Definitive Guide Of The Vegetarian And Vegan Diet

Commonly when we talk about vegetarians, we associate a person who does not consume meat, fish, or poultry meats, among others. But, it really is not like that, there is a wide range and eating habits in the different types of vegetarians, among which we can mention:

  • Lacto-ovo vegetarians: those who avoid animal meat, but eat eggs and dairy products.
  • The vegans, who do not eat all animal products, including honey and feed mainly on fruits, vegetables, cabbage, and nuts,.
  • Vegetarians pescetarianos , which base their diet on fish and seafood.
  • The lacto-vegetarian which eat dairy products but not eggs.
  • Frugivorous vegetarians follow a diet that includes fruits, nuts, seeds and other plant-based foods.
  • Those who follow a macrobiotic diet, who eat mostly cereals, but can, also, eat fish. These do not necessarily identify as vegetarians.

Given the diversity of vegetarian diets, we ask ourselves: Will these diets meet the nutrients your body needs? How to achieve that my vegetarian diet incorporates the necessary nutrients to keep my organism in good condition?

Why become a vegetarian?

Many supporters of vegetarianism and veganism promote the cause of a meat-free diet not only as a healthier way of feeding, but as a more ethical way to live, due to the cruel practices that are carried out with animals and the high environmental cost that generates the breeding of them.

Another important reason why eating under a vegetarian diet is because of the benefits it brings to your health. Most doctors and nutritionists agree that a diet low in fat and high in fruits, vegetables, nuts and can be of great help to your body.

Benefits of a vegetarian or vegan diet

Eating a diet rich in vegetables and free in red meat may reduce the risk of:

  • Heart disease.
  • Develop type 2 diabetes
  • Increase your triglyceride level

In addition, a vegetarian diet improves:

  • Glucose levels.
  • Your blood pressure.
  • Body mass index (BMI).

Other researchers have studied the relationship of cancer with a vegetarian diet, and concluded that diets rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, isoflavones – which are found in soybeans, chickpeas and peanuts – and carotenoids found in carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, tomatoes, red peppers among others, can protect you against this disease.

In Germany, a study was developed that lasted 11 years, in which 1900 people were examined for colon cancer, in which a smaller number of deaths from stomach, colon and lung cancer were observed in participants who practiced some type of cancer. vegetarian diet. However, deficiencies in body weight were detected in these people.

What are the consequences of a vegetarian and vegan diet?

A diet without meat can be healthy, but vegetarians, especially vegans, need to make sure that they will obtain other sources of vitamin B12, calcium, iron and zinc.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics warns about the risk of deficiencies of vitamin B12 in vegetarians and vegans among which we can mention:

  • Anemia
  • Blindness
  • Muscular weakness.
  • Tingle
  • Numbness

The nutrition warnings are a little more alarming for pregnant and lactating women since, a deficiency of vitamin B12, can affect the neurological development in babies breastfed by vegetarian mothers. Likewise, the lack of vitamin D and calcium can also lead to bone demineralization in breastfeeding women.

Similarly, children under 5 years old who are raised on vegetarian and vegan diets may suffer growth disturbances. This is due to a deficiency of vitamin B12, which can also result in anemia and rickets.

Food guide for a nutritious vegetarian and vegan diet

Here we present a food guide to incorporate the necessary nutrients in your vegetarian diet:

  1. Iron

To supplement the iron you can eat eggs, enriched breakfast cereals, soy-based foods, prunes, dried apricots, nuts, beans, legumes, and whole wheat bread.

  1. Protein

Choose tofu, soybeans, tempeh, vegetable burgers with 5 grams or more of protein, beans and other legumes, nuts, nut butters, eggs and whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth and kamut .

  1. Calcium

Calcium is necessary for your bones, is found abundant in cheese, yogurt, milk, soybeans, tofu, almonds, sesame tahini, calcium-fortified orange juice, and green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and Chinese cabbage.

  1. Zinc

Zinc stimulates your immune system, is abundant in soy, soy milk, vegetable meats, eggs, cheese and yogurt, enriched breakfast cereals, nuts, seeds, mushrooms, lentils, black-eyed peas, dried peas and seed germ. Wheat.

  1. Vitamin B12

Soy-based drinks, some breakfast cereals, vegetarian meats and mushrooms.

  1. Riboflavin

You can consume almonds, fortified cereals, cow’s milk, yogurt, mushrooms, and soy milk.

  1. Alpha-linolenic acid (Omega-3)

You can consume canola oil, flaxseed, linseed oil, walnuts, walnut oil, soybeans and tofu.


  1. Regardless of the type of meat-free diet you practice, vegetarians should focus their diet on sufficient protein, iron, calcium, zinc, vitamin B12, riboflavin, alpha-linolenic acid, and vitamin D.
  2. To counteract the risk of suffering from anemia, blindness, weakening among others, vegans should include vitamin B12 supplements or fortified cereals.
  3. If you are vegan or ovo-vegetarian that eats eggs but not dairy, you should keep in mind the calcium supplements for your teeth and fundamentally to protect you against osteoporosis or weak bones.
  4. Consult a registered and specialized dietitian who can help you design a well-planned diet that contains all the nutrients your body needs.

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