Do you know where the term “vegetarian” came from? It originates from “vegetus” which is a Latin word that essentially means “lively, fresh, whole, and sound.” The term generally means a person that does not eat animal meat.
Chances are you probably at least know someone that is a vegetarian. The truth is that many people are turning to this type of diet. Why? A variety of reasons exist, but the most common are probably animal rights, environmental issues, and health.
Did you know that there are actually many different types of vegetarians? Some just don’t eat red meat, some refrain from any kind of meat, and so forth. Note that a person known as a vegan is similar, but does not eat animal meat or any animal products, such as dairy. Generally speaking, a vegetarian’s diet is made up of grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and dairy.
If done properly, being a vegetarian is a totally healthy, safe lifestyle. However, one of the biggest obstacles to overcome, especially for vegetarian athletes, is making sure that enough protein is consumed on a daily basis. Doing so is definitely doable, but knowing what to eat specifically is absolutely a must, since vegetarians eat little to no protein rich meat.
Dairy products are excellent sources of protein for someone that is a vegetarian. Milk, cheese and eggs are all good options. In addition to protein, dairy also contains necessary vitamin D, magnesium, and calcium.
Another great source of protein for vegetarians is from whole grains. They are made up of foods such as bread, pasta, cereal, corn, barley, and rice. Additionally, they contain beneficial fiber, zinc, and B vitamins.
A third source of protein that is great for vegetarians is legumes. They consist of lentils, peas, and beans. They are also rich in healthy fiber, calcium, B vitamins, zinc, and iron. Note that foods such as soy milk and tofu also fall in to this category.
Nuts are a fourth source of protein that vegetarians can turn to. Some examples are almonds, peanuts and walnuts. What’s more, nuts have the additional bonus of containing healthy fat.
A fifth way for vegetarians to make sure that they are getting enough protein is through the use of supplements. For example, our 100% platinum whey supplement is an excellent source of protein. It contains about 24 grams of protein alone and even more mixed with a dairy beverage, such as milk or a legume beverage, such as soy milk.
In addition to protein, vegetarians need to make sure that they are getting a balanced amount of nutrients. This can be accomplished through several ways. We recommend eating a variety of fruits and vegetables and taking our multivitamin and mineral supplement.
It is important for vegetarians to make sure that their daily meals contain adequate amounts of the foods just mentioned. For breakfast, a great example would be a vegetable omelet and a protein smoothie. A good example for lunch would be a sandwich made with nut butter and a side of fresh fruit. For dinner, an excellent option would be a tofu and vegetable stir fry. Again, we recommend taking our multivitamin supplement too.
Are you a vegetarian? If so, what are your favorite foods to eat? If not, do you think you could be one?