The Top Three Things You Need to Know About Being a Vegetarian!

Hello all you lovely people!  Are you thinking about being a vegetarian or already are but need some guidance? I’ve seen a lot of questions lately about being a healthy vegetarian and what’s true and what isn’t. There’s so much information out there it can be easy to get completely overwhelmed about what’s true and what isn’t so I wanted to put together a quick post of the top three things you need know about being a healthy vegetarian.

I am not vegetarian currently, but I spent a few years as a vegetarian and six years as a pescatarian. I started eating meat again when I got sick with Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth and meat was one of the only ten foods I could tolerate. So I’m very familiar with the vegetarian lifestyle and many questions that you may have.  I could go on forever about how to have a healthy vegetarian diet, but I decided to keep this snack-sized. So keep reading if you want to figure out how to eat healthy and what exactly you need to be eating to get all those yummy nutrients you need!

 

what it's like being a vegetarian

 

Does cutting out red meat mean I’ll get an iron deficiency?

 

You’ve heard this question before. Probably ALL of your friends, parents, teachers and even strangers have brought up your possible low iron levels. Don’t let the nosy cashier at Whole Foods get you down!

As a vegetarian, if you are lacking key foods in your diet, you may have vitamin deficiencies of B12, calcium, iron and zinc. I always believe in getting your nutrients and vitamins from whole foods as much as possible, but sometimes you have a deficiency whether you’re vegetarian or not. Later on, we will outline what you need in your diet to prevent these deficiencies, but to ensure that you have correct nutrition overall, sometimes it’s best to take a health supplement. There are all-natural supplements like turmeric and omega-3 that help your overall health, from providing antioxidants or reducing inflammation in your cells. Reading personal reviews of natural supplements is always helpful, which you can do on Authority Reports here.

Just because you’re cutting out meat from your diet doesn’t mean you’ll get an iron deficiency – but it’s also important to have regular blood tests to make sure your levels are good (I suggest this for everyone).

Women from around the age of 13 until their late 50’s should have twice as much iron intake as men their same age. This has to do with menstruation which can start as young as nine years old. Monthly loss of blood means depleted iron levels. If you’re feeling overtired and don’t feel rested after you sleep eight or nine hours, you may benefit from taking an iron supplement.

 



Do I need to eat tofu for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

 

 

Usually, if you’re just starting out being a vegetarian, figuring out the best food choices can seem impossible. Everyone and their mother associates being a vegetarian with tofu so it can be easy to simply rely on tofu as a food source, but that will not give you the varied nutrients you need.  You don’t need to just eat one food, nor should you, to be vegetarian. A vegetarian diet is extremely vast and your goal should be to create as colorful a plate as you can for breakfast, lunch, dinner and those delicious snacks. Brussels sprouts anyone!?

So, what foods do you need to eat to ensure you’re getting the correct nutrients? Besides taking natural supplements if you need to, which we already discussed, you should make sure you are eating a varied diet. Fruits and vegetables provide a plethora of vitamins, including iron and vitamin A, C, and E. Grains and fortified cereals contain vitamin B12 which is usually found in meat, as well as protein and zinc. Make sure you’re eating iron-rich foods like spinach and broccoli with vitamin C so the iron can be fully absorbed. And finally, you can get calcium from dairy products. See below for a more detailed list.

 

healthiest foods for a vegetarian

 

Add as many colors you can to your plate and limit your sugar intake and you’ll find eating a healthy diet is easy to follow. So, never fear, you can eat a lot more than tofu as a vegetarian!

Am I missing out on life by not eating meat?

 

Being a vegetarian

 

The answer to this question is…it’s up to you! People decide to start being a vegetarian for many reasons such as health, animal cruelty or not liking the texture of meat. Only you can decide if this lifestyle is the one for you. There’s no shame in trying something out and deciding it’s not for you. So if you’re on the fence definitely give it a try! A lot of people find that since they need to get their nutrients from other foods they eat a much more varied diet and end up getting more nutrients than they ever were before!

Adopting a vegetarian lifestyle can result in  having lower glucose levels, low blood pressure and low triglycerides, which all help you maintain a healthy weight.

The jury is out (isn’t it always?) on what red meat can and can’t cause, but right now it’s believe that cutting out red meat can reduce your risk of heart disease. The consumption of red meat, especially in large amounts, is thought to cause clogged arteries and increase your cholesterol level. There is also research that has been released that links eating red meat to cancer.

There is so much more I could cover about vegetarianism like how it helps protect the environment and prevents animal cruelty, but my goal is to help those who have decided to be vegetarian lead the healthiest veggie lifestyle they can! Hype!



