Unhealthy vegetarian diet or healthy vegetarian diet? You may have just become a vegetarian or been a vegetarian for years. How healthy is your diet? Do you know?
As a new vegetarian, I didn't know what to eat. As a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I ate lots of eggs and cheese. My favorite dessert was ice cream. I was overweight.
If you're a new vegetarian, you may not know what to eat either.
If you've been a vegetarian for a while, you still may not be paying attention to getting all the nutrients your body requires.
If you're vegan, then without eggs and milk products, you'll want to pay even closer attention.
A balanced vegetarian or
diet is really quite easy if you just pay attention and eat the right foods.
Some experts advocate the vegan and vegetarian pyramids as published by USDA.gov
Other vegetarian and vegan experts suggest using the 4 Basic Food Groups. (Google John McDougall, Dean Ornish and other physicians who have programs using a vegetarian diet to heal or markedly improve disease conditions.)
The most important information I can offer is for you to avoid the popular processed foods of the rich, high fat American diet. French fries, soda, specialty ice creams, baked goods laden with trans fats to extend shelf life, excessive amounts of cheese, coffee with dessert like additives do not any of them support the health of your body.
Every day to get the nutrients you require, you'll want to eat whole foods, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, 5-9 servings of whole grain, and 2-3 servings of beans and legumes. Supplement with a variety of nuts and seeds in small amounts and you have the basics of a
Balanced Vegetarian Diet
Of course, you can still eat your favorite vegetarian foods.
If you're overweight you may want to increase your vegetables and decrease your hunger. If you're underweight, you may want to increase your whole grains and perhaps, nuts, to increase your calories.
A handy rule of thumb is eat 80-90% healthy foods and then allow yourself the 10-20% splurge on what your friends are eating or what you're craving.