Be a Healthy Vegetarian

Many people want to become a vegetarian but don’t know how to plan to succeed. Eating a healthy vegetarian diet takes more than simply not eating meat.

You need to start a vegetarian diet by devoting an adequate amount of time to nutritional research and meal planning. A considerable amount of people who start vegetarian diets do not last for more than 1-2 months because they haven’t taken the time to truly understand what this new lifestyle entails.

Many dieters who fail to carefully research and plan complain that they lack energy – and often experience a significant loss in muscle mass. Others observe a number of other more peripheral problems that come with a poorly-planned vegetarian diet.

If you fail to eat enough protein, you can experience a form of protein-energy malnutrition (PEM).  PEM  leads to muscle loss and subsequent feelings of weakness that are often accompanied by head and muscle aches.

This problem can be avoided by dietary changes. If you are experiencing PEM, you should either:
 a) find out what foods contain what amino chains, so you can combine them to form complete proteins
or
b) start consuming larger amounts and more diversified sources of protein, such as nuts, soy milk, and yogurt.

If you’re protein deficient, you’re often iron-deficient as well. Vegetarians can only consume non-heme iron which is more sensitive to iron inhibitors.  You may not consume enough to maintain healthy blood-iron levels. This can cause pervasive weakness and even anemia.

Most nutritionists suggest that vegetarian and vegan dieters consume roughly twice the recommended amount of iron while greatly reducing their consumption of iron inhibitors.

A smaller group of vegetarians suffer from a range of other peripheral, diet-related problems are often not consuming enough of the nutrients that they would normally take in unknowingly on a diet that includes meat and dairy products. These nutrients include, for example, zinc, calcium, vitamin b, and riboflavin.

Some recent studies have suggested that vegetarians also process certain types of foods with less efficiency because they consume different amounts and varieties of absorption inhibitors and enhancers.

Recent studies also suggest, however, that a vegetarian or vegan diet, when done right, is not only as healthful as a non-vegetarian diet, but it is also much more heart-healthy – and usually contains higher amounts of antioxidants.

What does this all mean for you as a prospective vegetarian? It means that eating a healthful vegetarian diet is not only a good alternative to your current diet, but it can also lower your chances of getting heart disease and cancer.

However, in order to eat a HEALTHFUL vegetarian diet, you must actually put in the time to research and plan. If you don’t, you most certainly will end up in one of the two groups discussed above. Take your time and do some research before jumping in with both feet.

Becoming Vegetarian

If you’re considering becoming vegetarian, here are some things to consider.

As a prospective vegetarian, you probably question whether or not it really matters if you stop eating meat. You might wonder how much of a difference one additional vegetarian can make.

And while it might be true that one vegetarian won’t make huge statistical difference in a world of meat-eaters, it is also true that one more vegetarian probably isn’t going to turn the tide in the movement.

The number one cause of death in the United States and other countries with meat-centered diets is heart disease. Meat, eggs, and dairy products are the three largest sources of cholesterol. Heart attacks and other heart and circulatory problems would be far less prevalent if the consumption of them was reduced or entirely eliminated by eating only vegetarian food.

According to EarthSave, the average vegetarian has about 1/4 the chance of having a heart attack as the average non-vegetarian. As for people who are pure vegans, it gets even lower: they have less than 1/10 the chance of having a heart attack as non-vegetarians.

There are other health benefits of becoming vegetarian besides protecting your heart. Processed meats like salami, hot dogs and ham contain a lot of preservatives, salt and fat. The preservatives especially have been linked to cancer.

Beef cattle are normally fed diets that include growth hormones to get the maximum size and weight in the shortest period of time.  These hormones often disrupt normal hormonal processes in the human body.

And you won’t consume as much lactose, which most people cannot digest properly–and which some dietitians have suggested is a cause of digestive problems.

In addition to health benefits you will receive as an individual, you will also reduce your share of the suffering human beings inflict on animals. According to veganoutreach.org, the average American consumes 2,714 land animals in their lifetime. If you quit eating meat now, you could literally prevent the suffering and death of hundreds of animals of the course of a couple decades.

In addition to this, if you stop eating eggs and drinking milk, you will also reduce your share in the suffering and death of battery hens and their offspring, as well as dairy cows and their offspring, too.

So the answer is yes:  becoming vegetarian does matter.  It matters to the thousands of animals you could potentially save and it matters to you as an individual because you can greatly reduce your chances of getting cancer and heart disease. You can do a lot as an individual that will be good for you and good for hundreds of animals.