Thinking of Going Vegetarian or Gluten Free (GF)?
Disclaimer: Always consult your doctor, physician or registered dietitian before entering a new diet program. This information is not intended to take the place of a doctor’s suggestions and can result in different outcomes for each individual. Please consult your doctor before starting a new diet regimen.
Food is our friend, but certain foods can be our enemies, or at least our bodies think so. For example, for people who have Celiac Disease, their bodies think gluten is trying to attack it and fight back, just like a Real Housewives Reunion episode. Andy Cohen is like your white blood cell trying to figure everything out. But whether you have a sensitivity, allergy or just want to change things up, it’s good to know about what you’re getting into before committing, right? So here’s a rundown so we can get our shit together on some common dietary restrictions like GF, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan.
Definition: Going GF means excluding gluten from your diet. Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, barley and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale.
Why Go GF? If you want to help treat Celiac Disease, going GF might be a good option for you. Why? Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease and not consuming gluten can help control signs and symptoms and prevent complications.
Common Moral Reasons: This diet is more for health than morality, unless you feel strongly against the harvesting of wheat.
Physical Reasons: The gluten-free diet is a treatment for celiac disease. Some people who don’t have celiac disease also may have symptoms when they eat gluten, however. This is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity (MayoClinic).
Mental Benefits: Imagine having to check every piece of food you eat to see if you can have it because of the way if affects your body. It can be a stressful day-to-day process and adhering to a GF diet where you look for foods marked GF or eat more whole foods can help alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with eating when not following a GF diet.
Is GF right for you? Over 2 million people in the U.S. are affected by celiac disease (U.S. National Institutes of Health) but there’s no harm in trying something new! Go for it, just be sure you’re getting all the nutrition you need without depriving yourself.
Food Substitutes: Look for the big ol’ Gluten Free sign on packaged food. If it says Gluten Free, you’re probably good to go. Otherwise, whole foods that don’t contain things like wheat or rye, like fruits and vegetables are another thing you can always count on…regardless of your diet!
Disclaimer: If you’re just starting with a gluten-free diet, it’s a good idea to consult a dietitian who can answer your questions and offer advice about how to avoid gluten while still eating a healthy, balanced diet.
Definition: You eat no meat but fish (really). You can eat everything you want but meat, unless it roams underwater.
Why Go Pescatarian? When you go pescatarian, you’re basically a vegetarian who eats fish and other sea food. You get the benefits of eating some type of meat with the exception of red meat and other meat that may cause adverse side effects.
Common Moral Reasons: Many pescatarians believe that eating only fish benefits the planet. Why? The Vegetarian Resource Group reports that one pound of beef requires 2,500 gallons of water, whereas one pound of soy requires only 250 gallons of water and a pound of wheat requires only 25 gallons.
Physical Reasons: Keeping meat like fish in your diet can ensure that you’re getting enough B12, iron and other vitamins that can be tougher to get without supplements in a vegetarian diet.
Mental Benefits: It might be easier on the mind to not restrict yourself completely of meat when you’re looking to clean up your diets. All PowerB!tches know how to exercise restraint and going pescatarian might be a good way of practicing that…especially if you’re trying to cut down on meat.
Is Pescatarianism right for you? If you don’t like meat or prefer to not eat land animals, than going pescatarian might be a good option for you.
Food Substitutes: The only think you’re excluding is beef, pork, chicken and other land meats so you can still allow yourself beans, nuts, dairy and eggs. If you really miss the taste of land meat, try eating soy products or imitation meat.
Definition: You eat ZERO meat. Vegetables and fruits are your best friends, but hey you can still eat ice cream! Vegans may not say the same…
Why Go Vegetarian? If you don’t like the taste of meat or are against the killing of animals, vegetarianism might be good for you.
Common Moral Reasons: Some people believe that becoming vegetarian is better for the environment; reduces the destruction of tropical rainforests, wildlife habitats, and help to save endangered species! Others are against the treatment of animals for consumption and opt to not eat animals because of this.
Physical Reasons: Meatless meals can help you control your weight, because you might be more cognizant of what you’re eating. A vegetarian diet is healthiest when it’s balanced and includes daily servings of all major food groups, including fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, grains and dairy products.
Mental Benefits: If you feel passionate about animals, you might feel lighter knowing you’re doing your part to help them. Otherwise, eating a cleaner diet of fruits and vegetables, inclusive of dairy and eggs might help you feel better overall.
Is Vegetarianism right for you? If you don’t mind living without meat or if you don’t need meat to survive, try going vegetarian to see if it makes you feel better and lighter.
Food Substitutes: A lot of soy-based products imitate meat if you want to texture of meat but you can also find similar textures in tempeh, Quorn and other products.
Definition: You’re pretty much a vegetarian with one exception. You eat absolutely no animal byproducts including dairy and things like honey (because it’s created by bees).
Why Go Vegan? If you want to consume zero animal byproducts then going vegan may be right for you. It can also have some health benefits because you need to be really cognizant of consuming foods that consume no dairy or animal byproducts all together.
Common Moral Reasons: Those who are passionate about animals and eating foods that have little effect on the earth’s environment should think about going vegan.
Physical Reasons: You can get plenty of energy from eating a plant-based diet free of dairy and it can help you lose weight because you’re more critical of what you eat.
Mental Benefits: You’ll feel lighter eating more clean foods which means a happier you!
Is Veganism right for you? If you can do without pizza, trans-fats and animal byproducts, going vegan can have a lot of health benefits.
Food Substitutes: There are a lot of products that mimic things like cheese and dairy often made from nuts like almonds and cashews or you can enjoy things like nutritional yeast (which is a natural substance that mimics the taste of cheddar). You can even eat ice cream made from coconut milk or soy milk to name a couple options.
You’re bound to feel better if you evaluate what your body works well with and what it doesn’t. Our food nourishes our body and our mind so be sure to feed it what it needs without depriving it of essential nutrients. Look your best to be your best and go get ‘em sistah!