Monday, 30 July 2007

Lose weight with the V-Plan Diet

Forget faddy diets which are doomed to failure, the V-Plan Diet, developed by the Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation (VVF), is a lifestyle choice that has a solid scientific basis. Research has demonstrated that it can produce greater weight loss than Atkins, Weight Watchers or the Zone diet. According to the British Medical Association vegetarians have lower rates of obesity, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, large bowel disorders, cancers and gallstones, so from a health perspective the V-Plan Diet makes bags of sense.

The 40 page V-Plan Diet is chock full of healthy recipes and straightforward advice to assist weight watchers. The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey have reported that meat and meat products are the primary source of fat in most people’s diets. Numerous studies have shown vegetarians and vegans to be both slimmer and healthier than meat eaters, with decreased risks of health problems and longer life expectancies, despite veggies eating the same quantity of food as meat eaters. Plus, if around 10% of meat eaters stopped consuming meat or animal products there would be enough grain left over to end world hunger, which is certainly food for thought.

The V-Plan Diet is a fantastic way to tackle the growing obesity epidemic, which is on the verge of overtaking smoking as the leading cause of death. Rather than encouraging quick fixes it proposes a long term solution, which involves altering eating habits. On average veggies’ BMI is lower than meat eaters by 2, which is quite significant. Vegetarians tend to weigh less and have less body fat than meat eaters according to research. A study conducted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine demonstrated that low-fat vegan diets result in quite dramatic weight loss without having to restrict calories, carbohydrates or portion sizes or even exercise!

It is not enough simply to switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet, you need to eat natural rather than processed foods. A Harvard University Study of 75,000 women over 10 years found that the more vegetables and fruits women eat, the less at risk they are of becoming obese. You can eat a limitless amount of fruit and vegetables, with the minimum being five servings a day.

Below is one of the delicious recipes from the V-Plan Diet, which can be downloaded from the
Vegetarian and Vegan Foundation Website.

Lunch – Hummus, Tomato & Alfafa Sprouts in Pitta PocketsServes
1.5 minutes (10 if making hummus)Per serving: Calories (kcal) 352, Fat (g) 6.4

Keeps 2-3 days in a sealed container in the fridge. You can buy hummus in supermarkets but it is easy and cheap to make your own – and it won’t be so high in salt! Alfalfa sprouts are tiny green shoots full of vibrant vitamins and minerals. They are found in plastic bags in the chill section of health stores or delis.

1-2 dollops of hummus
2 small wholemeal pitta pockets or 1 large wholemeal pitta
1 tomato, sliced
Handful of alfalfa sprouts

1. Lightly toast pitta bread.
2. When warm, slice a little bit from the top if it’s a pocket or slice in half if it’s a large one.
3. Open pitta carefully.
4. Spread inside of pitta with hummus.
5. Add alfalfa sprouts and tomato.6.
Serves 4. 5 minutes

If you have leftover chickpeas, use them in a salad, soup or stew. They also freeze well.

1 tin chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini
1⁄2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic depending on taste
Juice 1⁄2-1 lemon depending on juiciness
Juice from chickpea tin
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1. Drain chickpeas, retaining juice.
2. Blend first five ingredients.
3. Add some juice from tin if necessary –traditional hummus is quite runny.
4. Season and serve.

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