VeggieBoards banner
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys,
So I've decided to transition from eating an omnivorous diet to a vegetarian diet. I assume that a vegetarian diet that includes dairy/eggs is okay to discuss here?

My only problem now is that I simply want to make sure that I'm getting all the nutrients I need. I've never known much about nutrition, since it seems like a complicated subject. I'm making this change for health reasons so this is obviously most important to me (by the way my health is fine at the moment, I'm 21, and I just want to start on a road of healthier living for the future).

Can anyone point me to some articles or tools that will make planning a basic vegetarian diet easy? I do have some more specific needs I suppose than a standard 2,000 calorie a day diet. I am a cyclist and ride quite a bit everyday, so it's important that I consume enough calories and have enough energy.

Also, I understand that dairy can make attaining B12 easy, but I'd like to know what some easy ways to get enough iron are since the iron in vegetables apparently doesn't absorb as easily. I'll read some of the articles linked to on that subject.

Anyway guys, my biggest roadblock for trying this has always been the difficulty for me to plan a diet since I usually just get overwhelmed by the drastic change/big shopping list and don't even know whether it'll result in the right amount of nutrients for me. Any help you guys can give would be great. In preparation for this I've been eating much less meat, only once a day, but I've also felt very hungry and low on energy. Obviously I need some help!

Thanks guys!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Elaine, thank you for the reply.

I also checked out SparkPeople (I think that was it) and if I learned one thing, it's that I really need to brush up on how to get enough iron. I understand now that it's pretty easy to get enough B12 as a vegetarian, but my iron intake for today for instance was still nowhere near the daily recommended value. The day isn't over yet, but at the rate I'm going I won't hit 100% or even 70%.

Can anyone help me out with that in particular? I was hoping one of these so-called iron-fortified cereals would help me out, but I've heard some people say that the iron in those cereals cannot be absorbed.

Ugh...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,946 Posts
hello there! as a fellow cyclist, runner, and yogi, i would recommend green smoothies. you can put kale, chard, collards, spinach, etc. and add some citrus and bananas, pears, and other fruit you like.


Greens are a great source of iron. I never have a problem getting enough iron.

And the fruit is a superb source of energy and hydration.

http://www.rawfamily.com/recipes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey Penny, thank you for that suggestion. I have to admit, I've always been a little afraid of those kinds of things. A lady where I work drinks something like those every morning and I run out of the room, but I'm willing to try! Just as long as it can have some sweet flavor.

Any other suggestions would be great. I want to make sure I get enough Iron and B12, because those seem like the most important to watch out for. As I said, it looks like B12 is relatively easy as a vegetarian so it's the Iron I'm worried about now. I'll probably a full vegetarian diet this week, we'll see how it goes. But before I start, I'll let you guys keep giving me some suggestions!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,946 Posts
I'm vegan and raw and I don't have problems with iron consumption. Usually each day is 150% of the RDA. The more WHOLE foods (non processed, dried, cooked) you eat, esp. in the form of produce, the easier you will meet your needs. Green smoothies typically taste like the fruit you put in them.


B12 is best absorbed sublingually. I prefer methylcobalamin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,609 Posts
Welcome, Mr. Oolong,

This site is for anyone who is at least lacto-ovo vegetarian. This means people who don't eat meat, poultry, or sea creatures, but it can include people who eat dairy and eggs. You are welcome to talk about dairy and eggs here, just not in the vegan sub-forum. (Vegans try not to eat or use animal products.)

Here is a good site with the basics of vegetarian nutrition: http://www.vegsoc.org/page.aspx?pid=760

I'm glad you've already discovered Sparkpeople. I have used that in the past to track nutrients. Iron is tricky, and since I have had trouble with it in the past, I always take a multivitamin that contains iron. If you do this, watch out, as many popular brands of multivitamins contain gelatin, an ingredient that is made from dead animals. Blech! Stores like Whole Foods or natural foods coops sell vegetarian friendly vitamins.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That sounds good! I'm interested in going lacto-ovo vegetarian for now. Who knows what the future holds. I'll have to see how this goes first.

Thanks for the link. I'm going to study up especially on the subject of iron. I actually would like to avoid taking vitamins and get all of my nutrients from food sources.

