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Should you become a Vegetarian?

There have been a lot of debates about whether a person should become a vegetarian or continue to be a carnivore. There have been many debates supporting both sides. For Instance, a lot of people believe that if the US became vegetarians' it would not only be better for the environment it would help the economy as well.

Could a vegetarian lifestyle be better for the enviorment?The benefits of being an vegetarian                                                            

What is a vegetarian?

 A vegetarian is a person who decides to eat mainly fruit, vegetables, legumes, grains, seeds, and nuts. But they stay away eat meat, poultry, and fish. Many vegetarians eat eggs and/or dairy products but avoid hidden animal products such as beef and chicken stocks, lard, and gelatin.

The Health benefits

According to the ADA, vegetarians are at lower risk for developing:

•Heart disease

•Colorectal, ovarian, and breast cancers

•Diabetes

•Obesity

•Hypertension (high blood pressure)

The reason being is that a Healthy Vegetarian takes in a low amount of fat and a lot of fiber, which is good for the body. Because vegetarians' are regular people it doesn't mean that they don't eat unhealthy snacks that can contribute to bad health as well.  With this being said, having a vegetarian diet need to be well plan in order to help prevent and treat certain diseases.

What to look out for

Even though there are many positive effects of being a vegetarian, there are some risks if your diet isn't well balanced. You can have a lack of key vitamins and nutrients that are very important such as: Protein calcium, Vitamin D and Iron.

1.       Protein

When people are considering becoming a vegetarian, protein intake is a major concern for the people. Studies show that if you eat a well-balanced diet you should have enough protein ;some food that have protein in them are orange juice, whole grains, lentils, beans, tofu, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, tempeh, eggs, and peas.

2.       Calcium

It is recommended that people ages 19-50onsume at least 1000mg of calcium per day -- the equivalent of 3 cups of milk or yogurt. To reach the recommended intake you can eat fat free yogurt, cheese and other dairy products. Calcium is also found in many plant foods including dark, leafy greens (e.g. spinach, kale, mustard, collard and turnip greens, and bok choy), broccoli, beans, dried figs, and sunflower seeds, as well as in calcium-fortified cereals, cereal bars

3.       Vitamin D

There are few foods that are naturally high in vitamin D, though. Therefore, dairy products in the US are field with vitamin D. Many soy milk products are also field with vitamin D

4.       Iron

Iron-fortified breads and cereals, dark green vegetables (e.g. spinach and broccoli), dried fruits, prune juice, blackstrap molasses, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and soybean nuts are good plant sources of iron .Also, cooking in an iron pot will help

http://brown.edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/nutrition_&_eating_concerns/being_a_vegetarian.php

4 Comments

I've actually tried to follow a vegetarian based diet in the past, but I realized I like meat too much. I still do try to follow a predominantly plant-based diet, for health reasons. There are some really interesting benefits of plant-based diets that most people aren't aware of, such as disease prevention, and at times this kind of diet can help cure diseases. I think it's something more people who are struggling with diseases should look into.

I personally don't like eating meat a lot. My gut alone always told me that cutting back on meat is a good. Your blog made me look up exactly what the benefits are in reducing meat intake-not necessarily in being a vegetarian. Animal foods, especially red meat, are among the largest sources of saturated fats in our diet. Eliminating meat―beef, pork, lamb, poultry―one day a week can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease and some cancers.(source). I can't imagine being a vegetarian but I do think it's crucia that we tone it down with the meat.

All throughout elementary and high school I was an on and off again vegetarian, as well as a pescatarian (which is a vegetarian that eats fish). I didn't find it too hard to give up meat, although I can't deny that meat is more satisfying in terms of feeling full. Because I have a lot of vegetarian family members, I'm constantly being reminded of all the health benefits that come with being a vegetarian. One "fact" that often came up in discussion was the idea that soy protein helped in the prevention of many types of cancer. Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD and author of The Whole Soy Story, however states that “It’s a myth that soy prevents breast cancer...Numerous studies show that soy can cause, contribute to or even accelerate the growth of cancer.” Although everyone has their own individual beliefs about food, I think that in the end it just comes down to having a balanced diet.

In your post, you mention that "a Healthy Vegetarian takes in a low amount of fat and a lot of fiber, which is good for the body." I have trouble with this statement for multiple reasons. Who is determining what a "Healthy Vegetarian" is and what defines a "low amount" and "a lot"? (these are all very loose terms). Furthermore, there is a lot more to balancing nutrition than consuming "a low amount of fat and a lot of fiber." In fact, I found an article that explains the importance of fat: http://www.helpguide.org/life/healthy_diet_fats.htm and one that warns that there are risks associated with eating too much fiber: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/6-health-risks-of-eating-too-much-fiber.html#b. I appreciated your insight to vegetarianism but I would recommend that before you present one side to an argument, you look into multiple sources and present statements that are backed by research.

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