Vegetarian diets come in many forms. The types vary from super strict to really flexible and everything in between. If you’re attracted towards the lingo: Vegans eat no animal products at all, while others like ovo-lacto vegetarians take in eggs and dairy. Pescatarians are ovo-lacto vegetarians that also consume fish, and flexitarians consume mainly vegetarian meals, but rarely include other non-vegetarian foods, such as a grass-fed beef sometimes.
As dietitians, our jobs are to assist people to find the diet that suits their preferences and way of life best it should be well-balanced, tastes superb, and is fulfilling their nutrient needs. Often this means working to put together balanced vegetarian diets. So whatever your preference of vegetarianism, here are the vital Dos and Don’ts you’ll want to study if you’re following a vegetarian lifestyle.
Don’t… Rely on packaged vegan foods.
Many pre-packaged vegan foods are replete with artificial elements and sodium, and most are high in calories. If you examine the packaging, you may be astonished to know that many veggie burgers are higher in calories than a beef patty and may also have extra chemicals to make it tasty and colorful. Take in packaged vegan foods no more than once a week.
Forget about the protein.
Animal-based foods are higher in protein, so you should replace them with high-protein vegan alternatives. Veggies like beans, soymilk, quinoa, tofu, peanut butter and oatmeal are all good sources of protein. Examine these surprising sources of protein for some more ideas (but note that not all of them are vegan-friendly).
Just eat raw food. Some vegans like eating raw foods. In most cases, cooked vegetables, beans and grains are easier for our bodies to digest and can give us more nutrients. Mix raw and cooked food for a healthy balance.
Do eat whole plant-based foods
The advantage of going vegan come from not only eradicating animal-based ingredients, but also from eating a wide variety of unprocessed nutrient-rich plant-based foods, containing fruits, veggies, whole grains like quinoa, lentils, nuts, beans, seeds, herbs, spices, and healthy plant fats, such as coconut and avocado. Similarly a white bagel with margarine is vegan, but it’s not nourishing or good for you. Make quality vegan foods your focus.
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