According to different data around the world, vegetarians have the lowest rates of chronic diseases and the highest adult life expectancy. This is very good news and perhaps these facts will make you consider switching to a vegetarian diet.
You might wonder how you can produce delicious flavors without meat. If you use different spices, herbs, vegetable oils and cheese you might be amazed with the results. With the right combination, you can create very tasty meals. The main concern with a vegetarian diet is to get enough of all the essential nutrients that your body needs. By combining a variety of grains and vegetables, you can ensure a diet rich in nutrients with all the nine essential amino acids in adequate amounts. But before changing your diet, please consult your doctor.
The Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust has come up with a vegetarian food pyramid called the Traditional Healthy Vegetarian Diet Pyramid, see graphics below.
The guidelines below will give you an idea on how to obtain all necessary nutrients when switching to a vegetarian diet.
The Vegetarian Diet Pyramid is divided into 7 mini-pyramids and you should make sure that you eat a variety of foods from these 7 mini-pyramids. To make it easier, we have a list below on different types of food that you can choose from.
Several servings a day:
1. Fruits and Vegetables
Grapes, Raisins, Pears, Avocados, Oranges, Melon, Apples, Bananas, Plums, Cherries, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Collards, Sweet Potatoes, Peppers, Asparagus, Cucumber, Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Cabbage, Squash, Leeks, Eggplant, Celery, Lettuce
2. Whole Grains
Oats, Wheat, Rice, Buckwheat, Flax, Bulgur, Quinoa, Amaranth, Seitan, Millet, Barley, Whole Grain Bread, Rye, Pita, Tortilla, Rice Cakes, Couscous, Noodles, Kasha, Pasta, Corn
3. Legumes and Beans
Soy, Red Bean, Lentil, Kidney Bean, Tempeh, Tofu, Black-Eyed Pea, Dried Pea, Soy Flour, Textured Vegetable Protein, Navy Bean, Miso, Pinto Bean, Split Pea, Lima Bean, Chick Pea, Black Bean
Daily servings of:
4. Nuts and Seeds
Pine, Walnut, Pistachio, Brazil, Pecan, Almond, Sesame, Cashew, Pumpkin, Hazelnut, Macadamia, Peanuts, Peanut Butter, Almonds, Pistachios, Pine Nuts, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds
5. Egg Whites, Soy Milks and Dairy
Eggs whites, Soy Milk, Cheese, Yogurt
6. Plant Oils
Corn, Canola, Avocado, Olive, Soybean, Safflower, Peanut
Once a week:
Pie, Custard, Ice Cream, Cake, Cookies