Vegetarian diet • Tips & vegetarian recipes

Live meat-free

Living a vegetarian way does not have to be a sacrifice, but can be a delicious way to live healthily and protect the climate. But how do meat lovers manage to switch to a vegetarian diet, what types of vegetarian diet are there and what must be taken into account?

The vegetarian diet has many advantages: According to studies, those who do without meat extend their life expectancy by a few years. Vegetarians are less likely to suffer from obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels. Atherosclerosis is just as rare among vegetarians as gout or diabetes. They are also less likely to develop cancer. In addition, a vegetarian diet is good for the climate.

At a glance:

Vegetarian foods: these belong in a healthy kitchen!

Forms of vegetarian diet

  • This-Lacto-Vegetarian: most widespread, because the lacto-ovo vegetarian eats not only plant-based food but also milk, dairy products and eggs

  • Ovo-Lacto-Pescetarier: an extension to ovo-lacto-vegetarianism, which also includes fish

  • Lacto vegetarians: Here milk and dairy products are on the menu – but not eggs, meat or fish

  • Ovo-Vegetarian: Eggs are eaten, but dairy products are avoided in addition to meat and fish

  • vegan: A vegan diet only contains plant-based products, i.e. no milk or dairy products, eggs or honey

  • Frutarier: Fruitarians do not want to harm plants or animals, which is why they only eat fruits, berries, nuts and seeds

Vegan milk substitute: healthy alternative to cow's milk

Become a vegetarian – eat a balanced diet

Switching from a vegetarian diet is not just about leaving out meat. Otherwise, the menu would look quite sparse for many new vegetarians. It is important to tap into a new variety of foods – such as chickpeas, tofu, couscous or bulgur – that may have been neglected up to now.

To get a first impression of the new possibilities, a visit to a vegetarian restaurant is recommended. Most vegetarian recipes are rather uncomplicated compared to meat dishes and can be prepared quite quickly and easily by yourself. If you need start-up help here, it is best to take a vegetarian cooking course, which is offered by adult education centers or health insurance companies, for example. There are also several cookbooks on the subject. They make it easier to get started and also provide tried and tested vegetarians with new cooking ideas.

Former meat fans will still find it difficult to be vegetarian overnight.

Tips for switching to a vegetarian diet

  • First of all, you can do without meat and sausages a few days a week. Instead of the sausage roll in the morning you can, for example, eat a cheese toast or bread with a vegetarian spread. At lunchtime, instead of the schnitzel, there is pasta or a potato casserole. You will notice that the meat-free diet also offers an enormous variety.

  • Include foods that are high in protein in your diet. These include legumes, grains, seeds, nuts, dairy products, and eggs.

  • Anyone who thinks that a vegetarian lifestyle automatically leads to a low-fat diet is wrong. Fats like to hide in baked goods, fried foods, dressings and sauces. Sweets such as chocolate or chips are also vegetarian – but high in fat. Although nuts are ideal sources of nutrients, they also contain a lot of fatty acids and should therefore not be eaten in large quantities.

  • Vegetarian meals often contain more vegetables than meat dishes. You can also include fruit in your snacks. Gradually increase the amount of fiber, for example through legumes and whole grain products – switching too quickly can lead to digestive problems. Drink enough water (at least 1.5 liters per day) to allow the fiber to swell.

Risks of a vegetarian diet

If you follow a vegetarian diet, you should take into account some special features to ensure an optimal supply of certain nutrients:

  • Requirements: Plant foods contain less iron than animal foods. In addition, vegetable iron is used more poorly by the body. Vitamin C, citric acid and lactic acid, for example in yogurt, on the other hand, promote iron absorption. Grain, in turn, inhibits them because of its phytic acid content. The oxalic acid in rhubarb, spinach and chocolate as well as tannins in tea and coffee also have an inhibiting effect. Children, pregnant and breastfeeding women should take special care to get enough iron. In principle, however, there is nothing to prevent these groups of people from following a vegetarian diet.

  • The picture gallery shows: There are also many vegetarian foods among the best iron suppliers.

  • Protein: The body can utilize animal protein better than vegetable protein. But in combination with dairy products, vegetable proteins are also particularly valuable. Legumes, potatoes, cereals, nuts and tofu are rich in protein.

  • Vitamin B12: Vegetarians – like mixed dieters, by the way – should ensure a good supply of vitamin B12. The use of dietary supplements, fortified foods or vitamin B12 toothpaste is particularly recommended for vegans.

  • Better organic: Many herbal products contain too much nitrate due to nitrogen fertilization. This can be converted into nitrite in the body, and under certain conditions even into carcinogenic nitrosamines. Anyone who follows a vegetarian diet should therefore pay particular attention to cultivation methods and the origin of fruit and vegetables. Organic foods are a good alternative here.

Vegetarian recipes

Fried peaches with green asparagus

ingredients for four persons:

  • 20 stalks of green asparagus
  • 2 peaches
  • 8 walnut kernels
  • 4 THE Pesto
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • salt

preparation: Clean asparagus and cook until al dente. Drain on a sieve and cool with cold water. Marinate the asparagus with two tablespoons of olive oil and lemon juice. Season with a little salt. Cut the peaches into wedges. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan and lightly fry the peach wedges. Arrange the marinated asparagus on plates and drizzle with the pesto. Spread the peach wedges on top. Roughly chop the walnuts and sprinkle over them.

Tip: A little crumbled goat cheese gives the dish a strong, piquant note and goes well with the sweetness of the peaches.

Per serving: about 231 calories

Quinoa-Ratatouille-Pfanne

ingredients for four persons:

  • 125 g Quinoa
  • 400 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 red, 1 green and 1 yellow pepper each
  • 1 zucchini (about 250 g)
  • 200 g cherry or cocktail tomatoes
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic
  • 80 g walnuts
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp oregano (freshly chopped)
  • salt
  • Pfeffer

preparation: Prepare quinoa with vegetable stock according to the instructions on the packet. Cut the bell pepper into pieces. Cut the zucchini into slices. Halve tomatoes. Chop the garlic and walnuts. Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Briefly roast the walnuts, add the paprika and zucchini and fry for two minutes. Add the garlic, oregano and tomatoes and stew for a few minutes. Mix in the quinoa, season to taste.

Per serving: about 371 calories

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Source: Lifeline | Das Gesundheitsportal by www.lifeline.de.

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