 

Being a vegetarian can be a super rewarding lifestyle, but in order to be a healthy one you need to make yourself as knowledgeable as you can about what to eat to score the most nutrient points for your bod! Once I got over my carboholic ways when I first became vegetarian years ago I really loved how much it did for my complexion and energy levels.

I hope you enjoyed my post on the top three things you need to know about being a vegetarian and came away with a little bit more knowledge than you had when you started reading.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can lead a happy, healthier lifestyle check out my posts about how journaling can help you right now here and here.

 

 

Buddha Belly has received compensation for this post, but, as always, my opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting!

***This is not medical advice. If you have any questions about your health please speak with your doctor***

 

 

 

how to be a vegetarian and healthy

83 Comments

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 2, 2018 / 6:08 pm

      Thanks so much, Anita!

  1. March 2, 2018 / 6:15 pm

    Pinned to share…great article.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 2, 2018 / 7:29 pm

      Aw, thanks, Leah!

  2. March 2, 2018 / 6:21 pm

    So informative, nice post!!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 2, 2018 / 7:29 pm

      Thanks so much, Zeny!

  3. March 2, 2018 / 6:29 pm

    Love it! Even if everyone had two meat free dinners a week it would reduce the extreme use of resources that cultivating meat versus plants takes. 🙂

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 2, 2018 / 7:29 pm

      Very true! It’s so good to change things up too!

  4. March 2, 2018 / 6:31 pm

    This was a lot of helpful information! I always considered going vegetarian again for health reasons. My mom and sister are vegan. I tried it for like a month and failed lol but thank you for sharing!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 2, 2018 / 7:27 pm

      You’re more than welcome. I’m glad you gave it a shot!

  5. Carley
    March 2, 2018 / 6:54 pm

    This is such a great post! I’m not trying to go vegetarian, but I do want to do meatless Friday’s!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 2, 2018 / 7:24 pm

      I love the idea of meatless Fridays! I hope it goes amazingly. Plus it’s an opportunity to learn a bunch of new recipes 🙂

  6. March 2, 2018 / 7:39 pm

    This is so true!! I used to be a vegetarian and then vegan for about 10 years, it’s crazy how everyone just assumes tofu is the be all end all. Truth be told I never ate it. I didn’t enjoy it and found so many other ways to acquire protein.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 3, 2018 / 3:11 am

      Yeah, I always got the iron question and protein question. I’m amazed sometimes that people know so little about what they’re eating. I feel like there should be a basic life skills course in schools, haha!

  7. March 2, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    Great information and well presented! Thanks for the great image of the best foods to eat too! That will be handy later!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 3, 2018 / 3:11 am

      Thanks so much! I love images I can save. It makes remembering and learning so much easier.

  8. March 2, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    This was a very informative post, especially regards to the vitamins and nutrients your body needs in order to function properly. Meat gives us a lot of protein and if someone decides to become vegetarian, they need to find the same level of protein somewhere in other foods. I don’t know if I could be a vegetarian, as I do like meat, but I tend not to eat it in summer, when it’s too hot.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 3, 2018 / 3:10 am

      Thank so much! I think it’s definitely something you should do some research on before doing to make sure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Hopefully, I made it a little bit easier.

      I tend to eat a lot lighter in the stomach. So I completely get that.

      Thanks for reading!

  9. March 3, 2018 / 7:06 am

    I gave up meat for lent once and I realized that being a vegetarian wasn’t really my thing. with that said however as I get older, I find myself moving towards that because eating too much meat makes me feel heavy and not so good!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 3, 2018 / 7:37 pm

      It’s nuts how different diets suit people different and even how different diets are needed for just one person over their lifetime. So many things effect your microbiome from age to antibiotic usage and so much more.

  10. March 3, 2018 / 12:37 pm

    Always enjoying your posts, There are so many ways to keep your nutrition balances even when vegetarian.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 3, 2018 / 7:36 pm

      Thank you muchly! I totally agree.

  11. Erin
    March 3, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    Super informative post! I’m very tempted to go full veggie now x

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 3, 2018 / 7:13 pm

      Aw, thanks so much!

  12. March 3, 2018 / 2:01 pm

    These are great points to make to those who heard so many bad things about vegetarian life. Although I am not interested in being a vegetarian I do like a lot of the emphasis on including more veggies into our daily meals .

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 3, 2018 / 7:36 pm

      Learning different ways to cook and include more veggies was one of the best lessons I learned from being vegetarian!

  13. March 3, 2018 / 2:02 pm

    I like that you mentioned you can have a deficiency whether you are vegetarian or not! So true! Also, about using natural supplements; I do have deficiencies, am NOT vegetarian, gluten-free, or any other diet, and do use Supplements and they work!

  14. Elizabeth O
    March 3, 2018 / 3:14 pm

    This is a great post full of really handy information. I like that you provided a list of food that can help a vegetarian get all their nutrients.

