WHAT CAN I EAT?

Are you out off becoming vegetarian because you can't think what to eat if you don't eat meat?
A quick trip to your local supermarket will, however, show that there are not only many different fruits and vegetables available but that because vegetarianism is growing rapidly there are many ready made vegetarian meals on sale.
You will also find many 'meat substitute' meals available. You can buy vegetarian sausages and hamburgers, and 'stews' and 'curries' made with soya have the same texture as meals made with meat.
How to make sure your body gets the vitamins and minerals it needs:
  • Eat a varied diet and try to include fresh fruit, green vegetables, peas and beans and wholemeal produce - all good sources of vitamins and minerals (as well as fibre!)
  • Vitamins are easily destroyed by cooking so whenever you can, eat raw foods. Use as little water as possible when boiling vegetables (to avoid losing water soluble vitamins B and C). Cook vegetables for as short a time as possible. Steam or stir fry vegetables if you can instead of boiling them - this helps to preserve water soluble vitamins. Prepare food quickly and try not to keep it hot or reheat it - this can destroy vitamins. Keep milk covered because sunlight destroys some B vitamins.
  • Vitamins are often stored just underneath the skin in fruit and vegetables so eat them in their skins: don't peel them!
  • Eat plenty of nuts and seeds - these contain a variety of vitamins and minerals and make good nutritious snacks.
  • Throw out aluminium saucepans (aluminium is a potential poison which can cause brain damage) and use iron ones which can add useful quantities of iron to cooked food.
  • Dairy produce is a good source of some vitamins and minerals but skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and low fat cheeses contain as much calcium and vitamin B as full cream milk and cheese (though they contain less vitamin A and vitamin D because these vitamins are fat soluble).
  • You can get supplies of iron by eating dark green, leafy vegetables, nuts, pulses, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, dried fruits, pulses, sunflower seeds, almonds (and other nuts).
  • Vitamin B12 is available in foods of animal origin or in fortified soya milk, breakfast cereak and yeast extract.
  • Zinc is available in seeds, almonds, pulses and dark green vegetables.
Remember: If you suspect that you could be suffering from a vitamin or mineral deficiency, see your doctor for advice: never take vitamin or mineral supplements without professional medical advice.
Source of Information: Food for Thought by Dr Vernon Coleman. It is available in libraries, or from bookshops, or post free from European Medical Journal, P O Box 30, Barnstable, Devon EX32 9YU