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Vegetarian and Vegan
There are different types of vegetarian diets according to what foods are not eaten. Some people only cut out red meat. Others cut out all meat but eat fish; some will cut out eggs but not milk and milk products.
A vegan will not eat anything that comes from an animal so eats only fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds, cereals, beans and lentils and vegetable oils. They may also avoid non-food animal products such as leather.
There are a few reasons why people become vegetarians and vegans. For some the reason is that they don’t believe in killing animals for meat or taking advantage of animals for their produce such as milk and eggs. Others simply don’t like the taste of meat.
Eating a vegetarian or vegan diet can be perfectly healthy providing you eat a balanced diet (see CLIC section on Nutrition) that contains all the food groups.
If you decide you would like to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet it is important to find out what vegetarian foods contain the essential food groups and ensure that you include them in your meals. Cutting certain things from your diet can cause deficiencies in your body e.g. cutting out dairy products can cause a lack of calcium and you may need to take a supplement.
Meat is a source of protein so you need to get it from other sources such as nuts, seeds, beans, peas and lentils, cereals and soya if you are vegan and dairy products, like milk, cheese and eggs if you are vegetarian that includes dairy products.
You will also need to make sure that you are having the right vitamin and mineral requirements e.g. vitamin c found in fresh citrus fruit helps absorb iron from leafy green vegetables. All balanced diets must include fibre and 1.2 litres of water a day.