  15. March 3, 2018 / 7:50 pm

    im not a vegetarian and im not planning on becoming one, but i loved the post it answer many questions i had about it. i am trying to eat more vegetables so i will use that list you post to incorporate them on my daily meals

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 3, 2018 / 9:56 pm

      Learning better ways to cook veggies made them infinitely more enjoyable to eat. I’m a huge brussels sprout fan now! Thanks so much for reading!

  16. March 4, 2018 / 1:20 am

    I’ve never really been a fan of meat… just the texture throws me off. I’ve been looking into other healthier option to substitute the meat in my dishes. This list helps a lot!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 4, 2018 / 2:19 am

      I’m glad it was helpful. I hear that a lot about meat for some people. I just couldn’t eat it after I read a book that went in-depth on how the animals are killed. The main thing that I want to go over in a later post is non-meat protein sources. I just didn’t want this one to be too long-winded.

  17. March 4, 2018 / 2:17 pm

    I’ve tried going vegetarian before but I realised it’s really difficult to do so if I’m in the only in my family doing that! More so, my bf is a carnivore! But I try my best to keep to more vegetables and less meat~

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 4, 2018 / 11:52 pm

      I completely understand the being the only one thing. It’s become more popular so it’s easier for vegheads to eat out, but when I was one even 9 years ago it was very difficult to eat at the same places as my friends and get enough food.

  18. Esme Sy
    March 4, 2018 / 5:23 pm

    Ah, so this is how people can be advocates for it. There really is a lot of misconception about eating only veggies and while I’m an omnivore, I think both sides still have it good and complete.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 4, 2018 / 11:51 pm

      Thank you! I was always surprised how fierce people can become about their preference of eating. Whether I was vegetarian or an omnivore I believe everyone should deserve respect and be able to make their own choices.

  19. March 4, 2018 / 7:48 pm

    Interesting post. Not a vegetarian, not thinking of becoming one. Its good to read about misconceptions and alternatives. Thanks for the food items that can provide good nutrients for us.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 4, 2018 / 11:51 pm

      You’re very welcome!

  20. March 4, 2018 / 8:00 pm

    I was a vegetarian for 9 years. People always seemed so concerned about protein but the truth is you can find it in so many different things.

  21. March 5, 2018 / 12:28 am

    I appreciate your choices and understand there are benefits, but I love my meat!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 5, 2018 / 12:58 am

      I’m actually a meat eater now too 🙂 I’m just sharing because there’s some common misconceptions about vegetarianism.

  22. March 5, 2018 / 8:15 am

    These are really useful advice for people thinking to become a vegetarian. I have never considered this possibility. In fact, I don’t like red meat very much, I only rarely prepare it, I buy around 250g of red meat a week and that is for our entire family of 4. But I do live with an iron deficiency ever since I can remember, which I complement with a berry juice preparation that I take daily.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 5, 2018 / 5:20 pm

      It’s great that you found a way to keep your iron levels up!

  23. March 5, 2018 / 4:52 pm

    Interesting post – I have been a vegetarian since birth – I don’t know any other way to be 🙂

    ❥ tanvii.com

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 5, 2018 / 5:18 pm

      Thanks so much! I’m guessing one of your parents was vegetarian?

  24. March 5, 2018 / 9:49 pm

    Great info on being vegetarian. didn’t know some of that very knowledgeable.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 12:38 am

      Thanks so much, Mark!

  25. Shubhada Bhide
    March 6, 2018 / 12:44 am

    Lots of information here about vegetarian. Thanks for sharing the food items that can provide good nutrients for us. Iw ill be pinned this.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 12:52 am

      Thanks so much!

  26. March 6, 2018 / 1:10 am

    Very informative post and extremely timely. Vegetarianism is on my mind but proving a little difficult to accomplish.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 2:56 am

      Always seems to be the mindset. Sometimes you just gotta take the plunge!

  27. March 6, 2018 / 1:58 am

    A lot of great information here!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 2:56 am

      Thanks so much, Tara!

  28. March 6, 2018 / 2:43 am

    Always know that you start to get more interested in a varied diet with becoming a vegetarian. That’s a good thing!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 2:55 am

      So true, Deborah!

  29. March 6, 2018 / 3:06 am

    I’ve been wanting to experiment with eating less meat, so this post was very helpful!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 4:58 am

      I’m so glad!

  30. March 6, 2018 / 5:37 pm

    Very informative post! I am very interested in a meat free diet so this was helpful! Pinned!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 6, 2018 / 5:38 pm

      Hi Lisa! Thanks so much. I’m glad you liked it.

  31. March 6, 2018 / 10:39 pm

    Great post. Lots of good information

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 7, 2018 / 4:59 pm

      Thanks so much, LaWann!

