Vegetarian Diet Page 6.
This page contains your Supermarket Shopping List and How to Read a Label.


Once upon a time, there lived a young actress called Meryl. She had appeared in several popular plays, but nothing very special. She was still looking for her big break. Then one day, she heard that a Hollywood film producer was in town looking for an actress to star in a major film. Perhaps this was her big chance. Without further ado, she telephoned the producer for details and was told that he was looking for an actress who could play the part of a fat lady. How fat? Meryl asked. About 200 pounds, replied the producer. No problem, said Meryl, who was only 130 pounds, herself. So the producer invited her to come and audition for the part, in three days time. Overjoyed at the prospect of auditioning for a major film, Meryl began her homework immediately. In order to play the part of a 200 pound person, she would have to find out what it was like to be fat. So she dressed herself in 5 pullovers, 5 pairs of trousers, a huge overcoat and a pair of heavy shoes. By the time she was finished she looked enormous. Hardly able to walk, she tottered over to the scales to see how much she weighed. Only 160 pounds! She flopped down on the bed. How could she make herself 40 pounds heavier? Then she had an idea. She went down to the kitchen and filled all her pockets with bags of flour, sugar, tins, two solid ornaments and anything else that looked heavy. With sweat pouring off her, she climbed back upstairs and stood on the scales. Still only 185 pounds! She sat down while she thought how to make up the extra 15 pounds. Of course! Her shoulder bag! That would do the trick. She rummaged in her wardrobe but the effort was too much. She almost collapsed from the weight she was carrying. So she took off all her extra clothing, found the shoulder bag and filled it with lots of heavy things. Then she got dressed again and stood on the scales. Success! She weighed exactly 200 pounds. She turned to the mirror. Her face was bright red and her hair was damp with sweat. She had been 200 pounds for less than 15 minutes but the stress of it was already visible. For the first time in her life, she felt what it was like to be fat. And it felt awful. She couldn’t breath easily, she couldn’t move easily and there was no way she could bend. After a moment’s rest, she slowly descended the stairs. By the time she reached the kitchen, the muscles in her back and legs were throbbing with the effort. She sat down for another rest. While she did so, she thought to herself: How does anyone of 200 pounds manage? How do they get through a whole day with such a weight on their body? After catching her breath she decided to walk to the mall, about half a mile away. It would help her to learn how to walk like a 200 pound woman. She opened the front door and set off down the street. But after less than 100 yards, she had to stop. Walking with all the extra weight on her was simply too difficult. She carefully returned to the house and flopped onto the sofa, completely worn out. Then she rang the producer to cancel her audition. There had to be an easier way of getting into Hollywood, she decided.
Well girls, are you acting the part of a 200 pound person? Have you grown accustomed to lifting 200 pounds around everywhere you go? If so, here’s a suggestion. Why not try playing the part of a 150 pound person. The money’s just as good, the hours are no different but the working conditions are infinitely less painful. Interested? Then here’s what to do. Eat sensibly for 3 months. Start tomorrow and you’ll be 170 pounds in about 3 months from now. Then, if you like being 30 pounds lighter, eat sensibly for another 3 months and you’ll easily get down to 150 pounds. And because your weight loss has been nice and gradual, you’ll find it much easier to stay slim. Of course, you can always go back to playing the part of a 200 pound person, if you prefer. But I don’t think you will.

In order to lose weight and eat sensibly you must change your shopping habits.

For best results, please follow these guidelines:  

