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VeggieGlobal's
Nutrition Guide

In this section of VeggieGlobal we have provided an easy-read vegetarian nutrition guide - It also covers nutrition for vegans. Please remember that the information on this site is for general guidance only.
YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR MEDICAL PRACTITIONER FIRST BEFORE INITIALLY ENGAGING IN STRENUOUS PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES.
If you suffer from any nutritional deficiency or medical condition relative to your diet, you should seek professional medical advice from your doctor to make sure that your vegetarian diet is tailored to your individual needs.
Choose the "Vegetarian Nutrition Menu" on the left or read on.

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Introduction
The Harmonics of a Natural Diet

The following article may help you understand how to balance your body through natural dieting and exercise!

OK ... it's not an environmentally friendly comparison but ...
... different models of cars use different types and amounts of fuels and lubricants ... so do people!

If you have a car that runs on diesel then you don't fill it up with petrol, because you'll wreck the engine. A gauge shows you how much oil to add, and no more - again because you will damage the engine. And if you put the wrong amount of air in your tyres, your car becomes unstable. So, to avoid unnecessary problems you should follow the guidelines set out by the cars' manufacturer, and in most cases the highway code as well. Releasing the hand brake, driving off in first gear - turning corners at a comfortable speed and driving the right way down a one way street! This is how you treat your car so that it works without problems.

This admittedly bizarre automotive analogy suggests how you might treat yourself... your own body.
You need to add the right type of fuel ... that means the right kind of foods, then exercise it moderately and regularly. The more you gain awareness about what constitutes the smooth running of your physical and mental self, then you'll begin to feel all of the great benefits, which come about through careful life-maintenance. You'll be adding just the right type of "clean fuel" - and only as much as necessary!

Just because lots of chocolate cakes come in a single packet doesn't mean you have to eat them all at once! ... Imagine that just one cake is the equivalent to the maximum oil level for your car... any more and you'll damage the engine. Imagine a couple of glasses of lager as a complete tank of fuel. (Rather than being "tanked up" by 8 pints!) - The rest of the six-pack is irrelevant. Forget it ... if you pump excess into yourself, it would be like over-inflating the tyres on your car. You'll just skid and crash!

Too little fuel or air could be considered as lack of the correct nutrients leading to bad moods, tiredness, breathlessness, listlessness, pallor, and poor resistance to infection.
Don't allow your body to become immobile for too long. In other words, you'll just feel like you are driving with the hand brake on. Don't start off in fourth gear. Don't strain the engine! When you don't exercise it gets harder to force yourself to do so later on. Balance your food intake with exercise.
Only eat as much as you need ... don't prepare excessive amounts of food then force yourself (or anyone else) to eat it. Make less and eat it all.

SO, NOW THAT YOU ARE ON THE WAY TO FEELING HEALTHIER AND FITTER, YOU CAN HELP THE ENVIRONMENT BY LEAVING THE CAR AT HOME..... AND WALK!!!

But seriously though...

A human's natural dietary requirement may be considered a lost harmonic for many, particularly in the western world.

Even though the health-conscious amongst us forage around the supermarket shelves for non GM and additive-free products, there is little mental connection with our own psyche - the roots of our natural life-force. We need to establish what our bodies nutritionally need, and by rekindling and listening to our instincts, this lost connection can be revitalized. Abiding by some trendy diet regime doesn't constitute an understanding of our natural life-force and this means that the answer can lie within rather than written on a huge credit card statement thanks to some latest diet craze! Our natural life-force often harbours untapped instincts that could subliminally balance our bodies; so when you are consciously working with those instincts, you should in turn empathize with the physical mechanics of your body. When you finally learn how to tap into this naturally balanced circle of life maintenance, you'll find that you can subconsciously regulate your general well-being without cravings for food, loosing stamina or even loosing your temper!
By reading through the nutrition guide we hope that those untapped instincts will begin to awaken for you, so that eventually you'll be able to regulate a healthy balanced diet without even having to think about it.

