Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) : The vitamin that enables rapid cell division and growth and is also the main fuel for productions of red blood cells to prevent anemia.

Folic acid, Vitamin B9, Folate or Folacin is necessary for healthy blood formation, enzyme efficiency, the division and growth of new cells and for maintaining a healthy intestinal tract. Folic acid is an essential water soluble vitamin that is required to form new healthy set of cells. Looking at the scientific results we can say that folic acid is the most researched vitamin from the group of vitamin B. These researches proved the importance of folic acid and its numerous health benefits.

This vitamin is of immense importance for cell division and growth, synthesis and repair of DNA, protein metabolism and proper functioning of the brain. It is also important for the production of healthy red blood cells. Folic acid is required by the body to produce ‘heme’, the component of hemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying iron. Folic acid benefits for men and women are numerous.

Folic acid essential for efficient neural tube development during pregnancy which forms the brain and spinal cord. Pregnant women with an insufficient intake of folic acid are more likely to give birth prematurely or to deliver babies with low birth weight or with neural tube defects. The sulfa drugs are thought to achieve their antimicrobial effects by interfering with the production of folic acid within bacteria.

Vitamin B9 Benefits – Functions in the Body

Folic acid, in combination with vitamin B12, is essential for the formation, maturation and multiplication of red blood cells. It is necessary for the growth and division of all body cells, including nerve cells, and for manufacturing a number of nerve transmitters. It also produces nucleic acids, RNA (ribonucleic acid) and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), that carry hereditary patterns. It aids in protein metabolism and contributes to normal growth. Folic acid helps in the building of antibodies which prevent and heal infections. It is essential for the health of the skin and hair, and helps to prevent premature greying of the hair.

Vitamin B9 Deficiency Symptoms

Deficiency of folic acid causes anaemia which often occurs in pregnant women and children. Serious skin disorders, loss of hair, impaired circulation, a greyish-brown skin pigmentation, fatigue, and mental depression can result from a deficiency of this vitamin. Reproductive disorders such as spontaneous abortions and difficult labour, and a high infant death rate can also be caused by folic acid deficiency. Vitamin B9 deficiency may also lead to loss of libido in males. According to studies, two-thirds of geriatric patients were found to be deficient in folic acid, while one-third of psychiatric patients were also deficient in this vitamin. Lack of folic acid can also lead to dementia.

Foods High in Folic Acid

The food items that contain iron, are rich sources of folic acid too. Folic acid reserves and consumptio are extremely important for development of a healthy body.

Foods High in Folic Acid and Iron

Spinach, asparagus,  fenugreek, corn, millet, finger millet, dates, almonds, broccoli, kale cabbage, parsley,  potatoes, raisins, fig, whole wheat pasta, okra, orange juice, black-eyed peas, lentils, sunflower seeds, grapes, pineapple juice, chickpeas and turnip greens are all the items that are high in folic acid and iron. Other than these, collard greens and every other green leafy vegetable is high in folic acid and iron.

Fruit Sources ( Avocado,  Blackberries, Boysenberries, Breadfruit, Cantaloupe, Cherimoya, Dates,  Guava,  Loganberries, Lychee,  Mango,  Orange,  Papaya,  Passion fruit,  Pineapple,  Pomegranate,  Raspberries,  Strawberries)

Vegetable sources (Amaranth Leaves ,Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet greens, Beet root,  Bok Choy,  Broccoli,  Brussels Sprouts, Carrot,  Chinese Broccoli,  Chinese CabbageFrench Beans,  Lima Beans, Mushrooms, Mustard greens, Okra, Parsley,  Parsnip,  Peas , Potatoes,  Spinach, Spirulina, Squash-summer, Squash – winter)

Nut/Grain Sources: (Buckwheat,  Chestnuts , Filberts/Hazelnuts, Oats,  Peanuts,  Quinoa,  Rye,  Sunflower Seeds,  Wheat – Durum, Wheat – Hard Red, Wheat – Hard White)

Legume Sources(Black Eye Peas, Edamame , Soy Bean)


Selenium: The trace element that act as an antioxidant in the body.

