Wednesday, February 18, 2009

To be or not to be...vegetarian, that is.

We haven’t seen this big of a rise in vegetarianism since the 60s, when everyone chanted peace, love, and harmony. Today, in our fast-paced, financially-driven society (a far cry away from Woodstock), about 4.7 million American adults are vegetarian, says the Vegetarian Resource Group.

There are four main categories of vegetarians:
• Ovo-Lacto vegetarians don’t eat meat but eat eggs and diary products
• Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but no dairy
• Lacto-vegetarians eat diary but no eggs
• Vegans don’t eat any animal products at all

Yet, as healthy as it may seem, many vegetarians miss out on essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Vegetarians also run the risk of protein deficiency.

Ovo-lacto vegetarians can get their protein from eggs and dairy products. Other vegetarians can get protein from great sources such as, legumes (lentils, beans, etc.), nuts, seeds, whole grains, and soy products.

Green, leafy vegetables are a vegetarian’s best friends. They have calcium, vitamin B, and iron. Despite having options to get the macro- and micro- nutrients that vegetarians may miss out on normally, many medical specialists recommend vegetarians, especially, to take a multi-vitamin daily.

So the moral of the story is if you want to embark on a meat-free journey, make sure youre aware of the necessary vitamins and minerals your body needs so everything works in tip top shape!

Enjoy your life and eat well while youre doing it!

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