My husband and I have been vegetarian for a few years now. Precisely, we are lacto-vegetarian, meaning no meat or no eggs.
More precisely we are learning to be lacto-vegetarian, which is in between being a vegetarian and being a vegan. I say learning, because it is my belief that you are never completely there. I think vegetarianism is a life style of doing no harm, and I still have a long way to go. My love for leather is just one example. I DO still live in a mostly non-vegetarian world; therefore, I try to adjust to others, and don’t expect others to adjust to me.
There are extensive health benefits from the vegetarian or plant-based life style. Studies have shown better heart health, lower blood pressure, better control over diabetes, cancer prevention, and better digestion.
Besides the health benefits, there are other benefits as well which may fall under the categories of ethics and pragmatic, besides just being logical.
Every year 500,000 animals are killed in slaughter-houses, painfully and in cruel manners, not to mention their living conditions prior to their demise. In addition to the inhumane living and dying conditions, body parts are used as fertilizer or fed to other animals. I would recommend watching the movie, “Food Inc.” It takes 2500 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat. Meat producers are the biggest polluters of water. The cost of all of this is supported through taxes.
Most food poisoning is caused by eating meat products.
All the proteins, vitamins and minerals the human body needs can be obtained through a proper plant-based diet.
There is very little waste in animal slaughter. We don’t often think about the actual animal parts we are eating such as intestines, rectum, tails, hoofs, etc. You get the picture.
Eating a plant-based diet could solve food shortages virtually overnight. While one hundred acres of land produces enough beef for twenty people, it produces enough plants for 240 people.
Vegetarians find it easier to stay slim. There are fewer calories in plant-based foods, and less fat.
Half of the rain forests in the world have been burned contributing to green-house gases and animal extinction, for the purpose of grazing cattle.
Sixty million people starve a year. These people could be eating the grain that is raised to feed animals.
By eating meat we are consuming antibiotics, growth hormones, and tranquilizers given to animals.
I’m thankful that more and more information is coming out about the benefits of vegetarianism. I’ve seen lots of young people making the switch. I’m surprised by the growing number of vegetarians where my husband works. Recently students at his school organized the showing of “Food Inc.” along with a panel discussion and vegetarian food samples. More and more, each day information advocating this type of lifestyle is coming out through celebrities such as Oprah and health practitioners.
It’s also more creative and colorful at mealtime. It’s always a challenge to be inventive and come up with new things.
I haven’t even mentioned organic. I will save that for another blog entry.
5 thoughts on “Vegetarianism”
This is such a challenge, not to maintain, but to maintain in good health. I got into serious trouble as a virtual vegan (i.e., the only animal foods I ate were yogurt and grated parmesan). If one is predisposed to diabetes or has to take prednisone or other corticosteroids, the vegan life-style can be disaster. It can be done, but has to be well thought out.
It becomes more difficult if one also has Celiac Disease. There are many vegan foods which are forbidden to us. Eating raw and cooked veggies – not heavilty grain based diet – works best. Must be careful or you trigger inflammation. Additionally, anybody with serious lung issues and other autoimmunie issues must eat 8-11 oz. of quality protein a day. Beans are high sugar. Tofu better. Many of us – myself included – deal with life-threatening illnesses. Mine is the result of extraordinary allergies. Caution is the order of the day for people like me.
It is ethical and environmentally sound to go vegan. It’s healthy when we really do increase our veggies and don’t rely on sweet treats and lots of grains. Saying all this not by way of discouraging but to encourage doing it in collaboration with a doc, blood tests to monitor, and thought and care about selection of foods. Success breeds success. Do it right from the get-go. Anyone with chronic or life-threatening illness must take care, collaborate with physicians, and go slowly.
I have reviewed a book on Celiac Disease that includes a chapter on how to succeed as a vegetarian if you are wheat-and-gluten intollerant:
The book is publsihed by the American Gastroenterology Association and is the most authoritative and up-to-date resource available at this writing.
Thanks for your post.
I should add that in collaboration with docs, with the use of blood test et al, it has become clear that in my case – and others with which I am familiar – the addition of moderate amounts of seafood, poultry, Greek yogurt (highest in protein), and nonfat or lowfat cheese is a must or oxygen saturation decreases and lung damage increases. These proteins help to mitigate dammaging inflammation. Diets – unfortunately – are not one-size fits all.
Jamie, I totally agree with what you are saying. Everyone is different and each “body” and “soul” has different needs. I would love to learn muscle testing just to know exactly what my body wants, but I’m afraid it would say get that chai latte away from me. I’m an A blood type – the easiest for vegetarianism. My husband is O, the hardest. I’m always worried he may not be getting enough protein, but he says after two years he feels much better. I’ve cut down on cheese a great deal. We mostly eat organic. I think that makes a huge difference. We have been thinking about our own goats for the milk, which would be raw, just for us. I lived on lots of junk food for years and it takes its toll on health. Those foods just don’t have any appeal anymore. I’ll be 58 soon and need all the help I can get. I’ve heard people say when they change to better eating such as raw, vegan, etc., that they feel like they are 30 again. I’m not sure I do. I actually can’t remember back that far as to how I felt physically. But, it’s 29 degrees outside now with an inch of snow accumulating, and I need to see how long I can stand to stack firewood. I didn’t do that when I was 30.
A very thought provoking post and great responses from Jamie. I agree that it isn’t as simple as finding a ‘one size fits all’…and I also agree that we can make a huge difference to the world’s resources by choosing not to eat meat in particular. Although I’ve been on a vegetarian diet a number of times, I find it hard to stick to without supplementing this with fish in particular. On the whole, my diet is pretty healthy and I love the creative challenge of producing exciting vegetarian dishes. It must easier to do this these days due to the huge choice of ingredients. Friends of mine are raw food fans…but that would be a bridge too far for me! I’m seeing a kinesiologist on Friday (for the first time), so it will be interesting to see what he comes up with regarding food intolerances etc.
Great post – thank you.
I love it when a conversation gets going.
Thanks for your response.
Muscle testing is great, by the way.