A vegetarian diet consists of abstaining from the consumption of meat or fish products. It is a predominantly plant-based diet, except for dairy products. If done correctly, a vegetarian diet can be a healthy lifestyle rich in fiber, vitamins, water, complex carbohydrates, fats, and protein. You must eat a wide variety of foods to ensure the intake of diverse nutrients. It is often believed that a vegetarian diet lacks protein and iron. However, if you are eating enough and a wide range of foods, you can meet your recommended nutrient intakes with ease.
A vegan diet consists of avoiding any animal sources, either from their meat or products made by them (like honey or dairy products). Meaning it is an entirely plant-based diet. If done correctly and a wide range of nutritious sources are consumed, one can quickly meet nutritional goals.
In both diets, it’s essential to aim for 5-10 fruits and vegetables per day, whole grains, nuts, seeds, oily fish (if not vegan), and unsaturated fats.
It is essential to supplement with vitamin B12 in both scenarios. Vitamin B12 is vital for healthy blood cells and is mainly found in animal sources. A lack of vitamin B12 could potentially lead to anemia. Natural sources of vitamin B12 are nutritional yeast, tempeh, spirulina, and nori seaweed.