Let’s Celebrate World Vegetarian Day!

There are many reasons for becoming a vegetarian.  Maybe you have an objection to killing animals, or you just don’t like the taste of meat.  Perhaps you feel it is a healthier alternative than a meat-based diet, or that fewer animals will reduce global warming.  You might even wish to stop eating meat for political or economic reasons.  Whatever the reason approximately 2.1 million Australians are vegetarians.

Becoming a vegetarian, however, doesn’t mean just cutting out meat.  There are some key nutritional needs that still need to be met.  Key essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, omega-3, vitamin B12 and protein are generally found in meat.  Why is it so important that we get sufficient of these elements:

Protein – is the building block of the human body.  It is essential to the production and repair of all the cells in the body.

Calcium – helps our blood to clot and our nerves send messages to our muscles.  Bones and teeth store calcium, so if we don’t take in enough, bones and teeth will be compromised.

B12 – helps prevent anaemia, keeps the body’s nerves and blood cells health and makes DNA.

Omega 3 – is one fat the body can’t produce on it’s own.  The risk of heart disease, dementia, depression and arthritis are all reduced by this fat.

Iron – helps produce the red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body.

Iodine – is needed to make the thyroid hormones which control the body’s metabolism and is vital in brain and bone development in babies.

So where can these elements be found in a vegetarian diet?  Here are some ideas that will help you find the nutrition you need, without compromising your principles or preferences:

Commonly Deficient Nutrient *Recommend Daily Intake4 Vegetarian Sources/Alternatives
Protein 46g Greek Yoghurt
Raw Cashews
Low Fat Cheese
Soy Milk
Borlotti Beans
Polenta
Calcium 1000mg Low Fat Cheese
Greek Yoghurt
Spinach leaves
Soy Milk
Bok Choy
Vitamin B12 2.4µg Vegemite
Eggs
Dairy – Milk
Omega-3 90mg Cheese
Dairy
Eggs
Iron 18mg Borlotti Beans
Canned 5 Bean Mix
Zucchini
Tofu
Iodine 150µg Iodised Table Salt
Bread (bakers’ wheat flour fortified)
Milk

If you would like to celebrate World Vegetarian Day be switching to a no-meat, or even just a less-meat diet, or you just want to ensure that you are getting optimum nutrition for your needs, call or email our Baulkham Hills clinic to make an appointment to see our Dietitian and Nutritionist.

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