As we celebrate World Vegetarian Day on the 1st October, we are excited to dive into the world of plant-based living.

The Vegetarian Society states that vegetarianism is defined as someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs.

What are the reasons for vegetarianism and veganism? There are a number of reasons why people choose to follow such a lifestyle, these include:

  • Religion
  • Culture
  • Moral and ethical beliefs
  • Health
  • Environmental and ecological

For many, it is seen not just as a dietary choice, but as a philosophy that is informed by other closely held beliefs.

There are many benefits of having a vegetarian diet. It is generally lower in saturated fats and higher in starchy carbohydrates, fibre, fruits, and vegetables than meat-based diets. This can help with weight management and help support the body against things like diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

While embracing this lifestyle offers a huge number of benefits, it is also important to acknowledge the role vegetarian supplements can play in supporting a well rounded nutritional profile.

Nutrients for vegetarians

When cutting out animal products there are some specific nutrients that a vegetarian needs to consider. These are:


Iron from plant-based sources, non-heme iron, is not as readily absorbed by the body as iron from some animal sources. Also, iron is an essential constituent of hemoglobin, a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen to your body’s organs and tissues. For people not following a vegetarian diet, hemoglobin can be obtained from red meat, being the richest and most easily absorbed source.

Alternative plant-based sources of iron include:

  • Wholemeal bread
  • Dried fruit
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Beans and lentils


Calcium deficiencies may occur for vegetarians who do not eat dairy products. It is an essential mineral as it helps support bone health and teeth, promotes blood clotting, contracting of muscles and nerve impulses. If you are not consuming dairy products, other sources of calcium include:

  • Dried fruit such as apricots and figs
  • Calcium fortified foods such as soya milk, yoghurts, and puddings
  • Sesame seeds
  • Brown and white bread
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Nuts


Selenium is another mineral but it also has antioxidant properties that help protect cells and tissues from damage. Fish, shellfish, meat, and eggs are good sources of selenium therefore vegetarians should consider including the following in their diet:

  • Some nuts and seeds such as Brazil nuts, cashews, and sunflower seeds
  • Breakfast cereals such as puffed wheat cereal, shredded wheat and cornflakes
  • Some breads, such as seeded and wheatgerm varieties

Omega 3

Omega 3 is important for supporting general health and is thought to hold anti-inflammatory properties. Current recommendations are to eat 2 portions of fish a week. Vegetarians can obtain dietary fatty acids from other foods, such as those listed below. These foods are short chain omega 3 fatty acids known as ALA (a-linolenic acid). Omega 3 supplements that are derived from algae, such as Metabolics DHA, are also a good option for vegans.

  • Some seeds, such as flax and chia seeds
  • Walnuts and walnut oil
  • Soybeans and soybean oil
  • Oils such as flax seed oil and rapeseed.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in foods from animal sources and is essential to help reduce tiredness and fatigue and also contributes to the production of blood cells.  A vegetarian can try consuming the following dietary sources:

  • B12 fortified yeast extract
  • Fortified foods. This includes breakfast cereals, plant-based milk, and meat substitutes
  • Algae and seaweed- certain types od algae and seaweed such as nori contain small amounts of B12.


Protein from animal sources tends to be HBV (High Biological Value) meaning a food with a high supply of essential amino acids but few plants fit into this category. Quinoa, soya, and hemp are some plant-based examples that contain all the essential amino acids. Other plants contain some but not all of the amino acids, so it is essential that vegetarians consume a mixture of different plant proteins to ensure that they can meet their nutritional requirements.  More suitable plant-based sources of protein include:

  • Seeds
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Soya and soya products
  • Grains such as wheat
  • Beans, lentils, and chickpeas

Vegetarian recipes

With the rise in popularity of vegetarianism of the years, the volume and range of vegetarian recipes available is at an all-time high.

Our sister company Nutristrength, which specialises in producing vegetarian and plant-based protein powders, has a number of vegetarian recipes you can try including a Vegan Beet and Black Bean Burger and Protein Pasta Salad.

Plant-based lifestyle

In conclusion, as we enjoy World Vegetarian Day and embrace some of the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle, it is important to remember that our dietary choices can greatly impact our overall wellbeing. While a vegetarian diet can be incredibly nutritious, it is important to ensure we are meeting all of our body’s nutritional needs. Supplements can play a valuable role in filling potential gaps and supporting our health.

So whether it's B12, iron, or omega 3, consider talking to your healthcare practitioner about whether food supplements would be a beneficial addition to your daily routine.

stacie henson metabolics nutrition advisorStacie Henson has been working at Metabolics for two years and has immersed herself in learning more about Metabolics products and nutrition generally.

She has completed basic nutrition courses and recently completed a Level 4 Nutrition Diploma. Stacie is currently studying for a Level 4 Transformational Nutrition course to further her experience and knowledge to better support Metabolics customers.