These days many people chose to become vegetarian or vegan for a variety of reasons, these commonly include ethical issues regarding the treatment of animals, sustainability concerns surrounding meat production and religious beliefs.
When making a decision to begin adhering to a meatless diet, seeking the expert advice of a nutritionist can help insure that your dietary preferences do not negatively affect your health. Read on to discover how a nutritionist can help you plan your meat free diet.
Assess medical needs
Besides the goal of a vegetarian diet, the nutritionist can pin point other dietary requirements and goals of the client based on their medical needs. For example, if the client has type 2 diabetes that will significantly influence the food choices in vegetarian or vegan menu planning. The same applies to those who have high cholesterol, gluten sensitivity or any other issues where food is relevant.
A nutritionist will conduct a detailed food history
Before making any recommendations regarding dietary intake a good nutritionist will conduct a detailed food intake history with their client. This will help the nutritionist understand the client’s usual dietary pattern and food preferences. In addition to this, it will provide invaluable information regarding which foods groups or specific foods you do not consume, which can assist to highlight nutrients that you could be at risk of becoming deficient in.
The nutritionist will then be able to suggest dietary changes that can insure you achieve sufficient intake of any at risk nutrients. This is particularly important for vegetarians and vegans who are commonly deficient in iron and B12.
Many nutritionists are qualified to read your blood work
Nutritionists that are also dietitians are trained to read and interpret your pathology results. Should your blood work show you to be deficient in any specific nutrients they will be able to suggest dietary changes to remedy the situation, in addition to this they will be able to track your progress by examining any follow up pathology results.
Provide education on proper nutrition
Nutritionists educate clients on proper nutritional intake to ensure that choosing a meat free diet does not have a negative impact on health.
Support weight loss
Provide detailed meat free meal plans that also support healthy weight loss should that be required.
Nutritionists can assist you to develop a balanced meat free diet
For many people following or switching to a meat free diet, ensuring that their intake is balanced can be difficult. By working with a nutritionist to develop a personalized meal plan you will have a template that you can follow to ensure that your preference for meat free eating does not damage your health. Your nutritionist will give you practical meal ideas that are nutritious, tasty, and best of all meat free.
Expert supplementation advice
For most healthy people supplementing vitamins and minerals is simply not necessary as their diet meets their requirements. However, for those with more restrictive diets such as vegetarians and vegans, supplementation can often be a useful tool to correct or avoid deficiency.
Before embarking on a haphazard program of supplementation be sure to consult with a nutritionist who will assess you current dietary intake and will therefore be in the correct position to make any recommendations regarding supplementation.
Support and advice
In general, a good nutritionist will support their client in following a healthy diet plan and offer advice as needed. For many, making a major diet switch such as choosing to live meat free can pose challenges, and having the support of a professional can really be invaluable in making the transition a smooth one.
Choosing a specialist
When choosing a nutritionist, take the time to ensure that they are also a registered dietitian, as this means they are up to date with the latest nutritional science, have attended an accredited university, and can be trusted to provide high quality advice.
If you do not feel comfortable at your first appointment, or feel that you and your nutritionist are not a good match, take the time to find another.
Summing it all up
There are many valid reasons for choosing to consume a vegetarian or vegan diet, including ethical, environmental, and religious reasons. However, embarking on such a diet without sufficient research and planning can quickly result in nutritional deficiencies and associated health problems.
By consulting with a trained nutritionist, you will be able to ensure you are consuming a nutritious diet whilst adhering to your vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. A good nutritionist will take the time to understand your current eating patterns before making suggestions to improve your nutritional status should any such changes be required.
They will also be more than happy to help you develop a customized eating plan and can answer any questions you may have regarding vitamin and mineral supplementation.
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