Grocery Market
Image via Wikipedia

Selenium works with Vitamin E to prevent fat and cholesterol accumulation in the blood. It enhances skin and body tissues elasticity. Selenium strengthens immune function and protect the body from environmental and other toxins.  Selenium in the body is important in maintaining proper functioning of the immune and thyroid systems.

Selenium plays a vital role in working with the enzymes of the body and helping with the production of antioxidants. Antioxidants help in eliminating the free radicals of the body and thereby help in destroying these cancer producing cells of the body.

Foods with Selenium

Most fruits contain a small amount of selenium, but dates have a significant amount. (Bananas, Breadfruit, Guava, Lychee, Mango, Passion fruit, Pomegranate, Raisins,  Watermelon)

Vegetables: (Asparagus,  Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chives,  French Beans, Garlic, Kelp, Lima Beans, Mushrooms, Onions,  Parsnip, Peas, Raspberry leaf,  Spirulina, Spinach)

Most nuts contain selenium, but the following nuts have a significant amount:
Amaranth, Barley, Brazil Nuts, Buckwheat, Cashews, Coconut,  Fennel seeds, Mustard seeds, Peanuts, Rye, Sesame seed,  Sunflower seeds, Walnuts, Wheat – Durum, Wheat – Hard Red)

Most legumes are a good source of Selenium but these are the highest.
(Black Eye Peas,  Fava BeansGarbanzo Beans, Lima Beans, Mung Beans, Navy Beans, Pigeon Beans, Pinto Beans, Soy Beans, Winged Beans)

Selenium Health Benefits

  • It helps in destroying the carcinogenic cells that produce cancer and lead to destruction of cells.
  • Due to its ability to produce a profusion of antioxidants, it has an anti-aging effect on the body.
  • Selenium and thyroid are dependent on the other and it is seen that selenium plays a vital role in the proper thyroid functioning.
  • Selenium also promotes the normal functioning of the liver and thereby keeps the system in good shape.
  • It slows the progress of the HIV AIDS virus.
  • It is also known to protect a person against several heart diseases as well.
  • Selenium benefits also include maintaining the quality of hair, skin and eye health.
  • It also helps to strengthen the immune system of the body by helping in the proper functioning of all the cells of the body.
  • There are also studies that are done which prove that it can help with the neutralization of varied toxins on the body like alcohol.
  • It increases the sperm motility in males.

Symptoms of Selenium Deficiency

  • When there are lowered selenium levels in the body, it lowers the immunity of the body and therefore it can lead to increased chances of several diseases attacking the body.
  • Of these autoimmune diseases, Keshan disease (enlarged heart), Kashin-Beck (osteoarthropathy) and Myxedematous Endemic Cretinism (Hypothyroidism leading to mental retardation) are the most common.
  • It makes a person more susceptible to developing cancer and HIV/AIDS.
  • There are increased chances of developing thyroid problems.
  • It increases fatigue in the body.
  • Selenium deficiency can also lead to hair loss and weak nails.

Phosphorus : This mineral is also essential for growth and repair of cells in the body.

Phosphorus is another important mineral that is required in the body for the necessary for nourishment of the brain and the growth of the bones, teeth and hair. Phosphorus is also necessary for the growth and repair of cells in the body. It is also believed that phosphorus helps in maintaining proper heart health and prevention of cancer.  Along with calcium, phosphorus is required in order to have strong bones and teeth.

Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body and 85% of it is found in the bones. The rest of the body’s phosphorus is found in the blood, the fluid around and in cells, and in various organs like the heart, kidneys, brain, and muscles, where it is involved in many critical functions. It’s main purpose is for building strong bones and teeth, but this mineral is used by practically every cell in the body.

