(click on the images to make them larger)
My family and I are health nuts. We eat as many raw foods as possible, as well as foods in their natural state (i.e., not processed). We don't eat totally raw or healthy at all times, but we put a lot of thought, research and planning into our diet to make it as balanced and healthy as possible.
We are vegetarians, and we plan to raise our children as vegetarians as well. We have had some people wonder if a vegetarian diet provides enough protein and nutrients (hence, the reason for this post). There is absolutely NO shortage of protein, iron, vitamins, etc. in our diet. In fact, we actually get more nutrients than our body can use! Plus, our risk of developing many diseases and health problems is significantly lower due to our large consumption of phytonutrients (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytochemical) and plant-based proteins and vitamins.
We are in no ways perfect in our diet, but we are not lacking in nutrients, as you can see from the above image! So that's why we get frustrated when someone tells us that we "need" to eat meat.
There is a great book called The China Study (see http://www.thechinastudy.com/about.html), which discusses meat-based versus plant-based diets around the world and the correlation between diseases and high meat consumption. I highly recommend that you leaf through the book the next time you're at the bookstore- it's really enlightening!
I am reading a book called The Food Revolution (see http://www.foodrevolution.org/), and the following chart is from the book. It shows how many nutrients are lost when refining flour from wheat to white. WOW!!!