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Vegetarian Diet

I am interested in eating a primarily vegetarian diet. I want to do this due to my strong family history of heart disease. My father died at age 43. His father died at age 50 with heart attacks. I take medication for high triglycerides and blood pressure. I have recently develped mild anemia. Hemoglobin 12.7. My b-12 and Folate are within normal limits. The question is am I making a mistake by eliminating meat from my diet? I will continue to eat egg whites, low fat dairy products. Will I be able to maintain my iron levels and prevent my anemia from getting worse while cutting out the adverse affects of the meat in my diet?
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267079 tn?1195146570
That is great you want to be a vegetarian and want to learn the right way to eat. As a vegetarian you should be getting all your vitamins and minerals from the foods you ate except Vitamin B12 and maybe Calcium (if you have a history of bone disease in your family). Vitamin B12 supplementation you need to take because it comes from meat sources and it not available through vegetarian diet. Calcium supplementation may be needed if your intake is on the lower side depending on what you eat and your bone density. It is important to eat the right combination of foods so you have the proper proteins and nutrients for your body too. Eat non-meat sources (soy products, nuts), low fat vegetarian combinations (rice & beans, pasta & beans, soy cheese & pasta, salads with nuts & seeds), substitute dairy products (low fat soy milk/soy yogurt), use plant oils, non trans-fat margarines, and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Eat daily high fiber breads and cereals (oatmeal). Suggest for your anemia that you take iron supplements to get it under control and then eat foods high in the iron to maintain it in normal limits. I recommend you read up on vegetarian and combinations of starches / vegetables and beans / nuts for protein, calcium, and other nutrients. Good sources of information are the American Dietetic Association website, www.eatright.org and Vegetarian Resource Group website, www.vrg.org
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