Health Benefits of Phosphorus

  • For strong bones and skeletal structure
  • For strong teeth, formation of tooth enamel, and healthy gums
  • For energy and metabolization of fats and starches
  • For growth and body repair
  • For heart regularity
  • For arthritis
  • For speedier recovery of burn victims
  • For cancer prevention
  • For cell health
  • Human body requires phosphate to produce energy and manage it. It also plays a crucial role in synthesizing proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
  • Phosphate is also required to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
  • With so many uses to its credit phosphate is indeed very important for the body, and lack of the same can result in adverse effects on us.
  • Phosphorus is a vital component of DNA and RNA, and links the structures of both.
  • Phosphorus also plays a crucial role in transmission of nerve impulses within the body

Phosphorus Deficiency Symptoms

  • Almost eighty five percent of phosphorus in our body is found in the bones and the teeth, the remaining is found in the blood, muscles, organs such as brain, kidney, etc and fluids in and around the body cells.
  • Any deficiency of phosphorus in the body can produce a number of symptoms and diseases. Some of the commonly experienced symptoms of phosphorus deficiency are weak bones and teeth, tiredness, reduction in appetite, pain and stiffness in the joints, lack of energy, occurrence of infections and confusion.
  •  Besides these symptoms, there are numerous phosphorus deficiency diseases too which can occur if there is an imbalance in the calcium-phosphorus reserves in the body.
  • Such a phosphorus deficiency in humans can lead to diseases such as arthritis, rickets, pyorrhea and decaying teeth.

List of High Phosphorus Foods


  • Avocado
  • Blackcurrants
  • Breadfruit
  • Dates
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Kiwi
  • Lychee
  • Mulberries
  • Passionfruit
  • Pears
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate



  • Almonds
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Buckwheat
  • Cashews
  • Oats
  • Pine Nuts/Pignolias
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Wheat – Durum
  • Wheat – Hard Red
  • Wheat – Hard White

Most legumes are a good source of Phospherous but these are the highest.

  • Adzuki Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Black Eye Peas
  • Fava Beans
  • Edamame
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Pigeon Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Soy Beans
  • White Beans
  • Winged Beans

A Close Look At Vegetarian & Vegan Ingredient Options

English: Vegan Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Lentil Pat...
Lentil patties

Plant based diets are on the rise. More than ever, people everywhere are looking into new ways to feel better. 2012 has brought with it some curious new meat eaters that want to clean up their diets a bit, or simply try something new.

You may have heard about the benefits of balancing what you eat. There is no better way to do that than to add more vegetables to your meals. You are sure to see some pleasant changes in your body, if you choose what you eat wisely for sure. Plant based diets are not the answer for everyone. That is fine and dandy. We here at Bliss Returned love you just as you are. We just want to inform you on making the positive changes that you have been thinking of.

As with anything, you should do some research before taking the plunge into Veggie land. There are plenty facts that you will miss without doing a little leg work to find out what terms or ingredients actually are friendly to a vegetarian or a vegan. We love doing research so here is another post packed with health info you can use.

Below is a brief introduction to some common vegetarian and vegan ingredients used in vegetarian cooking, vegan baking, and some raw food preparations. These healthy mostly vegan ingredients contain no animal by-products and can be used as substitues in most vegetarian versions of cooking recipes.

You will find these vegetarian cooking ingredients at your local health stores.

English: Vegetarian food

Agar is a vegetable-based gelatin. It is a good alternative and works just as well for thickening recipes or making the food “gelatinous.” Agar can be found in the baking section or in natural foods stores. Asian markets tend to carry it as well. Note that conventional gelatin is the boiled remnants of animals, including bones, tissue, muscle, and body parts not sold for meat, such as heads, snouts, hooves, etc…

Agave nectar is the extract of the wild agave plant commonly found in the deserts of Mexico and considered sacred by the people. It has a low glycemic level and is a delicious and safe alternative to white sugar and other sugars.

