The Health Benefits of a Low Meat Diet including Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
Vegan and Vegetarian Philosophy
Vegans and Vegetarians both care about health and well being. They tend to be more health conscious than the average person. Vegetarians choose their way of life mostly for health reasons. A diet low in meat (vegetarians sometimes eat fish) and high in vegetables and fruits is great for the human body. It helps to balance nutrition, avoid excess acid and toxic foods, and improve digestion and cellular nutrition delivery.
Vegans do not eat any animal protein. Not only do they avoid meat, they also avoid eggs and dairy. Some vegans believe this is the healthiest way to eat while others have a moral objection to killing animals or using animal byproducts in any way as food. This latter group will often times also turn veganism into a lifestyle where by the vegan avoids any animal based products in the market place.
This hub is not about the philosophical beliefs of committed vegans, but about the health benefits of their non-meat, non animal protein diets.
Why is a Low Meat and Dairy Diet Healthy?
You may have heard it said that too much of anything is bad for you. Western Cultures (America in particular) consume vast quantities of meat and are generally unconcerned about whether it is actually healthy. If we set aside our feelings about whether its ok to kill animals and just look at the health consequences of over consuming meat, we find that there are some radical consequences for your health and well being. The following are all chronic diseases that are directly related to over consuming meat and dairy.
- Heart Disease
- Loss of sight and hearing in old age
- Cancer (various types)
These are just some of the chronic diseases linked to large consumption of meat. On the other hand, vegetables cannot be consumed in excessive quantities (except in the case of over eating to gain excessive weight). It is interesting that your body tends to burn almost as much energy to digest vegetables as are in them which is why they are great for helping with weight loss. Vegetables carry vitamins, nutrients, and anti oxidants that energize your body and provide it with balanced nutrition. Vegetables also help over time (when consumed regularly) to undo some of the damage done to your body by overeating meat.
If you eat meat, it's recommended that you only do so in very small quantities, say 4 ounces a day. More than that and your over consuming meat.
Common Objections to a Low Meat Diet...
Eating a low meat diet goes against cultural and societal norms. Objections are frequently raised by obsessive meat lovers and others who simply are not very educated about nutrition. Here are some of the most common objections and appropriate responses to doubters:
- How will you get enough protein? Proteins actually exist in plants in less efficient forms but you can get your proteins from plants, beans, and nuts in great quantities. Elephants are one of the largest animals on the planet and they do not eat any meat. Where do you think they get their protein?
- If you do not eat meat, there are certain nutrients you cannot get that your body needs: This is partially true. B12 is an example of a vitamin that you cannot get from most plants. B12 is particularly important for pregnant women and so you do have to exercise some caution. This is partly why we recommend a low meat diet rather than a no meat diet. For those who do want to eat a no meat diet, certain non meat products like yeast are reinforced with B12. The reality is that our soil is becoming nutrient depleted and it is increasingly difficult to get all the nutrients you need simply from the food you eat. So whether you consume meat or not, it is wise to also take an ezyme based multi-vitamin supplement.
- I like meat too much, there is no way I could give it up: The truth is, you can give it up because it is a choice. But you have to find the consequences of not doing so compelling enough to motivate you.
- I am going to die anyway so why not enjoy my life while I can. I will eat lots of meat.: In many cases, it is not an issue of death at an early age, it is an issue of quality of life in old age. Do you want to be the person who can't walk, can't take himself to the bathroom, can't hear or see, loses your personality, and sits around with limited mobility, depressed, and just waiting to die. Or do you want to be a vitally alive, fully functional, fully engaged member of your community and society in old age. This is the difference that eating a healthy low meat, high vegetable diet can make for you.