What exactly is a “part-time” vegetarian, you might be asking? Simply stated, this is someone who has not completely given up meat, but rather sticks to a specific timetable as to when they allow themselves to have meat products and when they only consume non-carnivorous meals and snacks.
A few examples would be people who take off entire days of meat consumption, such as “meatless Mondays”. Another way to do it would be to have a certain time of day where meat is off-limits, say after 5pm.
Still, another method that some people use is to go full-blown vegetarian on the weekends while eating meat during the week, or vice versa.
Regardless of your particular method of incorporating a vegetarian practice into your life (or even if you are still in the “thinking about it” phase), just make sure that whichever techniques you use for cutting back on meat is something that you can do with general ease.
If you are employing this lifestyle in a manner that requires an extreme amount of willpower, chances are you won’t be able to sustain it long term. Remember that giving yourself regular treats and snacks such as smoothies and juices, shakes, nuts, and whole grains can go a long way towards satisfying hunger and keeping those cheeseburgers off of your mind.
So, to help encourage you and keep you motivated, here are six ways that being a part-time vegetarian can enhance your life:
The actual health benefits of a part-time vegetarian diet
It would be virtually impossible to discuss the myriad of general health benefits of vegetarianism in one post. It would take a book to even begin to cover the countless physical improvements that can come as a result of reducing your meat intake.
Lower blood pressure, improved circulation and joint health, reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease, lower cholesterol, cleaner intestines, and even a reduced risk of cancer are just some of the many medical and health-related upsides of incorporating vegetarian practices into your diet on a regular basis.
Nutritional intake is improved through vegetarianism
Countless studies have shown that most people are significantly deficient in at least one (and oftentimes, several) key vitamins, minerals, or nutrients. The root cause of this lies in our overconsumption of meat products, leaving less room for vitamin and antioxidant-packed fruits, vegetables and grains.
While meat may be high in protein, and some specific types of it may offer sufficient amounts of iron or other nutrients, it simply cannot provide the overall spectrum of our dietary and nutritional needs.
Skip the coffee! A veggie-based diet improves energy and focus levels!
With all of those powerful vitamins running though our bodies now that we are consuming more of the foods that are rich in them, we can reap the benefits in the form of increased energy levels and better concentration and mental acuity.
This has a domino effect on the other aspects of our lives as it can make us more productive at work, in our various hobbies or recreational activities, as well as for any chores or tasks we have been meaning to get to around the house. It can also lead to more family time and playing with the children or grandchildren.
Vegetarians can sleep better
What a lot of folks don’t realize, even those who may have long ago embraced the ideals of a vegetarian diet or lifestyle, is the fact that this method of eating can have a huge impact on a person’s sleeping habits and the amount of rest that they get on a nightly basis. A poor diet, or even one that regularly consists of dinner and late-night meats can drastically reduce the bodies’ ability to prepare for bedtime.
One reason is because of meat taking much longer to digest and move through the system than non-meat options. So if you like to indulge in a slice or two of that meat trio pizza for dinner or enjoy an after hour burger from the all-night drive-thru, you can expect to pay for it in the form of lost sleep, some tossing and turning, and even some meat sweats as the digestion process increases body temperature, which is in direct conflict with the sleep processes which are attempting to lower the body’s temperature for its resting cycle.
You make better life choices as a part time vegetarian
We all know how this works, and it has probably happened to you a number of times in your life. You make one small positive decision regarding your health and wellness and it makes you feel a little bit better. Then, without thinking about it, you make another, and then another. Pretty soon you look up and realize you have begun to create several new healthy habits.
It works the same way with part-time vegetarianism. First, you simply cut out a few meat-based meals. Next, you start drinking more water. Then you decide to walk or bike to a nearby destination rather than drive because you have more energy and you are better hydrated. That leads to deciding to go to the gym, which coupled with all of these other healthy activities leads to going to bed earlier and sleeping better.
Even though this is down a way’s in our list, it may very well be the greatest benefit of all. While it is always important to take care of ourselves to the best of our abilities, passing a healthy lifestyle and nutritious dietary model on to our kids is even better.
Your cooking skills are vastly improved in a vegetable-based diet
We aren’t saying there is anything wrong with eating out at your favorite restaurant, but like most other things (especially when it comes to food and nutrition) it’s probably best done in moderation. When we eat out, we rarely, if ever, truly know the source of that meal or exactly what’s in it. Often times it is packed with additives and preservatives, as well as a number of other unhealthy items.
Cooking for ourselves conditions us to read labels, choose organic alternatives, and use fresher and healthier ingredients. This adds to the already more nutritious routine of at-home food preparation and consumption. Becoming a part-time vegetarian is a great way to improve your health without giving up meat entirely!
Hannah Stevens is a freelance writer from North Carolina. Her strong interest in writing has been fueled by her belief if healthy ways of expression.
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