Feeding off your instincts

What makes up a healthy diet is revised almost annually. The search for the perfectly balanced elixir of a long, fit and disease free life provides lucrative returns for researchers and food manufacturers worldwide. There will always be someone reaching for the ultimate ... and whoever makes the first life prolonging, body-shaping chocolate bar will be very rich!

From both ends of the social spectrum, true natural dietary balance may have become a lost sense of purpose. It's now distorted by social upbringing and lifestyle pressures. That's why many of us find it very hard to choose the right mixtures of healthy food, and still make eating an enjoyable pleasure. We simply depend on manufacturers to provide taste-enhancing, quick-fix packages to fill our needs. Many of us are confused or oblivious as to what constitutes a well balanced food intake. But many of us also assume that everything we buy from a supermarket, or even our health food shop is an assemblage of nutrients automatically containing the essential sustenance of life ... That, of course is shortsighted.

In the natural world, animals instinctively feed off nutrients essential for their survival ... (as long as their environment, hence their food source has not been destroyed by humans). Most humans have lost the natural ability to feel what is right for us. Therefore we understandably seek guidance.

If we are to keep our health in check, we are obliged to make conscious efforts to fulfill our nutritional needs. We should also consider the long term effects of a bad diet and how this can eventually cause discomfort not only for for ourselves, but also a strain for others around us in later years. Some of you may eventually need to depend on family and welfare services to look after you ... It may well be because you have eaten, drunk and smoked yourself into an obese couch potato.

There are variants and extremes. Most people simply conform to an unhealthy diet and an inactive lifestyle through ignorance, sheer habit and laziness ... Many elderly people falsely believe that because they are still alive, the platefuls of dead animals drenched in salt and fat, followed by sickly sweet pie and custard is not doing them any harm! it's strange how they avoid the truth; that they are treading on a very thin line between life and death - The fact that they may be on an assortment of life saving tablets or keeping their doctor busy when the warning bells occasionally ring seems of no consequence. In the other extreme, heads of the family might hand out a self-proclaimed dietary regime which may not suit all family individuals. Uneducated authority of this kind can lead to family members growing severely undernourished through lack of nutritional essentials. They may require far higher amounts of minerals or vitamins than others in the same family. At the opposite end of the scale, obese family heads overstuff and oversupply their obese children with unsuitable convenience food, which can equally bring on other increasingly common forms of nutritional deficiency. In fact, obesity has now reached epidemic proportions in the western world.

So whether you are a pale, fainting rake or a slab of nicotine-stained lard, the correct diet to help yourself throughout your life should go hand in hand with consideration towards others, for all different kinds of reasons.
Try to reevaluate and stamp out social interdependency with unhealthy food and then help to positively influence others around you who suffer the same bad habits.
You can stop the onset of self-inflicted illnesses which can otherwise arise from an unhealthy diet, smoking and other undesirable traits of yours and your family's lifestyle.
And don't just think of yourself ... think about others who might have to put up with your habitual ignorance.
And remember that important incentive; recent research has found that vegetarians live up to 6 years longer than their meat-eating counterparts. All nutritional research leads to the conclusion that a well balanced vegetarian diet is by far the best option for a healthy, long life.

The veggie trap

Another legacy of poor nutritional conditioning can effect meat eaters who have turned veggie. An "alternative" must take the place where meat once took center-stage on our plate ... Well, we can remain rather shortsighted by gauging our vegetarian requirements against meat like alternatives, but this limits rather than expands our adventures into culinary, veggie and vegan delights ... It can also lead to a poor nutritional balance.

Meat-like alternatives are highly processed products made generally from soy and other alternatives. Unlike the dangers of meat, there are no potential side effects, although they can contain similar artificial flavours and enhancers. Eating processed proteins just for the sake of emulating a meaty experience means we are simply taking up valuable tummy space which should be reserved for more natural products like vegetables, pulses, rice an natural soy; all foods containing nutrients, which the body can easily absorb and benefit from. Proteins are not necessary to maintain a healthy well balanced body but B12 and iron - which is normally found in meat is vital. Omega 3, normally found in fish is also essential to some extent. However, all these ingredients including Omega 3 can easily be found in vegetables and veggie supplements if you know where to look. (The rest of VeggieGlobal's nutrition guide will give you information on this.) With this in mind, it's important that vegetarians pay more attention to the amounts of vegetables on their plates instead of assuming that a veggie burger with a vague sprinkling of peas and chips is going to achieve a necessary balance of essential nutrients.

