I take a mulitvitamin and make sure I eat at least one food a day that is high in protein, i usually try to eat a peanut butter sandwich or some peanuts just to be sure I am staying healthy.
I talked to my doctor before becoming a vegetarian and She told me that a normal person who eats meat one or 2 times a day gets too much protein adn a vegetarian who watches what they eat and makes sure they get some form of protein in their diets usualy eats just enough protein. MY problem is my iron, it was a little low before I became a vegetarian and it is a little lower since i became one so I try to find food s with lots of iron.
The average person gets way to much protein. Be more worried about getting your b vitamins and iron. Educate yourself on the proper absorption. Some foods inhibit absorption while others help it along. There are a lot of great books out there!
Iron and protein do seem to be the big things for vegetarians. I sometimes take multivitamins with iron, but I'm pretty useless with remembering to take them regularly. Things like spinach and sweet potato are good sources of iron, though.
Depending on what kind of vegetarian you are, good sources of protein are things like eggs (brilliant source of protein these are) and cheese. Also nuts and seeds are packed full of protein -- as mentioned a person doesn't need a huge amount of protein per day so a handful of things like sunflower seeds or pine nuts are good. Also a nice source of the better fats that people should eat, unlike meats which have a lot of saturated fats.
everyone freaks when it comes to protein....have you ever heard of someone dying from lack of protein? protein is naturally is mostly everything. it depends on what you like to eat. all meat replacements have protein. examples for protein: tuna, cottage cheese, peanut butter, eggs, yogurts, and protein shakes. i take protein shakes just to ensure i get enough, plus for my workouts. don't think negative. it isn't as hard as you think ;]
You should get some real education to combat all the anti-vegetarian nonsense promoted by the food industry. Please read Colin Campbell's amazing scientific report THE CHINA STUDY, available through Amazon.
The fact is that animal protein of any and all kinds, especially dairy, has been shown to promote Cancer. The only safe protein is vegetable protein. Animal based eating as exemplified in the standard american diet causes heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis. Spend some time reading and you'll be safe.
A vegetarian diet will provide everything you need. You will need to be well informed however, so reading is essential. Be particularly aware of your need for B12. A vegetarian diet will also see to it that you automatically cut out a lot of rubbish. People in the developed world eat far too much meat and that usually of very low quality.
There is no link between the normal ingestion of animal protein (ie meat), and cancer. We are naturally omniverous. We can however follow a strictly vegetarian diet if we do it correctly. Our normal (ie in the wild), consumption of meat would be restricted to occasional small game. Serious meat meals would be rare. The real problem with meat consumption (ethical issues aside), and where it certainly may lead to cancer, is (1) simple excess, and (2)Quality. Most meat found in the West is of very low quality, soaked in drugs and pesticides.
Sources of Protein beyond meat & eggs: all Dairy, almost all Nuts, most beans and legume have plenty. Even everyday fruits and veggies have protein! The thing that you really want to look into is the type of protein you are putting in your body.
The problem with dairy is that, even though it's a whole food (meaning you could live off just it if needed) is that it often has a lot of fat in it. This fat is good for anyone still growing or who is very active, but if you aren't careful you can gain a lot of weight from it.
((just a note: Milk, Eggs, and Fish are all considered Whole Foods, or foods that you can live off of at the exclusion of anything else. They all have their bad sides if eaten exclusively. Though they make wonderful food supplements, if you are worried about not getting enough of one thing or another.))
If you like the occasional meat or eggs, go for grass fed, free-range, or wild. They have less of the junk that comes with most commercial meats and eggs. By meat I mean anything from fish, poultry, pork, deer, beef, etc.
As for beans, nuts, and grains, you want to stick to the less starchy ones and whole grains as much as possible. A lot of people like Hummus, which is made from squishing Garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas) and adding some spices you like. Whole soybeans, aka Edamame, are actually a lot better for you then tofu or other processed 'faux-meats'. Buckwheat, quinoa, spirulina (a seaweed), and hemp seeds are all wonderful sources of good protein. As are most nuts, except for peanuts. Peanuts are very fatty and usually have way too much salt. If you don't eat a lot of other fats though, it won't be an issue.
The best approach for anyone, no matter the choice of diet, is a wide range of foods. Just know what you eat!