Eating A Vegetarian Diet Is What Vegetarians Eat

Environmental protection, animal welfare, and health – are the most common reasons for around eight million Germans eat vegetarian food. PraxisVITA explains the advantages and disadvantages of vegetarian nutrition, what vegetarians eat, and how vegetarians meet their nutritional needs.

Being a vegetarian, what does that mean?

Vegetarianism refers to a diet free of meat and fish. Most vegetarians only eat products that come from live animals—this includes honey, eggs, and dairy products.
In addition to avoiding meat and fish, there are other sub-forms of the vegetarian diet:

  • Ovo-Lacto vegetarians: avoid meat and fish but eat eggs and dairy products.
  • Lacto-Vegetarians: Eat dairy products but no eggs.
  • Ovo-vegetarians: Eat eggs but avoid dairy products.
  • Pescetarians: abstain from meat but eat fish.

Vegans, on the other hand, eat purely plant-based foods and completely avoid animal products – both in nutrition and in other areas of life. They also avoid animal products such as leather and products coated with beeswax.

What are the reasons to be vegetarian?

Some of the most common reasons people become vegetarian include:

  • Moral (avoid animal suffering)
  • Ecological (conserve natural resources)
  • Health reasons

On you can calculate how many animals and resources your meat consumption costs and what is saved if you eat less or no meat.

Do vegetarians have nutritional deficiencies?

Vegetarians provide their bodies with all the necessary nutrients if they follow the recommendations and eat a balanced and varied diet. So there is no risk of deficiency if vegetarians know their nutritional needs and what foods they can use to meet them.

The situation is different for so-called “pudding vegetarians”, who do not eat meat and fish but mainly eat highly processed foods with low nutrient density (fast food, sweets).

Where do vegetarians get protein and other nutrients from?

The best way for vegetarians to meet their iron requirements is to eat wholemeal bread, beetroot, and green leafy vegetables (spinach, lamb’s lettuce, and Chinese cabbage). The body can use iron from animal products better than from plants. Vegetarians should therefore eat iron-rich vegetables together with vitamin C (e.g. orange juice) if possible – this promotes absorption. Coffee and black tea, on the other hand, inhibit iron absorption.
Vegetarians get enough vitamin B12 from the recommended amount of eggs and milk.

Meat is considered to be one of the foods richest in protein. Vegetarians can also meet their protein needs with their diet. For daily protein intake, the German Society for Nutrition (DGE) recommends an average of 0.8 grams per kilo of body weight. For example, to consume about 58 grams of protein a day, a 72-pound person would need to eat 200 grams of whole wheat pasta (30 grams of protein), with 100 grams of mushrooms (14 grams of protein) and a 100-gram portion of cottage cheese (14 grams of protein). meal.

Hidden animal components in food

But it’s not just to meet their needs that vegetarians need to be more careful about what they eat: there are some foods that most people probably wouldn’t expect to contain animal ingredients. These include cornflakes coated with gelatin, gummies with gelatin, and cheeses made with animal rennet. In this list of foods that are not vegetarian, we show which ones are still the case.

What are the advantages of a vegetarian diet?

Studies show that vegetarians usually deal more intensively with their diet than omnivores. Overall, vegetarians, therefore, tend to eat more consciously and healthier. Researchers also found that vegetarians, in contrast to meat eaters, often have healthier body weight, better blood values, and therefore a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and are also less likely to develop cancer.

A decisive factor here is that a balanced meat-free diet usually provides many valuable unsaturated fatty acids. Meat, on the other hand, contains saturated fatty acids – these “bad” fats can contribute to increased cholesterol levels, among other things.

What are the disadvantages of the vegetarian diet?

An unbalanced meat-free diet can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Vegetarians should therefore make sure they get enough iron, vitamin B12, and protein from meat-free foods. Another disadvantage: Especially at the beginning of a change to a vegetarian diet, some people feel that they have to do without something.

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Written by Ashley Wright

I am a Registered Nutritionist-Dietitian. Shortly after taking and passing the licensure examination for Nutritionist-Dietitians, I pursued a Diploma in Culinary Arts, so I am also a certified chef. I decided to supplement my license with a study in the culinary arts because I believe that it will help me harness the best of my knowledge with real-world applications that can help people. These two passions form part and parcel of my professional life, and I am excited to work with any project that involves food, nutrition, fitness, and health.

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