Vegetarian Myths

After 15 years of being a vegetarian, I find myself trying to convince people every day that following a vegetarian lifestyle is a healthy, if not healthier, way of life.

Although I am not an expert in nutrition, I have been forced to educate myself on this issue as most of my learning has been through trial and error. It is also worth noting that I am not a vegetarian who cannot be around people who are eating or cooking meat. In fact, my fiancé eats meat. However, I do feel that there is a meat eater stigma around vegetarians that suggests it is not healthy way of life.

As a result, I have outlined below what I find to be the biggest “myths” about being a vegetarian. Please keep in mind while reading this list that either diet can be unhealthy and you must ensure that you are getting the appropriate nutrients and vitamins.  

Without further ado, here are my favorite things people say that may or may not make me think a little less of them:  

It’s difficult to eat as a vegetarian. You will probably end up eating meat again.”
Let me start by saying, go read my last blog post. There are so many amazing vegetarian recipes that are easy and leave you feeling just as satisfied as a meat recipe. Eating vegetarian is NOT difficult. It is just not something you have to get used to. What I suggest people do, is trying eating vegetarian once a week. Once you start looking at recipes you will find that there are endless, delicious meals waiting for you.

Vegetarians do not get enough protein.”
This is in fact, wrong.  As stated by The Harvard School of Public Health, vegetarians can get complete proteins with all of the amino acids one needs from any animal-based protein, including dairy products and eggs. Aside from dairy products, there is also an extensive list of high protein foods for vegetarian such as lentils, chickpeas, tempeh, black beans, nuts, tofu, quinoa and various protein supplements. What most meat eaters do not understand is that they are actually eating too much protein. That’s a whole different blog post though…

You won’t have any energy
If you feel like you have low energy it is probably because you are eating to many processed foods. This can be true for meat eaters as well. For a vegetarian, this could mean that you are not getting enough B12 or iron. These nutrients can both be found in dairy, eggs, and plenty of other meatless products. There are also B12 and iron supplements available at most supermarkets.

 

 

Advertisements

My Favourite Meatless Substitutes

I became a vegetarian at 11 years old. However, none of my other family members were vegetarian or knew how to respond to me becoming a vegetarian so I like to say I started as a “carbetarian.” My mom never knew what to make for me and always thought it was a phase I was going through, so for our meals she would just give me larger portions of everything but the meat. Most of the time this meant more carbs.

This is how the first five years of being a vegetarian went for me and needless to say, my health took a toll. I became severely anemic and lacked many vitamins. After this realization, my Mom and I decided it was time to become a healthy vegetarian. Now that I am older I try to avoid many of the “meatless” options as I do not think that they are my healthiest option, but there are some really good brands that I would like to mention that are great substitutes for families with young adults who have also decided to go vegetarian.

In no specific order, here are my top recommendations for meatless substitutes:

  1.  Yves Meatless Ground Round Original – This item is easily substitutable for any recipes asking for ground beef. With this item I was able to enjoy easy dinners such as vegetarian chilli, tacos or lasagna.
  2. Gardein chick’n scallopini – With options such as the Gardein chick’n scallapini I was able to enjoy dinners when my family had meat portions such as chicken, steak, or pork chop. These products come already seasoned, so all my mom had to do was cook mine in a separate dish at the same time.
  3. Tofurkey Deli Slices – These sandwich slices allowed me to take sandwiches to school again. These are easily substituted for regular meat deli sandwiches and come in a variety of flavours.
  4. Tofurkey – One of the hardest parts about becoming vegetarian was holiday dinners. When everyone looked forward to turkey or ham I had to look forward to mashed potatoes and veggies. With this product I was able to enjoy dinner again. This product is known for its turkey like texture and flavour and is a product even my meat eater family members enjoy.

These are my personal four favorite meat substitutes for convenience.  All of the websites showcase all of their products as well as great recipes that can be made using their products. For an individual who is just becoming a vegetarian, I would highly recommend trying these products and checking out the website.