These days we hear more and more that eating vegetarian and not a meat-based diet is the best for our health. A lot of people are vegetarian, or eat some vegetarian meals every week. If eating vegetarian is new to you, keep reading to learn a bit about it and the essentials of food combining for a complete protein.
First of all, a few definitions, as the term vegetarian is commonly used quite loosely.
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian – Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry, fish or seafood. Milk, dairy products and eggs are still consumed.
Most people who call themselves vegetarian are actually lacto-ovo vegetarian - ie they eat eggs and dairy products - and a little fish or chicken but no red meat.
Vegetarian – Pure Vegetarians do not eat meat, poultry, fish, seafood, milk, dairy products or eggs. The diet comprises vegetables, vegetable oils, cereals, legumes (peas and beans), nuts, fruit and seeds. Honey is usually seen as being optional.
Vegan – People who avoid all animal products: meat, fish, seafood, eggs, egg products, milk, dairy products, and honey.
Definitions from Vegetarian Network Victoria – www.vng.org.au
Whilst I don’t advocate you become vegan, I recommend (for health and environmental purposes) a decreased intake of meat in the diet – in particular red meat and an increase in eating vegetarian based meals. I think fish should be eaten in moderation and poultry - free range & hormone free - occasionally.
I would suggest that a good weekly balance of meals would be 2 fish based meals, 1 chicken/red meat based meal and the remainder vegetarian meals.
If you are eating vegetarian, you need to be a bit careful in regard to your protein intake. Animal sources – meat, eggs, cheese, fish, poultry, milk, cheese and yoghurt - contain all the essential amino acids that make up a protein, hence we call these foods a ‘complete’ protein.
On the other hand most non-animal sources are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins, as they do not contain all the essential amino acids necessary to make a complete protein. Luckily enough though, for eating vegetarian, all you need to do is combine a few foods and voila! You end up with a complete protein.
To make a complete protein; you need to combine 2 from these 3 food groups
Nuts & Seeds
Sunflower, sesame (& tahini), pumpkin, pecans, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews, pine nuts
Peanuts, peas, beans, lentils, soybeans & soybean products like tofu, soy milk and tempeh
Rice, oats, corn, wheat/flour products (eg pasta), couscous, rye barley
Some examples of food combining
Rice & beans
Dahl and rice
Beans and corn
Hummus & pita bread
Peanut butter sandwiches
Baked beans on toast
Chickpeas and couscous
Muesli with nuts and seeds
Beans and veges
Pasta and cheese
Lentil burger on a bread roll
Rice and chickpeas
Spilt pea soup and bread
Bean salad & tabouli, felafel and pita/Lebanese bread
Dahl & pita bread
I just love all these kinds of foods. To me they are more exciting than plain old steak and veges anyhow, so I find it easy to eat the majority of my meals this way.
Check out the Vegetarian Recipes at
There are 91 pages of them!
Just make sure you only pick out the healthy ones...;)