You can be drawn to vegetarianism by all sorts of reasons. It can be because you just love animals and don’t want to eat them, because you want to live a healthier life or because you want to reduce your part in the pollution of our world. However, before you make the switch you need to do your research. You can’t just cut meat out of your diet, you need to replace it! So here’s a list of things that you might miss in your diet when you decide to become vegetarian/vegan and a list of foods that you definitely need to start eating.
What am i missing out on?
FAT: it may sounds weird that you need fat to stay healthy… But believe me, you do. Fat helps your body absorb vitamins. Nuts, peanut butter and avocados are sources of healthy fats.
OMEGA-3: omega-3 are essential fatty acids. So it is important that you include these in your diet. You can take pills that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans such as Orthica Vegeterian Omega-3 or DEVA Vegan Omega-3 (both are suitable for vegetarians and vegans). Omega-3 can also be found in walnuts and soybeans.
PROTEINS: proteins are important for your muscles so you need to make sure you include them in your diet! Proteins can be found in nuts (also nut butters), soy foods (think of soy milk and tofu) and legumes (such as beans, lentils and hummus). If you’re not vegan, you can also add dairy products such as milk and cheese to your diet.
VITAMINS: your body needs vitamins to stay healthy and as a vegetarian/vegan it can be hard to get enough of them. Just like with omega-3 you can take pills that are suitable for vegetarians and vegans just to make sure you get your daily dose (Orthica Vegetarian Multi or Deva Vegan Multivitamin).
Other things you need to include in your diet:
Whole grains such as bread and pasta (NOT MADE FROM WHITE FLOUR). Whole grains (which have zinc in them) keep your immune system going.
Spinach (or other dark green leafy vegetables). This provides your body with iron. Plant based iron is a little bit different from the iron that can be found in meat and it isn’t absorbed as well by your body. To help your body absorb the iron you also need to take in vitamin C, which is in the vegetarian multivitamins. Vitamin C can also be found in citrus fruits and tomatoes.
Broccoli, black beans and white beans. These foods have calcium in them which your body needs to build strong bones. But for your body to be able to absorb the calcium it also needs vitamin D (which is also in the vegetarian multivitamins). Your body can take in vitamin D from the sun but it can also be found in fortified orange juice.