What you need to know about Vegetarian Diet

What you need to know about Vegetarian Diet (I mean all)?

*This article will provide you with great understanding about vegetarian diet. We’ll start with a brief introduction to vegetarian diet, including the pros and cons. We’ll then examine the different types of the diet, what food groups can be consume, what cannot be taken and what must be taken, along with anything else you should know about before making the all-important decision.

One day, we were having plant-based lunch with one of our best friend, Darren. He suddenly turned to us, asking “have both of you turned vegetarian?”

I guess that’s the usual reaction from most people when anyone started eating only vegetables for their meal. This also shows the basic understanding of vegetarian diet – a diet that focus on plant including fruits, vegetables, dried beans and peas, grains, seeds and nuts.

And many people (including me!) doesn’t know that there is more than just one type of vegetarian.

Let’s explore…

4 Types of Vegetarian

From the reading we’ve done, there are in total 4 types of vegetarian, each comprise some differences in their diet.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians

The most common type that takes plants, beans, nuts, fruits, eggs, cheese, dairy stuff as main food source. I would say they are free to eat food that exclude any meat, fish, poultry and any products that contain these foods.

Lacto-vegetarians

A person that takes veggies and include cheese, milk or yogurt but does not eat eggs belongs to this group of vegetarian. This is common for Hindu believers who avoid eggs for religious reasons.

 

Ovo-vegetarian

Now looking at the first and second definition, I bet you’ve guess this correctly? Yes, this group of vegetarian works oppositely of lacto-vegetarians by taking eggs but no dairy stuffs.

This diet suits people who are lactose-intolerant.

Vegan

Another growing trend of diet – vegan is more strict as not only no animal product, people on this diet don’t eat dairy products and eggs. People choose to follow this strict diet for various reason ranging from ethics to environmental concerns, and also to improve health.

The benefits of Vegetarian diet

Vegetarian diet has a long history then we probably know… Even during the Rome BC time, Pythagorean took on vegetarian diet due to the sympathy of the wild animals that were murdered at the hands of gladiators in the name of sport and spectacle.

In today’s world, most people turn into vegetarian not just sympathy alone. Now we have science to study and show how vegetarian diet can improve our health significantly. Do you know what are the benefits of being a vegetarian?

There are several research pertaining to the intake of food from animal sources and the results as follow:

Lower of cancer risk

The consumption of meat has a link to cancer. Large studies shown that people on meat-based diets are eight times more likely to develop breast cancer than those on plant-based diet. Harvards studies also include that regular meat consumption increases colon cancer risk by estimated 300%!

Vegetarian diet reduce such risk as the food is naturally low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and replete with cancer-protective phytochemicals—help to prevent cancer.

Beats heart diseases

I believe you know how bad fats and cholesterol can affects our health, causing us with heart diseases and they are mainly from animal’s fat.

Adopting the low saturated fat with high fiber diet can help to let our cholesterol levels often drop dramatically. And with the combination of frequent exercise and less stress lifestyle, your can have a healthy heart to accompany you till the end.

Lowering blood pressure

There are studies discovered that vegetarian diet can significantly reduce a person’s blood pressure. Mainly due to the low sodium amount in vegetable-based diet.

The reducing of meat, dairy product cuts down the thickness of our blood, in turn reducing our blood pressure level. Additionally, vegetarian diet takes in lots of vegetarian that is rich potassium which helps to lower blood pressure too.

Prevent & improve diabetes condition

Diabetes is becoming one of the serious condition across the world. And imagine having diabetes condition, you can’t enjoy a proper lifestyle as you have to always monitor your insulin, have medicine to control the situation.

Turning into vegetarian diet can actually helps. If you don’t have diabetes, this diet that works on low fat can regulate your glucose level. And for those who are already suffering from diabetes, adopting plant-based  diet can control the conditional and with proper exercise, you can even reverse the condition and lessen your diabetes condition.

Preventing gallstones and kidney stones

Do you know the pain if you have gallstones or kidney stones?

The forming of such condition can be due to the high intake of animal protein, causing the body to excrete more calcium, oxalate, and uric acid. Studies on this condition has advised that people who tends to develop kidney stones should follow a vegetarian diet the meals have more fiber and lesser animal fats.

Similarly, high-cholesterol, high-fat diets meat-based diet are the cause of gallstones too.

What to aware as vegetarian

Being on vegetarian diet can bring you lots of healthy benefits (as what mentioned before), but do you know there are also downside of this diet?

When we first decided to adopt vegetarian ketogenic diet, we understand every type of diet has it’s own up and down. So we went on to research and read up what needs to be aware when we goes into this journey. And today we going to share what are we’ve found and how to overcome them easily.

 

Lack of calcium

Our body takes in calcium mainly from dairy products like milk, cheese or yogurt. If you are lacto or lacto-ovo vegetarian, this is definitely not a problem for you. However, if you happen to have lactose-intolerant or on vegan diet (which is no dairy product too), you probably have to monitor your calcium intake.

There maybe veggies that has high calcium amount, such as spinach and kale, our body is unable to absorb calcium from these plants due to their calcium bio-availability level – simply means that calcium from the plant will not be efficiently absorbed during our digestion.

