Why be vegetarian? There are so many good reasons for being vegetarian. This proposed Vegetarian Food Guide has been conceived as a way to provide a conceptual framework to guide in selecting the types, frequency, and quantities of various foods which, together, provide a healthful diet and promote optimal health.
Improve your health ———–
Vegetarians generally have more energy and stamina, suffer less disease, and live longer than meat-eaters. The medical evidence about this is clear, consistent, and overwhelming.
Save the earth ————
It takes 16 lbs. of grain to produce one pound of beef. Most agricultural land is used to grow grain to feed livestock. This means, compared to plant foods, that’s 16 times as much pesticides, more water, more energy use, more global warming, more deforestation, and on and on. And don’t even get us started on all the waterways polluted by livestock waste.
Save some lives ———–
Most people would be outraged if someone ate their cat or dog but most of those people eat other animals and think nothing of it. But if we believe that certain animals deserve to not be eaten, why eat different animals just because we never got close to them?
Concerned about eating the healthiest vegetarian diet.
Vegetarianism is a very healthy option, but it is very important to ensure that your food intake is well-balanced. A varied vegetarian diet supplies all the essential nutrients you need to be fit and healthy. A typical vegetarian diet closely matches dietary recommendations for healthy eating, being low in saturated fat and high in fiber, complex carbohydrates, and fresh fruit and vegetables. As a general rule, as long as you eat a variety of foods including grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, pulses, nuts or seeds, a small amount of fat, with or without the dairy products, your diet should be healthy and you will be getting all the nutrients you need.
Sources of Protein, Vitamins and Minerals for Vegetarians:
Women need about 45g of protein a day– more if pregnant, lactating or very active. Men need about 55g– again more if very active.
Vegetarians obtain protein from:
Nuts– Hazels, brazils, almonds, cashews, walnuts, pine kernels.
Seeds– Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower, linseeds.
Pulses– Peas, beans, lentils, peanuts.
Grains and Cereals– Wheat (in bread, flour, pasta), barley, rye, oats, millet, corn, rice.
Soya products– Tofu, veggie burgers, soy milk.
Dairy products– Milk, cheese, yogurt.
Vitamins are nutrients that the body can not synthesize, either at all or in sufficient quantities. Only small quantities are needed in the diet.
Vitamin A ———–
Red, orange or yellow vegetables like carrots and tomatoes, leafy green vegetables and fruits like peaches. It is added to most margarine.
Vitamin Bs ————-
All the B vitamins except B12 occur in yeasts and whole cereals (especially wheat germ), nuts, pulses, seeds and green vegetables. Vitamin B12 is the only one which might cause some difficulty as it is not present in plant foods. Only very tiny amounts of B12 are in fact required and vegetarians usually get this from dairy produce and eggs. It is sensible for vegans and vegetarians who consume few animal foods to incorporate some B12 fortified foods in their diet. Vitamin B12 is added to some yeast extracts, soy milks, veggie burgers, bread and some breakfast cereals.
Vitamin C ————–
Fresh fruit salad vegetables, all leafy green vegetables and potatoes.
Vitamin D ————–
This vitamin is not found in plant foods, but humans can make their own when their skin is exposed to sunlight. It is also added to most margarine and is present in milk, cheese and butter. These sources are usually adequate for healthy adults. The very young, the very old and anyone confined indoors can compensate with a vitamin D supplement especially if they do not consume dairy products.
Vitamin E ————–
Vegetable oil, wholegrain cereals and eggs.
Vitamin K ————-
Fresh vegetables and cereals.
Minerals perform a variety of functions in the body. Some of the most important minerals are listed below:
Important for healthy bones and teeth, with teenagers tending to need slightly more intake than adults. Found in dairy produce, leafy green vegetables, bread, tap water in hard water areas, nuts and seeds (especially sesame seeds), dried fruits, cheese, vitamin D helps calcium be absorbed.
It is particularly important for teenage girls to ensure an adequate intake of iron. Iron is needed for the production of red blood cells. Found in leafy green vegetables, whole-meal bread, molasses, eggs, dried fruits, lentils and pulses. A good intake of vitamin C will enhance absorption of vegetable sources of iron.
Plays a major role in many enzyme reactions and the immune system. Found in green vegetables, cheese, sesame and pumpkin seeds, lentils and wholegrain cereals.