"Vegetarians Don't Get Enough Protein" and other myths about vegetarians

There are tons of myths surrounding vegetarianism, from "vegetarians don't get enough protein" to "vegetarian diets take meticulous planning to avoid nutrient deficiencies" to "vegetarian diets are dangerous for pregnant women or children."

Bah, humbug!, I say.

And I'm not the only one saying it. In fact, I have found a medical site that addresses these, and more, myths surrounding vegetarianism.

The site is run by the New Jersey-based Somerset Medical Center. And here are some of the myths surrounding vegetarianism and, more important, responses that put the record straight.

Is it true that vegetarians don't get enough protein?
Nope. Not at all. In fact, not only do "Most Americans consume up to twice as much protein as they need every day [but] Even the average vegetarian fits in about 1½ times as much as the body needs."

Even better, the complex combining of foods vegetarians used to do (rice and beans, for example) to create a complete protein is now considered unnecessary. Just eat a variety of foods and you should be okay.

Do vegetarian diets take meticulous planning to avoid nutrient deficiencies? Follow the USDA food pyramid and eat a variety of items (with a supplement for vegans who follow a more restricted diet) and, again, you should be fine.

Are vegetarian diets dangerous for pregnant women or children?
According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), "well-planned...vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including during pregnancy." Moreover, says the ADA, meatless diets, when appropriately planned, also "satisfy nutrient needs of infants, children, and adolescents."

And what about the other myths?
For example, do vegetarians have to eat weird foods like tofu? And what about eating in restaurants? And ... ? Hey, if you want more information, just go here.

Win big!

In just a matter of days (erm, four, to be exact) I will announce the first-ever Almost Vegetarian contest where you can win (this is just too much fun)!