I see an increasing number of clients who are vegetarian for one reason or another. However being a vegetarian does
not automatically mean you are eating healthily – hence knocking on my door. Often these clients have low energy, thinning hair, trouble losing weight and low mood.
One thing vegetarians can sometimes forget about is the importance of protein. Eating lots of salads and fruit may seem a healthy option but can lead if you're not careful to nutritional deficiencies. Some just live on side dishes as they eat everything others have except the meat or fish. Others eat lots of vegetables and fruit alongside their bread and pasta but lack knowledge on sources of vegetarian proteins beyond cheese.
A healthy vegetarian diet needs adequate protein to make enzymes to maintain just about every part of our bodies from our skin and hair to our digestive enzymes, hormones, muscle mass, vital organs, red blood cells and immune antibodies. These enzymes are constantly being broken down and must be replaced.
Eating too little protein slows down your metabolism, reduces energy levels and affects concentration, mood and digestion. The immune system is impaired leading to all sorts of health problems.
There are plenty vegetarian proteins beyond the dairy and eggs. For example oats, nuts and seeds of all descriptions, lentils, beans, chickpeas, nut butters, tofu, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice and good quality protein powders. Even some vegetables contain reasonable amounts, for example sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and spinach.
Many sources of vegetarian protein are incomplete, but mix and match and eat a variety over the day, a little with each meal and snack and you will get plenty as well as feeling fuller, so less likely to snack on unhealthy options. If in doubt get some advice or do some research online and become a bit more adventurous with your ingredients. You can be a very healthy vegetarian.