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Vegetarians are doing okay

Nadine Abensur of Mullumbimby runs vegetarian cooking classes, where recipes such as this risotto are made.
Nadine Abensur of Mullumbimby runs vegetarian cooking classes, where recipes such as this risotto are made. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

FOR years they've been the butt of jokes. But vegetarians racked up a major win this week when an Australian-first scientific research review, published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA), found vegetarians receive more health benefits than risks from their plant-based diets.

The MJA supplement examined deficiencies thought to affect those who have adopted a vegetarian diet and found children and adults and even pregnant women, receive adequate levels of protein, iron and zinc.

The research was done by a team of three Australian dietitians from Sanitarium, a private Sydney practice and the University of Newcastle, who worked with academics.

So you would expect internationally renowned vegetarian chef Nadine Abensur of Mullumbimby to be feeling smug.

After all, she has seven vegetarian recipe books, has cooked for Paul and Linda McCartney, and nary a sanger or steak touched her lips for 29 years.

But eight years ago, the Moroccan born 54-year-old went over to the dark side. After a prolonged illness, she ate a beef burger, felt better soon after and has been on the meat bandwagon ever since.

Nadine believes her health suffered as a vegetarian from eating a lot of grains and she now thinks some people are not suited to the diet long-term.

That's why she is wary of nutrition research that makes blanket statements.

"I think it's up to individuals to find out what suits them," she said. "In the same way lots of people who eat meat would be better off if they didn't."

Nadine is still passionate about "refined" plant-based food

Nadine's next vegetarian cooking class is June 17 in Byron Bay. Details on nadineabensur.com.

Topics:  medical journal of australia vegetarianism



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