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Vegetarian Diet

A diet without meat offers vast health benefits.

BACKGROUND Start the Diet Now Advertisement

The Vegetarian Diet, or vegetarianism, is a lifestyle in which the participant does not eat meat. There are many versions of Vegetarianism, including lacto-ovo vegetarian (includes egg and dairy), pescetarian (or fishetarian) whereby fish is acceptable, or even a flexitarian, whereby the participant does not eat red meat, but may include fish.

There are many ethical, environmental and personal reasons why an individual will choose a Vegetarian lifestyle, and it is gaining popularity for these reasons, among others. Weight loss is one of the stronger personal reasons someone would commit to a vegetarian diet.

In September 2005, the American Journal of Medicine released a study of participants showing that a low-fat, plant-based diet is more effective at helping people lose weight and improve insulin-sensitivity than an omnivorous (both plant and meat) diet.

In addition, those countries who consume no meat for religious or cultural reasons report lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and high-blood pressure.

But a vegetarian diet must be followed correctly or else the individual runs the risk of gaining weight if all they are doing is eating pasta, cheese and potato chips. Still, while many years ago, vegetarians were considered too hippie or too tree-hugging, as more and more scientific evidence demonstrates that a plant-based diet is incredibly healthy for the individual and the planet, more and more mainstream medical and health professionals are endorsing a vegetarian lifestyle as a surefire way to remain healthy.

PRO
  • Vegetarians generally post lower overall weight rates, or BMIs, than omnivores or carnivores
  • Consumer market is continually more vegetarian-friendly
  • Can significantly reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and other obesity-related diseases
  • Varying styles of vegetarianism allow for flexibility in diet
  • Kinder to the earth
CON
  • Vegetarians must be well-scripted as to how grains and legumes combine to make complete proteins or nutritional deficiencies may develop
  • Can be cost-prohibitive for some
  • Restricts all meats, fish and chicken in some cases
  • Critics suggest you deny your body of important nutrients
DIET and NUTRITION

The growing popularity of the Vegetarian Diet has parlayed into hundreds of websites, books, support groups, clothing lines and more providing information via numerous sources to support compliance and convenience.

A Vegetarian diet supports weight loss through the ingestion of whole grains, leafy greens, nuts, legumes, soy protein. Hear from a vegetarian what a week's worth of meals might look like. The foods you're allowed to eat include anything that naturally grows from the Earth, or any plant-based foods. Restrictions can include:
- Red meat
- Pork
- Fish and seafood
- Chicken and Poultry
- Dairy
- Animal fats

As vegetarianism grows in popularity, supportive industries are becoming more prevalent, including restaurants, cookbooks and healthy living sections of supermarkets catering to the vegetarian dieter.

EXERCISE

While there is not a link to vegetarianism and activity per se, vegetarians are known to be generally more health-conscious, which means including consistent exercise in their lifestyles.

CONCLUSION

The Vegetarian Diet is not necessarily a diet, but rather a lifestyle. Making a decision to be a Vegetarian is one that creates awareness and promotes responsibility for how food is prepared, grown and eaten.

While vegetarian diets can come in a variety of packages, from those who never eat meat to those who occasionally indulge in a burger, a vegetarian diet when done properly, affects one's health and the health of the planet. As more and more people turn to vegetarian lifestyle, it continues to grow in popularity and garner respect as a very healthy way of living and eating.

Common Misspellings

Veggietarian, Veg-head, vegahtarian, vejatarian, veggie diet, vegan diet, vegetarianism, vegetarians



Related Diets: Makers Diet, The Hallelujah Diet, Thrive in 30, Vegan Diet, Raw Diet, The Soy Zone, RAWvolution, Skinny Bitch, The Green Pregnancy Diet


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User Feedback

(Page 1 of 1, 9 total comments)

