The Vegetarian Diet
The vegetarian diet is essentially a plant-based diet. Vegetarians take animal meat completely off their diets with some even avoiding eating other food items from animal sources such as dairy and eggs.
There are different types of Vegetarian diets but the most common type is the Lacto-ovo vegetarian diet which requires avoiding all animal meats but allows other animal derivatives such are eggs, honey, milk and other dairy products. This is the most common Vegetarian diet because it is the easiest to follow. Veganism, or the complete elimination of animal products from the diet is usually practiced by people for more compelling reasons other than losing weight. Veganism is a strict form of vegetarianism wherein only plant based foods are allowed. Vegans also avoid clothes or any other products that has came from animals such as leather goods, down feather, wool, etc.
There are food pyramids specially designed for vegetarians. When the food pyramid is followed correctly, Vegetarians can get their complete nutritional requirements from plant-based foods.
There are also numerous food replacements available in the market for vegetarians. Soy milk is a good replacement for cow’s milk and can supply the body’s need for calcium and protein. Eggs can be replaced by potato starch in some meals while butter can be replaced with olive oil. Apart from vegetarian products there are also numerous Vegetarian recipes available on line.
The advantages of this diet are:
- By using smart alternatives to regular animal-based foods, a vegetarian can get adequate nutrition from plant based foods
- The diet lowers the risk to hypertension and other heart diseases because of the significantly lower fat and cholesterol intake
The main disadvantage of the diet is:
- If a vegetarian does not take conscious effort to get all the body’s required vitamins and nutrients, he will suffer from nutritional deficiencies the most common of which are iron and calcium deficiency