What Is The Vegetarian Lifestyle & The Benefits To Being Vegetarian
Do you like eggs and toast for your morning breakfast; a grilled cheese sandwich with your bowl of chili, or how about a glass of milk with those sweet, delicious, chocolaty cookies? You might even want a grilled chicken salad, or some kind of fish!
With a vegetarian diet in place, these foods could still be a possibility!
Let’s take a look. We can look and see what the vegetarian lifestyle is all about :o).
It’s an oxymoron effect!
Many people believe that vegan and vegetarian diets are like a two way street. But no, vegan eats one way, while a vegetarian eat the same, yet entirely different!
The truth is, according to the American Heart Association, there are four different vegetarian diets. The small differences being quite huge, give this lifestyle an oxymoron effect; making some of the choices easier to adjust to, and a lot more desirable.
The term vegetarian is truly an “umbrella” for these diets.
Are YOU under the umbrella?
What’s under the umbrella?
The first diet or lifestyle is the “full” vegetarian diet, which is actually called vegan.
The full vegetarian, or vegan, diet is the most strict under this umbrella, and is only a plant eaters diet. This type of eating includes fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and grains. There is no meat, dairy, or eggs involved in this particular diet. You can read more about the vegan diet here.
Second, is the lacto vegetarian diet. This lifestyle is the same as the full vegetarian/vegan diet, only this one is allowed to consume dairy products as well! This mean, you can enjoy milk, cheese, yogurt and things belonging in this group, along with all the different plant foods. This would be your last step before accomplishing a full vegetarian lifestyle!
Third is the lacto-ovo vegetarian diet. This is typically the second step towards a vegan or full vegetarian lifestyle. The lacto-ovo’s also use the same guidelines of the plant based diet. However, this particular one got it’s name lacto-ovo, because it allows for the use of dairy (lacto) and eggs (ovo), as well as plants!
Last, under this umbrella, is the semi vegetarian lifestyle. This would be considered the first step toward becoming a full vegetarian. It is likely the most easy and accepted diet in this group. A semi vegetarian consumes the same plant based diet as the others do, but they also include the dairy and eggs – plus chicken and fish. Yes, this is definitely the first step toward a much cleaner, strict lifestyle.
Since now we understand that being vegetarian is more than just one particular way of life, let’s look at some of the benefits that may work for you regardless of which diet you choose!
Under the umbrella – the stricter, the better!
The benefits to choosing a vegetarian lifestyle are much like that of the vegan diet. However, the more strict the diet is, the healthier it tends to be and the more protection it has to offer.
Typically, vegetarians have lower cholesterol, tend to be thinner, have lower blood pressure, enjoy the reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers among other benefits.
Reduced cancer risks. Eliminating red meat reduces the risk of esophageal, liver, colorectal, and lung cancers. Eliminating eggs can reduce the risk of pancreatic cancer, and by replacing animal milk with soy milk, it can reduce the risk of prostate cancer, as well as helping to prevent breast cancer.
Reduces the risk of heart disease. By consuming more fruits and vegetables, which are rich in rich in fiber, folic acid, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, studies have found that they are linked to having a lower cholesterol, a lower incidence of stroke and mortality from stroke and ischemic heart disease.
Lower cholesterol. Korean researchers found that body fat, and cholesterol levels were lower in vegetarians. See “Reduces the risk of heart disease”.
Lower incidence of stroke. See “Reduces the risk of heart disease”.
Reduced cataract development. A study from the University of Oxford, showed that Vegetarians were at lower risk of cataract than were meat eaters.
Psoriasis. A Brazilian study shows that psoriasis symptoms can improve via a vegetarian diet.
So, now you have an idea of some of the benefits these lifestyles can offer you, and you know that some plants cannot offer certain vitamins and nutrients.
For ways to get these much needed elements for the body, we must take a deeper look into the vegetarian lifestyle.
Planning ahead the different vegetarian diets can be appropriate for all stages of life!
Planning ahead the different vegetarian diets, and making sure all vitamins and nutrients are covered, can be appropriate for all stages of life, including pregnancy and lactation.
Something also to keep in mind is that the more strict of a lifestyle you choose, the more challenging it will be to get all the nutrients your body needs. So here, I will list the nutrients that will need more attention, along with foods or other ideas that can help you to plan ahead.
Most importantly sunshine!
The natural sunlight provides us with all the vitamin D our bodies need if we get out and enjoy it a little each day.
In some cases, such as long periods of rainy weather, a wintery season, or even where we might be in the world, we just aren’t able to get the amount of daily sunlight we need. In this situation, a sun therapy lamp can be useful.
A sun therapy lamp, is a specially made lamp that you to get the sun you need during times when natural sun might not be available.
Some foods to enjoy, depending on the choice of diet, would be tuna, salmon, mackerel, cheese, egg yolks, shiitake mushrooms, milk, and other fortified food items.
Calcium is required to aid in absorption of vitamin D.
Ways you’ll love getting your calcium are by consuming turnip and collard greens, kale, broccoli, and bok choy along with fortified food items such as orange juice and cereals.
This vitamin helps in preventing anemia, and is needed to produce red blood cells.
Because this vitamin is found mainly in animal products, the strictest diet (vegan), may want to look at a supplement.
Otherwise, this vitamin can be obtained by consuming dried, purple nori – an edible seaweed, Tempeh – a fermented soybean food, or simply use 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast.
Some fortified foods may be available containing vitamin B-12.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
The omega’s consist of ALA, EPA, and DHA.
ALA is found in leafy green vegetables, avocadoes, hemp, chia seeds, flaxseeds and nuts, as well as flaxseed oil, and olive oil, among other things.
EPA and DHA are not considered essential, because our bodies create them from the ALA.
So, enough ALA should maintain adequate levels of the EPA and DHA as long as you have a well planned diet in place
Crucial to red blood cells, iron isn’t as easily absorbed from plant sources. A vegetarian dieter would need to take in double the amount than a non-vegetarian.
Some great sources of iron would be lentils, dark leafy green vegetables, dried fruit, black-strap molasses, Tempeh, tofu, and some iron fortified food items.
Much like iron, zinc is not as easily absorbed from plant sources. It plays a role in cell division and in forming proteins.
Depending on the diet, cheese is a good option to get zinc.
Other options could include whole grains, soy products, legumes, nuts and wheat germ.
Iodine is needed for thyroid function, which helps with metabolism, growth, and function of key organs.
Eating kelp (seaweed) is a natural way to achieving normal levels of iodine to keep your thyroid in good working order.
If you do not use iodized salts, or the salts are iodized too low, you may need an iodine supplement.
Depending on the type of diet you choose, the vegetarian sources of protein include, eggs, dairy products, soy products, meat replacements, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
To read more about some of these vitamins and nutrients, please read Healthy Is A Happy Life!
So there you have it!
You should be pleased with yourself!
You are well on your way to creating a successful lifestyle in the world a vegetarianism. It’s not difficult, as long as you keep focus on what is important.
I’ve laid out all the steps and what to look for so that you can be healthy, and I’ve offered ways to replace vitamins and nutrients that might become troublesome.
I do hope this article has been of great help to you in making the choices that will benefit your life, and even the lives of others around you. Please feel free to share this article with those you love and don’t love! Everyone deserves a chance to be their healthy best!
If you’d like to leave your comment below, sharing your thoughts, ideas, and experiences, I would truly enjoy reading about them.
YOU are much appreciated :o) !!!