Vegetarian Diets

Vegetarians are people who don't eat meat or seafood and may not eat dairy or eggs.  A healthy vegetarian diet has many health benefits and can provide all your nutritional needs.

vegetarian-diet.jpgSimply put, a vegetarian is someone who consumes a diet predominately made up of plant-based foods like breads and cereals, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry or fish but may consume some dairy products and eggs.

People choose to follow a vegetarian diet for a variety of reasons. Some have ethical or health concerns, for others it?s a matter of religious belief. The decision to stop eating meat could just as easily be because you simply don't enjoy it.

As described below, there are four main categories of vegetarian diets:

  • lacto-ovo-vegetarianisms consume dairy products and egg
  • lacto-vegetarians eat dairy but not eggs
  • ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but not meat or dairy products
  • vegans do not consume or use animal products, notably meat, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy products

Eating a healthy and balanced vegetarian diet can be easier than you think and it doesn't have to mean lettuce leaves and carrot sticks. This style of eating can include a wide variety of delicious foods, flavours and textures. Nature has provided a wide range of nutritious plant foods to choose from and the right combination of foods will also ensure you meet your nutrition requirements. A well-planned vegetarian diet can provide essential nutrients including protein, iron, calcium, zinc, iodine and essential fatty acids. Vegetarian diets are suitable for all ages, including infants, children, breastfeeding and pregnant women.

Numerous scientific studies have shown that people who eat a healthy vegetarian diet are less likely to become overweight, suffer from heart disease, type II diabetes and some forms of cancer. Vegetarians also have lower rates of illness and death from a number of other degenerative diseases.

Being vegetarian does not in itself guarantee good health. Vegetarians can choose healthy nutritious foods, or unhealthy processed foods and it is the quality of their diet that ultimately affects health. A poorly planned vegetarian diet many be lacking in some key nutrients.

A naturopath specialising in vegetarian diets can help you make the right choices to ensure your diet maintains a healthy balance of all the vital nutrients your body requires for good health.