Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarianism is the belief in and practice of eating exclusively vegetable foods and abstaining from any form of animal food. To what extent this definition applies, in reality varies, what it refers to is a strict vegetarian or a vegan. Lacto-vegetarians include milk and other dairy products in their diet. Lacto-Ovovegetarians eat milk, dairy products and eggs. A vegan, excludes animal flesh (meat, poultry, fish and seafood), animal products (eggs, dairy and honey), and the wearing and use of animal products (eg. leather, silk, wool, lanolin, gelatin). The vegan diet consists totally of vegetables, vegetable oils, and seeds.

A very wrong misconception prevailing over the ages is that vegetable protein is inferior and that to get the required protein, one must eat non-vegetarian diet. The truth of the vegetarian diet is that if the proper amino acids are eaten daily or over a few days there is no need to fear that vegetable protein is inferior. Protein is protein and amino acids are amino acids whether they come from a cow or a soy bean.

In order to get the best nutritional value from foods, it is essential that a mixture of foods is eaten at each meal. To get a general idea here’s a small list, which can be compiled as follows:

OR Milk or milk substitute

OR Whole meal bread or toast and margarine.

OR Lentil and vegetable soup and bread

OR mashed nut roast

  • And vegetables, cooked or raw
  • And fruit, yoghurt or milk pudding.

Foods that provide complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and other components are linked to good health, mainly by lowering the fat content in the diet. This guideline is consistent with the scientific evidence that supports the health benefits of diets with more complex carbohydrates and a variety of fiber-rich foods. Most of the calories in your diet should come from grain products, fruits and vegetables. These include bread, cereals, pasta, rice and potatoes. Dry beans are included in the meat group but can also count as servings of vegetables. Plant foods are generally low in fats, depending on how they are prepared and what is added to them.

Fiber is found only in plant foods. Eating a variety of fiber-containing foods is important for proper bowel function and can reduce the risk of chronic constipation, bi-ventricular disease, heart disease and some cancers.

Here’s a list of the available food sources for various nutrients that are essentially required for the proper functioning of one’s metabolism:

Some foods which may be combined to provide a good balance of amino acids are:

Choose a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grain food products, nuts, legumes, low-fat dairy products or fortified soy substitutes and a limited number of eggs. Additionally, the following recommendations are made:

The following are guidelines, based on food groups, for selecting daily vegetarian menus:

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