For thousands of years, vegetarianism has been part of various religious and philosophical lifestyles (including the schools around Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato) and has often been considered essential for spiritual development. Many prominent figures from world history were convinced vegetarians.
In recent years, the number of vegetarians, including part-time vegetarians, has increased sharply, mainly because of 'sustainability'. Eating meat is seen as unsustainable because the meat industry is the world’s number one polluter. There is an ever-growing group of people, the part-time vegetarians, who allow meat on only one or two days a week. The reasons for eating vegetarian include the environment, health, animal welfare, meat quality and the world food situation.
In addition, normal meat contains hormones, as the animals are injected with hormones to prevent certain diseases. All kinds of hormones can occur in meat and not all of them are destroyed when baking or preparing meat. Some get into your body and can have consequences: they promote fat storage and the liver has to work extra hard to try to break down these hormones. Reasons enough to stop eating meat for many.
Vegetarians can refrain from foods and food ingredients (e.g. gelatine or fats) that come from slaughtered animals. Milk, milk products, eggs and honey are often eaten by vegetarians, while vegans refrain from these too.
Rennet is derived from the fourth stomach (the abomasum) of a killed calf, and is used in the production of cheese. Cheese can also be produced with vegetal / microbial rennet, which is suitable for vegetarians. Most of our cheese range is curdled with vegetable rennet.
It’s common to have doubts about whether a diet which excludes meat would not lead to deficiencies. The most important nutrients in meat, fish and poultry are proteins, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. These substances can be easily extracted from plant sources.
Eat a lot of fresh produce and a wide variety too such as legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grain cereals / bread, potatoes or pasta and a good meat substitute. In this way you are doing well, but it is never wrong to broaden your horizons.
Vitamin B12 requires more attention: algae and seaweed are not enough. So it pays to go into this more deeply. B12 is already added to some meat substitutes and to some soy milk varieties too.
But of course it’s also sufficient if you consume cheese, milk and milk products and eggs.
If you don’t eat fish, then you must pay extra attention to good sources of omega fat and possibly iodine.
In the case of vegan food, no dairy products are used, as a result of which you also have to find good sources of calcium, vitamin B2 and vitamin D.
The proteins food provides are needed to build up body proteins. These different body proteins each have their own task. In western countries we eat on average so much protein-rich food that eating a little less, by leaving meat out, is not bad at all. The choice in the Natuurwinkel is also so great that we can easily get enough protein without meat or with less meat.
Protein can be found in everyday products such as cheese, eggs, milk, soya products, nuts, seeds and unrefined grain products. Someone who not only cuts out meat from their diet, but also all other animal products, such as dairy products and eggs, must ensure that they consume certain protein-rich products in combination with others. Such combinations are for example: legumes with grains, pea soup with rye bread or peanut butter on bread.
The amino acids carnitine and taurine may require extra attention. People who eat meat get enough taurine. Our body can make taurine itself from methionine and cysteine. It occurs in small amounts in dairy products. Carnitine mainly occurs in red meat. We can also make carnitine ourselves using: lysine, methionine, vitamins C, B3 and B6, iron, magnesium and for the methylation reactions folic acid, B12 and betaine. For possible supplementation we advise you always to do so in consultation with your (family) doctor.
Specific poly fatty acids occur in fish fat. Most probably these fatty acids are partly responsible for the beneficial effects of eating fish once or twice a week. These beneficial effects include protection against cardiovascular disease. Vegetarians can possibly make these fatty acids by consuming alpha-linolenic acid-rich products. Alpha linolenic acid is mainly found in linseed oil, walnuts, walnut oil and to a lesser extent rapeseed oil. It is important that the diet does not contain vegetal trans fats and is not rich in saturated fatty acids and refined carbohydrates or sugar, because these can inhibit the formation of fish fatty acids. Also the ratio between linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha linolenic acid (omega-3) is of great importance. The brand Aman Prana has good quality vegetable oils in its range with a good ratio between omega 3/6/9 fatty acids.
The Dutch Vegetarian Association recommends pregnant and lactating women who are vegetarian to eat fatty fish or use fish oil supplements (e.g. Orthica). This is necessary to ensure the healthy development of, among other things, the baby’s nervous system, brain and eye function.
Curious about which organic vegetarian products you can find in our store?Ons vegetarisch assortiment