Many people want to avoid food of animal origin for health, climatic and animal welfare reasons. It is also true that imported meat in particular has often been produced with the help of antibiotics and hormones, leaving unhealthy residues in the meat.
Soybean, corn and pasture lands are still being cleared for meat production, at least in South America. It has been established that livestock production, with all its by-products, is the worst branch of industry on the planet as a polluter of climate and water.
About 80% of the total arable land is needed to produce livestock feed. If people reduced their consumption of livestock products, large amounts of weaker fields could be restored to forests that would effectively sequester carbon from the air.
Already 15 million km² of well-growing new forest would be enough to absorb the emissions of all mankind from the atmosphere. Such an unforested (once forested) wasteland could easily be found on Earth. People don’t know that many “beautiful open traditional landscapes,” such as moors, steppes, pastures, grasslands, meadows, or swamps, are actually just a forest destroyed by burning, clearing, or grazing. Still in the Stone Age less than 10,000 years ago, the continents of the earth were covered by vast forests (about 75 million km²) from the coasts to the mountains. Now only 45 million km² is left.
The Earth’s vegetation has a tremendous selection of plants from which to easily compose a balanced diet, if you know how to choose. The disadvantage is the lack of nutrients and health effects in food due to soil depletion, poor storage, food processing, and depleting food preparation.
Because the energy consumption of a person working in an office or driving a machine is relatively low, food should be composed of nutrient- and fiber-rich plant parts and either eaten raw or processed and prepared minimally, to maintain the enzyme, antioxidant, mineral, and vitamin content.
Seeds, soybeans, nuts and legumes are high in fiber and protein. Natural or organic garden berries and mushrooms are high in fiber, many antioxidants and protective nutrients. Seaweed is also high in protein, fiber and a lot of micronutrients from the sea.
As a great gift of nature, a conscious vegetarian composes their diet of herbs and “super foods,” that have special activating or healing properties. Such are e.g. hundreds of herbs and spices with health effects and the so-called adaptogenic or activating and balancing plants, including medicinal fungi.
Coconut and olive oils are good dietary fats. Cheap omega6 fats (rapeseed, sunflower, soy, peanut, etc.) should be avoided due to their inflammatory properties. It is advisable to keep the amount of fat in the vegetarian diet close to 50-60% so that you do not need to eat a lot of easily fattening cereal carbohydrates.
Green plants and the squeezed green juices are an essential part of a vegetarian’s diet, together with fruits. The best cereals are gluten-free, incl. oats. Cocoa beans are one of the most nutritious foods. The omission of all purified and processed food already greatly increases the fiber and nutrient content of the food. Coconut, soy, oat and other milks, and especially yoghurts, can replace dairy products, although 2-3 dl of organic yoghurt with microbes without extra sugar is also a health food.
As much of the food as possible should be obtained organically. In ordinary plant production, unfortunately, residues of used toxins against mold and insect, as well as herbicides, are found in the final product. Most of the approximately 400 permitted additives in processed food are also harmful to health, at least to some extent. A sensible vegetarian will completely exclude processed industrial and junk food from their diet and keep the food fresh or dried, frozen or canned for a short time.
Familiarize yourself with the vegetarian food available, read product information, become aware of food scams, the well-being of your gut and the well-being of your body, try different foods and herbs / spices, and you are already on the path to better plant-based nutrition and health.
PS. There are several documentaries available for those interested in vegetarian food. One is Netflix’s Change Makers.Send your comment to the writer