The main risks of vegetarianism: expert opinion

Health Tips

Vegetarianism is a food system based, as a rule, on the ethical, religious or medical views of people, in which meat, fish and seafood are excluded from food. Old schools of vegetarianism also exclude dairy products and eggs from the diet, young schools allow their use. Today we will talk about vegetarianism in the context of its “young” direction. It is interesting that many people, including in Russia, consider vegetarians to be fashion followers, although in Russia even before the revolution of 1917 there was a society of vegetarians and even vegetarian canteens. Nevertheless, we have a national flavor of problems with a vegetarian way of eating. Let’s analyze its main aspects:

  • The inability of most doctors to adjust the patient’s diet to the state of his health.

Of course, vegetarians face some consequences of refusing animal food in the form of, for example, iron deficiency or vitamin B12, but from experience, most domestic colleagues prefer to try to set the patient on the path of meat-eating than to understand the reasons and draw up a plan to solve the problem.

  • Literal understanding of vegetarianism by many patients.

The fact is that there are entire cultures on the planet that include a vegetarian way of eating, the age of which exceeds thousands of years. Over such a long period of time, culture forms the diversity of the market, patterns of healthy behavior, the practice of medical health monitoring.

In Russia, alas, many people understand vegetarianism as a restriction, not as a variety. Apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash are vegetarian food, no doubt, but in order to stay healthy you need to eat very, very varied.

  • The inability of the market to provide the maximum variety of food products.

Although today large online stores can make it easier to find a variety of food, and specialty vegetarian stores make it even easier, in general, vegetarians need to make a lot of effort to eat a variety of foods.

  • Low culture of medical profile in society as a whole.

In 13 years of practice, I have seen more than one vegetarian who did not have health problems caused by his diet. However, none of them had an annual doctor’s check-up and did not do control laboratory tests, which is not true at all.

People in our country suffer more from the habit of coming to the doctor, only when it’s bad, than from the most strict vegetarianism.

  • The misunderstanding by some vegetarians that diet does not make you healthy on its own.

Stopping smoking, regular physical activity, healthy sleep and stress management practices do not lose their relevance even for those who do not eat meat.

What is considered a healthy vegetarian diet? Today, several principles of healthy vegetarianism have been developed in the world: Eat at least 5 servings per day of 80-100 grams. All 5 servings should ideally be different: nuts, cereals, vegetables, fruits. Frozen, dried, blended fruits and vegetables are healthy and should also provide a source of variety. Avoid sugar and salt – they are still bad for you if you are a vegetarian. At least two servings a day should consist of protein foods – use a variety of protein sources: legumes, soy products, eggs, nuts, dairy products. Too high protein diet is not only harmful for patients with a number of conditions, but almost always leads to constipation.

Do not forget about regular drinking, fiber in the diet. Use only vegetable fats, choose dairy products with a minimum fat content – they are also rich in calcium. Even vegetable fats are a source of great energy and can increase your weight. Use vegetable fats in moderation. If you are pregnant and breastfeeding, ask your healthcare provider about the frequency of lab tests and supplements you need to take to ensure a healthy maternity and your baby getting what it needs from you. Get an annual GP/GP checkup to stay healthy and full of energy. This will prevent any problems associated with not only vegetarianism at an early stage.


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