MORE AND more Trinbagonians are adopting the vegetarian lifestyle. In response to this increased popularity of meatless food, there are now more choices for vegetarians in local supermarkets. Also, an increasing number of restaurants and schools are providing vegetarian options.
However, problems can develop with people who are not fully educated about vegetarianism.
Medical studies have shown that a vegetarian diet is easier to digest, provides a wider range of nutrients and imposes fewer burdens and impurities on the body.
In some instances, the choice of turning to vegetarianism is a matter of economics, as meat costs more than rice and vegetables. However, people choose to be vegetarians for reasons other than costs.
June Holdip, a registered dietician attached to the Caribbean Food and Research Institute advised, "If you're choosing a vegetarian diet, the most important thing you can do is to educate yourself."
"The vegan is the group which is most likely to be at risk for vitamin deficiencies, particularly vitamin B12. It's hard to get enough vitamin B12 in your diet if you are vegan, so a nutritional supplement will have to be used. However, the vegan can get enough protein with proper planning.
"Vegetarians have to be careful to include nutrients that may be lacking in a vegetarian diet, such as iron, calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and zinc," said Holdip.
A vegetarian lifestyle doesn't have to be boring, as there are many exciting options for a tasty vegetarian meal. For example, if you are a vegan it might mean that you may use peas and beans for breakfast. Holdip explained that by being creative, you can take peas and beans and transform them in different ways. You can make loafs, patties, pies and casseroles.
"You have to come up with creative ways so it is not monotonous. You can eat products made from textured vegetable protein which is basically soy based products. There are tasty mock hot dogs and mock sausages which taste very much like the real thing."
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