I quit eating meat one year ago. My protein comes primarily from plants now. I'd like to make sure I'm not getting too much fat from the nuts and seeds I eat as well as the coconut oil. I'm also curious about any deficiencies I may or may not have.
Protein is the main ingredient that needs attention as a Vegetarian. You get protein by using dairy products which can come from animal or plant sources, such as, milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, yogurt, soy yogurt, cheese, soy cheese, soy ice cream, and rice ice cream. If you are a vegetarian you need to combine grains and nuts/seeds for essential protein have to be used daily such as rice and beans, pasta and beans, nuts to oatmeal, peanut butter and bread, and salad and nuts. Eat more raw fruits and vegetables for vitamins and minerals. Eat them as snacks or add them to your salads with additional nuts. If you are concerned about fat intake, Coconut oil is a saturated fat as well as Palm oil so suggest using poly-saturated and mono-saturated fat sources which are nuts, seeds, and oils from them or vegetables oil (such as olive, and canola). Vitamin B12 and calcium needs to be supplemented due to very low amounts in the diet. You stated you feel good from your eating habits as a Vegetarian which is good to hear. General blood work will show your levels of vitamin/minerals. Blood work can reflect low Iron stores when Vitamin B12 is deficient. Good sources of information on vegetarian eating are the American Dietetic Association website, www.eatright.org and Vegetarian Resource Group website, www.vrg.org. Thank you for your question.
Many vegetarians and vegans are B12 deficient. This can cause iron deficiency, too. I don't know about a single standard test, but these two things should definitely be looked at. Have all the usual vitamins and mineral levels tested. Usually, you have to be specific about which ones you think you need tested. If I knew what a full panel was called, I would ask my own doctor about that myself.
I would caution you about using soy as your primary protein source. Mercola.com has plenty of information about why not, so I would urge you to check into this. For some reason soy is completely different than other legumes, so I would urge you to use the other legumes and nuts as your protein sources. There was some information about why high peanut consumption isn't a good idea either. The other nuts are better. Besides what they mentioned about peanuts, many times peanuts have dry mold still on the shells and that will get into the peanuts and the peanut butter. Many people can become intolerant or even allergic to peanuts and that can cross react to the other nuts, even though the peanuts are actually a legume. I would simply keep the peanut consumption to a minimum, in order to prevent future issues with cross reactions you don't want or need. Same with the soy. Especially the soy. All those meat substitutes made out of soy can really wreak havoc on anyone consuming large amounts of the stuff.
If your fats are coming mainly from the healthy vegetable sources, your cholesterol will probably be fine, but I would still check it in order to track it. High consumption of dairy fats, like cheese or butter, can still wreak havoc on your cholesterol, especially the triglycerides. Healthy oils, like the coconut oil you mentioned should prove to be beneficial to your cholesterol levels.
I don't eat peanuts. I do eat a lot of almonds with some walnuts and pecans and occasionally cashews. I eat a fair amount of pumpkin and sunflower seeds too... and a lot of different legumes and brown and wild rices....along with many fresh fruits and veggies. As for the tofu, I only eat that a handful of times per yr. With a few exceptions, I don't eat anything if it doesn't look like something that was just picked off a plant. Those exceptions include olive and coconut oils, sprouted grain tortillas, a bit of plain yogurt in the mornings, and each week, a serving or two of cheese and a few eggs. After 2 yrs of this diet, I feel good. Just want to make sure nothing's askew.
It sounds like you're making good food choices as a vegetarian. I would mix up the nuts a bit more, just to keep from focusing on just one or the other, in order to prevent yourself from becoming intolerant to any of them. Too often when one is intolerant of one kind of nut, one becomes intolerant to many kinds because of cross reaction allergies. I make mention of this because I'm one of the people with a long list of food intolerances and I'm just hoping to help you prevent the same kind of thing from happening to you.
I'm glad you already knew about avoiding heavy loads of soy or peanuts. This is especially important for vegetarians, since their main source of protein is plant based.
I hope the expert still answers your question soon. You are wise to take action now to prevent future problems. I'm glad you feel good with the diet, too. I know you're just wanting to keep things that way.
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