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The Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."Albert Einstein
This article is an overview of some of the benefits to eating a vegetarian diet. There are also huge amounts of resources on and offline with which you can inform yourself about your diet and food choices. After all “We are what we eat” so it pays to know what we are putting into our bodies and impact our choices make on us and the world around us.
Expand Your Tastes
I thought I would miss meat, but I can honestly say I haven’t. I try new things and have learnt lots of new recipes since becoming vegetarian. I used to have the tendency to choose a meat dish if going out for a meal, but since going vegetarian am more likely to try something new. I also find it much easier to get my five a day as I focus much more on eating fruit and vegetables as a staple part of my diet now.
"If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian”. Sir Paul McCartney
The average vegetarian spares the lives of over 50 animals each year. That adds up to thousands during a lifetime. We can eat well without harming other living creatures. We make a choice every time we eat and that choice is the difference between life and death for an animal. It is so easy to disassociate ourselves from the meat and fish food production process. Meat and fish food production is not the only way animals are harmed and killed for our food. The dairy and egg industry also have a lot to answer for too. When you start to learn how things really work its pretty shocking and upsetting but also helps you to make more informed choices.
Protect Our Environment
Becoming vegetarian is one of the easiest ways you can help protect the earth. Being vegetarian decreases the strain on the earth’s limited resources, decreases pollution, helps to prevent global warming, and also save countless species from extinction.
There are so many ways that the production of meat and fish for the food industry is damaging to the environment. For example, did you know that rearing cattle for food produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars? This is just one example of how being vegetarian will make a massive differene to the environment.
Currently, 72 percent of all grain produced in the United States is fed to animals raised for slaughter. It takes 15 pounds of feed to get one pound of meat. However if the grain were given directly to people, there'd be enough food to feed the whole planet.
Being vegetarian will save you a lot of money. If you stop eating red meat, poultry and fish, you will find plant proteins much cheaper than the equivalent amount of animal protein. Replacing meat, chicken and fish with vegetables and fruits is estimated to cut food bills by an average of £2,500 a year.
A vegetarian diet offers a range of nutritional benefits, including lower levels of saturated fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, as well as higher levels of carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, potassium, folate, and antioxidants such as vitamins C and E and phytochemicals.
Vegetarians have been reported to have lower body mass indices than non vegetarians, as well as lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol levels; lower blood pressure; and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer.
In America alone, $60 billion to $120 billion is spent annually to treat the heart disease, cancer, obesity, and food poisoning that are byproducts of a diet heavy on animal products.
There is a lot of varying evidence out there about the pros and cons of eating meat vs vegetarianism and veganism but don’t forget there is a lot of money in the animal product food industry and the associated advertising. Listen to your own gut and see what truly feels right for you.
An added bonus I have found is that I have dropped nearly a dress size since becoming vegetarian again at the beginning of 2009. All research indicates that on average vegetarians are slimmer than meat eaters. According to a study carried out by Cancer Research UK, people who eat meat and carry on doing so put on more weight over a five year period than people who switch over to vegetarianism. Vegetarians put on less weight than meat eaters, and vegans put on less weight than vegetarians.
This can be an emotive topic but I believe that really educating ourselves about this is vital to improving our relationships with the animals we share the earth with, our own health and the health of the planet that we share.
I encourage you to do some searching of your own on and offline. There are so many resources available to educate yourself on what you eat, vegetarianism and veganism and the animal food industry.