Bragg’s Liquid Amino is a low sodium liquid protein concentrate made from soybeans. It is a healthy alternative used in place of soy sauce or salty sauces. Often used in stiry frys, soups, casseroles, dressings, and sauces.

Cacao butter (raw) is the pure oil of the cacao bean. It is edible and possesses an extraordinary rich, delicate chocolate aroma. Add it to smoothie, dessert, ice cream or chocolate creation. Because it has not been damaged by heat, raw cacao butter melts easily and blends nicely into any type of recipe.

Carob is a cocoa-like powder that can be used in shakes, baked goods, and whenever a recipe calls for chocolate. Carob is sweet, high in fiber, and it contains calcium, iron, and phosphorus, but does not contain caffeine like chocolate does. Carob comes from the seed pod of the evergreen carob tree.

Coconut oil is widely used as a food product and skin moisturizer. It contains antiviral, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties. Health-conscious chefs prize coconut oil for its extremely high flash point, zero trans-fatty acids, and extremely rich source of medium-chain fatty acids, which are broken down efficiently by the body, providing an immediate source of energy. Coconut oil has a rich, buttery tastes.

Egg Replacer is a powdered formula of starches and leavening. Mix with water to use in recipes that call for eggs (muffins, pancakes, etc).

Hemp seed nuts are one of nature’s richest sources of complete protein, omega 6 and omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, and are a source of GLA. Moreover, the EFAs are balanced in a ratio suitable for life long consumption. Hemp seed nuts have a pleasant nutty flavor, similar to sunflower seeds. They are delicious sprinkled on salads, used in smoothies, or eaten alone.

Raw vegan lunch. Spicy seaweed wraps with pean...

Kelp is a powdered seaweed with a lightly salty taste, rich in iodine, and a good salt substitute.

Kombu is edible kelp seaweed that can be eaten raw or cooked. It is commonly used in Asian cooking and usually sold in packaged dried strips.

Molasses or blackstrap molasses is a dark syrup left over from the sugar production process. It is commonly used to flavor rye bread, baked beans, pies, gingerbrad, and cookies. Molasses has a strong, bittersweet flavor, and a little goes a long way.

Miso is a salty-flavored fermented paste from soybeans, rice or barley. It is rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins. Mix with water, then add to soups or gravies during the last phase of cooking, in order to keep the nutrients alive (do not boil it or it loses its nutritional properties). Also add it to salad dressings and sauces.

vegan food pyramid adapted from recommendation...

Nama Shoyu is unpasteurized soy sauce made from soy beans. It has a full-bodied flavor and contains live enzymes. A healthful alternative to conventional soy sauce.

Nutritional Yeast is a food supplement grown on cane or beet molasses which comes in a yellow powder or flakes with a ‘cheesy’ flavor. When nutritional yeast is made from a natural fermentation source and not from a synthetic or animal source, it contains enough vitamin B-12 to fulfill a daily requirement.

Protein Powder is a protein supplement in powder form. Ingredients and nutritional value varies widely. Check ingredients for allergies. Choose one with low sugar or sweetener content and no additive.

Quinoa is a light, fluffy, tasty, fast-cooking grain that is high in iron, protein, and B-vitamins. Also known as “Food of gods,” it is an ancient grain native to South America. Possibly the best grain available.

Seitan is a textured food product derived from the protein portion of wheat, or wheat gluten. Seitan is high in protein and low in fat. Prepared seitan come in a variety of flavors and textures. Some vegetarian restaurants also serve seitan in their dishes.

Spelt is an ancient grass and distant cousin to modern wheat. It can replace wheat flour in baking. Many wheat and gluten sensitive people can use it in their diet.

Sucanat is made from evaporated cane juice. You can use white sugar if you want. Sucanat can be found in natural foods stores.

Tahini is sesame seed butter made from ground sesame seeds. It is high in protein, calcium, and phosphorus.