(To squeeze) oranges, grapefruits; (To chop) kiwis, apples, pears, melon, pineapple, mangos, bananas; (For cooking) limes and lemons; plus strawberries, grapes, berries and anything else you fancy. Canned fruit (in juice), any frozen fruit.
Buy pre-peeled or pre-packed selections for extra convenience. Buy carrots, broccoli, spinach, onions, peppers, bean spouts, beetroot, cabbage, zucchini, garlic, ginger, potatoes and anything else you fancy.
Cereal & Muesli
Most cereal is fine. But avoid frosted or candy-coated brands, or those with added glucose. Ideally, choose brands with max.6% fat and 16% sugar. Most muesli is great, but check the label & choose brands with low-fat and low-sugar levels.
Don’t keep eating the same type of bread. Buy a variety of breads and rolls especially wholemeal or whole-grain varieties. Buy plain rolls, Kaiser rolls, raisin bread, pitta bread, English muffins.
Buy a selection of different jelly/preserves or fruit spreads. You can’t beat bread & preserves as a sweet snack!
Avoid butter. Look for lower-fat soft margarines which are low in saturated or hydrogenated fats. (i.e. with less than 9% saturated fat and no hydrogenated or Trans-fats.)
1% milk is OK, but fat-free milk is much better. It has the nutrition of whole milk without the fat.
Yogurt/Ice-cream/ Sorbet
Buy fat-free brands (less than 0.1g% fat) with ‘live’ or ‘active’ ingredients. Buy only fat-free ice-cream, frozen yogurt, sorbets.
Buy lower-fat cheese (max.15% fat.), fat-free cheese or soy substitute, fat-free cream/ cottage cheese, or fat-free non-dairy brands.
Cream etc.
Use only fat-free whipping or sour cream but use sparingly – some brands are full of sugar!
Pasta, Tortillas, Tacos, Pizza-bases etc.
Pasta: Buy any sort except fresh or pre-filled brands. Tortillas/Tacos: Buy the lowest fat brands. Plain pizza-bases: are perfect.
Prepared main meals/frozen meals
Choose meals with 5 grams of fat per 100 grams or less. Your portion should contain a maximum of 10 grams of fat.
Pasta (or Taco) sauces
Buy tomato-based sauces with max.3% fat. If the sauce requires you to add milk – add only fat-free milk, and avoid all butter sauces.
Other Sauces
Buy chutney, relish, salsa, soy, flavored vinegar. mustard, ketchup, horseradish, Worcester, barbecue, low-fat yogurt sauce.
Rice is great! Buy lots, especially brown rice – it’s much healthier and much more filling.
Buy free range eggs. Eat maximum of 6 yolks a week. No limit on egg-whites.
All pastries are high in fat. So avoid all pies, quiches, croissants and Danish pastries!
Buy tofu, mixed bean salads, low-fat hummus, sliced vegetarian ham, bologna, pepperoni, lunchmeat. Avoid coleslaw, potato salad, egg in mayonnaise, or any salads with added mayo or dressing.
Frozen foods
Buy frozen vegetables, frozen fruits, any oven fries with less than 5% fat, or low-fat ice-cream, vegetarian burgers (e.g.) Boca burger, vegetarian hot dogs, vegetarian Italian sausages.
Soup is great! Keep a large selection of tinned soups available. Choose low-fat or fat-free varieties. Use them for a light meal with a sandwich, use them to snack on, or use them as a sauce when cooking.
Buy a good selection of dried herbs and spices – oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, chives, paprika, chili, curry powder, mustards, horseradish.
Buy very low-fat brands – ideally fat-free, only. (Max fat 3g /100g)
Ideally buy fat sprays. Best choice is PAM fat-free cooking spray. Next best is extra virgin olive oil or unprocessed vegetable oil, but remember: all oil is 100% fat so use sparingly!
Canned stuff
Buy canned fruit in juice, vegetables, soups, red beans, white beans, peas, sweetcorn,
Buy fat-free frozen yogurt, fat-free sorbet, low-fat ice-cream (less than 2% fat), or any fat-free frozen dessert.
Buy any plain bottled water, 100% fruit juices (with nothing added), or diet-drinks. Cranberry juice is a great choice for women: it’s very effective against cystitis.

Check fat, esp. saturated, hydrogenated fat. Check sugar, esp. glucose.
Choose foods which are low in both.

Supermarkets are tempting places. They are carefully designed to tempt us. For example, cookies & candy bars are usually given a HUGE amount of shelf-space in order to get us to buy. The same goes for snack-foods like potato chips. So in order to protect yourself (and your figure) don’t wander the shelves: you’ll only fall into temptation! Make a list before you go out and stick to it.

A couple of weeks ago, when my husband stopped for petrol, he bought me a Blueberry Muffin. ‘How nice’ I thought, until I looked at the label. My nice, innocent-looking muffin contained 23g of fat. What did I do? I looked for the nearest bin! If I hadn’t checked the label, I would have eaten 60% of my daily fat allowance in 2 minutes. The moral? Little presents can make you fat – always check the label! 

No one has time to read every food label. However, it’s worth knowing how to read one, in order to compare the content and nutrition of similar-looking brands. So here are a few basic tips.

1. Check the Big (Front) Label
Look out for these best claims:

Look out for these best claims:


“Fat-free” Less than 0.5g of fat, per serving, with no added fat
“Low fat” 3g of fat or less, per serving
“Saturated fat-free” Less than 0.5g of Saturated fat (and trans-fatty acids), per serving
“Cholesterol-free” Less than 2 mg cholesterol, per serving, and 2g or less saturated fat
“Sugar-free” Less than 0.5g sugar, per serving
“Low calorie” 40 calories or less, per serving

There are lots of other words and descriptions that may be offered: e.g. LightReduced-Calorie, etc. But the above claims are the best and most precise. Where possible, buy foods whose labels contain one or more of the above claims.

