1. Think about protein
You can easily meet your daily protein needs by eating an array of plant-based foods. Fill out your meals with beans, lentils, nuts, rice, and soy products like tofu and tempeh. Don’t rely on a hefty portion of cheese to fill the protein gap since cheeses often add saturated fat.
2. Consider calcium
The mineral calcium plays a vital role in overall health, including achieving and maintaining healthy teeth and bones. Vegetarians can meet their calcium requirements by including calcium-rich dairy products (milk, cheese, and yogurt) in meals and snacks. (One 8-ounce glass of milk provides 256 milligrams of calcium, which is about one-fourth of the recommended daily intake of 1,000milligrams per day for adults age 50 and under and 1,200 milligrams for age 51 and older recommended by the Institute of Medicine.)
If you’re lactose intolerant, a vegan, or simply want to incorporate other nondairy sources of calcium into your diet, you have options. Some of those other sources include fortified breakfast cereals, soy products such as tofu made with calcium sulfate and soy milk, soybeans, soynuts, calcium-fortified fruit juices, and some dark-green leafy vegetables including collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, bok choy, broccoli, Chinese cabbage, kale, and okra. When you are shopping for tofu, be sure to look carefully at the nutrition label to verify that the tofu you are buying is made with calcium sulfate; nigari (magnesium chloride) is another common coagulating agent used to make tofu, but it has a lower calcium content.
Keep in mind that calcium can be finicky. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the calcium absorption from most foods, including dairy products and grains, is about the same, but calcium can be poorly absorbed from foods high in oxalic acid (found in spinach, sweet potatoes, and beans) or phytic acid (found in unleavened bread, raw beans, seeds, and nuts). These acids bind with the calcium in these foods and prevent its absorption, but they don’t prevent the absorption of calcium from other foods eaten at the same time. It’s best to eat a variety of calcium-rich foods over the course of the day to make sure you are meeting your needs.
3. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, more matters (and color counts)
Whole fruits and vegetables are some of the best foods you can eat. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and brimming with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They play an important role in staving off heart disease and stroke, managing blood pressure and cholesterol, helping prevent certain types of cancer, protecting vision, and maintaining a healthy digestive system.
And color is certainly key—the vitamins and phytochemicals that give plants their brilliant colors work as antioxidants, immune boosters, and anti-inflammatories in humans.
The best way to benefit from these healthy compounds is to eat a variety of fresh produce based on color; you can use the tools at MyPyramid.gov to figure out how many fruits and vegetables you need to eat each day.
4. Eat seasonally
Since fruits and vegetables are an important part of a vegetarian diet, flavor and freshness are vital, and the best way to achieve both is to buy fruits and vegetables in season. This practice offers a variety of benefits.
When you buy fresh produce in season, you don’t have to do much to them to make them taste extraordinary. From the arrival of summer’s squashes, peaches, and tomatoes to the cranberries, oranges, and Brussels sprouts you’ll find in winter, each season offers some-thing unique and delicious to keep your palate happy.
Eating fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness is also a boon to your health as well as your wallet. You’ll benefit from all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants these colorful plants have to offer, and since there’s often an abundance of fruits and vegetables during the harvest season, you’re more apt to find bargains at the grocery store.
5. Go for whole grains
All grains start out as whole grains, which means that they still contain the germ, endosperm, and bran. The bran is full of filling fiber, which keeps you full, while the germ and endosperm contain beneficial antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other healthful compounds. Processing, however, can remove one or more of these components, making refined grains less healthful. Research has shown that eating whole grains helps lower your risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
6. Also remember iron, zinc, and B12
In addition to protein and calcium, vegetarians need to get adequate amounts of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.
Iron carries oxygen in the blood, and iron deficiency can leave you feeling tired. Vegetarian sources of iron include iron-fortified cereals as well as spinach, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, turnip greens, whole-wheat breads, peas, dried apricots, prunes, and raisins.
Zinc is necessary for a variety of functions including helping maintain the immune system and keeping it functioning properly. Zinc sources include a variety of beans (white beans, kidney beans, and chickpeas), cereals fortified with zinc, wheat germ, milk and milk products, and pumpkinseeds.
Vitamin B12 is found primarily in animal products and some fortified foods. Vegetarians can get it from milk products, eggs, and B12-fortified products including some breakfast cereals, soy-based beverages, and vegetable burgers.
7. And don’t forget fiber
Not only are high-fiber foods tasty (think hearty stews with beans and desserts with fresh apples and pears), but they also help control hunger, lower cholesterol, and maintain digestive health. Fiber is the part of plant foods that our body can’t digest or absorb into the bloodstream, which means it doesn’t provide us with any calories, but it does flush the digestive system as it moves through our bodies.
The American Dietetic Association (ADA) recommends eating 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily, but estimates show that most of us fall short of that, consuming only about 14 grams daily. Boosting your fiber intake is easier than you might think. It helps to think in groups of 10—getting 10 grams in the morning, 10 at lunch, and 10 at dinner. Swap your standard breads and pastas for 100-percent whole-wheat varieties. Trade out your breakfast cereals for bran or oatmeal, and whole-wheat couscous for white rice—little changes like these add up to big benefits. Here are some other simple substitutions and tips:
- Eat the skin. Whether it’s an apple, pear, or potato, most of the fiber is in the skin.
- Read the Nutrition Facts labels for cereals. While 5 grams of fiber is good, 8 grams or more is better.
- Choose breads and crackers that have at least 2 grams of fiber per slice or serving.
- Cook vegetables briefly. The longer vegetables cook, the more fiber they lose. Try steaming them until they’re crisp-tender to retain most of the fiber content. Also, snack on raw vegetables. Salads, with their vegetables and seeds or nuts toppings, make a good high-fiber option.
