The following is input from a visitor to our healthy eating website.  We appreciate hearing from our readers with questions, comments or guest blogs since the compendium of healthy eating information is large and complicated and is growing and changing all the time.  

Please feel free to add your feedback in the comments section if you have information or questions that will help further our pursuit of a healthy eating lifestyle! 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed!

Becoming a Vegetarian

by Elizabeth

Elizabeth's question...

I have been considering becoming a vegetarian and I wondered how to go about it. Do you think it is a good idea? What do I eat instead of meat?

Suzy's answer...

Great question, Elizabeth! The vegetarian lifestyle is becoming increasingly popular and it is important to understand what it will mean to pursue a meatless diet.

It is possible to be healthy while pursuing a vegetarian diet, but it is very important to plan your diet carefully, especially at the beginning, until you grow accustomed to the choices you need to make to get all the nutrients you need.

There are some great studies out there, including a very recent one done by Loma Linda University in California, that suggest that vegetarians live longer than meat eaters. However, this assumes that you are eating a well-balanced vegetarian diet and not just eliminating meat in favor of junk food and other empty calories.

The first thing I would suggest is that you educate yourself about the nutrients you need to be healthy, particularly those that may be affected if you choose a vegetarian diet. The information you need is readily available on this site. Click on this link to go to our vegetarian nutrition page.

You should also be aware of the social implications of eschewing meat. Keep in mind that you live in a largely meat-eating society that builds most meals around a meaty main dish. Eating out and being a dinner guest can be challenging, especially in certain areas where vegetarians are less common. This is not an insurmountable problem, but just another consideration when choosing a vegetarian diet. Click on this link for more information on the potential social factors of being a vegetarian in a meat-eating world.

I assume when you say "vegetarian" you do not mean "vegan." This is an important distinction, since if you include eggs and/or dairy products in your diet, the nutritional implications will be different than if you are eliminating all animal products.

I don't know the reason that you are considering becoming a vegetarian, but I hope you will take the time to learn what you need to know to be a healthy vegetarian. A plant-based diet has much to recommend it, since you will probably be eating more fiber, phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals than when you were eating meat. However, you need to be sure to get enough good quality protein and to include a variety of whole foods from all the food groups in your diet.
Click on this link for more information about vegetable sources of protein.

I hope this helps you make your decision, and that even if you don't become a vegetarian, you will include some meatless meals in your regimen. I agree with author, Michael Pollan, who said, "Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Thanks for visiting our website.

Eat and be healthy with my warmest regards,

Suzy Staywell


Vegetarian Diets and B12 and Iron Supplements
by: Don

Elizabeth, Suzy has the topic of vegetarian conversion well laid out, and with links. There's two major nutrients that should be taken as supplements if you are going to go vegan or vegetarian: 1) vitamin B12 and 2) non-heme iron such a ferrous gluconate. You will get very little or no B12 on a vegetarian diet, and you will be going from rich sources of heme iron to foods that are a source of some non-heme iron.

I recommend raising your intake of dietary fiber slowly because ideally, you should raise your intake from 5 to 15 grams of dietary fiber to 25 to 40 grams of dietary fiber. If you try to rush forward to an ideal intake, it can cause stomach upset.

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask Suzy.

Follow Me on Pinterest

Bright Hope Kids

Bright Hope International brings hope to those living on less than $1 a day.

Click on this link to help feed the hungry children of the world.

Every little bit you can give will help these kids toward a healthy future. Thank you in advance for you kindness and generosity.

Sign up to receive emails of my blog

Healthy Eating Blog

�ª Grab this Headline Animator

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Most Recent Articles

  1. Garlic Facts and Benefits - Besides a seat on the subway!

    Dec 14, 17 09:06 AM

    A discussion of garlic facts and benefits, including buying, storing and cooking tips, as well as health benefits of this so-called stinking rose.

    Read More

  2. Vegetarian Diets

    Dec 13, 17 08:53 AM

    A discussion of vegetarian diets -- why people choose them and the ramifications of that choice.

    Read More

  3. Age Concern and Healthy Eating

    Dec 12, 17 09:14 AM

    A list of helpful ways to address healthy eating age concern and providing a healthy diet for senior citizens..

    Read More

Have a question about eating healthy?

Get answers to your healthy eating questions.