Vegetarian Diets for Adults and Children
I have been doing a lot of reading and research into diet and nutrition. I am concluding that the most reasonably accomplished diet is semi-vegetarian. Focus on:
- healthy vegetables and fruits (AT LEAST 5 servings/day made the priority),
- healthy whole grains (much less wheat/gluten),
- much more legumes and less meat (buy organic if at all possible),
- allow yourself some organic dairy products, and 1/2 body weight in ounces of water/day.
Dr. Neal Barnard has 2 excellent books, “Foods For Life” and “Foods That Fight Pain”.
Vegetarian diets vary according to the degree of avoidance of foods of animal origin. In the strictest definition, a vegetarian diet (or vegan diet) would only consist of grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. The less restrictive vegetarian diets are: semi-vegetarian (just do not eat red meat but occasionally eat chicken and fish), lactoovo-vegetarian (eggs=ovo and dairy=lacto are consumed, but no meat), lacto-vegetarian (milk and milk products are consumed, but no eggs or meat), and macrobiotic (whole grains are emphasized and animal foods are limited to white meat or white-meat fish once or twice a week). A vegetarian diet is associated with lower risks of obesity, diabetes, coronary heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Growth in Vegetarian Children
With adequate meal planning and dietary variety, vegetarian children grow in the normal range and are generally leaner. However attention to the mentioned nutritional considerations below are a must, especially during periods of growth. Also, if an adolescent suddenly decides to become vegetarian, they need to be watched for development of an eating disorder (like anorexia or bulimia).