Samantha


I think there are many reasons to be vegetarian, including animal rights, health, and environmental concerns and economic efficiency. Animal rights is the most important for many people. We as a society strive to be free of violence. But at the same time, most people eat three meals a day that are based on violence. There is no way to kill an animal nonviolently.
At its core, the act of killing involves a physical attack against a frightened and aware being, one that has the same nervous system and basic range of emotions that humans do.
As Paul McCartney said, “If slaughter houses had glass walls, we would all be vegetarians.” This is because the slaughter and processing of an animal involves forcibly taking its life, and then cutting up and disemboweling the still warm bleeding body. In one processing example, when pigs are only six months old, electric prods are used to get them into the trucks that take them to the slaughterhouse. The pigs are packed so tightly into the trucks that it is hard to get air. They are given no food and water for a ride that is often hundreds of miles. Then, when they get to the slaughterhouse, they are alive and squealing while they are put into a scalding tank to soften their skin and remove their hair. The next step of the process is death by having their heads cut off – as if their necks were some kind of tree trunk. Then, their guts are removed, and their headless bodies are hung up by a leg so that the blood can drain. That sounds very violent. Animals have the same feelings and thoughts that humans do. Besides the fact that killing the animal is violent and painful, there is still the fact that you are taking something’s life away. I am sure that you would not want to die right now even if it if was painless. Animals want to live a good life, too. Some people say it is okay to slaughter animals because they are not as smart as we are, but does that mean it is okay to kill a mentally disabled or senile human? Some people try to justify the killing based on the Bible, but the
Bible has many things in it that are no longer taken as acceptable in today’s society, such as slavery and types of punishment. Also, some people question why a vegetarian would kill a plant, but not an animal. But the difference is obvious. Plants do not have a nervous system, and plants do not feel emotion.
The health benefits of a plant based diet also motivate many people to be a vegetarian. President Bill Clinton struggled as an omnivore because his arteries clogged up with the saturated fat and cholesterol in the meat he was eating. When he stopped eating meat, his struggles went away and he lost a lot of weight. He says he has never felt healthier. As President Clinton explains, meat has a lot of harmful saturated fat and cholesterol. The saturated fat and cholesterol build up in a person’s arteries like a thick greasy paste, and restrict the blood flow through them. The restriction of the blood flow through the arteries makes the heart work harder, and also increases blood pressure. A person’s heart having to work harder and the increase of blood pressure can cause heart attacks and strokes.
No matter how hard industries try to make the meat safe to eat, there are still regular news reports of sickness from, and recalls of, contaminated meat. The processing of animals into meat is a business, and the companies want to process as many animals as quickly as they can. Because they are processing frightened animals, and because workers are using knifes to remove intestines as quickly as they possibly can, contamination of the slaughtering room, and the meat, with fecal matter happens on a regular bases. The fecal matter contains E. Coli, which causes bloody diarrhea, painful cramping, and then either permanent disability or death within a matter of days. People have only been aware of the more toxic E. Coli strains that contaminate beef since about 1993, when several children on the West Coast died or were permanently disabled after eating Jack in the Box hamburgers. As refrigeration is used to control temperature-sensitive pathogens, other pathogens that are not so sensitive to temperature thrive. One such example is Listeria, which thrives on refrigerated foods, such as ready-to-eat sliced meats. E. Coli, Listeria, and other food pathogens originate from the meat industry, and unfortunately can also contaminate fresh fruits and vegetables, by either application of manure fertilizers or waste water run-off from animal industries. This is another example of how consumption of meat puts everyone’s health at risk.
The number one question every vegetarian hears is, “Where do you get your protein?” This question is based on outdated notions of nutrition, as vegetarians are healthy and so obviously get enough protein from the foods they eat. Meat eaters, too, get enough protein from the nonmeat foods that they eat. The extra protein they get from eating meat amounts to unnecessary calories, and, especially when combined with the high fat content in meat, can be a contributing factor to this country’s problem with obesity. That a vegetarian diet provides all the protein and nutrition that a person could need is shown by the number of star athletes who are vegetarians. This list includes Olympians Carl Lewis and Edwin Moses, football players Joe Namath and Tony Gonzales, tennis players Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, basketball players Robert Parish and Bill Walton, and others. Being a vegetarian also does not hurt mental function, as can be seen by the fact that Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Leonardo da Vinci, and Steve Jobs are all vegetarians.
Last but not least, many vegetarians are motivated by environmental concerns and a desire for economic efficiency. Meat is expensive and its production is inefficient, because of costs for the land to raise the animals, the food to feed the animals, the machines to process them, the factories, and the workers. To make meat, one has to feed the animals food, food that could be used to feed people instead of the animals. Producing a pound of meat requires many pounds of grain. So instead of feeding an animal that is just being raised to be slaughtered and eaten, one could just feed the grains directly to people in need for food. If everyone were to be vegetarians then there would be less hunger in the world because there would be more food available for humans to eat (because the animals would not be eating it). Also, the living animals in the world that are being raised only for food generate more carbon dioxide, which pollutes the air. Carbon dioxide leads to global warming. Meat production also has a negative impact on tropical rain forests. Large amounts of forests have been cut and changed into grasslands to raise cattle.
As discussed above, there are many compelling reasons to be a vegetarian. As Albert Einstein said, “"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

