Article 1: Thai Vegetarian Food Introductions

        Nowadays, more and more people are turning to vegetarian food due to growing interest in maintaining health and in the healing quality of meat-free diets; this in addition to long-standing religious reasons. Vegetarians differ in the degree to which animal products are restricted in their diets.
        Vegans eat only fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, sesame, cereals and consume neither egg nor milk and other dairy products. Some also abstain from spices and certain spicy vegetables, such as garlic and onion.
        A second type of vegetarian consumes milk and dairy products. However, there are some vegetarians who eat eggs and drink milk but do not consume other dairy products.

Four Major Dietary Components for Vegetarian
       1. Proteins build and maintain tissue and are also important in resistance to disease. Protein is found in peas and beans, especially soybeans, in mushrooms, unpolished rice, sesame, oilseeds, dehydrated soy protein extrudate, and also in vegetables.
       2. Carbohydrates give energy to the body. Starchy foods such as unpolished rice, potato, taro, and sugar, especially brown sugar, are good sources.
       3. Fat also supply our bodies with energy. We obtain fats from vegetable oil, milk dairy products, nuts, peas, beans, sesame and other oilseeds.
       4. Vitamins and minerals play important roles in the reactions essential for normal functioning of the body. Fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, peas, beans, sesame and rice are important sources of these dietary components.

Main foods of vegetarians and their nutrients
        Unpolished rice and cereal: contain 7-12% protein and more than twenty kinds of vitamins and minerals. The fiber in these foods is helpful in elimination. Fiber deficiency can cause diabetes, high blood pressure, colon cancer, appendicitis, and varicose veins.
        Soybean is a high-protein vegetable, which can replace meat in the diet. Not only is it much less expensive than meat, but it also has certain nutrients in larger quantities than meat, such as unsaturated fat, which helps control cholesterol; iron, which is essential to the blood, the liver, and the nerves; and vitamin E.

Notes: The products from soybean are available in various forms, for instance, bean curd, dried soybean film, soybean milk, dehydrated soy protein extrudate, soy sauce, fermented soybean, fermented soybean paste, etc.
        Mushroom are also excellent substitute for meat not only because they taste good but also because there is a large variety of mushroom to choose from. Mushrooms contain about 3% protein and all essential amino acids. They are especially good for people who have heart, liver, or kidney disorders or high blood-pressure.
        Seeds contain healthful fat and oil, 20% protein, vitamin A, C, and E, and minerals, especially selenium, which reduces the risk of cancer. Pumpkin seeds contain 20% protein, 46% fat and extremely high in phosphorus.        
        Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals and also provide our bodies with fiber necessary for regular elimination. Vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables are essential for the healthfulness of our nerves, teeth and complexions. They are especially necessary for those who have diabetes and high blood-pressure.
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