  32. March 6, 2018 / 11:22 pm

    I have considered a Vegetarian diet. I would definitely be keen but my Husband loves his meat so much and I couldn’t face cooking two meals every night!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 7, 2018 / 4:58 pm

      Try meatless Mondays! I am not a huge fan of cooking so I can understand that completely!

  33. March 7, 2018 / 4:15 am

    I have found that by eating vegan, I needed to up my calories by a ton. I had to incorporate protein at every meal to feel full and if I get less than what feels like a lot of calories, especially since I’m very active – I feel weak and have headaches.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 7, 2018 / 4:52 pm

      I could definitely see that. When I was a good vegetarian, and not a carbetarian, I would mix different fats into my foods to help keep me full longer and make sure that each meal had enough protein. It’s a balancing act, but it’s really nice once you find that perfect spot.

  34. March 7, 2018 / 9:42 am

    Awesome post! I try to be plant-based but still eat meat here and there. Loads of respect for vegetarians!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 7, 2018 / 4:48 pm

      I really want to get into meatless Mondays. My body really likes meat so I’m going to continue to eat it, but I’d love to play around with more vegetarian dishes again.

  35. March 7, 2018 / 9:51 am

    So straight forward and honest. I though all there was to being vegetarian is TOFU, which I do hate. So considering that there are so many options, I think I’ll start trying with meatless days.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 7, 2018 / 4:46 pm

      That’s what I’d really like to incorporate into my diet now. Meatless Mondays!

  36. Amy Blake
    March 7, 2018 / 2:34 pm

    Pinned for later, great post thanks for sharing!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 7, 2018 / 4:28 pm

      Glad it was helpful, Amy!

  37. March 7, 2018 / 6:30 pm

    Awesome post! Didn’t know this much about vegetarians so thank you for posting!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      March 7, 2018 / 11:18 pm

      So glad it was helpful!

  38. March 8, 2018 / 7:13 pm

    This is a great guide for anyone wanting to be a vegetarian. I’m not a fan of vegetables, so I’m not sure if I’d be able to make the switch.

  39. March 9, 2018 / 4:58 pm

    great educational piece!

  40. April 7, 2018 / 4:03 pm

    Sorry for this but being a vegetarian, it sucks. I switched to non veg when i was 19. My whole family is veg except me, the lone warrior. If you are a vegetarian and you go to gym, you have to chose for which is protein food which is not which is not in case of non veg.

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      April 8, 2018 / 9:30 pm

      No worries. I’m not one anymore either! As I said in my post, whatever diet is best for someone is extremely subjective and may also change as their body’s need change. It must be hard being being the only non-veg in a family of vegheads though! I hope they honor your choice.

      Not entirely sure what your last sentence was in reference too though 🙂

  41. May 28, 2018 / 5:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Jen! People definitely need more education on vegetarian diets.

    According to the leading dietetic organizations (such as ADA), vegetarian diets are nutritiously adequate and offer plenty of health benefits. The key is to practice them correctly and pay attention to important nutrients. I would definitely add omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D to that list.

    As for the heart disease, it’s way more than just belief. Numerous studies showed a drastic decrease in risk for vegetarians. I can send you the links to some of them if you ever wish to dig deeper.

    Thanks again and keep it up!

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      May 30, 2018 / 11:24 pm

      Hi Alex,

      So very true! I do like my omega-3s!

      I always just say belief because studies are always changing. Just like how we thought egg yolks could cause high cholesterol, but now we know that they don’t. Always gotta leave room for scientific growth! I’d love to see the studies so I can nerd out all over them!

      • June 1, 2018 / 3:07 pm

        Thanks a lot for your reply!

        Sure, I get your point. I’m preparing a comprehensive article about the health benefits of plant-based diets with tons of great studies&resources. Sending it over to you ASAP. I’d be privileged to hear your thoughts on it!

        Cheers and keep it up!

        • awaitressnomore
          Author
          June 7, 2018 / 12:42 am

          I look forward to reading it!

  42. June 13, 2018 / 3:13 am

    As a muscular male vegatarian (for the sake of example purposes) Id say my key points are 1. You can build muscle with vegetarian diets 2. Dont slack on nutrients…if you are slacking on diet, adjust it. If you cant get it in diet, take a multi. 3. Focus on fruits/vegetables…not just meatless junk and lasltly 4. You can get in over 160g of protein a day easy with a vegatarian diet (I get 3000 calories a day with over 180g protein daily without shakes, tofu, or soy products).

    • awaitressnomore
      Author
      June 13, 2018 / 12:37 pm

      Hi Ahmed,

      Thanks for the example and I’m so glad you’ve been able to make this lifestyle work for you!

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