There is no doubt that vegetarianism is becoming more popular every day. People are realizing that a vegetarian diet can lead to a good and long life. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of a vegetarian diet and why more people are choosing to go meatless. We will also provide some tips for those who are considering making the switch to a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarian and vegan - what's the difference?
A vegetarian diet is one that does not include meat, poultry, or fish. A vegan diet is a type of vegetarian diet that also excludes eggs, dairy products, and other animal-derived ingredients.
Types of vegetarianism
DO NOT eat: meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, honey
DO NOT EAT: meat, fish, eggs
EAT: honey, dairy products
DO NOT EAT: meat, fish
EAT: dairy products, eggs, honey
DO NOT EAT: meat and fish (dairy, eggs - optional)
EAT: honey (dairy, eggs - optional)
DO NOT EAT: meat
EAT: fish, dairy products, eggs, honey
Key minerals and vitamins for vegetarians
The most important minerals and vitamins in the context of vegetarianism are vitamin B12, iron and calcium. They are commonly found in animal products. Although vegetarians can consume dairy products that are high in calcium, as well as some amounts of iron and vitamin B12, in practice it turns out that the average vegetarian diet may lack these nutrients.
A well-rounded vegetarian diet, containing both plant products, dairy products and eggs, should meet the body's needs for calcium, iron and other essential nutrients, in addition to vitamin B12. Although this vitamin is found in dairy products and eggs, the amounts are not sufficient to meet the requirements. Therefore, all people on a plant-based diet, both vegans and vegetarians, should supplement with vitamin B12.
Is a vegetarian diet healthy?
A plant-based diet contributes to many positive changes in the human body. It lowers the level of fasting glucose, total cholesterol, reduces the risk of obesity, cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, as well as increases insulin sensitivity. However, keep in mind that a vegetarian diet is not always healthy.
Only by following all the assumptions of proper nutrition and eliminating certain groups of food products depending on the type of diet, we are able to say that it is a healthy diet. Ba! Even one of the healthier ones. However, it all depends on us.
Merely eliminating meat from the diet will not make us healthier. We must follow all the rules of rational nutrition, so eat varied products, not containing high amounts of sugar or saturated fats. On store shelves you can find vegan products, the composition of which leaves much to be desired - both in terms of health and ecology. When reading the label, we mainly see wheat flour, sugar, glucose-fructose syrup, salt, wheat starch and palm oil. Is it a vegetarian product? Yes, of course. Is it healthy at the same time? We all know the answer well. Another example is one of society's favorite combinations, so cola and chips. Vegan? 100% as long as the oil is of vegetable origin. However, looking at the ingredients of the products, we have no doubts that this food is simply unhealthy.
A vegetarian diet is a healthy diet as long as it is properly balanced. Excessive consumption of meat contributes not only to the deterioration of the quality of life through the appearance of excessive kilograms, but most of all, it negatively affects health by increasing the risk of overweight or obesity.
What to replace meat with? The best sources of protein!
Seeds and nuts
Seeds and nuts enrich the dish not only with protein, but also valuable fats. Due to their high energy value, they should not be consumed in large amounts, but they can be a valuable addition to many dishes in the daily diet - cocktails, porridge, salads, soups.
The advantage of quinoa is that it contains a significant amount of protein (14 g in 100 g of product), and additionally it is characterized by a high content of exogenous amino acids whose profile is similar to meat protein. Its only drawback is the relatively high price.
One of the most underrated products in terms of protein content. It turns out that this Polish superfood contains a lot of protein in 100 g of the product (12.6 g). In addition, buckwheat is a rich source of many minerals and vitamins. It is readily available and inexpensive. It can compete with quinoa.
Tofu and other soy products
Tofu is one of the most popular soy products. Other equally valuable soy products are tempeh and natto. TVP (textured vegetable protein) is also a great source of protein - made of skimmed soy flour, it is an ingredient of such products as soy chops, granules or soy cube. Soybean products are characterized by a high protein content with a favorable amino acid composition, and are also easier to digest than unprocessed soybeans.
Boiled legume seeds
Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and peas are some of the richest sources of protein in a vegetarian diet. To get the best out of them, we should increase their digestibility by soaking them for a long time and then cooking them until tender. The pods are also a valuable source of fiber and minerals such as calcium and iron. Numerous studies show that the inclusion of legume seeds in the diet reduces the risk of many diseases..
Dairy products and eggs
It should not be forgotten that vegetarianism also includes products of animal origin - milk and eggs. The most valuable source of protein is, of course, eggs. Healthy people without high cholesterol should not be afraid of eating more eggs - 2-7 eggs a week is a safe amount. Dairy products are also a valuable source of calcium. It is worth reaching for fermented dairy products, which contain bacteria that are beneficial to health.
In vegetarian diets, it is extremely important to diversify the diet and use various sources of protein daily to provide all the essential amino acids with the diet. When switching to vegetarianism, it is worth being creative in the kitchen - eat vegetables, fruits, cereals, legumes and dairy products every day.
You don't want to eat meat anymore, but are you worried that you won't be able to make healthy and tasty vegetarian dishes? Our dietary catering will help you take your first steps on a vegetarian diet!