Is Vegetarian Diet Right For You?

First of all, vegetarianism has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years as more make the shift. Even though some studies have shown no increase in longevity. Whereas other studies have shown a reduction in the incidence of coronary artery disease by 25% in vegetarians when compared to omnivores. ref.  

Why Do People Turn To Vegetarianism?

Ultimately, vegetarians have more than one reason for adopting this lifestyle, for example:

  • Health issues, to reduce the risk of chronic illness:
    • Coronary artery disease.
    • Diabetes.
    • Cancer.
  • Concern over animal rights. 
  • Concern about the economic consequences.
  • Parental preferences.
  • Religious practices: 
    • Hinduism.
    • Buddhism.
    • Seventh-day Adventists.


So, What Is The Vegetarian Diet? 

Secondly, it is a meatless and predominately plant-based diet with a wide range of foods, for example:

  • Fruits. 
  • Vegetables. 
  • Legumes. 
  • Nuts. 
  • Seeds.
  • Whole grains. 

Thirdly, a healthy vegetarian diet is focused on eating whole plant-based foods to derive all of one’s nutritional needs from.

Types of vegetarian diets

Furthermore, there are different ways to practice a vegetarian diet with a selection of eating styles to accommodate the variations in how people like to eat. For example:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians, eat dairy products and eggs.
  • Lacto-vegetarians, eat dairy products, no eggs. 
  • Ovo-vegetarian, eats eggs, no dairy. 
  • Vegans do not eat dairy, eggs, honey or any animal product. 
  • Flexitarians practices vegetarianism most of the time and eat meat a little of the time.


History 

Before, recorded time humans have been vegetarians. Also, anthropologists believe that early humans ate a predominantly plant-based diet. They also pointed out that the digestive tract is typical of herbivores than carnivores.

Was Pythagoras A Vegetarian?

The vegetarian diet dates back to the Ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras, known for his mathematical theory. Besides that, he was also known as the father of vegetarianism. His diet became was called the “Pythagorean diet” or A meatless diet. Finally in the 1800s when the vegetarian movement became popular the name was changed to “The vegetarian Diet”. ref


So, Do I Need To Supplement A Vegetarian Diet?

By its very nature, a vegetarian diet needs diversity. So, you want an excellent base to acquire the full range of minerals and vitamins to keep your body healthy. Plan your menu carefully to included as many of the macronutrients, vitamin and minerals you need. It would be wise to include supplementation, particularly B-12 to avoid a vitamin deficiency.
Mineral deficiencies are common here are the main ones. For example:

  • Iron
  • B12
  • Zinc
  • Calcium 

If you think you might be deficient in a mineral or vitamin, it would be wise to see a health care professional for a blood to test to confirm any suspicion you might have before you start supplementation. 


Wrong Ways To Do A Vegetarian Diet 

Also, there are many vegetarian processed foods on the market. A lot of the time those foods are higher in carbs, sugar and sodium. Consequently, this may lead to weight gain and increase your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. For example, here is a list of foods to limit:

  • Sugar.
  • Sugar-soft drink.
  • Fruit juices. 
  • Processed foods. 

On the other hand if you plan your vegetarian diet you shouldn’t feel the need to have these high carb foods.


Tips For A Healthy Vegetarian Diet?

Another important practice in a vegetarian diet is to include a wide range of Macro Foods, Mineral and Vitamins. Ultimatley this will help your body to function the best that it can. For example:

Macro foods 
    • Carbs: Fruit and vegetables, whole grains. 
    • Protein: Eggs, dairy, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, quinoa, soy (GMO-free).
    • Fats: Flaxseed, Olive oil, borage oil, avocados, nuts & seeds.


Minerals Foods 

      • Calcium: Dairy, dark green vegetables, kale, broccoli, spinach. 
      • Vitamin B-12 is the most commonly deficient vitamin with this diet. Supplementation is the good way to manage your B-12.
      • Omega-3 fatty acids: Walnuts, flaxseeds, and soybeans, or supplement.
      • Iron: beans and peas, lentils, dark leafy green vegetables, prunes. Caution iron is a toxin in high dosages and can destroy the liver, always get iron studies (blood test) checked out before taking iron.  
      • Zinc: Cheese, whole grains, soy, legumes, nuts, wheat germ, or supplement. 
      • Iodine: Is essential for a healthy thyroid, sea vegetables like kelp contain iodine.


Diet Guidelines 

As a result, if you are on any medication please check with your health care professional before starting a new diet. Food and herb-drug interactions do happen. With that in mind, this diet may prevent for example:

  • Coronary artery disease. 
  • Obesity.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Dementia. 


In Brief, The Key Point Is

That a vegetarian diet is a meatless and predominately plant-based diet. It needs a wide range of whole foods fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains to support good health. At the same time, avoid process foods and sugar will improve on the health of the diet.

Furthermore, there are different ways to practice a vegetarian diet, for example:

  • Lacto-ovo-vegetarians, eat dairy products and eggs.
  • Lacto-vegetarians, eat dairy products, no eggs. 
  • Ovo-vegetarians, eats eggs, no dairy. 
  • Vegans do not eat dairy, eggs, honey, any animal product.
  • Flexitarians practices vegetarianism most of the time and eat meat a little of the time.

To conclude 

If there are any aspects of your diet, you would like to discuss or clarify, please feel free to contact me through this web site or if it is of a more private nature contact me through my direct email. Ultimately, my goal is to provide you with the knowledge to make an informed decision on what diet best supports your health needs.

Diets Covered 

In wisdom and good health
Brendon.
Phone: +61 409 278 320

Brendon-Groves-Naturopath-Practitioner
Written by: Brendon Groves Clinical Naturopathic Practitioner and Founder of Groves Naturopathics
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