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My thoughts on a vegetarian diet

Posted by | Posted in Nutrition | Posted on 28-04-2009

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Though I’m not a vegetarian, there are still steps I take to watch the quality of meat I eat.  For one, my wife and I choose turkey over ground beef.  One thing you must be careful about with turkey is that just because it’s turkey doesn’t mean it’s healthy.  Pay attention to the fat quality of the turkey.  For example, if you buy ground turkey at the store, make sure it’s a lean option (85/15 is not a lean option).  Another choice my wife and I have made is to eat a lot of chicken.  Again, watch the fat content.  Trim the visible fat away from the chicken before eating it, and I know this is gross, but if you happen to eat a little fat, and notice it, spit it out!  There’s no shame in not wanting to eat excess fat.  So turkey and chicken … these two choices can be a big help in helping you avoid overeating red meat.

Now, for those of you who can’t even dream of eating either of these, I’m assuming you’re probably a vegetarian.  A vegetarian diet isn’t something that should be looked at as strange, but realize they can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Striving to eat a salad everyday is not exactly a good vegetarian diet, but when planned right, a vegetarian diet can be a well-balanced diet.  A lot of times, vegetarian diets are high in fiber, low in cholesterol, and low in saturated fats.  Fiber is one problem a lot of non-vegetarian eaters struggle with.  Fiber helps you feel fuller, longer, and it also helps control blood sugar levels.  Both of these qualities are very important for maintaining a healthy weight.

Two important nutrients that can be a struggle to get in a vegetarian diet are protein and iron.  Both are found in meat, but cut that out, and you’re left to figure out other sources.  Grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes are a great source of protein.  Fruits and vegetables can be another great source as well.  Since many vegetarian options don’t have much iron, you most likely will need to get it from fortified cereals, breads, pastas, and rice.

Calcium is another nutrient to be aware of.  Leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and navy beans are a great source to help prevent osteoporosis.

The important thing is that if you’re considering a vegetarian diet, don’t just jump into it by thinking all you need to do is eat vegetables.  A healthy vegetarian diet takes a lot of research and effort to be a success, so make sure you do your due diligence before starting one.  If you do, your body will definitely thank you.

Comments (5)

As vegetarian for 18 years and now vegan for a year, this post is soooo not cool.
First off, I found it offensive (if not morbidly comic) that nearly the first third was about meat.
And mostly, why add a disclaimer that “A healthy vegetarian diet takes a lot of research and effort to be a success” — if ONLY vegetarians had to worry about getting proper nutrition, would we have so many overweight people living off fast food in the world and so many illnesses that COULD have been prevented by proper nutrition? Maybe a mention of the research about reversing Diabetes through a vegetarian or vegan diet? Maybe since you are admittedly NOT a vegetarian, you might link to more experienced sources? PCRM comes to mind.
And what is the deal with mentioning Fiber in relation to a vegetarian diet? If I look at the list of high fiber foods at the Mayo Clinic site, I don’t see any animal products listed: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-fiber-foods/nu00582
Sorry if I’m coming off all harsh, but seeing this kinda weak stuff from you is shocking to me, as I’ve come to respect so much of your writing.

Sorry d for the misunderstanding. I’m glad you held me accountable with this comment … really, I am. I want to explain myself, though, because as you said, I’m not even remotely admitting I’m experienced at vegetarian diets; that’s why I title this “my thoughts”. First, since this is my thoughts, I included the meat thing b/c that’s what I do. My idea for this post was to speak to those considering becoming a vegetarian. If they aren’t one yet, the thought was that healthy meat choices might be one alternative they want to try. If not, then I moved into vegetarian aspects. I think you misunderstood the fiber thing. That was supposed to be a compliment, not a detriment. Would you not agree that vegetarian diets are a lot of times higher in fiber than non-vegetarian diets? Also, as I said earlier, this was more for those thinking about becoming a vegetarian, and again, would you not agree that you have to do your homework when formulating a healthy diet? I feel you do, but again, these are just “my thoughts”, not my expertise. Thanks again.

I do agree with you on the fact that if planned properly a vegetarian diet can be a very well-balanced diet. However I have always failed to turn a veggie though I admire those who could.

I think the most important thing is that there is no minimum daily requirement for refined sugar. diet should be based on veggies and water. and meat should be eaten sparingly. no extreme diets

Wow, that’s a really offensive discussion!!! I have to say, I love my meat and don’t like vegetables, but I do eat both. Because the body need all of it to be healthy. If you don’t eat meat, your body will miss something and also the different way if you never eat vegetables. But at least, everybody can do what they think it’s right for them!!!

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