To Be Or Not To Be A Vegetarian
During my childhood, or what my children lovingly refer to as the dinosaur age, it wasn’t often you came across someone proclaiming to be a vegetarian. After all, I’m from the south, where milk, meat, and potatoes are staple foods and a way of life. Our views of vegetarianism ran along the same lines as starvation, and if the topic was brought up for discussion, it usually conjured up images of stick-thin people with pale skin, whose dinner’s consisted of drinking V-8 and munching on carrot sticks. It wasn’t a pretty thought, but my oh my how things have changed.
Vegetarianism has evolved into many different things for different people. Gone are the days of simply not eating animal products. In this day and time, if someone tells you they are a vegetarian, it could mean one of several things, such as:
- Semi-vegetarian: This group eats red meat occasionally, but usually no more than once a week, and they don’t eat chicken more than five days a week.
- Pesco-vegetarians: A person who includes dairy products and seafood in their diet.
- Vegetarian: No meat but they do consume dairy.
- Vegan: No animal products whatsoever. None. Nada. Zero.
Weighing The Benefits
With the number of people dying from heart attacks and strokes constantly on the rise, it’s no wonder people are leaning towards a healthier lifestyle, and for many this includes adopting a vegetarian diet. If you’ve done your research, then you already know that the many benefits far outweigh any reservations you might have toward eliminating a food group (or two). Some advantages include:
- Saying goodbye to illnesses. Since you consume less animal fat and cholesterol, you vastly decrease the likelihood of developing such illnesses as heart disease and even cancer.
- No more weight woes. Studies have proven time and time again that following a low-fat, vegetarian diet will help you lose weight and keep it within a healthy range.
- Less risk of food poisoning. According to the FDA, high protein options such as meat, seafood, and poultry are more frequently related to food-borne illnesses than any other food group.
- Feel more energized. Vegetarian diets are free of artery-clogging meat products that can drain a person’s vitality and energy. When you add more fruits and vegetables to your diet, you are giving your body a much-needed supply of energizing fuel.
- Less stomach problems. If you eat more vegetables, then you will be consuming a large dose of fiber, and that can aid in more easily removing waste from your body. Meat, on the other hand, contains little to no fiber. Adapting to a vegetarian lifestyle will help lower your risk of hemorrhoids, constipation, and diverticulitis.
- Spend less at the grocery store. If you’ve shopped for meat lately, then you know how expensive it is. Eating vegetables, grains and fruits in its place can lower your yearly food bill by an average of $3,000 or more a year. So, it doesn’t just make health-sense to follow this type of lifestyle, but it also makes dollar-sense.
(Photo courtesy of Flickr)