A vegetarian diet is one which excludes animal products wholly or partly. A person may be a lacto-vegetarian meaning that he will consume milk and milk products along with a vegetarian diet. A lacto-ovo-vegetarian will consume eggs, dairy products along with vegetables. An ovo-vegetarian will consume eggs along with vegetarian food stuff. A vegan will consume only vegetables, fruits and agricultural produce excluding animal products altogether.
Thus there are many types of vegetarians and they are in nutritionally different zones. The intake of protein is usually not sufficient in a vegetarian diet especially if it is a vegan diet. The shortcoming of protein is made up to some extent in the other type of vegetarians by consumption of milk and eggs.
Protein is an important part of the body’s requirement. It serves as building blocks of the body, participating in making new cells and repairing those which are damaged. The proteins themselves are made up of amino acids. These are available to the body only through food. Amino acids lacking in one food can be compensated by another food containing it.
A milk-grain combination is a good one. Rice pudding made with rice and milk is a good example. Porridge, dishes cooked with curd and soya protein can all be made use of by vegetarians. A vegetarian diet is advocated from a health point of view. Research has shown that it lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is beneficial in gout, diabetes, heart disease and reduces the risk of cancer.
A vegetarian diet has an ample amount of fibre which helps in regular bowl movement. Waste products and toxins are excreted regularly, cleaning the digestive tract. Fleshy foods take longer to digest and stay in the tract longer. The end products remain inside the body. A non vegetarian diet is high in protein, salt, sugar and animal fat, and low in fibre. It is therefore responsible for many degenerative diseases.
A vegetarian will consume many different fruits and vegetables which will give him adequate amounts of minerals and vitamins. These will make the body healthy and he will be less likely to become a victim of bacteria and virus.
An effort has to be made by vegetarians to eat a wide variety and colors of vegetables. Tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, green leafy vegetables like spinach, other vegetables like beet root, peas, brinjol should be eaten. Cooking destroys some nutrients so what can be consumed raw should be eaten that way. Eat fruit with the skin as far as possible for the B complex content in it.