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Natural Attachment believes in promoting a healthy strict vegetarian/vegan diet. We feel that a vegetarian diet is the most suitable choice for pregnancy, breastfeeding, children and families. If you are a vegan/vegetarian and are pregnant or trying to conceive and want more information about nutrition or support, contact Michele at Natural Attachment. PghMidwife @ naturalattachment dot com

What does it mean? What do the different types of vegetarians mean? What do vegetarians eat?

  • Vegetarian: Someone who does not eat meat, poultry, seafood or fish. They may still use eat animal byproducts like gelatin.
  • Ovo-Lacto Vegetarian: Someone who eats no meat, poultry, seafood or fish, but who eats dairy products & eggs. Some vegetarians eat only one or the other. They may still use eat animal byproducts like gelatin. 
  • Vegan: A person who doesn't consume any animal product/by-product; this includes meat, poultry, seafood, fish, dairy, eggs and byproducts like gelatin and lard. Some vegans also include honey in the list of foods they try to avoid. Many choose to take this a step farther and incorporate the vegan idea into their daily life by avoiding nonfood animal items and byproducts like wool, leather and silk. The ultimate idea being to live a life which lessens suffering for animals and people.

What about raising a vegan child?

Many people question the idea of
raising a vegan child; wondering if they might be deprived of valuable nutrients or if they will be exposed to undue criticism from friends and other people. The truth is most children actually have a vegetarian mind set. If a child realizes that the picture of a chicken on the deli meat from the store is the same as the chickens they love feeding at the local petting zoo, they usually are sick at the idea of eating it. Children are compassionate and adapt to a life of not harming others (beings & non-beings) quite easily.

What are some of the benefits of eating a vegetarian or vegan diet?

Registered dietitian Johanna Dwyer, of Tufts University Medical School and the New England Medical Center Hospital, Boston, summarizes these plant food benefits:

"Data are strong that vegetarians are at lesser risk for obesity, atonic [reduced muscle tone] constipation, lung cancer, and alcoholism. Evidence is good that risks for hypertension, coronary artery disease, type II diabetes, and gallstones are lower. Data are only fair to poor that risks of breast cancer, diverticular disease of the colon, colonic cancer, calcium kidney stones, osteoporosis, dental erosion, and dental caries are lower among vegetarians."

But just how do vegetarians meet their nutritional requirements?
  • vitamin B12--fortified soy beverages and cereals
  • vitamin D--fortified soy beverages and sunshine
  • calcium--tofu processed with calcium, broccoli, seeds, nuts, kale, bok choy, legumes (peas & beans), greens, lime-processed tortillas, soy beverages, grain products, and orange juice enriched with calcium
  • iron--legumes, tofu, green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, whole grains, and iron-fortified cereals and breads, especially whole-wheat. (Absorption is improved by vitamin C, found in citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes, strawberries, broccoli, peppers, dark-green leafy vegetables, and potatoes with skins.)
  • zinc--whole grains (especially the germ and bran), whole-wheat bread, legumes, nuts, and tofu
  • protein--tofu and other soy-based products, legumes, seeds, nuts, grains, and vegetables

What do I eat, if I can’t eat meat, dairy or eggs? Vegan Food Pyramid?

Meat: meat alternatives are made from, vegetables, soy beans, mushroom protein, wheat gluten and other analogs. These analogs can include seitan, tofu, tempeh and tvp (texturized vegetable protein).

Dairy: milk alternatives can be made with grains (rice, barley and oats), soy beans and nuts (almonds, hazelnuts and cashews). They are used in the same ways cow or goat milk is used.

Eggs: egg replaces are usually more nutritious than real eggs. They are typically made from potato starch, nutritional yeast or flax meal. In recipes, eggs can be replaced with apple sauce and bananas.

Other: other foods vegans include in their diets are miso, nutritional yeast, nut butters, tahini and soy margarine.

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OK, that's all fine and well, but where can I shop for these things?

It's not hard to find great vegan/vegetarian foods right on the shelves of your favorite grocery store. The following are a few links to get you started.

Vegcooking Shopping List

Accidentally Vegan Foods

Links To Other Websites For More Information About Vegetarians and Vegans

No Milk Page

Shop for Veg*n Foods

Veganism in a Nutshell

Vegan Facts for Families

Veg Family Issues

Veganism and Circumcision

Helping Our Children Live Gently

Feeding Vegan Kids


Vegetarian Diets for Children: Right from the Start

The Vegan Diet During Pregnancy and Lactation

Ask Dr. Sears about vegetarianism and children

Healthy Moms, Healthy Families

VegFamily Online

Vegetarian Kitchen’s Healthy Snacks for Kids

Vegan Recipes Kids Will Love!

The Vegetarian Resource Group Recipes

VegWeb Recipe Directory

Vegan Recipes on

Vegan Chef from Super Size Me

The Vegetarian Resource Group

Surviving on your own food resources

Genetically Engineered Food Alert Pages

The material in this website is provided for information purposes only. This information is not a substitute for, medical diagnosis, medical advice, or medical treatment prescription. Consult your health care provider for more information. If you are in Pittsburgh and need a midwife, send email to PghMidwife (at)
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