Food from killed animals is taboo on a vegetarian diet. Milk, eggs and dairy products are allowed. The motives behind this diet range from ethical to health reasons. Read here about the advantages and disadvantages of a vegetarian diet and what you should pay attention to.
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What Is A Vegetarian Diet?
Vegetarian nutrition is booming in Germany. According to the Allensbacher market analysis, the number of people who classify themselves as vegetarians was 7.5 million in 2021 – one million more than in the previous year.
However, opting for a meatless diet is not a new trend. Thousands of years ago, people decided to stop eating animals.
There is tradition that the sect of the Orphics dates back to the 6th century BC. BC was a vegetarian. Asceticism was the reason for their followers not to eat animal food.
The philosopher Pythagoras brought the vegetarian diet to Europe. In Germany it spread further in the 19th century.
The motivation for a vegetarian diet varies. Some vegetarians want to prevent animal suffering. Others refrain from eating food and products from killed animals for health reasons or for the sake of the environment.
In fact, meat production causes about 14 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Vegetarians are also less likely to hurt from widespread diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
However, with this type of diet it is important to pay close attention to the nutrient content of the food in order to prevent deficiency symptoms.
What Do Vegetarians Eat?
For vegetarians, all food from living animals is excluded – i.e. meat, sausage and fish. Animal fats such as lard or gelatine are also taboo. There is room for maneuver with honey. Whether you are allowed to eat it depends on how strict you are on the diet.
The Following Foods Are Allowed In A Vegetarian Diet:
milk and milkproducts
vegetables and fruit
nuts and seeds
potatoes and rice
These Variants Of Vegetarianism Exist!
There are different types of vegetarian diets. The most well-known representatives are the ovo-lacto-vegetarians. They give up meat and fish, but continue to eat dairy products and eggs.
Learn More About Lacto-Ovo Vegetarians Here.
Other variants are:
Ovo-vegetarians avoid meat, fish and milk, but eat eggs.
Lacto-vegetarians avoid meat, fish and eggs, but eat dairy products.
Pescetarians avoid meat but eat fish.
Vegans avoid all foods that come from wildlife.
What Should Be Considered When Following A Vegetarian Diet?
There is no typical plan for a vegetarian diet. You can eat whatever you want – except food from killed animals.
A vegetarian diet usually consists of three to five meals a day. Those who do without meat usually eat healthier, since the nutrients contained in fish and meat, such as protein, zinc and iron, have to be consciously balanced in a different way. Vegetarians are often better supplied with vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and folic acid than people who eat meat and fish.
If you still want a meat-like taste, you can now find a large selection of meat substitutes in the supermarket – such as tofu schnitzel or soy sausages. However, many flavors and flavor enhancers are often added to these foods. The salt content is also often high.
Which Nutrients Are Important In A Vegetarian Diet?
Grain products, potatoes, legumes and plenty of fruit and vegetables are well suited to a vegetarian diet. So you can cover your need for vitamins and fiber.
Because meat and fish contain some nutrients, such as protein and iron, you need to get your needs from other foods when you’re on a vegetarian diet.
Vegetarians usually have no problem getting enough protein from plant-based products. Athletes can easily cover their protein requirements exclusively with plant-based foods. Legumes, nuts, seeds and grain products contain all the important protein building blocks.
Unlike vegans, vegetarians have fewer problems thinking about their vitamin B12 needs. The vitamin is found in dairy products, for example. So anyone who still eats cheese like Camembert or Emmental secures their supply. Nevertheless, you should keep an eye on the vitamin B12 level.
Omega-3 fatty acids
While a vegetarian diet is often rich in omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids are sometimes lacking. They are important for heart and vascular health, and for eye and brain development.
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