Going vegetarian can be quite a feat. It is can be quite difficult to wean yourself off the desire for meats. This is intended as a small guide to help out those who are looking to change their lifestyle. If you are vegetarian and have good tips, please drop us a line in the comments. You never know who you may help.
Going meatless can be quite beneficial. You will ingest less fat, put less stress on your kidneys and feel better about yourself. Meat is the hardest thing to digest, so going vegetarian will make things easier on your digestive system as well. If you think it can get boring, then you need to do some research, get creative and consult your physician to make sure that you get all the nutrients you need.
It is easy to miss out on some very essential nutrients when you go veg (or vegan). This is especially important when talking about children. When vegetarian or vegan parents think about a child’s nutrition it is even more imperative to consult a physician. Going veg can quickly make you deficient in these very important nutrients (we have included their veg sources to make your life easier):
- Calcium (Dark green vegetables, such as turnip and collard greens, kale and broccoli). Try making some tunip turnovers, Couve (Brazilian Collard Greens) or broccoli latkes.
- Iodine (no plant sources, but can be gained from iodized salt sold in supermarkets)
- Iron (Dried beans and peas, lentils, enriched cereals, whole-grain products, dark leafy green vegetables and dried fruit). Some great recipe for this would be curried red lentils or falafel.
- Omega-3 (plant-based Omega3 is not easily used by the body, so supplements might have to be used)
- Protein (soy products and meat substitutes, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds and whole grains). Lentil “burgers” are quite tasty and easy to make. This country soup uses tons of legumes, great for adding protein to your diet.
- Vitamin B-12 (almost exclusively obtained from animal sources, that’s why supplements might have to be used)
- Vitamin D (just have enough exposure to the sun. Plant-based Vitamin D is in pretty poor amounts so looking for fortified sources like cereals might be needed)
- Zinc (whole grains, soy products, legumes, nuts and wheat germ). This strawberry soy smoothie is a great way to get some Zinc. Walnut and wheat germ pancakes will definitely bring up your zinc count.
If you do go veg, make sure you get enough nutrients. Read up as much as you can on getting the above nutrients to ascertain success. If you do not get those nutrients, your path to vegetarianism will be harder.