Try to forget the concept of always needing meat-like substitutes to fill the gap. Consider that meat, and therefore meat substitutes don't fall into your dietary equation. Reevaluate the ways you view and prepare natural foods. It may be that various textures of food on your plate are important to feeling essentially fulfilled ... The same goes for flavours. There are many chewy like textures that are pleasing to the palate like mushrooms and other fungi, some pastas, tofu, dough bases, sun-dried tomatoes etc.

For better or worse, textures and flavours of food are more important to many people than its nutritional value. But if you stay off artificially flavoured and chemically treated foods for a length of time, the flavours of natural foods will eventually become far more intense. In fact, you may find artificially enhanced foods quite repulsive after a couple years ... and, in many cases, if you tried such foods again you can actually taste the added chemicals! Even the unpleasant effects of pesticides on fruits etc. can be easily felt. Of course, GM foods bring a whole new frightening factor into the equation. But we leave that for another time.

For the meat eater turning vegetarian

From a lifetime of flesh eating, you may first need to take one step back before plunging into the really healthy zone! For this purpose there are, of course processed substitutes like soy etc. which can help your transition to a meat free diet. Remember that processed usually means that the product is full of additives and flavours. Natural and artificial flavours are similarly added to both meat based dishes and meat-like dishes. It's therefore likely that if somebody replaced meat lasagne with a soy alternative without you knowing, you wouldn't notice the difference!
Flavours constitute a satisfying eating experience as well as the texture. Herbs and spices compliment the texture rather than the actual flavour of meat itself. You normally identify meat through texture. So, as long as meat substitutes have almost an identical texture, you should have no trouble feeling comfortable about eating it, as it will no doubt be flavoured with your usual sauces, spices and gravies.

Alternatively, a careful balance of natural flavours can produce a magical meal ... all from selective proportions of vegetables and spices. So once you have eliminated the need of meat substitutes as a centre feature, then you can take your transition-to-veggie one step further! You can begin to prepare non-processed foods that are balanced in natural texture, natural flavour and nutritional value ... Then you have really cracked it!

When we are completely health-efficient with a natural veggie diet, then vitamin and mineral supplements may not be necessary. However, as we describe, it isn't easy to acquire a natural harmonic with such a healthy diet process. Therefore you may need to compensate on occasions with supplementary vitamins and minerals.

Finally

If you are a meat eater still contemplating the idea of becoming vegetarian, then you may wish to consider this final thought to help you with your decision.
Many vegetarians may have eaten meat themselves once ... perhaps even stuffing themselves with dead animals and overcooked vegetables smothered with mountains of salt, followed by sugary puddings ... all full of chemical additives! But, as every veggie will tell you, it's really never too late for change and the positive effects in many people can be seen and felt very quickly. In fact, the morals, ethics and health benefits can all tie together effortlessly. Once you are a healthy veggie you will probably end up hiding your look of horror when you have to sit at a table with meaties gorging on flesh and gelatin filled puddings. It's an epiphany that you can only truly relate to when that moment arrives. And when it does, wisdom should dictate how you deal with that "clear-conscience" feeling without coming across to others as self-righteous. If you strike the right social balance with others regarding your move to a vegetarian lifestyle, you may even find others following your example. Everyone benefits for health reasons, and of course, so do the animals ...
How cool is that!?

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Plenty more to read here at VeggieGlobal's nutrition site

Even being aware of what types of food to avoid may not mean you fully understand how to maintain a healthy balance in your bod! Tuning into which nutrients are important to maintain and improve your health means a few moments absorbing some of the following pages ...

Vegetarian Nutrition Menu
Introduction
Vitamins
Minerals
Protein Fibre E.F.As Carbohydrates
Antioxidants
Glycaemic Index
Not a lot of people know that...
Non-Veg*n Food Additives
Yum Stuff - Recipes
Veggie FAQs

 

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