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Need Help with Vegetarian Diet!
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stephenlovegrove posted:
I have recently (five weeks ago) started eating a vegetarian diet, and I love it. My body feels so much better overall. I am lacto-ovo vegetarian, so I can eat dairy products and eggs, but I do not eat any meat at all including fish.

I think I am getting enough protein through milk, cheese, eggs, etc. But I am worried about that a little bit, and especially about B12 and iron. I need help from those of you who eat vegetarian and/or vegan. Are there food products you consume to get what you need of B12 or iron? or what supplement recommendations do you have?

Thanks so much for your help.
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erice_ma responded:
For B12, if you are consuming at least a cup of milk daily, you should be all set. The RDA for adults is 2.4 mcg. A cup of 1% milk contains a bit more than 4 mcg. Even if you don't have milk, eggs, cheese, and yogurt can add up to the RDA.

Here is a great resource on B12 for Vegans (so for people who do not consume dairy or eggs) http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/b12.php .

Iron is a bit more of a challenge because non-heme iron does not absorb as well. Consequently, the RDA for adult females is 32 mg/day which is quite a bit. The dairy and egg contribute a small amount. However, there are many good vegetarian sources, mainly beans and dark greens. Also, many grain foods, especially cereals have high levels of fortification, so it may not be too hard to achieve. Again, VRG.org provides an excellent resource: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.php

Still for both of those nutrients, many people (vegetarian or not) can be poor absorbers of those nutrients. In that case supplementation may be necessary. There is no harm in adding a B12 supplement as insurance. However, you should NOT supplement with iron unless a blood test confirms there is a problem.

The VRG site also has a good article on getting enough protein: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.php


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