In many countries, vegetables are seen as a crucial part of a normal diet and not as a meat substitute; they form the majority part of diet in countries like India, China and Japan where meat is eaten in much smaller quantities and the indicence of bowel disease is much lower than in the West. Our bodies apparently work best with a balanced diet - that balance can be attained by eating carbohydrates, fats, protein and sugars in proportionate amounts based on an individual's daily requirements. For example, a person who has a physically active job requires differing amounts of carbohydrates compared to someone who sits at a desk all day.
We all need protein in our diet, but not necessarily from meat or fish - there are so many alternatives to eating animals. Nuts and pulses used to have very bad image, but have become more popular in everyday cooking as our taste for world food has expanded, mainly due to the change in our travel habits - the world has opened up and people now think nothing of visiting more remote places on holiday and sampling the local food. These foods are now widely available in the UK and we now experiment more with our menus when we get home than we used to.
A 'Mediterranean' diet has always been advocated as healthier for us - lots of fruit and veg and olive oil and especially tomatoes, garlic and onions.
Vegetarian cooking can be adapted to single serving meals or for a large crowd - a delicious spicy Eastern inspired buffet or hot meal is great for sharing with family and loved ones. And there's not much nicer than sitting with family at a large table and tucking into freshly made vegetable lasagne, home made bread and vegetable side dishes glistening with olive oil and aged balsamic vinegar.
Many dishes can be adapted for gluten-free and vegan diets so there's no need to hesitate in asking for ideas to cater for these diets.
It's not up to me to tell you how or what you should eat, just to suggest that vegetarian recipes can be as tasty, if not more so, than meals served with meat and are both healthy and adaptable in our busy daily lives. Go on, give it a try!!"