Vegetarian Diet Guide

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What is a Vegetarian Diet?

The Vegetarian Diet comprises of predominantly plant based foods. There are multiple types of vegetarian diets these include; Lacto-vegetarian, Ovo-vegetarian, Lacto-ovo Vegetarian, Pescatarian and Pollotarian.

Benefits a Vegetarian Diet?

Much like the vegan diet, all vegetarian diets that are pre-dominantly plant based help with sustainable weight loss.

This is because of the high amounts of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. These foods are lower in calories gram for gram than most meat based diets and high in fiber, which can help reduce your overall calorie intake by 10% (2). 

Note: When combined with a good training program your weight loss goals can be achieved in as little as 6-8 weeks.

High cholesterol comes with a myriad of health problems, including unwanted weight gain. Studies show that vegetarian diets promote less body fat and lower cholesterol than meat based diets (1).

A properly planned vegetarian diet is full of nutrients and antioxidant rich foods. Antioxidants are molecules that can reduce the damage caused by oxidative stress, including atherosclerosis.

Psoriasis is a debilitating skin disease that causes patches, redness and irritation. According to research published by Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, a vegetarian diet may positively improve and or reduce symptoms (2).

Potential Risks of a Vegetarian Diet?

A poorly planned vegetarian diet will lead to nutrient deficiencies and ultimately poor health.

Studies show that vegetarians are most at risk of being deficient in the following nutrients:

  • Protein
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • Calcium
  • Omega-3
  • Iodine
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin K2

Insufficient amounts of these nutrients can lead to:

  • Nervous system damage
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anaemia
  • Bone Fractures
  • Depression
  • Poor Heart Health

Planning your Vegetarian Diet

Step 1: Calculate your calories (optional)

The vegetarian diet doesn’t restrict you to eating a specific number of calories. However, we advise that with any diet it is worth having a rough idea as to how many calories you should consume daily so that you reduce your risk of under-eating or over-eating.

Step 2: Know your foods

As mentioned there are different types of vegetarian diets. This means that there some foods that are allowed with some and not allowed with others.

All vegetarians can have the following foods:

  • Tofu, tempeh and seitan: These provide a versatile protein-rich alternative to meat, fish, poultry and eggs in many recipes.
  • Legumes: Foods such as beans, lentils and peas are excellent sources of many nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Sprouting, fermenting and proper cooking can increase nutrient absorption.
  • Nuts and nut butters: Especially unblanched and unroasted varieties, which are good sources of iron, fiber, magnesium, zinc, selenium and vitamin E.
  • Seeds: Especially hemp, chia and flaxseeds, which contain a good amount of protein and beneficial omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Calcium-fortified plant milks and yogurts: These help vegans achieve their recommended dietary calcium intakes. Opt for varieties also fortified with vitamins B12 and D whenever possible.
  • Algae: Spirulina and chlorella are good sources of complete protein. Other varieties are great sources of iodine.
  • Nutritional yeast: This is an easy way to increase the protein content of vegan dishes and add a cheesy-like flavour. Pick vitamin B12-fortified varieties whenever possible.
  • Whole grains, cereals and pseudocereals: These are a great source of complex carbs, fiber, iron, B-vitamins and several minerals. Spelt, teff, amaranth and quinoa are especially high-protein options.
  • Sprouted and fermented plant foods: Ezekiel bread, tempeh, miso, natto, sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi and kombucha often contain probiotics and vitamin K2. Sprouting and fermenting can also help improve mineral absorption.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Perfect foods to increase your overall nutrient intake. Dark leafy greens such as bok choy, spinach, kale, watercress and mustard greens are particularly high in iron and calcium.

To find out which foods to avoid select your vegetarian diet:

Additional Foods Allowed

  • Dairy
    -Milk
    -Yoghurt
    -Cheese
    -Butter
    -Ice Cream

Foods to avoid

  • Meat and poultry: Beef, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc.
  • Fish and seafood: All types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster, etc.
  • Eggs: From chickens, quails, ostriches, fish, etc.
  • Bee products: Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc.

Additional Foods Allowed

  • Eggs
    -Chicken
    -Quails
    -Fish
    -Ostrich

Foods to avoid

  • Meat and poultry: Beef, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc.
  • Fish and seafood: All types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster, etc.
  • Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, etc.
  • Bee products: Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc.

Additional Foods Allowed

  • Dairy
    -Milk
    -Yoghurt
    -Cheese
    -Butter
    -Ice Cream
  • Eggs
    -Chicken
    -Quails
    -Fish
    -Ostrich

Foods to avoid

  • Meat and poultry: Beef, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc.
  • Fish and seafood: All types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster, etc.
  • Bee products: Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc.

Additional Foods Allowed

  • Dairy (optional)
    -Milk
    -Yoghurt
    -Cheese
    -Butter
    -Ice Cream

     

  • Eggs (optional)
    -Chicken
    -Quails
    -Fish
    -Ostrich

     

  • Fish & Seafood

Foods to Avoid

  • Meat and poultry: Beef, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat, chicken, turkey, goose, duck, quail, etc.
  • Bee products: Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc.

Additional Foods Allowed

  • Poultry
    -Chicken
    -Turkey
    -Duck
    -Geese
    -Guineafowl

Foods to Avoid

  • Meat: Beef, lamb, pork, veal, horse, organ meat, wild meat.
  • Fish and seafood: All types of fish, anchovies, shrimp, squid, scallops, calamari, mussels, crab, lobster, etc.
  • Dairy (optional): Milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, cream, ice cream, etc.
  • Eggs (optional): From chickens, quails, ostriches, fish, etc.
  • Bee products: Honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, etc.

Step 3: Plan or prepare your meals

Now that you know what foods are allowed in this diet, it is a good idea to make shopping list and map out your meals in advance. This will save you plenty of time and help you stick to the diet.