1. Are Carbohydrates Bad for You? Is it OK to eat Carbohydrates if I’m Trying to Lose Weight?
Carbohydrate-rich foods help with permanent weight control because they contain less than half the calories of fat, which means that replacing fatty foods with complex carbohydrates automatically cuts calories.
It’s important to remember to eat healthful carbohydrates, such as whole grains, pasta, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. Processed carbohydrates, such as white bread and white rice, are not as healthful because they have lost much of their fiber and other nutrients.
2. Do You Recommend a Vegetarian or a Vegan Diet?
Vegetarian diets, which contain no meat (beef, pork, poultry, or fish and shellfish), are naturally low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and full of vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds. A multitude of scientific studies has shown that vegetarian diets have remarkable health benefits and can help prevent certain diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. We encourage vegetarian diets as a way of improving general health and preventing diet-related illnesses.
Vegan diets, which contain no animal products (meat, dairy, eggs, or other animal products), are even healthier than vegetarian diets. Vegan diets contain no cholesterol and even less fat, saturated fat, and calories than vegetarian diets because they exclude dairy and eggs. Scientific research shows that health benefits increase as the amount of food from animal sources in the diet decreases, making vegan diets the healthiest overall.
3. Is it Healthy for Children to be On a Vegan Diet?
A well-balanced vegan diet is safe and healthy for any stage of life, including infancy, childhood, adolescence, and during pregnancy. Plant-based diets can easily provide all essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that growing children and mothers-to-be need. Simply have a variety of whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits, and be sure to include a daily source of vitamin B12, such as any common multiple vitamins. Plant-based diets have many important health advantages: Vegans enjoy a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Since eating habits are established in early childhood, choosing a vegan diet can give your child the opportunity to enjoy a variety of nutritious foods—and to carry those healthy eating habits into adulthood.
4. How Do I get Protein on a Vegan Diet? Do I need to Combine Proteins?
Protein is an important nutrient required for the building, maintenance, and repair of tissues in the body. It was once thought that various plant foods had to be eaten together to get their full protein value; this practice was known as “protein combining” or “protein complementing.” We now know that intentional combining is not necessary. As long as the diet contains a variety of grains, legumes, and vegetables, protein needs are easily met. Especially protein-rich vegan foods include soy-based products like tofu, tempeh (a fermented soybean product), seitan (a meat substitute made from a wheat protein called gluten), black beans, lentils, chickpeas, grains such as quinoa and bulgur, and whole-wheat bread.
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