What is it?
Vegetarianism is a lifestyle adopted by people who choose not to consume animal foods. The restriction may be only in relation to meat, may exclude the consumption of eggs and milk or even all foods of origin or animal derivation, such as honey and gelatin.
What drives someone to adopt vegetarianism?
The reasons for adopting vegetarianism are diverse and can be combined: environmental issues, such as the impact of meat, milk and dairy products consumption on climate change and the expenditure of natural resources (such as water), health issues for perceiving a lower consumption of saturated fats in a balanced vegetarian diet and also the defense of animals, to prevent them from being exploited for consumption and not to agree with established cruelty.
How to make a healthy vegetarian diet?
Base your food on fresh and minimally processed foods (fruits, vegetables, vegetables, legumes, cereals, oilseeds) and avoid the consumption of ultra-processed foods (cookies, sugary drinks, snacks, ready meals such as lasagna and pizza, cakes, among others). In case of not lacking proteins, increase the consumption of legumes, such as soybeans, beans, chickpeas, lentils and peas, increase the consumption of dark green vegetables, which are rich in nutrients,
When do you need to supplement vegetarianism?
The attention nutrients of this diet include:
- Vitamin B12, which is synthesized by microorganisms as bacteria and is found only in foods of animal origin. Strict vegetarians need to supplement this nutrient;
- Vitamin D, which is more present in animal foods such as salmon, sardines, egg, liver and seafood, but there are still plant sources such as mushrooms; In addition, sunlight itself is the best source of this nutrient;
- Omega 3, since the main sources are fish; but can be found in nuts, chestnuts, almonds, flaxseed, sunflower, soy, avocado, canola oil and olive oil;
- Calcium, especially in those people who do not consume dairy products, but can be found in dark green leaves, oilseeds, legumes and broccoli;
- Iron, because a great source are red meats and viscera, but can be replaced by dark green leaves, legumes, whole grains, oilseeds, sugarcane syrup, rapadura and brown sugar.
It is important to evaluate with your nutritionist the best strategy to ensure that the levels of these important nutrients are not low, using dietary strategies and supplements, if it is not possible to reach an adequate amount by feeding.
Reading suggestion: What health benefits associated with the vegetarian diet?
. Nutr Clin Pract. 2010 Dec;25(6):613-20. doi: 10.1177/0884533610385707. PMID: 21139125.