Done with meat, that’s O.K, I have all of the information here that you need to know.

Done with meat, that’s O.K, I have all of the information here that you need to know.

As a vegetarian there is a risk of various nutrient deficiencies if you do not plan your diet correctly, and even if you do it may occasionally be necessary to supplement your diet with those nutrients. As a vegetarian, depending on what you eat you need to be aware of the following potential risks;

B12 deficiency, as it is found mostly in animal products, however if you eat fatty fish, spirulina, fortified soy milk and cereals, the estimated average requirement (EAR) is 2.0 µ daily, if you are not getting this amount from your food intake daily then it will be necessary for you to take B 12 in supplemental form as it is a necessary nutrient that is especially important for the nervous system and many other bodily functions.

Vitamin D deficiency, if you are not getting adequate sunlight and are not consuming dairy foods, a deficiency is possible, butter, fortified dairy spreads, and sardines contain Vitamin D, the adequate intake (AI) for Vitamin D is between 5 and 10 µ per day, depending on age. Supplements are important if you are not receiving this amount.

Calcium deficiency, as dairy is the main source of calcium for many people, however if you eat tofu, soy milk, almonds, broccoli, dried figs, green leafy vegetables, whitebait and sardines you will be able to obtain some calcium from these foods, the amount of calcium required depends on life stage, pregnancy and gender, for a female between the ages of 19 to 50 the (EAR) is 840 mg per day, if you are not receiving this amount from your total food intake then supplementation is required.

Iron deficiency, most of the iron that is consumed comes from animal sources, iron exists in plant foods but is not as bio-available as iron from animal flesh, depending on life stage, pregnancy and gender the amount of iron that you consume will be different, for a female between the ages of 19 to 50 the (EAR) is 8 mg/day, the recommended dietary intake (RDI) is 18 mg/day. Plant foods that are rich in iron include legumes, tofu, green leafy vegetables, dried fruits, whole grains and fortified cereals and breads. For better absorption of iron it is recommended that you consume foods that contain Vitamin C at the same time, (oranges, mandarins, strawberries, red capsicums). Men and postmenopausal women also have different iron requirements than women that are still menstruating, as they do not lose blood therefore their iron requirements are less, the (EAR) is 5 – 6 mg/day, with the (RDI) being 8 mg/day, if you are consuming the correct amount and are feeling fatigued and feel that you may be iron deficient it is important to see you doctor to have your blood levels checked before you take iron supplements.

Zinc deficiency, most zinc consumed comes from animal products and a deficiency in zinc can lead to lowered immunity, slow wound healing and skin problems, so it is important that your body is getting enough zinc. Zinc is found in oysters, red meat, fish, shellfish, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds and tofu. Men need more zinc than women the (EAR) for men between the ages of 19 to 70 years is 12 mg/day and the (RDI) is 14 mg/day, for women the (EAR) is 6.5 mg/day with the (RDI) being 8 mg/day.

Protein deficiency, this is probably one of the biggest problems that can occur with vegetarian eating if you do not have a lot of knowledge of nutrition, it is however a problem that is easily overcome, both eggs and dairy contain complete protein, and complete protein should be eaten at every meal to ensure that muscle mass is maintained. Many grains and legumes are missing only a couple of the necessary proteins, for protein to work properly it must be complete, and complete proteins must be eaten in the same meal. To ensure complete protein is eaten at every meal, you can follow the following protein combining ideas; eat grains with legumes, eat legumes with nuts or seeds, eat grains with nuts and seeds, or eggs and dairy with legumes, nuts, seeds or grains.

Legumes include; chickpeas, black-eyed peas, peas, peanuts, lentils, sprouts and broad, black, lima, kidney, navy, mung, pea and soy beans.

Grains include; wheat, corn, rye, rice, bulgur, oats, millet, barley, buckwheat, spelt, kamut and quinoa

Nuts include; walnut, cashew, brazil, pecan, pistachio, almond, hazelnut and macadamia

Seeds include; pumpkin, sesame, sunflower and linseeds

Eating out, there are many vegetarian restaurants, and many cuisines that have vegetarian specialties, if you are eating in a restaurant and are concerned that your lentil burger is going to be cooked on the same grill as the hamburgers, just mention it to them and ask them to ensure that it is cooked away from any meats.