It’s better for animals. Compassion for animals is one of the main reasons why people become vegetarian.
It’s more sustainable. Going vegetarian is one of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact. Growing grains and pulses to feed to animals is much less efficient than eating them ourselves. The livestock industry uses huge amounts of land, water and fossil fuels, while producing 18% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and all sorts of other pollution.
It’s a healthy option. A balanced vegetarian diet is one of the healthiest diets around. It is low in fat (especially saturated fat), high in complex carbohydrates and packed with a variety of fruits and vegetables
Many religions and faiths recommend vegetarianism and some people turn away from eating animal flesh because of broader ethical issues. A vegetarian diet can also be one of the cheapest ways to eat well.
Whatever your reasons, going – and staying – vegetarian is a positive life choice.
Nutritional guidelines for vegan diets: a summary
A vegan diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity. As with any diet, it is important to ensure that the vegan diet is well balanced. This can be achieved by adhering to the following guidelines:
5-a-day: a minimum five portions of fruit and vegetables should be eaten each day. Include a variety of different-coloured vegetables and fruit to ensure a range of health-giving vitamins and minerals.
Limit the use of refined grains since much of the nutrient content is lost. Whole grains, on the other hand, are associated with many health benefits.
Avoid hydrogenated fats, which are damaging to health. Good fats to provide are those containing omega 3, for example rapeseed oil, which has the additional benefit of being cheap and readily available.
Limit the use of salt.
It is important to provide sources of:
Vitamin B12: Readily available in fortified foods such as yeast extract, soya milk, breakfast cereal and margarine. Alternatively a supplement can be provided. Daily amount: 3 micrograms.
Iodine: Found in small amounts in green leafy vegetables and in larger amounts in seaweeds such as kelp. Daily amount: 150 micrograms.
Vitamin D2: Most D2 comes from sun exposure. If this is limited, fortified margarine or soya milk can provide some of the daily requirements. (Note: D3 is not suitable for vegans). Daily amount: 10 micrograms.
Omega 3: Daily amount: one heaped tablespoon of ground flaxseed or two tablespoons of rapeseed oil.
Plant Based Nutrition