These are a few of the many comments I received when I ate vegetarian for a few months last year. I actually enjoyed being a vegetarian, despite the fact that my friends and family didn't support it. I felt better about myself and I had more energy.
Well, what are some benefits of eating a vegetarian diet? Here's a list from vegnutrition.com (highlighted in green) with a few things I added (in purple).
- Plant foods provide phytochemicals. These are compounds found only in plants; some of these have significant impacts on risk for heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.
- Plant foods contain fiber, which is associated with a lower risk for cancer, , and obesity. Animal foods contain no fiber and people who eat typical American diets based on meat and dairy generally do not get as much fiber as experts recommend.
- Plant foods contain no cholesterol. Even lean meats like shrimp and white chicken meat are high in . Cholesterol is important but consuming too much is bad for cardiovascular health.
- Plant foods are low in saturated risk for heart disease and possibly for cancer as well. . Most of the saturated fat in comes from meat and dairy foods. Saturated fat is linked to a
- Some plant foods, like olives and nuts, are high in total fat, but they typically contain healthful types of fat. Unlike saturated fat, these plant fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) are linked to reduced disease risk when they are consumed in moderation.
- The type of iron in plant foods is regulated by the body in a way that guards against overload, which may be linked to chronic .
- Plant foods are excellent sources of nutrients, such as folate, potassium, and chromium, which help fight chronic disease.
Even with these benefits, vegetarians and vegans are at risk for vitamin B12 deficiency as well as Vitamin D and Iron. However, supplements can help with this part.
Eating vegetarian doesn't mean you're not getting enough nutrients you need for the body. As long as your diet is balanced, you will be healthy. Nuts are a great source of protein for vegetarians, as well as legumes and quinoa. It's so easy to consume protein now a days, compared to our prehistoric times.
Anyway, the reason why I bring this up is that I'm thinking about going vegetarian again, but I'm still unsure if I should or not. I really enjoyed it when I was vegetarian. The only problem is that the people around me don't necessarily support it, especially due to my culture (that loves meat and think it's important). Don't get me wrong. Eating meat, especially lean meat, can be part of a healthy diet. It's just not really for me.
Do you guys have any thoughts on this?
Have you tried going vegetarian? If so, how was your experience with it?