Nicole La Placa

Vegetarian diet needs protein substitutes for meat

Q: My teenage daughter refuses to eat meat. I am concerned that she is not getting the protein and vitamins that she needs. Is being a vegetarian healthy? – Mike, Sebring Answer: There are various types of vegetarians. Some eat eggs and dairy, others avoid all animal products. Overall, a vegetarian diet is one that does not include red meat, chicken, pork, seafood, and eggs. Because of the lack of animal products, this type of diet can lack necessary protein, vitamins, and minerals. Animal products contain high levels of vitamin B12, iron, Omega 3s, and protein. These are essential to building muscles and for proper brain function. It is imperative for anyone considering a vegetarian diet to do some research about what plant-based foods contain these vitamins and minerals. By eliminating meat from your diet you are reducing your carbon footprint. You will also avoid exposure to the hormones and steroids that are injected into the animals. This is an ideal way for most people to eat and can provide numerous health benefits such as weight loss, lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Vegetarianism is a healthy way to eat but it does require learning about alternative sources to get the vitamins and minerals that are found in animal products. It is important for anyone following this type of diet to eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains. This will ensure having an adequate amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Q: I heard about using ear wax candles to do a deep cleaning of my ears. Is this a safe way to clean my ears and does it really work? Answer: This procedure is called Ear Candling or Ear Coning. It is an alternative medicine practice that involves placing a hollow candle into the ear canal and then lighting the other end. To do this, you will need to have your head at a 45 degree angle, place a paper plate over the side of your face, and have a hole in the plate over your ear to place the candle in. Some people believe that this is a more efficient way to clean the ears compared to the conventional use of cotton swabs. However, medical research has shown this to be a dangerous way to remove wax build-up. Complications of ear candling includes, but is not limited to, burns to hair and face, risk of fire, and damage to the ear canal. If you are considering this type of procedure for ear wax removal, please consult your physician prior to use.

Nicole La Placa is a certified health coach and lives in Highlands County. Send letters to or visit