Whatever your reasons for wanting to become a vegetarian, it can most certainly be said that it is a wise choice for your health! The digestion of animal protein is a very taxing process for the digestive organs. Often, animal protein can leave behind unnecessary toxins which then also place an additional burden on the kidneys and our other excretory organs in order to remove them from our body. We also know that animal products often contain high levels of saturated fat which can lead to cardiovascular stress,cancer, weight gain and an overall sense of fatigue and low energy.
Switching to a diet regime high in fruits and vegetables will help to cleanse the body of any built up toxins and can also help people to lose weight. However it is important to understand that as healthy as these foods are, they will not provide all the nutrients your body needs on their own!
A lot of people choose to become vegetarian without understanding the nutrients they may end up lacking as they cut animal products out of their diet.
Animal products such as meat and poultry, plus dairy and fish provide us with an abundant source of:
B Vitamins (specifically B12)
When animal and dairy products are removed from the diet without making appropriate substitutions in their place, the above nutrients can become deficient leading to more harm than good.
It is also important however to note that when making substitutions, don’t go overboard as the foods people tend to eat to ensure protein from non-animal sources can end up leaving a person overly acidic and therefore prone to inflammatory conditions.
Proteins are made up of varying combinations of amino acids. Some are considered non-essential because your body can produce them internally whereas others are considered essential in that we MUST obtain them from food in order for our body to thrive. The list of essential amino acids is:
To ensure optimum protein intake, we must attempt to gain all of the essential amino acids in our meals. Vegetarian food sources that will ensure you get all 9 essential amino acids include:
Eggs (for lacto-ovo vegetarians only)
Since the list of available sources of all essential amino acids isn't huge, it is important that you learn how to employ proper food combining. For example, eat rice and beans together to ensure complete protein intake. Rice and beans both contain SOME essential amino acid but not ALL of them but when they are eaten together your protein profile is complete.
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