Acquiring a degree in nutrition didn't make me live off vegetables and low-fat yogurt alone. As you know I've been a vegetarian these past 12 years, but besides that, I eat everything, following the principles of variety, moderation, and small portions. Yes, I do indulge in ice-cream, butter on my bread, and other delights, just not every day.
A question I've been recently asked is how I get all the nutrients I need, without eating meat and fish. Vegetarianism has become so natural to me that I sometimes forget how deeply it's ingrained in people's minds that we can't live without meat. Personally, I'm convinced it's only a matter of habit; there is no specific and unique ingredient in meat and/or fish that you can't get in a healthy and balanced vegetarian diet. No, I'm not advocating vegetarianism for everyone, but I think I can be pretty sure to say there aren't any risks involved – if you keep your diet healthy and complete.
Sure, if meat is your only source of high quality protein, and you stop eating it without substituting it with anything else, nothing good will come out of it. But normally, vegetarians aren't supposed to experience any sort of deficiency; it might be more challenging for vegans – and vegans will probably have to resort to supplements – but it is still entirely possible to be healthy on a vegan diet too.
I do hope to post more vegetarian recipes soon, as time allows. For now, I'll share with you a sample of my typical daily menu during the week.
1 slice of bread with cream cheese or butter
Cup of coffee with whole milk and sugar
A small slice of cake or a cookie
Yogurt (whole milk) – sometimes with granola and honey
Canned beans soup
1 slice of bread
Rice with mushrooms (*main dish variations: vegetarian lasagna, vegetarian pizza, lentils and pasta...)
1 slice of bread + a slice of cheese
* Later in the evening, I usually have a cup of tea with a cookie or two. When it's hot, I have a glass of buttermilk. During the day, between meals, I drink plenty of water – and nothing but water. Only rarely I'll drink fresh-squeezed juice or a smoothie, but no canned store-bought juices, and no sweetened drinks, even if they are almost calorie-free. Water is the best!