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Vegetarian and Vegan Healthy Eating

Study after study has revealed the importance of a balanced diet to good 

health.  Eating a balanced diet, one that is rich in all the various 

minerals and vitamins needed for a healthy body, can present quite a 

challenge for vegetarians and vegans.

That is because maintaining a good balanced diet in the absence of one 

entire food group, such as meat and poultry, can be difficult.  Meat and 

other animal products contain significant amounts of important nutrients, 

such as protein, calcium and B vitamins.

Vegan diets present an even larger problem, since vegans go a step farther 

and eliminate dairy products and eggs as well as meat.  Vegans in particular 

often have trouble getting vitamin B12 they need and often must rely on 

vitamin supplements for this important nutrient.

Of course that doesn’t mean that vegetarians and vegans can’t enjoy good 

health.  Many vegetarians and vegans can and do enjoy levels of health much 

better than their carnivorous peers. It simply means that vegetarians need 

to pay somewhat closer attention to their dietary needs, and to be on the 

lookout for signs of dietary deficiencies.  The key to a healthy vegetarian 

or vegan diet, as with all types of diets, is practicing moderation, eating 

a variety of foods, and keeping nutritional needs in balance.  

One of the most frequently cited concerns by family members and friends of 

vegetarians and vegans is how they will get the protein they need from a diet 

devoid of animal flesh.  However, getting sufficient protein is usually not a 

concern for vegetarians, since most American diets tend to contain more 

protein than they need.

Vegetarians who eat dairy products can get all the protein they need from 

dairy products, from soy based products and from beans, nuts, lentils and 

seeds.  There are many non-animal sources of protein, so most vegetarians 

shouldn’t have a problem getting sufficient protein.

Even vegans, who refuse all animal based products, including milk and dairy 

products, typically don’t have a problem with protein deficiency. That is 

because nuts, seeds, lentils, pinto beans, split peas, soybeans, garbanzo beans, 

black beans, white beans, kidney beans, navy beans and many more all have lots 

of protein. Even if you are not a vegetarian or vegan but are on a restricted 

animal protein diet, you can benefit from the information here.

Vegan meals are often rich in tofu and other soy based products, and these 

products contain sufficient protein to meet the needs of most vegans. In 

addition, the many bean based vegan recipes are excellent sources of protein. 

For instance, a cup of cooked beans contains the same amount of protein as a two 

ounce serving of meat.

As with protein, nutritional deficiencies are generally of no more concern to 

vegetarians than they are to the general population. Vegetarians who follow a 

balanced, nutritious diet should have no problem meeting their daily nutritional 


Vegans on the other hand, are more susceptible than vegetarians to nutritional 

deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D.  That is because 

the most common sources of these important nutrients are all animal based, either 

meat or dairy products.  

Of these three nutrients, the hardest to replace on a vegan diet is vitamin B12.  

The primary sources of vitamin B12 in the diet are all animal based.  For this 

reason, vegans are generally advised to take vitamin B12 supplement, or to eat 

foods that have been fortified with vitamin B12.  There are a number of such foods 

on the market, including nutritional yeast and soy milk.

Calcium is also a concern for vegans, since the primary sources of dietary calcium 

are milk and other dairy products.  Again, calcium fortified foods such as some soy 

milk and certain cereals are important to maintaining a healthy vegan diet.  The 

same is true of vitamin D, another primarily animal based nutrient.

The bottom line is, it is possible to maintain excellent health while avoiding meat 

and dairy products.  The key is to follow a well balanced diet, get plenty of 

exercise, and make smart food choices.

Self Confidence Magazine
Self Confidence Magazine
We believe that self confidence is the most important factor in happy and fulfilling life. This is why our mission is to help billions of people who struggle with self confidence.


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