Most people think that a vegetarian diet consists of nothing but vegetables. In reality, however, vegetarians have a wide variety to choose from. Though the bulk of the diet does consist of vegetables, other food can be mixed in.
A vegan is someone who cuts off food with all kinds of associations with meat. A vegan will only eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, grains, as well as legumes. The severest form of vegan diets disallows milk and cheese and even the wearing of leather. Then there are lactovegetarians who add dairy products to their vegetable servings. With a lactovegetarian diet, the dessert menu expands to include such delectables as ice cream and cheesecake. Principles come before dessert, no matter what, when it comes to a vegetarian diet.
Then there are ovo-lactovegetarians, or lacto-ovovegetarians, who further expand their menus with eggs. For the diets of the last group, the semi-vegetarians, dishes of poultry and fish are allowable, and for this reason I would not consider them vegetarians at all. These may simply be people with an aversion to red meat, if you ask me.
Anyhow, different people have different motives for turning to the vegetarian diet. Religions are one case, in which vegetarianism is a means of praising all living things. Similarly, animal rights advocates find the diet in line with their principles. People also do it simply for their health. Compared to all the fatty foods stuffed with preservatives, vegetables are evidently the healthier alternative. Seldom do vegetarians suffer heart attack, diabetes, or some types of cancer, according to research.
However, this diet does come with some disadvantages. For example, as one has a limited choice of ingredients, it is highly possible that some nutrients fall by the wayside. Balanced meals, therefore, become more difficult and at the same time more important for vegetarians.
Meat and eggs are the primary sources of protein, which is exactly the nutrient vegetarians most often lack. There are other protein alternatives, however, that help maintain muscle. Tofu is one of these alternatives.
A high protein calorie intake can be substituted for the lost meat. The idea is to plan one's meals well enough so that no essential nutrients are forgotten. To succeed in meal planning, one need only conduct some brief research. When thinking of vegetarianism, people should consider all their choices and make sample meal plans. It makes sense to eat healthy foods, even eating bitter melons, even if it's in supplement form, is more important than just eating junk food. With so many options in terms of recipes and spices, vegetarians need not miss a thing. Really, it just takes a little determination.