Trending Diets of celebrities and popular meal plans keep popping everywhere leaving health conscious individuals in a daze.
Food labels in supermarkets even start to look like difficult mathematical problems that may oftentimes make consumers feel overwhelmed and intimidated. But meals with high nutritional value need not be costly or complicated. So let us go back to basics and have full understanding of the three types of diets:
Vegan is a plant based diet of mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes, seeds and nuts. It avoids eating meat of any kind and animal products like dairy. People choosing this diet may strictly embraced it as a lifestyle based on a moral belief that products consumed should exclude anything that may involve exploitation or cruelty to animals for food or even clothing.
Vegetarian meals on the other hand are almost the opposite of a vegan. Although still a plant-based diet, there is tolerance on eating selected animal food products. Basically the animal products consumed does not involve harming or the slaughter of animals. So this type of diet can include honey, eggs and other dairy products like milk, cheese, butter and yogurt.
Flexitarian diets are distinctive to be semi-vegetarians. The guidelines in following this kind of diet includes sparingly eating meat or poultry like once a twice a week on top of a plant-based diet. Occasional consumption of lean meat or poultry and other seafood makes this diet appealing to most. It stands out the most because the principle is based on adding healthier food choices rather than totally eliminating other food groups. Others also follow a derived type of this diet called Pescatarian, where fish is the only meat consumed to complete a plant-based diet.
There are numerous reasons why people choose a specific diet like religious beliefs, chronic illness, or moral ethics on harming animals. In recent years, surveys and studies even show that the shift to plant-based diets are primarily due to accessibility and economic factors. Nowadays, it has even gained more popularity and has become an accepted norm. Restaurants revolutionized their menu as a result of increasing culinary cultural influences across the world on plant-based diets.
In previous years diseases have been attributed to poor nutrition and vitamin deficiency. So researchers focused on studies relating these similar types of plant-based diet to diseases. They found that there are health benefits of meat-free eating like weight loss, lower risk in cardiovascular diseases and can even be a long term solution for reducing complications in chronic illnesses. However, experts still encourage people to carefully plan and prepare a balanced and healthful meal that offers the highest nutritional value.
With that, it brings us to appropriate meal planning and preparation. It does not follow that this kind of diet would equal a totally healthy lifestyle even though it is plant-based and believed to contain adequate nutritional value. We also need to consider how this food is prepared, be it fresh from the farm or grown as organic crops. Highly processed food bought in supermarkets even though plant based can be full of preservatives or rich in sugar and sweetener alternatives harmful to our health. In addition, cooking methods and materials also play a major role in making healthier meals. Although chips or fried potatoes are plant-based food, the manner of preparation and cooking greatly influences its health benefits and nutritional value. To give a clear example, we do have a way of making a bowl of mixed fruits unhealthy by adding heavy cream or syrup.
In summary, for whichever diet we choose to follow and believe to be acceptable will depend on our resources and its availability. Choose which you think works best for you and give your full commitment for a healthier lifestyle change.
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