Calcium is the main mineral that helps to build strong bones and teeth, but you might worry about not having enough calcium. Fear not, as it really isn’t a difficult task, but how so?
Eating varieties of fruits and vegetables aid in our daily calcium intake, as the amount of calcium available in vegetables is considerably higher than in meat. Food rich in calcium includes tou fu, beans and beans products, sesame, almond, orange, kiwi fruits and green leafy vegetables, and the protein in these foods help in calcium absorption!
Besides that, exercising is also a good way to improve calcium absorption.
Let us embrace vegetarianism, as a way to show appreciation to our parents for giving us a healthy body.
Proteins are known as the building blocks of life: In the body, they break down into amino acids that promote cell growth and repair. (They also take longer to digest than carbohydrates, helping you feel fuller for longer and on fewer calories—a plus for anyone trying to lose weight.) You probably know that animal products—meat, eggs and dairy—aregood sources of protein; unfortunately, they can also be high in saturated fat and cholesterol. What you may not know is that you don’t need to eat meat or cheese to get enough protein. Here are 14 good vegetarian and vegan sources, and tips on how to add them to your diet today.
1. Green peas
Foods in the legume family are good sources of vegetarian protein, and peas are no exception: One cup contains 7.9 grams—about the same as a cup of milk. (For the record, women should get about 46 grams of protein per day, and men need about 56.) If you don’t like peas as a side dish, try blending them into a pesto, says Elle Penner, RD, nutritionist for MyFitnessPal and blogger at Nutritionella.com. “I blend frozen peas, toasted pine nuts, fresh mint, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese and serve over linguine,” she says. “It’s one of my all-time favorite meat-free meals!”
Most grains contain a small amount of protein, but quinoa—technically a seed—is unique in that it contains more than 8 grams per cup, including all nine essential amino acids that the body needs for growth and repair, but cannot produce on its own. (Because of that, it’s often referred to as a “perfect protein.”) Plus, it’s amazingly versatile: Quinoa can be added to soup or vegetarian chili during winter months, served with brown sugar and fruit as a hot breakfast cereal, or tossed with vegetables and a vinaigrette to make a refreshing summer salad.
3. Nuts and nut butter
All nuts contain both healthy fats and protein, making them a valuable part of a plant-based diet. But because they are high in calories—almonds, cashews, and pistachios for example, all contain 160 calories and 5 or 6 grams of protein per ounce—choose varieties that are raw or dry roasted. Nut butters, like peanut and almond butter, are also a good way to get protein, says Penner: “Look for brands with as few ingredients as possible—just nuts and maybe salt,” she says. “Skip the ones with hydrogenated oils or lots of added sugar.”
There are many different varieties of beans—black, white, pinto, heirloom, etc.—but one thing they all have in common is their high amounts of protein. Two cups of kidney beans, for example, contain about 26 grams (almost the same as a Big Mac, which has 25 grams!). And you don’t have to make beans from scratch to reap their nutritional benefits, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, author of Doctor’s Detox Diet. “If you want to buy them dried and soak them overnight before you cook them, that’s fine,” she says. “But it’s also perfectly okay—and much easier—to buy them canned, rinse them, and heat them up over the stove.”
Also known as garbanzo beans, these legumes can be tossed into salads, fried and salted as a crispy snack, or pureed into a hummus. They contain 7.3 grams of protein in just half a cup, and are also high in fiber and low in calories. “You can make a really great meal with some whole-wheat flatbread, some veggies, and some homemade hummus,” says Gerbstadt. “Just toss a can of chickpeas in the blender with some herbs and some tahini or walnut oil and you’re good to go.”
Why be a vegetarian?
The gratitude section of <<Filial Piety Scripture>> mentions: “The Buddha told the disciples, “If you wish to repay your parents’ kindness, write out this sutra on their behalf. Recite this sutra on their behalf. Repent your transgressions and offenses on their behalf. For the sake of your parents, make offerings to the Three Jewels. For the sake of your parents, observe the precepts and fast. For the sake of your parents, practice giving and cultivate good deeds. If you are able to do these things, you will be known as filial children. If you do not do these things, you are people destined for the hells.”. Thus, being a vegetarian is one of the ways to repay the filial piety. It purifies our bodies and minds. By practicing vegetarianism, we not only grow compassion but also reduce our desires, leading to being environmental friendly from within our mind and soul.
Tips for a healthy vegetarian diet
1) Diversification of food intake helps us to keep the nutrient balance and body healthy.
|Protein||Beans, soy foods, whole grains, broccoli, cauliflower, nuts, dairy products* Eating different types of fruits, vegetables and beans to meet the need of body for a variety of essential amino acids|
|Calcium||Curd / tofu, beans, black sesame, milk, kale, cabbage|
|Vitamin D||Exposure to direct sunlight for 15 minutes a day, sun dried mushrooms and edible fungi, foods fortified with vitamin D|
|Iron||Beans (eg. soybeans, red beans), spinach, tofu, cabbage, raisins and etc|
|Vitamin B12||Milk, yogurt, nutritional yeast and other foods fortified with vitamin B12, eggs, nutritional supplements|
|Omega 3||Flaxseed oil, walnuts, seaweed (eg. nori, seaweed), broccoli|
|Starch||Rice, brown rice, root vegetables (eg. potatoes, sweet potatoes)|
2) Avoid processed and fried food
3) Drink more water, exercise regularly, proper schedule of work and rest makes you in very good health.
In addition to the bodily actions of being a vegetarian disciple, we also have to develop the “heart of a vegetarian”. Taking good care of our body and mind is a true way to repay our parental love. =)