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For health reasons, you have decided to adopt a vegetarian diet. Contrary to popular belief that vegetarians suffer from deficiencies, vegetarian meals, when well balanced, provide you with everything you need to stay healthy. In addition, it is an opportunity to discover new flavors.
In order to compensate for the lack of animal protein and possible deficiencies, it is important to choose your food carefully. To be balanced, the ideal vegetarian meal should include the following foods:
- cereals, preferably whole: rice, wheat, barley, buckwheat, quinoa;
- cooked vegetables, preferably seasonally.
- raw vegetables, for consumption at the beginning of a meal.
- a small amount of olive seeds: nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts
- germinated seeds, extremely rich in vitamins and minerals: alfalfa, sunflower, clover.
- First cold virgin oils: olive oil, olive oil, sunflower.
- vegetable proteins
- seasonal fruits, for consumption outside meals.
Vegetarian critics accuse it of low protein intake due to the exclusion of meat and fish. However, it is enough to choose the right foods to take advantage of adequate protein intake. Here are the main sources of vegetarian protein:
- Dairy products: consider goat’s or sheep’s cheese.
- legumes: in addition to rich in vitamins and minerals, Legumes are very high in protein. Choose from beans, red and white beans, green and coral lentils, chickpeas and peas.
- soy and its derivatives: tofu, miso and tempeh;
- Seitan (wheat gluten product)
The combination of cereals and legumes can meet all daily protein needs.
It is recommended to soak the legumes and cereals the day before to reduce the phytic acid they contain: this molecule can cause bloating in some people. Phytic acid, when present in excess, affects the absorption of inorganic salts, such as zinc or iron.