Just because you decide to eat a vegetarian diet doesn’t mean you’re eating a healthy diet. A steady diet of french fries and Oreo cookies washed down with diet Coke and a soy latte would be vegetarian, it will also slowly kill you. So here’s what I would suggest.
First and most importantly, before you start do some research. There are countless websites dedicated to all forms of vegetarianism; buy books, once again there are so many out there, and find others who follow the vegetarian life style and ask questions. There are so many available resources it would be foolish not to take advantage of all within your reach.
If you decide to go this route and choose to speak with a registered dietician or nutritionist be sure to find one who is familiar vegetarianism and believes in vegetarianism. You can absolutely get all your required nutrition from a plant based diet so do not let anyone tell you differently. Trust me you will encounter quite a few naysayers, but they’re all just uninformed, close minded, or pushing a personal agenda.
Here are some basic guidelines. Eat a big variety of fruits and vegetables, makes sure to eat lots of leafy greens (spinach, kale, etc), and orange veggies (sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, etc). Other important ingredients for a healthy vegetarian diet include but are not limited to; brown rice, sprouted grain bread, bulgur wheat, quinoa, nut butters, tofu, nuts, and seeds. Fortified nutritional yeast is an important staple in a vegetarian diet, 1 and ½ table spoons provides the RDA of vitamin B12 for a 2,000 calorie diet and 6 grams of protein. Also be sure to drink lots of water, and use nut and/or soy milk in place of dairy milk. There are also yogurts made with soy and coconut milk. It is also a good idea to add meat substitute products such as seitan (wheat based) and tempeh (soy based).
One of the most important things to remember is to keep processed foods to a minimum, this goes for any good diet not just vegetarian. Eliminated soda and store bought juices, these are high in sugar and just pile on the calorie count. Don’t switch to diet soda either, that presents a whole new list of problems. It’s also best to limit simple carbohydrates (sugar, white rice, white bread), complex carbohydrates should be the bulk of your “carbs”.
That’s all for now, stick around……