Monday, June 13, 2005

Protein Tips for Vegetarians

A vegetarian diet is associated with better health - lower cholesterol levels, increased anti-oxidants and greater intake of essential fatty acids. But vegetarianism can also lead to certain nutritional deficiencies, according the Australia's Nature&Health Magazine. Animal proteins contain a more full spectrum of essential fatty acids, while most vegetable proteins are less "complete". This is why variety is important. Those eating a vegetarian diet should understand the importance of classic protein combinations, such as re-fried beans on whole wheat bread, whole grain muesli and milk, chili beans with brown rice and vegetables stir-fried with tofu and cashew nuts. For fat, lean more towards seeds, nuts and healthy oils like linseed and olive oil. Also remember that calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin B12 are more difficult to absorb from vegetables sources. There is calcium in figs (usually in muesli or granola) and tahini (use in a salad dressing, substitute of peanut butter, or blend with chickpeas for a yummy dip). It's important to get enough vitamin C to absorb adequate iron. Zinc can be found in sunflower seeds, tahini, seaweed, and almonds, just to name a few. There are no vegetable sources of B12; a supplement is therefore recommended.

For the recipe of the rice and beans pictured go to: C & F Foods Inc.

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