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Monday 4 March 2013

New Vegetarian, Body Changes?

When most people give up meat, they are losing a number of vital nutrients that need to be replaced in other ways through diet. usually, you're losing fat, protein, heme iron (which is more absorb-able than non-heme found in vegetables), B12, and a myriad of other micro-nutrients.

So, in your diet, you need to make certain that you're getting enough protein (beans, nuts, seeds, pulses), and enough fats (nuts, seeds, oils such as olive, coconut, flax seed, hemp, etc). If you don't consume any animal products (eggs and dairy), you'll need to consume more vegetables rich in non-heme iron and possible increase your vitamin C intake to increase absorption. You'll also need to fortify your diet with B12 fortification, the best of which is to take a 1000 microgram sublingual tablet daily.

Your body is probably processing and passing the food more quickly because of your new-found higher fiber content. This may also be leading to stomach pains, as the body learns to process this amount of fiber. It will pass in a few days/weeks.

If you are experiencing hunger pains frequently, it is likely because you aren't getting enough fat and protein with your meals. Many new vegetarians practice 'nutrition by subtraction'--eating what they would normally eat without the meat. So, for example, if you normally eat chicken with rice and broccoli, you would eat just rice and broccoli. Well, no wonder you're hungry--that's not a balanced meal. Instead, practice 'nutrition by addition'--start with a whole grain, then add beans, nuts, or seeds to it (sometimes, I add all three--for example, curry with mixed veggies, chick peas, cashews, and watermelon or pumpkin seeds). next, add in your vegetables. make sure that you add some fats to your meal (at least 1 tbsp. of fat with each meal). If you're ovo-lacto, consider adding a moderate amount of dairy (for example, 1-2 tablespoons of cream is great in curries; or add a chopped hard boiled egg to your salad).

This will help you feel more satisfied and make certain that you're getting enough nutrients.

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