Many people opt to become vegetarians or vegans, which means they do not eat meat, or any meat products. A good vegetarian diet would be made up of plant based foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. This sort of diet is usually lower in fat and cholesterol, and has more fiber. Vegans eat no food made from animals, including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and cheese. The only eat food they eat are plant-based. Lacto-vegetarians take in milk and milk products as well as food that are plant based. However, they don’t consume eggs, meat, poultry or fish. People who eat eggs, milk and milk products like cheese, as well as plant based foods are called lacto-ovo vegetarians. They do not eat red meat, poultry or fish.
Even though most professionals agree that these types of lifestyle eating have positive effects, there is still a need to get in all nutrients that the body must have to work right. For example, there are meatless products such as soy burgers, textured vegetable protein, tofu dogs, and nut loaves that will add some variety to a vegetarian diet.
Vegans may need to find substitutes for eggs and dairy products. These can be simple things such as fortified soymilk, almond milk or rice milk rather than cow’s milk. Butter can be replaced with olive oil, vegetable broth, nonfat cooking spray, or wine. Soy cheese or nutritional yeast flakes can be used in place of cheese.
The more your diet is restricted the harder it is to get in all of the nutrients you need. There are some ways to make sure that you get all of these nutrients no matter what sort of diet you follow. There are meatless resources to insure that your body gets the necessary nutrients.
The protein that your body needs can be provided through eggs, dairy products, soy products, legumes, meat substitutes, lentils, seeds, whole grains and nuts.
To get calcium, you can look to low-fat dairy foods, dark green vegetables, tofu, fortified soymilk, and fruit juices.
Vitamin B12 can be gained from some enriched cereals, fortified soy products, and vitamin supplements. If you are vegetarian, you may consider eating the eggs, milk, and cheese that provides the B12.
For iron, try eating dried beans, lentils, peas, enriched cereals, dark, leafy green vegetables, whole-grain products, and dried fruit. Foods that are rich in Vitamin C are strawberries, tomatoes, citrus fruits, broccoli and cabbage.
Good ways to get zinc are soy products, whole grains, wheat germ, and nuts.
These are not the only sources of getting the nutrients that your body needs while still maintaining the diet you feel is right for you. But these are a great way to begin. You may find even more resources if you take the time to research it a bit, or by speaking to someone at your local health food store. Nutritionists may also offer more suggestions, as well as your family doctor. It is possible to be happy and healthy when it comes to the food you eat.