Vegetarians are nothing new in our society. In contrast to the vegan trend, vegetarianism has been known for decades. The vegetarian diet often focuses on ethics, ecological aspects and health. So it's about animal welfare, CO₂ emissions but also the belief that it's healthier not to eat fish and meat. But is that actually the case? Do you live healthier as a vegetarian? This question is examined in more detail in this article.

The definition of vegetarianism

The classic The definition of vegetarianism means that with this diet you do not eat products from dead animals: Fish, meat but also gelatin and collagen powder (skin, tissue and bones from dead animals) are therefore taboo in the vegetarian diet. However, eggs and dairy products and honey, which are produced from live animals, are allowed.

Now there are a few different ones Variants of vegetarianism that deviate somewhat from the classic vegetarian diet: Pescetarians, ovo-vegetarians, ovo-lacto-vegetarians and pollo-vegetarians The most well-known special forms of vegetarian nutrition in this country are:

  • So-called Pescatarians eat though Fish & seafood (and also eggs, dairy products and honey) but no meat.

  • Ovo-vegetarian eat like classic vegetarians, avoid but additionally any Dairy products , so the remaining animal products are eggs and honey.

  • A sub-form of ovo-vegetarian living Ovo-lacto vegetarians , who avoid all animal products (including honey) with the exception of eggs. Consuming eggs is also the only difference from a completely vegan diet that does not contain any animal foods.

  • The last known special form of vegetarian nutrition is practiced by... Pollo-vegetarian : In this milder form only avoided red meat . Fish, seafood and white meat such as chicken and everything else in the classic form of vegetarianism is eaten.

How healthy is the vegetarian diet?

First of all, it should be emphasized that nutrition is very individual and depends on the personal microbiome (composition of the microorganisms in the intestine) but also depends heavily on your genetic origins as to whether you can live a healthy life with special diets. Someone with Scandinavian roots, the typical “Viking type” will in most cases have more difficulty with one vegetarian diet than someone from India or countries that are close to the equator. There the body has adapted to more vegetables and fiber, whereas the Nordic type does better with fish and meat but not an excessive amount of fiber. So you should always listen to your body when it comes to nutrition healthy intestines reacts to things that are not designed for its microbiome and its genetics: flatulence, malaise, inflammation in the oral mucosa or stomach pain, but also a lack of energy are typical signs that the body needs other nutrients.

For some, a vegetarian diet can be health-promoting - taking into account certain points mentioned below - but not for others.

If you want to follow a vegetarian diet in this country, you should be especially aware that without animal foods you can provoke deficiency symptoms: iron and vitamin B12 deficiency but also the lack of sufficient omega 3 fatty acids and essential fatty acids  amino acids can have serious health consequences.

Nutrients Vegetarians – these are the challenges of the diet

As already mentioned, there are some challenges for people who are eat a vegetarian diet . Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in some plant foods, but in lower bioavailability and in much smaller quantities. Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency symptom among vegetarians - but vitamin B12 is also an important issue. Essential amino acids are also significantly less represented in plant foods; they are found in larger quantities in meat and fish. However, organic eggs and sheep and goat milk products can be a good source for vegetarians. Advocates of the vegetarian diet often argue that there is also a lot of B12 and iron in wheat bran, but they ignore the fact that this cannot be absorbed at all because grain contains enzyme-inhibiting substances that prevent the absorption of such micronutrients.

vegetarian You should regularly check your blood values ​​with a doctor and especially keep an eye on the two micronutrients mentioned. If a deficiency occurs, you will talk to your doctor about substituting the substances.

Vegetarian diet – 4 tips: How vegetarians stay healthy

You can live healthily without fish and meat in your diet, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. The following tips will help you eat a healthy vegetarian diet:

1. – Proper protein intake

The complete Amino acid profile that is relevant to us humans must be covered. In order to achieve this goal, quinoa, gluten-free oatmeal, buckwheat and rice as well as various nuts and nut flours should be regularly included in the diet. For vegetarians, organic eggs and - assuming the intestines are healthy - goat and sheep's milk cheese and their quark and yoghurt are also included.

There are now also a few products such as sunflower mince, which is made from sunflower seed protein (ground) and does not contain any additives or soy and has a high protein content. If the intestines are well intact, chickpeas or other legumes that have been soaked the day before and then rinsed well can also be used. What should be taken into account is explained in the article antinutrients to read. If the hormonal balance is in balance, tempeh (fermented soy product) can also be used from time to time. Otherwise, soy is not recommended.

2. – Consume natural foods

With an increasingly plant-based diet, there is often a risk of resorting to substitute products that are industrially processed foods and contain many critical ingredients. Supermarkets are offering more and more plant-based products such as burger patties, steak, mince, etc.

However, these are usually based on soy, seitan (=gluten) or with numerous additives and cheap, hydrogenated vegetable fats, which in any case does not correspond to the desired nutrient profile and is more harmful to health than beneficial. However, as described in the previous tip, there are some alternatives that are harmless to health.
Vegetarians should have plenty of vegetables and unprocessed, natural foods on their plate.

3. – Regularly check your blood values ​​with your doctor

If you follow a vegetarian diet - as explained above - your blood values ​​should be checked approximately every three to six months.

4. – Consider genetics, goals and circumstances

As already mentioned, there is also a group of people who get along well with a diet without meat and fish. It can be assumed that these people are well adapted to these foods due to their genetic origins. These people often include people with blood group A, but there are exceptions.

Low carb is also vegetarian

The question often arises as to whether you too vegetarian low carb ( ketogenic ) diet.

In short: Yes, that is possible - but as Ovo-vegetarian and Ovo-lacto vegetarian It will be difficult to find enough healthy foods that primarily contain protein, but the classic ones vegetarian diet can also get by with fewer carbohydrates.

In return, more eggs, good fats and dairy products are consumed. However, it should be noted that foods made from cow's milk are less recommended and you should stick to sheep's and goat's milk products. Cow's milk is one of the most common food allergens and can be a Leaky gut syndrome support financially.

Conclusion on the vegetarian diet

Taking a few aspects into account, one can vegetarian diet be healthy. You should stick to natural organic foods, make sure you have enough high-quality protein sources such as goat cheese, eggs and quinoa and have your blood values ​​checked regularly.

Ines Schulz
Ines Maria Schulz, born on December 1st, 1992 in Basel, Switzerland, also completed her Master of Education in Biology and WAH there, laying the foundation for the understanding of physiology and anatomy as well as nutrition. She is also a trained primary school sports teacher. For two years she has been a coach at MTM Personal Training, the most successful personal training studio in Berlin. There she supports customers every day who want to exploit their maximum potential in terms of mental and physical health and performance. In cooperation with doctors like Dr. Dominik Nischwitz and a laboratory for intestinal health as well as the constant exchange within the team, she can provide her customers with optimal advice about training, nutrition, micronutrients and lifestyle. She has already written a breakfast book and a large part of a lifestyle booklet for MTM. She also writes the weekly newsletter, which publishes nutritional tips and recipes she has created. Ines has completed seminars and certificates with a variety of successful coaches and specialists and is constantly expanding her skills. The young trainer has been writing blog articles for Supz Nutrition since January 2019.

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