What foods do lacto-vegetarians eat?
Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products, such as yogurt, butter, and milk, along with fruits, grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes (beans, lentils, etc.).
Can I and my children get enough protein if we become vegetarian?
It is very easy, if one eats a reasonably varied diet, to get plenty of protein. Milk is a complete protein, which means that it contains all the essential amino acids. Other foods such as beans, grains, soy products, fruits, and vegetables, provide varying amounts of amino acids. Meat substitutes made with high quality vegetable protein are now widely available in supermarkets and natural food stores.
How can I get a substantial, satisfying meal as a vegetarian?
Whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruit contain complex carbohydrates which provide optimum energy and a feeling of satisfaction. When adjusting to the vegetarian diet, it is best to substitute high quality vegetarian protein for the meat portion of the meal. Make a list of filling, nutritious vegetarian items that appeal to you and rotate them into your diet. Either use prepared mock-meat substitutes or try new recipes. Since vegetarianism has become so popular, there are hundreds of vegetarian cookbooks on the market. They are available for a range of ethnic preferences: low-fat and specialty diets, vegetarian teens, entertaining needs, quick-and-easy recipes for those on-the-go, gourmet meals, etc. We recommend Vegetarian Creations by SK Publications. This book was developed with the new vegetarian in mind as well as the experienced vegetarian cook. It has excellent kitchen-tested recipes that can be used for entrees, side dishes, breads, soups, appetizers, desserts, salads, and more.
Are vegetarians really healthier?
Not only are they healthier, but research shows that their quality of life is better. An excess of protein, which is common in Western meat-centered diets, can put a strain on the liver, kidneys, and digestive system. Meat is also high in saturated fat and cholesterol, both of which impact cardiovascular disease. One of the unique benefits of a vegetarian diet is a reliance on natural grains and vegetables, which in turn reduces the risks of colon cancer and diverticulosis.
The director of the renowned Framingham Heart Study (1990) concluded: “Some people scoff at vegetarians, but vegetarians have a fraction of our heart attack rate and they have only 40 percent of our cancer rate … On the average, they outlive other men by about six years, and they outlive other women by about three years.” Dietary cholesterol is found only in foods of animal origin. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that the public reduce its consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, and “increase consumption of whole grain foods, cereal products, vegetables, and fruits.” (Sources: Science, Feb. 1974, pg. 416, and Burkitt, D., British Medical Journal, 1:274, 1973; National Research Council, Recommended Dietary Allowances, 9th ed., p.46. British Journal of Urology, 51:427, 1979)
An interesting note: The most common cause of death in the United States is heart disease. The risk of death from a heart attack for the average American male is 50%. The risk of death from heart attack for an American male who consumes no meat is 15%. (Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, 215; 1617, 1971)