The basic formula for a healthy diet is half fresh fruits and vegetables, one quarter whole grains and one quarter lean protein source. It doesn’t matter whether you are a meat eater, a lacto-ovo vegetarian, or a vegan. If you follow this formula, you will have a healthy diet. Here are a few things to focus on as a vegetarian to make sure good health.
Pay close attention to the amount of iron in your diet. A diet without meat may be lacking in iron which helps your blood carry oxygen throughout your body. Be sure to get plenty of dark green leafy vegetables and to consume good sources of copper, which help your body to metabolize iron. Surprisingly and happily, pure, dark organic chocolate is an excellent source of copper. Two ounces per day will give you all the copper you need to process iron properly.
Choose your protein sources wisely. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can take advantage of eggs and dairy products. These are great sources of protein. Vegans must choose carefully from sources such as beans, legumes, tofu and other soy products and rich whole grains which provide protein. Be certain that your diet consists of a high quality, lean protein source to help build strong muscles and make sure proper functioning of your central nervous system.
Avoid processed foods. There are lots of prepackaged vegetarian dishes available today, but most of them are no better than the processed prepackaged foods available for the general populace. All people, whether vegetarians or meat eaters, should focus on whole foods as primary sources of nutrition. Eating whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and high quality protein sources will deliver good health, no matter what your diet and lifestyle preferences. Learn to cook tasty, healthful vegetarian foods for yourself to maintain excellent vegetarian health.
Be sure to eat a varied vegetarian diet for complete nutrition. One good way to do this is to be certain of eating fresh fruits and vegetables in season. Shop at farmers markets, and buy local produce. Better still, plant your own garden. By eating local produce, you will get the freshest produce available, and your diet will be naturally varied throughout the year.
Choose a high quality vegetarian multi vitamin, and be sure to take one every day. In this way you’ll be certain to get a good balance of the vitamins and minerals you need. Also be sure to add a good Omega 3 source. This can be in the form of flaxseed oil used as a regular oil in low heat cooking and cold foods, such as salad dressing. You could also simply buy a supplement of flaxseed oil in capsule form. Some other seed oils also provide Omega 3 benefits. Omega 3 fatty acids coat your nerves and make sure correct conduction of electrical impulses. One danger of a vegetarian lifestyle is a lack of Omega 3 fatty acids, which can lead to problems such as multiple sclerosis.
The main thing to remember when choosing a vegetarian lifestyle is to do your homework. Don’t just stop eating meat and expect your health to be good. This will not happen. Study up, watch videos about successful vegetarianism, get yourself a good vegetarian cookbook, and learn about general nutrition before embarking on the vegetarian way of life. If you know what you’re doing, you can live very happily and very healthily as a vegetarian.