2. Check the Nutrition Facts Label
Most packaged foods have standard Nutrition Facts labels that give us information about their contents.
The label looks something like this:
 (The illustration comes from a tin of deluxe cocoa).

Serving size: 2 tsp (21g)
Servings per container: 12
See here for what equals a serving and how many servings are in the packet.
Calories: 80
Calories from Fat: 15
See here for the total calories each serving contains.
See here
 for how many of those calories come from fat.
Total Fat
: 1.5g
Saturated Fat: 1g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Total Carb: 17g
Dietary Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 14g
See here for the composition of each serving.
For example, each serving (2 tsp) of this product contains 1.5g fat (of which 1g is saturated fat); 17g Carbohydrate (of which 14g are sugars and 1g is fiber).
Protein: 1g
Vitamin A : 2% Vitamin C 6% Calcium: 0% Iron: 4%
See here for more nutritional information.
For example, each serving (2 tsp) of this product contains 1g of Protein and 2% of your Vitamin A requirements.


No matter how delicious this cocoa is, it has 1.5g of fat, 14g of sugar, and 80 calories in each 2 tsp serving. Which makes it very fattening.

3. Check the total fat content per serving
There is no easy way of deciding which food product is best. Some have slightly more calories, others may have more fat, or salt or sugar or fiber. So, unless you have time to study labels in detail, I advise you to ask yourself one simple question: How many grams of fat does each serving contain?

Remember, your daily quota of fat is 30g. So by checking the total amount of fat in each serving, you can tell at a glance how appropriate the particular food is, for you.

As a very rough guide, the less fat, the better. So if you can’t decide which product to buy, choose the one with the least fat. This is not a perfect method, but it’s the simplest and often it’s the best.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a young girl called Libby. She was slim, beautiful and very happy. Then she got married, had three children and put on 40 pounds. By the time she was 35, she was fat, shapeless and fed up. Every day she looked in the mirror and thought: ‘I’ve got to lose weight’. But every day there were so many things to do that by the time she was finished, she was in no mood to think about slimming. But this didn’t stop her worrying about her weight. In fact, she worried constantly. So even though she coped wonderfully well with the rest of her life, when it came to slimming she felt a complete failure. Result? She ate even more rubbish, put on even more weight and received even less respect from those around her. It was a trap from which there was no escape – or so she thought. Then one day, a friend told her about an old woman who lived in the big city, across the river. Known simply as VJ, she was rumored to have magical powers. Even the king consulted her, it was said. When Libby heard this, she was over the moon. Perhaps this mysterious woman could help her to lose weight. So the following Monday, she took the coach to the city and by nightfall she was standing outside a large oak door inscribed with the initials VJ. Taking a deep breath, she knocked and entered. VJ was sitting by the fire. When she saw Libby, she smiled and gestured to her. ‘Come in child’ she said. ‘Come over here by the fire and tell me what’s bothering you.’ So Libby did. She told the old woman how she hated being fat, but how incapable she was of doing anything about it. ‘I’m so weak-willed’ she sobbed. ‘I must be the most useless individual in the whole world. Now no one takes me seriously, not even my husband. I’m so miserable. ‘
‘Please don’t be upset, my dear’ said VJ. ‘You may be overweight but you’re still a very lucky woman. I know lots of women who would give anything to be in your shoes.’ ‘I don’t care how lucky I am!’ wailed Libby. ‘I want to be slim! Please help me!’ The old woman squeezed Libby’s hand. ‘OK’ she said softly, ‘wait here for a moment and I’ll fetch you something.’ She got up and left for a few moments and when she returned she was holding a small flask filled with a green liquid. ‘Here’ she said, ‘take four drops of this, every day, for a week. It should do the trick.’ Libby went home bursting with optimism. Her weight problem was over. The old woman had cured her! The moment she got home she took the flask and measured out four drops. She repeated the dose each morning for the next six days and on the seventh day she woke up with a terrible shock. She was blind! It must have been the green liquid. But why would VJ want to make her blind? Then it dawned on her. It was VJ’s way of showing her that being fat is a lot easier to cope with than being blind. Libby buried her head in the pillow and wept tears of regret. If only she had understood this before, she would never have felt so helpless about her weight. She would have done something about it! Now it was too late. She was blind for life.
But Libby got a second chance. Two days later, her sight returned and from that moment on, she vowed never to make excuses about why she couldn’t lose weight. Never again would she feel helpless about her size. She would start a new diet and this time she would follow it until she was slim. So she did, and ten months later, she 
reached her dream weight.