Tamari is a natural soy sauce made from fermented soybeans.

vegetarianism: the higher taste

Tempeh is a fermented whole soy bean product, originally from Indonesia. Like seitan, tempeh can be used as a meat substitute. Some vegetarian restaurants also serve tempeh in their dishes.

Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP) is a high protein food made by processing defatted soy flour to extract most of its soluble sugars. Also known as TVP, it is used in place of meat in many vegetarian entrees.

Tofu is made from soy beans and is widely consume by Far Eastern cultures. It is high in protein and rich in vitamins, minerals, and polyunsaturated fat, with no cholesterol. Tofu comes in a variety of firmness and can be made into tofu milk, soy cheese, soy shakes, and pie fillings.

Want more? Click the link that follows plus Check out the posts under the Health, Vegan and Raw Tags~





How To Transition To A Vegetarian Diet

Practice reading food labels and recipe ingredients.Then check off all the items that aren’t vegan such as, meat, fish, dairy, gelatin etc. After that, replace the animal based ingredients for there vegan equivalent. Here are a few options to get you started. Replace the products with animal derivatives  with its vegan/ vegetarian equivalent:

Dairy Cheese-Vegan Cheese with no Casin

Cheese-Vegan Cheese (should have zero casin on the label)

Beef – veggie mock beef strips (usually seitan- based

Pork/bacon-Veggie mock pork sausages sliced veggie meat or veggie bacon

Sausages-there are many mock sausage versions on the market

Sliced sandwich meat-a variety of mock veggie sandwich meats exist

Chicken-veggie mock chicken (usually gluten-based)

Butter-substitute oils or vegan margarine. For baking, solid coconut fat is a great choice and it is good for you in small quantities owing to its vitamin E content.

Ice cream-replace with soy, coconut, almond or rice substitutes

Dairy Milk-replace with soy, rice, nut or oat.

Eggs-there are many egg-substitutes on the market.

Pectin-(for example, use pureed apple in cakes).

Honey – try agave nectar or brown rice syrup.A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

Gelatinagar agar and pectin are good choices; sometimes banana or apple can substitute. It is best to follow instructions in a vegan cookbook on substituting gelatin.


Nutrition tips

New Evidence that eating Vegan can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

The little known truth about protein is that most of us get too much, not too little of it.

Calcium-rich foods to try: spinach, collard greens, kale, soy milk, fortified orange juice, sesame seeds, tahini, broccoli, almonds, carrots, and rice milk.

Be sure to shake your soy milk and orange juice before drinking, as the calcium can settle to the bottom. Women need about 45 grams of protein per day and men need around 55 grams.

One cup of tofu contains about 20 grams of protein, so women, eat some tofu and you’re almost halfway there!

Many foods contain protein and if you’re eating a well-balanced diet, you’re probably consuming more than enough protein without even thinking about it.

Make sure you’re eating a variety of protein-rich foods.

Eating whole foods really helps to completely take the guesswork out of proper vegan nutrition. Every time you choose whole foods over processed and packaged foods you’re definitely ahead of the game.

Consume high protein foods like tofu, seitan, soy, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, brown rice and whole grains.

It’s possible to get more than enough iron on a vegan diet.

Drinking coffee and tea, particularly with meals, can limit your absorption and should be consumed at least three hours before a meal.

For an iron boost eat tofu, lentils, spinach, soy, chickpeas.

Vitamin C also increases the absorption of iron.

Fat, Calories and Cholesterol in meats and dairy are a huge burden on your system.

Give up meat and dairy for 3 weeks and see huge results.

Eliminate animal products and you’ll gain a tremendous amount of antioxidants plus this fiber that you’ll add to your diet by switching to a vegan diet cleans out your system immediately.

Let’s help you eliminate meat from your diet the safe and healthy way!

