Sunday, August 23, 2009

Debunking Myths In Vegetarianism

During the course of promoting vegetarianism
in the past few years,
2 most common questions asked are:

"Where do vegetarians get their proteins from?"
"Are vegetarians lack of iron?"

These two questions are so frequently asked
to the extent that they seems like real issues..

In fact,
proteins and iron are never concerns to
well informed vegetarians.

All food contains proteins at different concentrations,
because all living things
include plants, bacteria and viruses
are made of proteins =)

People may question the "completeness" of the proteins in plants.
This is easily solved by taking 2-3 different types of plants.
The combined spectrum of proteins from
a few different plant sources
easily cover the complete range of proteins we need :D

Some good sources of plant proteins:
Soya, Millet, Quinoa, Spirulina, Lentil and Chickpea.

Lacking of iron is not a vegetarian-specific issue.
Generally, due to non-organic farming,
our food nowadays is getting more mineral-deficient.

When vegetarians are lack of iron,
they may source out for plant foods
which turn brown (oxidised) easily.
Some examples are:
Apple, Potato, Dates, Sweet potato and Spinach.

For those who need urgent remedy
for serious iron-deficiency,
consider this nice recipe :)

In 1 cup of warm water,
mix in 1-2 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

Drink 2 cups daily for 2 weeks for emergency rescue.
For long term maintenance,
drink 1 cup daily on alternative month.

Blackstrap molasses is a natural sugar cane extract
being the side product of cane sugar refinement.
It's very rich of iron and calcium.

Happy Vegging,
Kee Yew


  1. Lots of good information here Kew. One thing I would add is that while soy contains protein, there are health concerns that may arise from eating soy in other than a fermented form. Soy contains compounds that block the absorbtion of vitamins and minerals by the body, interfere with the hormonal system and actually prevent the body from breaking down the protein in soy. Also processed soy in the form of isoflavones may contribute to certain cancers and affect the functioning of the endocrine system. Fermented soy foods such as tofu, tempeh and miso are highly nutritious and healthy.

  2. You are right, Jennifer :D

    Thank you for bringing that up :)

    Soy, like many seeds/nuts/legumes is slightly bioacidic by default. Hence, direct consumption/consumption in cooked form, may bring some side effects in some situations.

    To get rid of the acidity, these seeds should go through either Fermentation or Sprouting (hence transformation into biogenic state), before cooking/direct consumption :D

    As for soy isoflavones causing cancer, it depends on whether the cancer is Estrogen-Responsive (ER). If a prior-existing cancer is non-ER, then the isoflavones(aka phytoestrogen) acting as pseudo-estrogen in the body, may not promote the cancer.

    Overall, moderate consumption of soya is safe.
    Often, I introduce my veg friends millet and quinoa which are also rich in proteins (yet alkaline in nature), hoping that they will diversify their protein intake sources (ie not to go overboard with soy) =)

    Kee Yew


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