The vegetarian way of eating can be a very healthy style of eating. The rules still apply with healthy eating, although you should add variety, balance, and moderation.
A vegetarian is someone who avoids all types of meat, whether it be hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, or even fish. Vegetarians are also sometimes classified by the type of food they are or aren't willing to eat. For example, Lacto-ovo vegetarians will avoid animal flesh yet they will eat eggs and most dairy products. A Vegan on the other hand, will avoid all food that has any trace of animal origin.
Because they don't eat meet, vegetarians will often wonder how they'll get enough protein. Although you may not realize it, the average American actually consumes more protein than he actually needs. For the lacto-ovo vegetarian, dairy products are an excellent source of protein. Vegans on the other hand, get their protein from nuts, seeds, and soy products.
Along the lines of beans, there are several to choose from, including green or red lentils, peanuts, split peas, pinto, soy, kidney, and many more. Some of them you are already familiar, such as kidney beans in chili, refried beans in Mexican dishes, red beans and rice, and pinto beans. Although some beans taste good as they are, others are available with different flavors to help enhance their taste. Nuts are hihg in protein, although they deliver a lot more fat than beans, which means you should enjoy them in moderation. By having one cup of cooked beans, you'll get the same amount of protein as eating two ounces of meat!
The nutrients of concern for vegans, who avoid all types of animal food, are vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D. In the average North American diet, the primary source for B12 is animals. To have an adequate intake of B12, vegans should reguarly consume vitamin B12 supplements or foods, which contain vitamin B12, such as soy products or milk.
For calcium, vegans can rely on orange juice or soy milk, as they are fortified with calcium. Beans and leafy green vegetables will also contain some calcium as well.