For the past few years, vegetarian recipes and snacks have been more and more popular as food choices around the world. While the number of vegans also increased, there are also many people who just go for vegetarian meals from time to time because they feel they’re healthier. But are they?
Mainly, yes, they are, just as any other type of food that is consumed correctly. However, there are many reasons people go for vegetarian meals that are simply not true and you deserve to know them too!
Myth #1: It’s hard for vegans/vegetarians to get enough protein
As most people know, the only reliable source of protein is meat. To be honest, I used to think that vegetarians have a really hard time in eating protein as well. But that’s not the reality.
In fact, plant-based protein includes plenty of fiber and less saturated fat, which makes veggies a great option to keep your heart healthy too. However, do note that, as a vegan/vegetarian, you need to consume more protein than a meat-eater because legume protein has lower digestibility than animal ones.
Plant-based protein sources: lentils, peas, peantus, soy products, whole grains, nuts, seeds
Myth #2: Only dairy makes your bones stronger
Contrary to popular beliefs, dairy isn’t the only food category that helps you build strong bones. First of all, let’s see which nutrients are needed for strong, healthy bones. Some of the most important ones are calcium, vitamin D and protein.
If you are planning to give up on dairy, you need to make sure that you get your daily dose of calcium-rich foods. Among your best meal choices there are cereals, orange juice and tofu. Also, you can help your body retain nutrients in a better way through physical exercise such as yoga, running or strength training.
Plant-based nutrient sources: spinach, cereal, tofu, fruit juice, broccoli, kale.
Myth #3: Vegetarian diets aren’t good for pregnant women or children
As long as you choose a balanced diet that meets your needs, being vegetarian or vegan is far from being a cause of health problems. And yes, this is also applicable for pregnant women, children and athletes. It’s all about offering your body enough nutrients and vitamins.
Pregnant ladies, for instance, need extra iron for a healthy baby development, as well as vitamin C. However, iron coming from vegetal sources is harder to absorb by the body. This problem can be fixed by eating combinations between foods containing vitamin C and iron (listed below).
Children of all ages won’t suffer from any growth problems by being vegetarian/vegan either. Of course, just like athletes, they need some extra protein; therefore, make sure that their diet includes many fruits and legumes rich in protein.
Vitamin C and iron combinations: beans and salsa, broccoli and tofu, black-eyed peas and collard greens.
Myth #4: Anything vegetarian is healthy
This is probably one of the most ridiculous statements about vegetarian meals. Just because a label says ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian,’ it doesn’t mean it’s healthy; in fact, it could be just as bad for your body as any other food choice on the market.
Let’s take, for example, cookies. This delicious treat may be vegetarian, but it still contains plenty of sugar, oils and preservatives that don’t do you any good. This is also the main reason why vegetarian and vegan people can gain weight just as easily as any other food eater.