posted Nov 27th, 2012 5:34 pm


M.A.C

I have been a vegetarian for over 40 years. I believe that all life is sacred and therefore should be respected. Are you a person that can kill an animal, skin it, prepare it, cook it and eat it with a clear conscience, I could not! If however, you are a person that can not do that, then how can you, with a clear conscience, pay other people to do it for you? You have no concept of how that animal lived, how it died and how it was prepared to eat. I know I could not kill an animal to live, and have a conscience that would not allow me to live without a constant reminder that I had taken a life. The Bible guides us " Though shalt not kill". It does not differentiate between animals or humans. If more land was used to grow crops (NOT GM Crops - again more chemicals)) instead of keeping animals to slaughter, there would be enough food to feed all the humans on this planet. If we look after each other, our animals and our planet, then we can all exist happily. While money and greed rape our planet of it's natural resources, trees, minerals, plants, and animals, we will ultimately not only kill the animals, fish and birds of our planet but the planet itself and we will have no one to blame but ourselves. We have to start somewhere. Learning to love each other and our animals firstly, not exploiting them or treating them badly, not emptying the seas of fish and mammals or the skies of birds. Let our planet look after itself and it will look after us. Let us treat each other, the animals, fish and birds with respect, not chopping down their habitat so that they become extinct, and stop using the seas for dumping grounds for waste, poisoning the sea, and stop polluting the air with chemicals and waste gases. In turn we poison ourselves through breathing and eating. We have to start somewhere. Being a vegetarian is a start, becoming a Vegan maybe the next step and whatever you can do every day to make this world a better place will helping our planet to heal for future generations, or we will find our children will not have a planet to live on, never mind anything to eat!

posted Jan 31st, 2012 11:17 pm


Anna Hayward

I'm fed up of reading that vegetarianism will make you slim. I'm a fat vegetarian and I know a lot of fat vegetarians (even fat vegans). Where's the help for us? None of the commercially available diets seem to have a clue about interesting, palatable vegetarian eating. There is only so much pasta and tomato ragu any one person can eat!

posted Jun 8th, 2011 7:06 pm


mike white

the benefits outweight the sacrifices

posted Mar 28th, 2010 8:58 pm


ashley

Vegetarianism is fine for some, but not everyone. For me, cutting out meat is equivalent to cutting out chocolate or ice cream from my diet entirely. It's healthier, sure, but there would always be that part of a meal that was critcally missed. Plus, fish, lamb, pork ribs, sausage, and a good ribeye steak are my absolute favorite proteins. Garbanzo beans & legums don't quite make the cut. I also don't believe everyone who is vegetarian loses weight. If anything, the meals don't keep me full as long since they often lack protein and I end up snacking on unhealthy starchy snacks like chips & french fries. I agree that hte meat packing inductry is gross, but I don't think there's anything wrong with some grass-fed beef, humane chicken and some fresh seafood :)

posted Oct 20th, 2009 10:12 am


squish

when i stopped eating meat in college i lost 10 lbs in the first month without changing anything else in my life. since then ive lost another 10 lbs without doing anything else, except not eating meat. also, you all just sound dumb when you say caveman remarks like, me likey meat. being vegetarian offers vast rewards, being slimmer, better digestive flow, clearer skin, heightend sense of general happiness and the list goes on. do some research! and read the book, skinny bitch. it'll change your life

posted Sep 8th, 2009 2:35 pm


bannon sarry

I have fallowed a veg and also a vegan way of eating, it is difficult for me but I was at my physical best when I stayed with it.

posted Jan 14th, 2009 2:51 am


Vegetarian

meatlover you suck

posted Sep 12th, 2008 7:36 am


meatlover

me likey meat

posted May 6th, 2008 8:54 am



   
 

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