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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to take the plunge and become vegetarian, along with my 11 month old dd. (Dh will still be eating meat for now). Is there anything I should know? I mean, are there certain vitamins that I need to supplement with since I won't be eating meat? I know I will have to make sure I get enough protein, but other than that, should I be concerned? What about for my 11 month old dd? She is still breastfed, but as she nurses less and less, do I need to be concerned about anything nutritionally speaking for her? Thanks so much!
 

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Protein shouldn't be a problem. Practically everything you eat has some form of protein in it. Plus, there's tofu and seitan.<br><br>
Vitamin B12 is the big thing that is contained in meat, but not present in veggies. Fortified soy milk with B12 is good. Nutritional yeast (can be sprinkled on everything) has B12 in it. Seaweed (the kind you eat, lol) has B12 in it. There's also actual B12 vitamins. But, I don't think they're necessary (at least for me) as I drink the soy milk, eat the seaweed, and LOVE to put nutritional yeast on everything. I get my bloodwork done yearly (as a general check up) and have never come up deficient in anything.
 

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Please take a look at the resources in the "Raising a Vegetarian Baby" sticky at the top of the forum--there's some good (and important) nutritional resources in it.
 

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Toddlers have higher iron needs than adults do, so that's something to always be aware of. Do some reading into it, though, as there are lots of great vegetarian iron sources out there. My daughter, who is technically an omni but doesn't much care for meat, prefers the veggie sources of iron by far, so it's really easy to get them into her.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I would try to eat a wide variety of whole foods, especially dark leafy greens (not just spinach-it's not the best for making its nutrients available), colorful fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Legumes are great as well. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
There IS b-12 in many vegan sources, but it is in smaller amounts. But--that is ok. There is less need for B-12 in vegans, and if you haven't always been a vegan, you have large stores of B-12 anyway. The key to staying in good b-12 health is to keep your stomach and intestines in good shape. Don't use things which are irritating to them, don't take antacids and similar (zantac, prevacid, etc). your body stores B-12 in the liver and releases it into the bowels. It is reabsorbed in the bowel (and the bacteria present help in that). Using antibiotics can hamper that reabsorption, so if you MUST take them, be sure to replenish the bacteria by using probiotics.<br><br>
In regards to calcium, some of the best foods you can eat are as follows:<br><br>
dark leafy greens (especially turnip, mustard and collard)<br>
almonds<br>
unhulled sesame seeds (30% rda for 1 TB)<br>
Teff (african grain see <a href="http://www.teffco.com/" target="_blank">http://www.teffco.com/</a> )<br><br>
Iron containing foods include:<br>
molasses (aim for sorghum, it is not purified using beef fat as standard molasses can be)<br>
dark leafy greens (same as above, and Kale, Swiss Chard as well)<br>
grapes & raisins<br>
beets (especially red)<br>
Teff (contains 20% RDA of Iron per 1/4 cup)<br><br>
Try to use whole grains and a wide variety of legumes regularly (lentils and peas are gentler on the stomach to begin with, while adjusting to vegan life). They contain excellent amounts of protein, especially when whole.
 

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just another note, on the B-12. If you are concerned about it, try using barley grass juice regularly, as it contains the highest amount of vegan b12. Sea veggies and nutritional yeast also provide b12 as does unpeeled root veggies (washed of course).
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">There is less need for B-12 in vegans, and if you haven't always been a vegan, you have large stores of B-12 anyway</td>
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True, but while you're still breastfeeding, you should be slightly careful anyway, since newer studies are showing that only newly ingested B-12 is available in breastmilk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all! I've been eating many of those foods already - just eating meat a few times a week too. So I'm used to cooking with legumes, eating a lot of whole grains, leafy greens etc. Thanks for your help!
 

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I found the book <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Becoming Vegetarian</span> to be very helpful as far as explaining the nutritional aspects of ... becoming vegetarian <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">. It compares several different diets: omni, lacto-ovo veg, strict veg (minimal dairy), and vegan. It was very interesting to see the comparisons as far as vitamins, minerals, protein, etc. I found the book at a half-price bookstore, so you'd probably be able to find it cheap on amazon or ebay if you're interested in reading it. Or the library. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> HTH!
 

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We <a href="http://www.nutrientrich.com/foodclassificationchart_full.php?focus=vegetables" target="_blank">love this site.</a> I refer to it often and it helps give me an idea of what to go for when I go shopping.
 
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