Vegetarian & Vegan Nutrition

There is a massive and growing interest in vegetarian & vegan eating for a number of reasons including animal welfare, better health, weight issues or a concern for the environment. Australia is reported to be the world’s third fastest-growing vegan nation.
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Different Types of Vegetarians:

  1. A Lacto vegetarian drinks milk and eats some dairy products but does not eat eggs, meat fish or poultry.
  2. A Lacto-ovo vegetarian eats all dairy products as well as eggs. No meat, fish or poultry is eaten.
  3. A Pescetarian includes all seafood, eggs, milk and other dairy products but not poultry or other meats.
  4. Flexitarian is quite a new term to describe a semi-vegetarian. It is a more flexible approach which is largely plant-based with the occasional inclusion of meat or poultry.
  5. A Vegan avoids eating all meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, milk and other dairy products, as well as any by-product of animals, such as foods which contain gelatine or rennet & honey. Veganism is a way of life more than a diet.


A Vegetarian Diet Has to be Healthy, Doesn’t it? 

No. A vegetarian diet can be unhealthy if it is not planned well. This is because some nutrients are only found in animal products & others are better absorbed from animal products. Also, many animal-free food items advertised to the health conscious buyer are high fat & high sugar processed foods. Processed items such as these are not an essential part of balanced vegetarian eating.
Nutrients that need careful attention when planning vegan and vegetarian diets include iron, vitamin B12, calcium, zinc and omega 3 fats.
When eating more plants, there is much chewing without a large gain in calories. It may be that people not wanting to lose weight will need to increase the total amount of food that they eat. The type of food required to meet the goals of balanced vegetarian nutrition will be beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, soy or plant-based milks & yoghurt, nuts & seeds. There are a number of ways that I can provide practical assistance to you to simplify the transition to a varied and balanced vegetarian or vegan diet.

Practical Tips are Offered in the Following Areas: 


  1. Preparation of dried beans/legumes
  2. General food preparation hints
  3. Recipe suggestions
  4. Sample meal plans
  5. Vegan friendly eating establishments
  6. Recommended supplements.


Remember that you don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to reap the benefits of plants. Instead of basing your meal on the meat component, try basing it on the plant /vegetable component. Think of meat as a garnish or an addition to the main component of the meal. If more people were to make this switch, it would reap a host of health benefits. I believe that this approach will enable more of our community to make a determined shift toward greater use of plants. This in turn will support our friends who have already adopted a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle by increasing further the products & services available.

Need to Talk to Our Nutritionist Right Now?

Get in contact with Cathy Purcell on 0412 850 537

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