Looking to lose weight? Try our FREE Calorie Counter »  |  Log In
Articles Fitness Nutrition

The Ins and Outs of Vegetarianism

Vegetarianism is an often misunderstood choice. However, it's not very hard to understand when you learn the basics of this very healthy lifestyle and dietary choice.

Types

There are two basic types of vegetarians: lacto-ovo vegetarians and vegans. Lacto-ovo vegetarians are the most common. They eat no meat, poultry or fish. Vegans eat no animal by-products; veganism excludes dairy and eggs, in addition to meat, poultry, fish and honey. There are other diets that claim to be "semi-vegetarian," but these are the two true, basic and acknowledged vegetarian definitions.

Ethical Concerns

Many people make the choice to go vegetarian because of ethical concerns. In the meat industry, animals are typically abused, tortured and then murdered. Vegans also cite abuses in the dairy and egg industries as reasons for taking the choice a step further. Even if one chooses to ignore the studies regarding the animal agriculture industries, many people choose vegetarianism because they think that it's wrong to kill living, feeling beings for food.

The Environment

Going vegetarian for a single week will help the environment. The Smithsonian Institution stated that enough land to fill seven football fields is bulldozed each minute for the meat industry. Also, if everybody in the world was a vegetarian, we would have enough food for all within it, as so much of the world's grains and food goes to feeding animals that are born only to be killed for food. Even those who do not feel ready or willing to go completely vegetarian are encouraged to eat several vegetarian meals every week as a gesture for the environment and less cruelty in the world.

Health Reasons

As a result of their choice of diets, vegans consume little to no cholesterol. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has even released a vegetarian food group to counter the one that's been popular in health classes for decades. It demonstrates exactly how a vegetarian should eat for optimal health.

Vegetarian Children

Although it's still a bit controversial among those who don't understand the health benefits and nutrition available to vegetarians, many children are thriving as vegetarians. Dr. Spock, every expectant mom's hero of literature, suggested a vegan diet in his last book on parenting. He was considered the baby care and child care authority for decades, with his consistently updated book published to guide new moms on the parenthood journey. His recommendation of the diet helped make it more accepted by mainstream critics. He researched this decision heavily, and there is much evidence to support vegetarianism as a healthy choice for all ages.

Vegetarian Nutrition

Vegetarians and vegans should make sure to get omega-3 fatty acids through ingredients like flax seeds or supplements; they should also take a B12 supplement. All other nutrients can easily be acquired through a healthy vegetarian diet.

Article Comments