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Vegetarian - Nutritional Information and Allergies

Nutritional Information and Allergies

Most of the time it is found that even vegetarian food also causes some allergies. It depends on what you are allergic too, Some food items doesnt cause any allergy to some and some are most suffered. It depends on a variety of things.

Firstly, a vegetarian lifestyle is not just about eating vegetables in place of meats. It is important to know which foods belong to which food group, which contain necessary nutrients and which are deficient. For example, nuts and seeds can be very high in calcium but they are also often high in fat as well. Many vegetarians suffer from low iron levels and some are deficient in some of the B vitamins.

Carbohydrates provide heat and energy. If taken in excess it is converted into fat and stored in the body. It is stored in the body cells as glycogen and is used for the production of energy whenever required. Therefore, from this type of diet it would seem then, that the more extra calories we take from carbohydrates, the more fat stores we are likely to produce even on a vegetarian diet. These are found in sugar, jam, cereals, bread, biscuits and potatoes, also in fruits and vegetables.

A vegetarian diet is essential but the need is to choose the food items that fulfill all the requirements of the body. You will have to plan carefully to make sure you get calcium, iron, and several other vitamins from sources other than milk products.

Typically the vegan diet uses gluten (the protein in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, triticale and kamut), soy, beans, seeds and nuts to replace animal proteins. Unfortunately, this list also contains three of the top 8 allergens in North America.

If you suffer an allergy to gluten, you still have several choices for protein replacement in your vegan diet. If you are allergic to gluten and soy, you can get by with beans and nuts. But if nuts or legumes are also a problem, your protein choices become pretty restricted and you may wish to consider whether some form of dairy product is appropriate in your new regime. If bovine products are a difficulty for you, you may wish to explore goat or sheep products instead. Bear in mind, though, that traditional immunology theory says that the protein in goat, sheep, and cow's milk is too similar to really make a difference to the body, and most who are allergic to one, are unable to tolerate the others.

As well, if you are gluten and dairy allergic you will have other choice restrictions in both the cereal and milk alternatives. The cereals issue is important as a good portion of the necessary dietary fibre comes from this category, but if you experiment, you should be able to find other grains that you enjoy like buckwheat (a rhubarb family member not related to wheat), quinoa (an herb seed), millet (most commonly recognized as that little seed in the bird food), or corn. All of these grains can be made into a variety of dishes from hot cereal in the morning to flour for breads and cakes to compliments in soups. As well, portions of dietary fibre can be recouped from the use of beans and flours to be used in breads and muffins. Whole, well-washed, unpeeled vegetables and fruits may also help maintain an optimum level of dietary fibre.

Alternatives to dairy products do not fulfill the same nutrient role so, while they are easily available (in the form of rice, coconut, potato or nut milks), you will have to be careful to take those nutrients from other sources as well. Soy drink is a good source of calcium without the accompanying fats in cow milk products, and is now being fortified with Vitamin D. A word of warning here too, is that not all Vitamin D is created equal, and the Vitamin D used in enriching cows milk products is usually derived from an animal source like pig skin, beef skin, or pig brains. The Vitamin D used to enhance soy milk is taken from yeast exposed to ultra violet light and is termed Vitamin D-2. Ideally, since the body is generally adept at manufacturing its own D from exposure to the sun, most people do not need this supplementation, but the additive is routinely included in the milk products. If you are attempting a vegan lifestyle, you will want to choose an non-animal derived supplement. Better yet, making your own milks will allow you to fully control what is in them. Rice, coconut, nut, and soy milks are easily made at home.

One final concern in regard to allergies and the vegan (or vegetarian) diet is that some states and provinces require that white rice be enriched. In some areas this means spraying the rice kernels with a barley based nutrient spray. If you have a problem with gluten you may wish to investigate this further.

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