Let's Not Meat At All!
Vegetarian is a general term that is often applied to a variety of eating styles. There are several categories of vegetarians. All of them refrain from eating red meat and often abstain from eating poultry, fish and other seafood. Depending on the type of vegetarian, the banned foods may also include any food of animal origin. The most common are listed here:
Lacto-ovo vegetarian - a vegetarian who combines milk products and eggs with a diet of vegetable, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains. Vegetarians may also avoid milk products but consume eggs (ovo-vegetarian) or vice versa (lacto-vegetarian).
Partial vegetarian - a person who elects to use only selected meats. Commonly, partial vegetarians will eat fish (pesco vegetarians) or poultry (pollo vegetarians). Red meats such as beef, pork or lamb are typically avoided.
Vegan - this type excludes milk products, eggs, and even honey. Their diet is derived exclusively from plants with their entire protein intake being in the form of plant protein. The vegan typically avoids any products derived from animals such as leather, wool, fur, down, silk, ivory and pearl. Additionally, cosmetics and household items that contain animal ingredients or that are tested on animals may be avoided. Amaranth, Buckwheat, Spirulina and Hemp are complete proteins and ought to be highly considered by vegans.
Fruitarian - avoids any plant products except those parts of the plant that are cast off or dropped from the plant and that do not involve the destruction of the plant itself.
Depending upon the degree or type of vegetarianism, obtaining adequate protein in the diet may be a concern. There are essentially two categories of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. The two kinds are those that the body can make, which are considered non-essential, and those that the body can't make and that are necessary for repair and growth, the essentials.
Most non-animal sources of protein are low or lacking in one or more essential amino acids. A food that contains all of the essential amino acids is called a complete protein, while those that are low or lacking in one or more essentials are called incomplete proteins.
Partially incomplete proteins can maintain life, but cannot support growth. Incomplete proteins cannot maintain life or support growth.
Mixtures of plant proteins can serve as a complete and well-balanced source of amino acids for meeting the needs of the body. Mixing food group types to supply all of the essential amino acids is referred to as food combining, with the actual foods referred to as complementary foods.
On the whole, it may not be necessary to consume complementary foods at the same time. Separation of the proteins among meals over the course of a day would still permit the nutritional benefits of complementation.
However, in athletes trying to maximize protein synthesis and muscular growth, it is necessary to have a full complement of amino acids present at every meal in order to maximize the anabolic effects of exercise.
Any of the several categories of vegetarians listed above can plan a varied diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds. Sufficient care should be taken in the planning and preparation of all meals - vegetarian or not.
Lacto-vegetarians, for example, eat dairy products as a source of calcium and B12. While one cup of whole milk contains 288 mg of calcium, thiamin, iron, and trace minerals, nuts and other seeds contribute to fat, protein, B vitamins, and iron. Dark green, leafy vegetables are sources of calcium, riboflavin, and carotene and should be eaten in generous amounts. For example, a freshly mixed salad filled with dark green, leafy vegetables, a variety of sprouts and carrots, millet with tahini-oat gravy, and sautéed' tempeh with garlic, can provide complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, complete protein, various B complex vitamins, calcium, iron, and a host of other nutrients. A variety of colorful, wholesome, unprocessed foods encompassing a flavorful spectrum provide the greatest nutrition.
For the pure vegan, increase the starches to replace the meats or substitute FERMENTED soy products like Miso, Tempeh or Natto for meat servings.
If you want to be absolutely certain that you are getting enough protein, you should eat food combinations which form a complete protein, such as:
Legumes + seeds
Legumes + nuts
Legumes + grains
Chances are you already eat complete proteins without even trying. Here are some tasty and healthy complete protein combinations:
Beans on toast
Corn and beans
Hummus and pita bread
Nut butter on whole grain bread (sprouted bread please, not the dead store-bought kind!)
Pasta with beans
Rice and beans, peas, or lentils
Split pea soup with whole grain or seeded crackers or sprouted bread
Tortillas with refried beans
Veggie burgers on sprouted bread
GRAINS WITH LEGUMES
Rice with Lentils
Red Beans and Rice
Rice with Black-eyes Peas
Bean soup with Toast
Macaroni Enriched with Soy Flour
Falafel with Pita Bread
Peanut Butter Sandwich
GRAINS WITH SOY MILK PRODUCTS
Oatmeal with Milk
Macaroni with Cheese
Wheat Flakes with Milk
Soy Cheese Sandwich
Pancakes or Waffles
Creamed soups with Rice or Noodles
Meatless Lasagna (soy cheese)
Pizza with Soy Cheese
LEGUMES WITH SEEDS
Bean Soup with Sesame Meal Crackers with Sesame Seeds
Hummus (chickpea and sesame paste)
OTHER VEGETABLES WITH SOY MILK PRODUCTS
Mashed Potatoes with Milk
Cream of Potato Soup
Broccoli with Cheese Sauce
Cream of Pumpkin Soup
Broccoli Cheese Soup