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Vegetarian Mistakes You Should Avoid

By Sara Butler

If you've adopted a vegetarian or vegan diet, then kudos to you! When done the right way it can be a very healthy and balanced diet with many benefits to your health. In fact, studies have found that when done the right way, plant-based diets can help improve blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of certain types of cancers as well as heart disease, and help people to maintain a healthy body weight. If you're a vegetarian or vegan, then here are a few of the mistakes you need to avoid to take advantage of the health benefits these diets offer.

Be Careful of Specialized Products

Food may be labeled as vegan or vegetarian-friendly, but that doesn't mean it's good for you or healthier than the alternative. Almond milk is a great example because it's used by a lot of vegans and vegetarians in the place of cow's milk, but it's not necessarily healthier. It often has less protein and more added sugars -- which is why you should read the nutrition label of any product you buy.

Also, be on the lookout for highly processed meat alternatives. They're usually full of artificial ingredients and fillers, and they're also high in calories. You're far better off choosing foods that aren't as heavily processed and make meat alternatives something for a special occasion.

You Don't Get Enough Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential to the function of your central nervous system. Without it, you can't make more red blood cells. Not getting enough is an issue for vegetarians and vegans because it's a vitamin found primarily in animal products such as milk and meat.

If you noticed you're feeling fatigued or having issues with your memory, then you might be deficient in Vitamin B12. Luckily, many foods are fortified with Vitamin B12, so make sure to be on the lookout for it. If you still aren't getting enough, talk to a trusted healthcare provider about the possibility of using supplements.

Too Many Carbs

It can be easy when you cut meat from your diet to replace it with carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, but that's a trap you should avoid falling into at all costs. Bagels, breads, crackers, pasta, and cake often take a front and center seat in the diets of many non-meat eaters. These products are often highly refined and not great for your overall health. Maximize nutrients in your diet by instead using whole grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, and oats.

There are advantages to being vegan or vegetarian, but you have to do it right!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Snellville, Ga.

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