The Simple Steps:

  1. Consider your reasons for becoming vegetarian. These might include moral or ethical reasons regarding the treatment of animals or equal food distribution, religious reasons, health reasons, environmental reasons or a combination of any of these.
  2. Set guidelines. Where will you stop? Many vegetarians eat eggs, cheese, etc. NOTE: Generally the least strict form of vegetarianism is being a pesco-vegetarian, excluding all meat from your diet except for fish (be aware that some will consider this not to be vegetarian), while excluding all animal products from your diet is Vegan. Other options to include/exclude from your diet are:
    • Gelatin (Gelatin, including Kosher gelatin, is ground up bones, beaks, horns, hooves, skin, tissue, etc.)
    • Eggs
    • Rennet (produced from the interior of the stomachs of animals and used in the production of many cheeses, often not listed as an ingredient)
    • Dairy (milk and subsequent products)
  3. Get some vegetarian cookbooks and find some vegetarian recipes that interest you.Vegetarianism is a great way to try tons of new foods that you may even like better than meat! Try the titles How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, 5 ingredient Vegetarian Gourmet, Healthy Asian Vegetarian Dishes, The New Moosewood Cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, Veggie Food and others. Being vegetarian is not a deprivation! Who would miss meat when you can try so many new meals?
  4. Take a look around supermarkets, food stores and health food shops and see the variety of vegetarian food that is available. Be open to trying and researching new fruits and veggies such as starfruit, pomegranate, grapefruit and others. Also, look in your grain isle for new grains like orzo, quinoa, couscous, barley, alfalfa and others. They are all delicious!
  5. Eat vegetarian as much as possible without giving up meat entirely. Learn to enjoy vegetarian food before you quit meat cold turkey (no pun intended).
  6. Research your nutritional needs. Read up on vegetarian nutrition and vegetarianism in general. There is plenty of information on the internet and in books. make sure that with your new diet you’re still getting enough calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals. It’s a good idea to take vitamins and calcium tablets if you don’t already.
  7. Tell parents or a significant other about your choice. Make sure you have some solid research to back you up, as some people are very resistant to the idea of vegetarianism because of misunderstandings related to health, evolution or religion. When informing your family of your dietary choice, stay calm and polite, even if they find it difficult to accept.
  8. Start to eliminate the types of meat gradually, having “one last meal” with the relevant ingredient and resolving not to eat it again.
    • Red meat, such as beef.
    • Pork, such as bacon and ham, after a week.
    • Chicken after another week.
    • Fish and shell-fish, such as crab and salmon, after another two weeks.
  1. Make sure you eat enough food. There is protein in almost all kinds of food, so contrary to conventional belief, it isn’t necessary to worry about protein or count grams per day. As long as you eat 1200 calories or more a day, protein should never be an issue. Still, especially if you are trying to gain weight it is important to eat a wide variety of legumes, nuts, and seeds into your diet to make sure you get enough calories and healthy fats.
  2. Get a good variety of fresh fruit and vegetables to ensure that you keep high levels of B vitamins, iron and vitamin C. If you are concerned with deficiencies. Again, you should really take a good multivitamin each day, you can ask a nutritionist or a doctor in that matter. Also, learn about how getting more profit of the combinations of food you make, like iron (legumes, green vegetables) and vitamin C (lemon), for example.
  3. Eat healthily. As with any change in diet, be careful to keep all of your food groups in balance. These are carbohydrates/grains, fats, protein, veggies, fruits and fiber.
  4. Find good meat substitutes. Some taste quite realistic, and can help when you’re new to vegetarianism and have meat cravings. Others tend to be less realistic, and are simply an interesting new food to try.
    • Quorn is a company that makes chicken patties, nuggets, and beef products from mycoprotein. It tastes very similar to meat.
    • Morningstar makes bacon, sausages and riblets that do taste very similar to meat. Actually, Their breakfast sausage patties and chicken patties taste so similar to the real thing, that they have been known to fool a carnivore or two.
    • Boca products taste quite similar to meat, especially the “ground beef”.
    • Schneiders Au Naturel products are very realistic, as are Veat.
    • Yes make everything from “turkey” slices to “pepperoni”.
  5. If you find yourself eating meat at times or “cheating”, you can always start as a pescetarian. This means to only eat fish meat, it’s a good way to start and it gets your body used to not having as much protein. so if you are a beginner, try to start just eating fish then gradually go to no meat at all.

