There has been a lot of talk in recent years about becoming a vegetarian as opposed to living a vegan lifestyle. What is the difference between the two diets? I did some research to find out the differences between the two lifestyle choices.
Vegetarian diets vary in what foods they include and exclude. For example, vegetarians do not eat meat, fish or poultry but they typically eat dairy products and eggs. Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but not eggs, lacto-ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but not dairy products and ovo-vegetarians eat eggs as well as dairy products. Vegetarians do not eat products that contain gelatin or other meat-based products.
A vegan diet is a type of vegetarian diet but vegans do not eat any animal products- including dairy and eggs. People who follow a vegan lifestyle generally do not wear leather and avoid products made from animals such as wool, silk and down. Popular foods eaten by vegetarians and vegans include kale, grains, nuts, legumes and beans.
Whatever diet you follow, it is important to remember to get the proper amount of vitamins, protein and calcium. It is a good idea to consult a doctor and do your own research before eliminating certain food groups from your diet. Also remember that calories still matter and consuming too many- even if they are meatless- is unhealthy.
Whatever diet you follow; vegan, vegetarian, paleo or your own mix of whatever works for you, everyone can benefit from eating slower. I always eat fast and I know it’s a terrible habit. Although I am fully aware of this fact, at times, I am oblivious as to what I am doing when I eat. I think I fell into this eating fast mode because I am always rushing. I rush to make the train, even though I always leave myself plenty of time, I run to catch the subway and I even run to the street corners, anxiously trying to make the light. Yet I never feel good after I have eaten my meal fast. It is terrible for digestion and sometimes I eat more food because my brain has not had a chance to realize that my stomach is full.
Studies have shown that eating slowly can actually curb hunger after a meal. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, focused on normal weight and overweight participants who were instructed to eat two lunches. During one lunch, both groups ate slowly and during the other lunch, both groups ate fast. Notably, the researchers found that the normal weight participants consumed 88 fewer calories when they were told to eat slowly. While eating slowly, the overweight participants ate 55 fewer calories. Both the normal weight and the overweight test groups did not feel as hungry one hour after eating slowly than they did after eating quickly.
Eating slower also allows you to properly chew your food, which leads to better digestion. Chewing breaks your food down into smaller particles which makes it easier for your body to absorb nutrients. An added benefit to slowing down at mealtime is that you may pay more attention to what you are eating. It is better to be in the moment than to be thinking about what you will be doing next. I probably should take my own advice and slow down.
As a healthy snack alternative, try these easy to make, no-bake protein treats.
Tina & Jay’s Chocolate-Chip Coconut Protein Snack
1 cup coconut flakes (I used sweetened coconut flakes-you can use unsweetened flakes with a few drops of stevia for sweetener)
1/2 cup Sunbutter
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup chocolate whey protein powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Blend the coconut flakes in a blender or mini-blender until it reaches a semi-smooth consistency. In a large bowl, place coconut flake mixture and the reminder of the ingredients. Mix all ingredients with your hands and combine into a ball. Chill the ball in the bowl for 30 minutes, uncovered in the refrigerator. Then brake dough into smaller balls and they are ready to eat. Store uneaten treats in an airtight container in the refrigerator.