I haven’t eliminated meat from my diet, but I have cut back sharply. If you are considering either going without meat, or cutting way back, you have probably wondered about what you will be missing in nutrition. Well, Dr. Robert Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter offered some worthwhile tips for just such a situation.
” … if you eliminate or markedly reduce only the meat in your diet, but still consume animal products such as dairy and eggs, and a wide variety of plant-based foods, you should have no problem getting adequate protein, iron, calcium and vitamin B-12.
“Even a vegan diet — which eliminates all animal-based foods, including dairy and eggs — provides adequate protein and iron if you get enough calories and eat a variety of foods, including soy products, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and dark green leafy vegetables.
“The only true nutritional issues for those who adopt a balanced vegan diet are:
• Calcium — If you don’t consume dairy products, a calcium supplement may be necessary. Other calcium sources include fortified products such as some types of tofu, soy milk, breakfast cereal and fruit juice. Dark green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli, also contain calcium.
• Vitamin B-12 — Some foods, such as breakfast cereals, are fortified with vitamin B-12. Still, you may need to take a vitamin supplement to get this important nutrient.
The key to a healthy meatless diet, like any diet, is to enjoy a variety of foods. No single food can provide all the nutrients your body needs.
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