English: If it's my soy milk, and I'm the only...


  • Try Indian vegetarian foods. India has the largest population of completely vegetarian people in the world, so they know what they’re doing. The majority of Indian dishes are not spicy or strong and there are literally hundreds of vegetarian dishes which are a much better alternative to salads.
  • If you can’t stand the idea of truly giving up hamburgers, hot dogs, et cetera, loads of stores have lots of alternative choices for your situation. Many consist of fake meat with the alternative being soy. There’s so many foods you can make without meat, you can find whole recipe books. Try tofu instead of meat. And also, why not try just decreasing your intake of meat instead of forbidding it? Like only having meat at dinner instead at lunch too.
  • Even if you don’t want to become a full-time vegetarian, do try some of the tastier meat-free dishes, such as dahl.
  • Read “The More With Less Cookbook”. Although not all the recipes in there are meat-free, it does give some such recipes, as well as tips for using plant protein.
  • Start going to more Indian, Thai, Chinese, or Japanese restaurants, as they tend to have more selections available for vegetarians. Don’t be afraid to try new things!
  • Most restaurants will prepare food without meat when requested.
  • Many familiar foods such as peanut butter are chock-full of protein.
  • Join a vegetarian message board for support (see External Links).
  • If in the early days of going vegetarian you have a lapse and eat meat, don’t panic! Just remind yourself why you decided to go vegetarian in the first place and carry on as before.

Vegetarian simulated seafood chow mein

Don’t be scared or fooled into thinking that eliminating meat will automatically make you prone to anemia. Do some research! Vegetarians who eat a variety of fruits and vegetables are actually less likely to develop nutritional deficiencies than people who eat junk food (including meat).

  • Stay strong! Many people are against vegetarianism, and you may read or hear things that may tempt you to go back to eating meat.
  • It only takes a couple of weeks of eliminating meat before you will stop having cravings. It might be better if you eliminate all meat from your diet at once, and keep it out for a couple of weeks. Before long, your cravings will be eliminated and you won’t want it anymore.
  • If you are experiencing meat withdrawal, and you most likely will, don’t eat foods that taste similar. Doing so will only increase the cravings. Instead, eat something you love, even if it’s chocolate. You will lose any pounds you gain by eating comfort foods fairly quickly after you are rid of the cravings.
  • Seek out vegetarian groups. Whether in person or online, this will help you to learn, get support, and meet like-minded people. This is a good way to share recipes.
  • You should think of yourself as the animal!
  • Understand that you can still enjoy some of your favorite foods as a vegetarian.


  • Check labels for food that may not be “suitable for vegetarians” – some processed foods have hidden animal ingredients such as gelatin, animal fats, cochineal and rennet. The main ones to check are vegetarian cheeses, yogurts, soups, desserts and some sweets and biscuits/cookies (particularly red-colored ones, which sometimes contain dye made from beetles called carmine/cochineal).
  • Only eat cheeses that list enzymes as microbial or vegetable-based. Most cheeses are in fact not vegetarian, as they contain animal enzymes derived from killed calf stomach.
  • With a switch to your new diet, you might feel increased awareness about food and animal rights related issues. Try to be compassionate with your friends and family who may not understand your switch, and try to avoid judging them harshly based on their lack of information. It’s important to remember that you will set a better example by enjoying delicious vegetarian foods and living healthfully than by preaching to others.
  • Make sure you are not a junk-food vegetarian. While not consuming meat is healthy, eating junk-food all the time is even worse than eating meat.

Resource: Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Become a Vegetarian. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.