It can be a great way to shape up your menu for the summer. Local 12's Liz Bonis "Asks the Experts" about the right way to go vegetarian.
Dr. Lee Niemeyer is a family practice expert at Group Health in Clifton. He says plenty of patients could benefit from a diet higher in fruits and vegetables and lower in meats and some diary foods for "mainly cardiovascular health, as we get older cholesterol gets elevated. It starts to build up in our arteries and our heart, and it can raise your risk of a heart attacks and strokes and things like that."
So we asked Dr. Niemeyer to help us go to the grocery store and answer a question from our Local 12 viewer named Greg, who wanted to know about meatless meals. Greg's question is a great one because he wants to know how to become a vegetarian and wants to know how to do that in safe way.
It's a really important question because when you start eliminating meat and milk and cheese or other dairy and animal products all-together, you can miss some serious nutrients your body needs. "Obviously one of the more difficult things is we get a lot of our proteins from meats, and not only that but things like iron, B-12, course calcium isn't meat but it's animal products through diary, so those are things you still need to get in your body."
To start out, Neimeyer says plan your plate much like it's recommended now for the latest guidelines for good eating. Make sure at least half your plate comes from plant foods. That means you generally need five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables. Go low fat for three servings of diary a day, such as milk, cheese or yogurt. Then rather than cutting meat out, make some lower fat choices to start. "More specifically if you can lead more towards poultry-chicken, turkey, fishes, those are much better."
Finally, gradually work in tofu and other soy foods. You can pretty much use this as a substitute for meat.
If you want more information on the right way to go vegetarian or have a question for doctors at TriHealth, just click on "ask the expert."