Are you considering a vegetarian diet?

Cherry tomatoes

Hey everyone! Thank you for visiting my site today and for reading this blog. In this blog, I will be looking at the health benefits of a vegetarian diet.

You may be considering vegetarianism due to health factors, or because you have read how a vegetarian diet has a lesser impact on the environment or because you are interested in the welfare of animals. What ever your reason, before you make your decision you should research vegetarianism to see whether it is for you. You should also check with a doctor or health care professional to make sure this is for you. This blog will look at the benefits of a healthy balanced diet which is what this website aims to promote: a natural body and mind. Remember – you are what you eat!

Remember, whilst you consider this path, you may want to draw on existing resources such as the Mindful Chef. The ‘Mindful Chef‘ are able to supply you with recipes and completely fresh ingredients to allow you to make up dishes – they offer vegan boxes, gluten free options and also diary free ones too. As an affiliate I receive a commission for any sales made via my page. The price you pay is the still the same. Why not try them? You can cancel at any time!

What is a ‘vegetarian’ diet?

So, if you are interested in a vegetarian diet you will need to know what this means so that you can decide if this is for you.

Vegetarians do not eat the following:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Poultry

A vegetarian diet, when planned out carefully, tends to be healthier and therefore better for you because it naturally contains more fruit and vegetables and whole grains. However, on a vegetarian diet you will still need to restrict your intake of processed foods as these tend to be high in sugar and salt and fats. Microwave meals and processed foods can be part of your diet and will come in handy when you are busy and pushed for time but if you are serious about changing your eating habits, and achieving a healthier body you will need to plan carefully.

You will need to check the labels of things that you buy to ensure they are suitable for the ‘new you’. Taking care of yourself, being kind to yourself will include being careful about what you put into you body.

Things to consider before switching your diet:

As I mentioned above, if you are serious about switching to a vegetarian diet, you should check with your doctor or healthcare worker before switching, to make sure a vegetarian diet is for you.

One of things you will need to take into consideration is that planning is essential! You may be concerned about how you can achieve a healthy diet if you decide to give up meat. Most people want to make sure that their diet includes the following: Carbohydrates, Protein, Iron, Calcium, B12 and fibre. I have added, below, where you can get some ot the nutrients your body needs.

How to get protein on a vegetarian diet:

Most people are aware that meat provides you with protein. Not everyone knows that protein is available in other food groups such as the following:

  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Seeds
  • Grains
  • Beans
  • meat replacement products
  • Tofu

This is a long list and I have included it here to show you that on a vegetarian diet your body can still have all the protein it needs to function well.

Where do you get Iron on a vegetarian diet?

Many people when considering a vegetarian diet will also want to know how they will be able to incorporate Iron and B12 into their diet when they give up meat. The following list will show you that this is not problem if your diet contains some of the following ingredients:

  • Dried fruit
  • Fortified cereals and some soy milks
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Raisins
  • Wheat
  • Tofu

Where do you get calcium on a vegetarian diet?

milk – a source of calcium

A halthy diet will include sources of calcium for healthy teeth and bones. Calcium is found in the following items:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Green leafy vegetables (eg okra and spinach)
  • Soy drinks – with added calcium
  • Soy beans
  • Bread made with forfified flour
  • Yogurt
  • Fortified breakfast cereals

Where do you get Vitamin B12 on a vegetarian diet?

Vitamin B12 to as healthy diet and it is essential that you know the food stuffs which contain it. The following list of food stuffs are items that are known to contain Vitamin B12:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Yogurt

Why not experiment?

If you are overwhelmed at the thought of giving up eating meat, fish and poultry why not try a slow or gradual introduction? For instance why not replace your meat with something else on the above list for a while and see what happens? If you don’t think you are a good cook why not try something simple for a main meal such as a vegetable stew or even a chili con carne? Use a tin of kidney beans or black beans to replace the meat option and to provide protein. You can add all the other ingredients as per your usual recipe and see how it turns out.

For other recipe ideas, why not visit your favourite restaurant and select the vegetarian option! Then ask yourself “Is this something I could easily make at home?” (tagliatelle in a white sauce with mushrooms and pine nuts is still one of my favourite meals – I certainly wouldn’t say it is restaurant quality or award winner but it certainly tastes good!)

Experiment with tofu which is a good staple of most vegetarians and there is so much choice from soft to firm. Tofu is so versatile and easily absorbs the flavours of herbs and spices when cooked. You could try to marinate your tofu before you fry it. This allows strong flavours to be absorbed by the tofu and once fried, you will be amazed that the tofu has retained those flavours. Your cooked tofu can then be served with rice and a salad. For a lighter option, try serving your cooked tofu with a warm wholemeal bread roll.

Once you are aware of what constitutes a healthy diet you can then begin your meal plans (which will obviously include the above ingredients). Using meal plans will help you with your shopping and will help you prepare for the week to ensure you always have the right ingredients in your cupboards.

Remember to use google, friends/family and vegetarian recipe books to help you come up with exciting healthy recipes that you, your friends and family can enjoy.

Is a Vegetarian diet for you?

If you are reading this blog you are most likely interested in a vegetarian diet. This post has shown you that you can eat healthily on a vegetarian diet. I have also listed some sources of vitamins and minerals (including sources of protein, Iron and vitamin B12).

I have also suggested the Mindful Chef as a source of ready meals and fresh ingredients to make your life a little easier!

Do remember that if you should decide to become a vegetarian ask your Doctor or Health Care Professional first.

If you decide to follow a vegetarian diet, I hope you enjoy it!  Remember to experiment with different ingredients (including herbs and spices), go on – try some new flavours today!

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