Photo credit: goodmorningamerica

What we suggest is to take multiple serving from different source to meet your daily calcium needs. Here’s what you can consider:

Calcium Food Serving Calcium (mg)
Almond milk, fortified with calcium 1 cup 450*
Soy yogurt, fortified with calcium 1 cup 450*
Soymilk, original, fortified with calcium ½ cup 300–500*
Tofu, regular, processed with calcium 1 cup 434*
Almond yogurt, fortified with calcium 170 grams 200*
Tempeh 1 cup 184
Almond butter 2 tablespoons 111
Kale, raw 1 cup 100
Edamame, frozen, prepared 1 cup 98
Almonds ¼ cup 94
Figs 5 medium 88
Garbanzo beans, cooked 1 cup 80
Bok choy, raw 1 cup 74
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 46
Broccoli, raw 1 cup 43

 

Short of Zinc

Similar to calcium, our body cannot absorb zinc easily from plant foods. Moreover zinc availability is lower in plant foods than animal foods, hence we need to be more careful with selecting the mixture of food.

We cannot miss out zinc as per of the nutrients because it helps to enhance immune function, reduce common cold, and heal our wound faster. Zinc is vital for us to have a proper functioning of the our body.

You can get more zinc from:

Zinc Food Serving Zinc (mg)
Tofu 1 cup 4
Hemp Seeds ½ cup 3
Low-Fat Yogurt 1 cup 2
Pumpkin Seeds 1 handful 2
Shiitake Mushrooms, cooked  1 cup 2
Black beans, cooked 1 cup 2
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 1
White Button Mushrooms, cooked 1 cup 1
Chia Seeds 2 tablespoon 1
Avocados 1 whole 1
Swiss Cheese ½ cup 1
Flax Seeds 1 handful 1
Asparagus, cooked 1 cup 1

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency

B12 deficiency is common in vegetarians and vegans diet because it’s naturally found in animal food source and it can cause problems like fatigue, weakness, memory loss and more…

We can still get the vitamins for other non-animal product food source such as:

Vit B12 Food Serving B12 (μg)
Unsweetened Soymilk 1 cup 6
Fortified Tofu 1 cup 3.3
Low-Fat Milk 1 cup 2.6
Low-Fat Yogurt 1 cup 1.5
Cheese  1 oz 0.9
Eggs 1 whole 0.6

 

Iron shortage

There’s study indicating that vegetarian tend to have iron deficient due to the bioavailability of the iron in plant foods lower than in animal foods.

It’s the same concept with calcium and zinc, what we need is to take in such nutrition from our food like:

Iron Food Serving Iron (mg)
Soybeans 1 cup 8.8
Natto 1 cup 15
Tempeh 1 cup 3.6
Tofu 1 cup 3.6
Red kidney beans, cooked  1 cup 6.6
Black peas, cooked 1 cup 5.2
Pumpkin, sesame, hemp and flaxseeds 2 tablespoon 3
Almond nuts 1 cup 1.6
Spinach, cooked 1 cup 3.5
Kale 1 cup 3.5
Mushroom 1 cup 2.7
Olives 100 grams 3.3
Coconut milk 1/2  cup 3.8

 

Should Vegetarian take supplement?

Apart from the major nutrients that vegetarian or vegan could be lack of, there are other minor nutrients such as Omega 3, Vitamin D, iodine etc could be lacking from your body.

You may start to wonder, can supplement helps then?

True, supplements do helps to fill in the gaps should your meal be lacking, but we recommend to have natural food source, or whole food where you body can absorb the natural content. And if you do want to consider supplement, do make sure to look at the label to avoid the following:

  • Gelatin – please lookout for this ingredient, a flavorless collagen that is extracted from animal body part. Very commonly found in food, medication, drugs and vitamin capsules.
  • Lanolin  – mostly found in Vitamin D3 product, which is from sheep’s wool. This is consider vegetarian food but may not be for Vegan.
  • Stearic acid – stearic acid can be found in capsules as they are used as dry powdered ingredient to hold tablets together. It may be found animal source, so have to look at the nutrition labels.

 

Vege-keto sample meal plan

At Veketorian, we plan our daily meal with wide mixture of nutrients, with the core focus to make sure our body can have and absorb the require amount. Although this is subjective to personal body condition (result varies too), we still look forward to prepare natural healthy food source in whatever we can.

We have also compile a 7 days meal plan for anyone who wish to kick-start their vege-keto diet fast. You can get your FREE here!

Here a sample meal plan for a vegetarian keto diet for a clearer picture that this is not going be hard to achieve!

Breakfast

  • 1 medium Avocado
  • 1 poach egg season with salt and pepper

Snack

  • 1/3 cup hummus
  • 1 cup assorted raw vegetables (e.g., baby carrots, bell peppers, sliced zucchini)

Lunch

  • 1 cup of almond nuts
  • 1 cup assorted veggies salad such as shredded carrots, sprouts, mushrooms, etc. (in the wrap, or sautéed and mixed with the rice & beans)
  • 1 coconut based yogurt

Dinner

  • 1 stir fried bell pepper with mushroom
  • 1 piece of almond baked bread with cheese
  • 1 cup calcium-fortified soy milk

Snack

  • 1 cup celery sticks
  • 1 tbsp nut butter

 

Have question? Leave them below or you can join our Veketorian Family group for discussion~

Zayne & Rachie

Zayne & Rachie, a Happy couple, eCommerce entrepreneur & avid travelers, now living a Veketorian Lifestyle. They are writing blogs helping others achieve the same freedom lifestyle.

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