Although this diet may sometimes be difficult to live with, it can be perfectly adequate in all the needed nutrients with a little planning .
Mammalian meats are good sources of the following nutrients:
2. Readily absorbable iron
3. B group vitamins: cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12), thiamine (vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2) and pyridoxine (vitamin B6).
The extent to which the nutrient profile of the diet will change will depend upon your intake of mammalian meats prior to your diagnosis, and the adjustments you need to make after your diagnosis. A person eating mostly poultry and seafood, who eats red meats only occasionally, will not have to change the diet as much as a very active person accustomed to eating red meat on most days of the week.
Proteins are still plentifully available from fish, shellfish, chicken, turkey, eggs, legumes and nuts. Fish, shellfish and poultry are also good sources of the most easily absorbed form of iron.
B group vitamins are found in grains (especially whole grains), vegetables, fish, poultry, legumes, and also milk products (if you can tolerate these).
Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin ) is an essential vitamin for maintaining a healthy nervous system. It is available only from animal foods, and is obtained in a mammalian meat free diet from fish, poultry, milk and milk products, as well as some fortified vegetarian products eg some soy milks. Vegetarians, and people who eat few animal products may need to check whether their diet will maintain their vitamin B12 stores long term.
Iron is probably the first nutrient you think of in association with red meat. It forms the structure of haemoglobin, the pigment in red blood cells which carries oxygen around our bodies . Fortunately fish, poultry, shellfish and molluscs are good sources of the well- absorbed form of iron. Substitution of these foods for the red meat in your diet in equivalent serving sizes can help to maintain iron levels. Iron from plant foods can be better absorbed by being eaten with vitamin C rich foods or with fish and poultry. Tips for maximising iron absorption in your diet are provided. If you are of childbearing age, have not been well, or have a history of intermittent anaemia. it would be advisable to have your doctor check your iron status initially, and after you have been following the diet for a while.
In summary, if you have previously been in good health, enjoy a wide range of foods including many unprocessed foods and have a reasonable appetite, the mammalian meat free diet can meet all your nutritional needs.
However, if you have any of the following:
- a small appetite
- a restricted intake of foods, possibly due to other allergies or your own preferences
- confirmed anaemia, or your doctor thinks you are at risk of anaemia
- a need to avoid milk and milk products or other major food
it is recommended that you consult an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD ) to ensure that you achieve a nutritionally balanced diet.