Common Misconceptions About Vegetarianism – Important Things You Need to Know

English: Vegetarian food in a small local rest...

English: Vegetarian food in a small local restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City. Everything that looks like meat in this image, is actually made from meat substitute, presumably tofu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vegetarianism is both a diet regimen and a lifestyle. It is marked by eating only plant-based foods and shunning meat like pork and beef. While pure vegetarians or vegans only consume plant foods and consider all meat, including fish, and anything derived from meat sources, such as eggs and dairy, off-limits, there are other kinds of vegetarians who allow dairy products into their diet. They are called lacto-ovo-vegetarians. Flexitarians or semi-vegetarians eat mostly a vegetarian diet but partake of meat occasionally.

But since only a small number of the population are vegetarians, those who plan to go into a vegetarian diet are often met with a barrage of misconceptions about vegetarianism. This is especially true where meal preparations are concerned. Before believing anything you read about the vegetarian diet, you need to determine whether what you are reading are common misconceptions that will only derail you from experiencing the full spectrum of benefits that a vegetarian lifestyle offers. Here are some of those myths and their corresponding truth:

Misconception No. 1: Vegetarian food is bland and boring.

Fact: If you are used to eating meat and fish, you’ll definitely find vegetables as having a different taste. But those who have tried the variety of vegetables, legumes and spices available find that vegetarian cooking can actually be delicious. It allows previous meat eaters to sample different tastes and textures that only vegetables can give.

Misconception No. 2: Vegetarian food does not meet a person’s daily protein requirements.

Fact: This stems from the narrow view that protein can only be taken from meat and dairy sources. The truth of the matter is that beans, nuts, lentils, tofu and soy are good sources of complete protein. Moreover, tofu and tempeh are good meat substitutes that vegetarians use to add a “meat-like” flare to their dish and get their required protein requirements.

Misconception No. 3: Vegetarian food is difficult to prepare.

Fact: When you think about the degree of preparation required in cleaning fish and meat and all the extremely complicated procedures involved in marinating and braising them, cooking vegetables become a cinch. Simple washing is all that’s needed to clean them up. Besides, it generally takes less time to prepare vegetables. Preparing salads is merely a matter of tossing and mixing while tofu takes less time to cook than meat.

Misconception No. 4: Vegetarians eat only salads.

Fact: This is the most erroneous misconception ever. Aside from salads, you can stir-fry, sauté, make soups and casserole dishes using vegetables. You can even grill them! Aside from these, you can also use vegetables in green smoothies. Where versatility is concerned, nothing beats vegetarian meals.

Misconception No. 5: Vegetarian food is not readily available.

Fact: The rising popularity of vegetarian diets has also paved the way for vegetarian varieties of burgers, hotdogs, bacon and sausage. There are also frozen vegetarian pizzas and burritos in most supermarket shelves nowadays. Unfortunately, like their real meat counterparts, these vegetarian varieties have also undergone heavy processing that has stripped it away of beneficial nutrients. Moreover, they are also heavy in salt content which is detrimental to your heart and your weight loss efforts. Too much sodium in the diet causes the body to retain water and thus bloat.

Mother, housewife, and nutrition enthusiast who enjoys blogging about health-related topics.

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