It is a fact that the humble plant is a source of life. It is also a fact that the veggies mothers force their children to eat while they are still little are loaded with vitamins and minerals. In the recent years, meat has been getting a lot of flak because eating too much of it causes hypertension, heart disease and obesity. Eating plant-based foods is also promoted by doctors, nutritionists, health gurus and celebrities alike. Does this mean that when it comes to eating, vegetarian is the way to go?
Vegetarianism is the practice of eating only plant-based foods and eliminating red meat from the diet altogether. There are several reasons why people choose to be vegetarians. It may be due to religious, cultural, ethical, and health reasons. However, not all vegetarians are strict about what they consume.
Through the years, the practice of being a vegetarian has evolved. It has spawned different types of vegetarianism based on what is consumed. Pescatarian is a type of vegetarianism that allows plant-based foods as well as fish and seafood. It is usually used as a transition from being a meat eater to eating a fully vegetarian diet. Lacto-vegetarian is a type of vegetarianism that consumes dairy products but not eggs. Ovo-vegetarian is a type of vegetarian that consumes eggs but not dairy products. Some people prefer to be lacto-ovo-vegetarians so they can still enjoy their chocolates, omelets and cheeses. Vegan, on the other hand, is a type of vegetarianism that only allows plant-based products and does not consume any animal products at all, including foods with animal-derived ingredients. Most of the time, vegans do not use animal-derived products such as leather either. People who eat a raw vegan diet consume food that is not heated above 46 ºC (115 ºF) because they believe that high cooking temperatures causes food to lose their nutritional value.
Advocates of the vegetarian diet say that this type of diet is healthy, has adequate nutrition and can help prevent diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Vegetarians do not consume saturated fats which are derived from meat. Saturated fats is not good for the health and can lead to having plaque deposits in the arteries. The vegetarian diet is also low in calories so it is the preferred fare of people who are trying to lose weight.
Eating a vegetarian diet is not without consequences, though. The most common problem in this type of diet is vitamin deficiency, as it lacks iron, zinc, protein, calcium and vitamins. Having an adequate protein source is especially challenging because most people get their protein from meat. Some experts believe there is also the risk of gaining weight because this diet is filled with grains and products made from processed white flour. Some vegetarians also tend to eat too much sugar to keep their hunger pangs at bay. Moreover, eating in restaurants can be difficult because vegetarians need to scrutinize the ingredients and how the dish is cooked to make sure it does not contain animal products.
Is green the way to go when it comes to eating? Some people seem to agree with it but others are still hesitant. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have a healthy and well-balanced diet from which the human body can benefit from.
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