I think that I have figured out one of the problems with our species’ nutrition. Too many times, people will avoid becoming a vegetarian and giving up meat is because they are afraid that their bodies will start missing all that protein or other nutrients that we surely get from meat…. right??
But while it may be a little wee bit more difficult, it is most certainly not impossible to get all of the benefits of meat while living a vegetarian or vegan life! Three important nutrients (protein, iron and calcium) that often associated with meat are readily available from plant-based sources as well.
Iron: this one is essential, because it is a central part of hemoglobin, which aids in the transportation of oxygen to the blood and muscles. Because vegetarian and vegan diets only contain iron from non-meat sources, they have to be especially aware of foods that are rich in iron. Great veggie-friendly sources include firm tofu, lentils, oatmeal, mushrooms, broccoli, bok choy, apricots and lentils
Protein: protein is the main component of our muscles, glands and organs. It is used for the growth, maintenance and repair of our cells, as well as it can be broken down by the body and used as fuel for energy. So you might be surprised to learn that with all of this action that need protein to fuel them, many North Americans are still consuming too much protein for their bodies to handle! It is readily available in meat, but some amazing sources of plant-based protein are tofu or seitan (and other meat substitutes), lentils, beans, nuts (and nut butters), grains, seeds, quinoa, and protein powder supplements
Calcium: this one helps promote strong bones and teeth. It also helps prevent osteoporosis. Most people get the majority of their calcium intake from dairy, but if you are vegan or just don’t do dairy, it can be a little bit trickier to make sure you are getting all of the calcium you need. Calcium, which is needed for strong bones and teeth, is found in dark green leafy vegetables, tofu made with calcium sulfate, calcium-fortified soy milk and orange juice, collard greens, kale, tempeh, navy beans and tempeh
If you have ever been curious about becoming a vegetarian or a vegan and want to learn more, ask us! Half of the Heroic Health team here at headquarters is vegetarian (at least most of the time), and we can point you in the direction of whatever information it is that you seek.
ONE LAST THING... are you up for the challenge? The month of May is going to be “Meatless May”! We are going vegetarian for the month. So eat up in April, because you only technically have one more month until we go veg
(Many thanks to The Vegetarian Resource Group for some of the information! Check them out at http://www.vrg.org/ )