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The pros and cons of a vegetarian diet

Health concerns in the United States have grown at an alarming rate over the past decade. From heart disease, which kills an American approximately every 34 seconds, to obesity rates, which are responsible for 300,000 deaths each year, health issues related to the current diet of fast food and large amounts of saturated fats have many people seeking alternatives.

Vegetarians in many parts of the globe are not veggie eaters by choice alone. For some, the price and availability of meat products dictate that they consume plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts and grains, instead of animal products. But in the United States, many are opting to go meat free as part of a heart health alternative. In general, vegetarians have a significantly reduced rate of obesity, coronary heart disease, hypertension, type II diabetes, diet-related cancers, constipation and gall stones. However, vegetarians must get the proper nutrition in order for this lifestyle diet to actually be beneficial. Specifically, vegetarians must get an adequate amount of protein, essential fatty acids and iron.

Vegetarian Recipes

Many vegetarian recipes include tofu, an excellent meat substitute. Tofu, a Chinese soy product also known as bean curd, is high in protein as well as iron. Tofu is adaptable to many recipes and can be prepared in a variety of ways. However, there are many other alternatives for vegetarians looking for a meat-free protein. Most food contains a certain amount of protein. Some excellent sources that vegetarians should consider eating regularly include nuts (which also have essential fatty acids), other soy products (for example, soy milk), eggs and dairy products (cheese, milk and yogurt).

Vegetarian Atkins Diet

Vegetarians can even construct diabetic and Atkins friendly menus with a little planning. A vegetarian Atkins diet includes all of the vegetables allowed traditionally in the Atkins diet, as well as low-fat meat alternatives such as cheese and eggs. There are many meat substitutes on the market, but be sure to check the carbohydrates before incorporating them in a vegetarian Atkins diet.

Those on a vegetarian diabetic diet do not really have any challenges that any other diabetic would not face. The most important element for vegetarians with diabetes is keeping processed and sugary foods out of their diet. A limited amount of fruits should be tolerated and vegetables, cheese, eggs and milk will not interfere with the traditional diabetic nutritional needs. Consuming a high number of fruits and vegetables but a limited amount of carbohydrates and sugary foods is a beneficial vegetarian diabetic diet. The complex carbohydrates in fruit and vegetables regulate blood sugar. 

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