Other than smoothies, are there some ingredients I can add to a salad or a snack I can have every once in a while that will really boost up my iron levels?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
379 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrOolong View Post

Other than smoothies, are there some ingredients I can add to a salad or a snack I can have every once in a while that will really boost up my iron levels?
Hemp seeds in smoothies or on top of salads. Great flavor and pack a hell of a health punch. I don't have the package in front of me but I think a serving will give you almost 20% of your DRV. Also, a serving of most types of nuts will give you almost 10% of the DRV. Pumpkin seeds and dried apricots as well. :) All very tasty and good for you snacks.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/tools/nutrient-search (this entire site is AWESOME but you might find this tool especially useful) :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
379 Posts
Oh, forgot my favorite spice: turmeric. Turmeric is like my go-to for everything under the sun. One tablespoon contains 16% of your DRV of iron. Cook with it often, it tastes great and it's fantastic for you. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Nera! Going to pick up some stuff today, including the hemp seeds and I already have got some turmeric.

By the way, what is the verdict on iron-fortified cereals? I heard they do not absorb well, but is it still a good source of iron in a vegetarian diet?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
8,961 Posts
I went from being somewhat iron deficient as an omni, to having high levels as vegan!
Eat greens, beans, and whole grains.
I personally favor a cast iron skillet for most cooking-it does add a good source of iron.

I'm not too sure about fortified cereals--cereals made of whole grains are good sources.

Keep black and green teas as well as caffienated drinks away from iron foods, and eat iron rich foods with vitamin C

Too much iron is NOT good! Have your levels checked.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Lentils, beans, whole grains, and leafy greens are good for iron. Basically the place you are getting your protein from is also where you get your iron. Also, vitamin C increases your absorption of iron, and avoid tea, coffee, and wine with meals as these lower your absorption.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks guys.

By the way, what might I be missing here? I've noticed that in the last few days when I go cycling, my knee joints feel 'dry'. First time I've ever felt this. What might I be missing in my diet that could cause that?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well here are the last two days. I basically did the same thing except dinner. I told myself I wanted to started completely vegetarian on Monday but maybe I should've planned more. Got pancake suggestion from the EatingWell plan.

Breakfast:
1. German Apple Pancake (one, medium sized)
2. Multigrain Bagel (plain)
3. Large cup of fruit (strawberries, red/green apples, purple grapes, mandarin oranges)
4. 2% Milk
5. 3tbsp Nutiva Hemp Seeds (basically sprinkled on bagel and whatnot. They have very little flavor so I don't mind putting them on basically anything)

Snack: Fiber One Peanut Butter Bar

Lunch:
1. Garden salad (romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce, broccoli, shredded carrot, grape tomatoes, red cabbage, cheddar cheese)
- Also granola, a tbsp or two of hemp seeds
2. Another large fruit bowl, same as breakfast
3. Simply Orange Juice

between lunch and dinner:
Red Miso soup (no fish ingredients)
A couple TBSP edamame

Dinner:
Pasta (spaghetti and penne noodles and tomato sauce, no meat of course)

I didn't eat as many calories these past two days because I wasn't totally clear on how I'd get them, so I didn't do as much cycling as usual. But when I did do a little 20 minute afternoon ride, as I said, my knee joints felt strange and dry which I've never had before. I may be feeling a little more sore than usual as well, but the ride went alright (even though it was short). I didn't necessarily feel low on energy or anything.

Go easy on me by the way, I'm new to nutrition and especially vegetarian nutrition. I've come to learn!
 

·
Ex-*****
Joined
·
5,391 Posts
You don't seem to be eating a lot of legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas etc and products made from those e.g. tofu).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by silva View Post

I went from being somewhat iron deficient as an omni, to having high levels as vegan!
A similar thing happened to my flatmate. She is what I would call a "weekender" meaning she still eats meat but generally only when she is eating out. Also this may be of interest to you.
"Vegetarian diets have been described as being deficient in iron, although numerous studies show that when this occurs, it is usually due to poor meal planning (Leitzmann, 2005). A well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet provides plenty of iron. In fact, in Western countries, vegetarian diets can contain as much or more iron than mixed diets containing meat (Harvey et al., 2005; Hunt, 2003). Vegetarians and vegans, even with a high dietary fibre (and hence phytate) intake, have been found to have a similar amount of iron in their diets compared to meat-eaters (Craig, 1994). A recent study compared iron intake among 33,000 meat-eaters, 10,000 fish-eaters, 18,000 vegetarians and 2,500 vegans and found that the vegans had the highest intake, followed by the fish-eaters and the vegetarians; the meat-eaters had the lowest intake (Davey, et al., 2003). "
http://vegetarian.org.uk/factsheets/iron.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
You could go to a nutritionist and get them to help you with a diet that meets your needs.

Also, if you are struggling to reach your energy needs (higher than most people because of your cycling) you could increase the fat content of your milk (I know it is a bad fat but it should be balanced out as you get very little animal fat in a vegetarian diet), drink things like fruit juice (high in sugar but adds nutrients) and milk rather than just water, and put things like peanut butter on your bagel.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top