suzanne Lugerner, a director of clinical nutrition at Washington Hospital Center, D.C., recommends taking sufficient fluids in order to sustain high energy in the body. This is because water is essential for both digestion and absorption as well as transport of nutrients within the body. Lack of energy in the body is due to dehydration. You can drink not less than 6 glasses of water on a daily basis.

Foods to Avoid

The first step you should take in ensuring a healthy energy-rich diet is avoiding simple sugars. Cookies, sugary beverages and candy should be limited because the body needs not to break them down further therefore absorbing them directly. This is because simple carbohydrates can provide a lot of energy in a burst, which can only last for a few minutes, usually less than an hour. Other stimulants and depressants such as caffeine and alcohol respectively, should also be limited. Depressants will always ease the level of energy in the body while stimulants just work like simple carbohydrates.

Scheduling Meals for Sustained Energy

Going for over three hours without taking a meal or a snack is not healthy as noted by a Cleveland-based registered dietician, Tara Harwood. Harwood recommends that you should take at an average of three main meals and three snacks on a daily basis. You should also consider balancing all food groups during your daily meals.

In general, taking in essential food that provides energy to your body for the whole day is one way of rewarding your body.

Diabetes And Diet

For the majority of people, if you don’t feel well, you just go to a doctor and he will make a diagnosis and fix the problem. Isn’t it simple?

However, some diseases can progress silently, without any warning signs to give you an early awareness that you need a help. One of them is diabetes.

There are almost 24 million people suffering from diabetes in the United States, and 25 % of them don’t even notice they have it.

What Is Diabetes?

When you digest the food, it is broken down into the type of sugar called glucose. Glucose gives powers and energy to cells. A hormone created in the pancreas called insulin carries the glucose from the blood stream to the cells. But,if your insulin level is too law or not working there is not enough insulin or the insulin isn’t working appropriately, the glucose is stagnated in the blood and cause rising of  blood sugar levels.

Diabetes can be divided into three major types;  type 1, 2, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 is caused by the pancreas failure to make insulin and is generally found in young adults, children, and teens. Gestational diabetes can happen towards the end of a woman’s pregnancy and most of the time goes away after the birth of a baby.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common one. People at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes are someone overweight,  not having  enough exercise, having family members with diabetes,  being Asian-American, African-American, Native American,  Pacific Islander or Latino, or woman  who had gestational diabetes or gave birth to a overweight who weighed over nine pounds; having hyperpiesia, having high triglycerides or low HDL level , and having prediabetes.

Why Is Diabetes Dangerous?

Claudia L. Morrison, outpatient diabetes program coordinator at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. explains “When diabetes is poorly controlled, your blood glucose levels go too high or too low, and it makes you feel sick. If diabetes is poorly controlled for a long time, it can end up with complications which affect the whole of your body”. The problems can happen with everything from your eyes, nerves to reproductive systems, kidneys, gums , and blood vessels. But the most dangerous problems are stroke and heart disease.

What Role Does Diet Play In Diabetes?

Elizabeth Ricanati, medical director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Lifestyle 180 Program in Cleveland explains “What you eat can either help preventing  diabetes or promote it, according to  how it affects your  body to process glucose. You should avoid foods which increase blood sugar level and raise cholesterol, like high in saturated fats food, processed foods, foods with trans fats, and sugar loaded food”.

High fat or sugary food and processed foods can disturb the balance of glucose and insulin, causing inflammation, and it also can cause some of the risk factors like overweight.

You need to watch out the carbs intake as well. Although your body require them to fuel the body, some carbohydrates cause an increase of blood glucose levels. Morrison explains “The glycemic index measures how the food containing carbohydrate raises blood glucose. Foods items are ranked based on how they affect raising blood glucose compared to a key food item like white bread. Legumes and dry beans, non-starchy vegetables, and most of  whole-grain cereals  and bread are all low GI food”.

What Is a Healthy Diet For Diabetes?

What is a healthy diet for diabetes? It is actually  the same as a healthy diet for anybody. Make your portion size in moderate to avoid putting on weight, and include vegetables and fruits, whole grains instead of processed ones, lean meat and  fish, legumes and beans, and healthy oils. Cut down on  saturated fats and avoid high-calorie desserts and snacks such as cake, chips, and ice cream, and ban  trans fats altogether.

Try to exercise for half an hour on most days of the week and lose 5 to 10% of your weight, if you are overweight, it is very important to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Last of all, anyone with problems of frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, extreme thirst or hunger, blurry vision, fatigue or constant infections need to  see a doctor and get a blood test to check for diabetes. If you keep your eyes on carefully and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can keep diabetes under control.