How to be vegetarian without deficiencies and in good health?

In this program, the main benefits of vegetarianism are exposed without proselytism and without guilt.

How to eat vegetarian or vegan without deficiencies?

The guests define the terms in the preamble.

Fabien Badariotti, doctor in molecular and cellular biology, defines vegetarianism : “A vegetarian is someone who refuses animal flesh, mainly fish and meat, but also seafood. But the vegetarian can eat eggs, and possibly fish as well.”

54 mins

Léa Lebrun, dietician and psychologist, explains flexitarianismeven if it is difficult to give a precise definition: “It’s not clearly defined. Currently, anyone who decreases their meat consumption can define themselves as a flexitarian.”

It also defines veganism : it is “a way of life that consists of excluding animal exploitation as much as possible. So that includes veganism, which we will call vegan food, but also, for example, beauty products that can be tested, certain clothes and hobbies too.”

In France, those who adopt these diets are more and more numerous. So how do they manage to have a balanced diet?

A few tips for a balanced diet

Already, we can replace foods from animals with foods rich in fiber but we will have to give our intestines time to adapt to these changes.

  • Include more legumes

Fabien Badariotti specifies: “Lentils, pulses, anything dried beans, split peas, chickpeas. It depends on everyone’s taste. Soy too, which is one of the legumes.”

  • Fruits and vegetables, at least half of the plate
  • Foods with low calorie density, but high nutrient density

Kale for example. “We will have more nutrients per calorie than in fries for example”explains Léa Lebrun.

  • Reduce sodium and favor potassium

It is important in the fight against hypertension.

  • Choosing Antioxidant Foods

All fruits, but especially berries, blueberries, strawberries, etc. But also certain vegetables, such as beets, artichokes, asparagus…

  • Make soaking for legumes or sprouting

Doctor Arnaud Cocaul affirms it: “whole grains contain phytic acid. It’s an anti-nutrient, which can interfere with iron absorption. You know we talk about that a lot among vegetarians, so iron absorption can be hindered by this natural antioxidant that whole grains contain. It is therefore important to have appropriate cooking methods or to soak legumes or sprouting. To lower the phytic acid content.”

Always to avoid what is complete, Fabien Mariotti adds that it is better to consume sourdough bread than yeast.

Combining legumes and cereals is a good idea, but it doesn’t have to be in the same meal, it can be in a day.

According to Arnaud Cocaul: “For example, it’s rice and lentils, semolina and chickpeas.” He adds : “peas for example with pasta or it can be rice with beans” or “lentil burgers”.

Some, but not all, people will need vitamin B12 supplementation, which is found “in meat products, in products of animal origin. But it is also found in cow’s milk”and which are essential.

To have heme iron, Dr. Cocaul recommends cocoa: “at the plant level, one of the elements that contains more of it is cocoa. Cocoa powder can be extremely interesting” Dried fruits too, as well as legumes and oilseeds, rich in iron. On the other hand, when you are anemic, it is better to avoid coffee and tea, which are iron chelators.

For Omega 3, you have to bet on oils. For Lea Lebrun: “Certain oils are rich in Omega 3, rapeseed oil, linseed oil. Also seeds, from freshly ground flax. Chia seeds are also very rich in Omega 3. Including these foods on a daily basis allows to fill that need for Omega 3.”

For Léa Lebrun, there are different ways to meet her calcium needs. “Already, consume calcium-rich foods, so green leafy vegetables, cruciferous vegetables. There is also the possibility of drinking calcium-rich water and on top of that, consuming fortified foods or calcium-enriched soybeans.

The guests also give advice for having a balanced and healthy dietwhich can be used by everyone.

  • Choose raw or moderately processed foods
  • Avoid foods that are too sweet
  • Eating organic and diversified
  • Prefer whole foods and cook for yourself as much as possible
  • Eat mindfully

For Lea Lebrun: “to reconnect with these sensations of hunger, satiety, the pleasure of eating. Eating is a pleasure and taking the time to feel the taste, the texture, etc., is also a factor in good health, guaranteed to have fun and therefore not necessarily overeat, to eat your fill. So pleasure is part of a healthy and balanced diet.”

For more information, more advice and recommendations from Nagui, who is a vegetarian, listen to the show in its entirety.


  • Fabien Badariotti : Doctor in molecular and cellular biology and SVT teacher in secondary school.
  • Lea Lebrun: Dietitian nutritionist and clinical psychologist. They are both members of the scientific council of Onav (the National Observatory of Plant Food). Authors of : The best way to eat plant-based – The bible of vegan and vegetarian food, Fabien Badariotti, Léa Lebrun, ed. Thierry Souccar, March 31, 2022.
  • Arnaud Cocaul (RI): Nutritionist at the Center des Gobelins in Paris. Book : Vegetarian without deficiencies, Dr Arnaud Cocaul and Isabelle de Vaugelas, ed. Albin Michel, January 2021.

Thierry Lhermitte : chronicle health

Baptist Beaulieu : chronicle “So here it is”.

54 mins

Leave a Comment