Some people are under the impression that being a vegetarian means you have to eat nothing but filler and lettuce. While there are definitely many salads in the average vegetarian’s diet, there is a lot more than lettuce on a well balanced vegetarian plate. If you pay careful attention to what you eat and what you need, you can be a very healthy woman and never eat any meat. The following are a few things you should keep in mind.
You’re Doing Great
You might be afraid without too much reason. After all, eating a well balanced diet of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is an incredibly healthy way to live. Of the people who live the longest, the vast majority of them do not eat much meat and many eat none at all. So don’t get too concerned about your nutrition, since there’s no need to be paranoid about it. Just remember that your diet might not have a few things you need, and you’ll be able to proactively add them in without turning it into a big deal.
Protein is surprisingly easy to get enough of. Unless you have a specific requirement such as working to proactively build muscle, you most likely need 45 grams per day of protein. If you eat a bowl of tofu, you’re almost half way to your daily requirement right there. If you eat eggs and cheese and drink milk, you can easily get your protein that way, as well. You can also get your protein from seitan or lentils.
Calcium is critical for both strong bones and for muscle contraction. If you have a serious calcium deficiency, you’ll be at risk for both osteoporosis and muscle difficulties. Fortunately, you can find calcium in all kinds of places. Some of the best sources of calcium are kale, collared greens, soy milk, broccoli and almonds.
Iron deficiencies are a terrible problem for many women, but eating a vegetarian diet doesn’t mean it has to be your problem. You can get plenty of iron by limiting your intake of coffee and tea, which limit its absorption, and eating chickpeas, hummus and spinach. Other foods that are high in iron are soy, lentils and tofu. Drink some orange juice afterward because vitamin C helps your body absorb iron more effectively. On the whole, recent studies have shown that iron levels in the average vegetarian are actually higher than those of most other people.
Being a vegetarian doesn’t mean having vitamin or mineral deficiencies. In fact, vegetarians are usually healthier than most other people. If you’re a vegetarian, eating a balanced diet generally takes care of most every problem you might have. If you’re not sure if your diet is impacting your general health, consult your dietitian, a candida doctor, or your general practitioner.