Living healthy requires maintaining a healthy diet. No diet may be healthier than meals dominated by fresh, all-natural vegetables and fruits.
Lately, more and more people have shifted to vegetarian meals because scientific research demonstrated the adverse effects of animal meat.
Nutritionists explain that the high amount of animal fat present in meat, dairy, and other animal products may be probable factors leading to the onset of diabetes mellitus, obesity, colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease.
To avoid these diseases, nutritionists have long expounded on the health benefits of high intake of fruits and vegetables.
However, people generally have many misconceptions about vegetarianism or the practice of eating foods from the plant kingdom.
This article attempts to clear these misconceptions and bring to light what the said lifestyle is about.
Vegetarians may be classified into four groups. Vegans eat no animal foods, while semi-vegetarians generally avoid meat but consume poultry and selected animal foods.
Meanwhile, lacto-ovo-vegetarians avoid meat, poultry and fish, but take in milk and eggs. Finally, lacto-vegetarians consume milk products but not other animal foods. Some vegetarians also go as far as avoiding clothing made from animal products like fleece, fur, and leather.
More so, others avoid processed foods, alcoholic beverages, and foods bred with pesticides.
Historically, vegetarianism can be traced from philosophical beliefs, specifically religious traditions and teachings of Buddhism and Hinduism.
The said religions shun away from animal flesh due to their doctrine upholding self-denial, reincarnation, and the blessedness of all forms of life.
However, during the 19th century, the practice has transcended religious boundaries when the Vegetarian Society, a British non-religious organization, became famous in 1847.
Modern vegetarians uphold the rejection of meat in their campaign for animal welfare, labeling the killing of animals for consumption as a violation of their rights. The practice has already gained worldwide acceptance.
Some people contend that the vegetarian diet is insufficient in meeting the daily nutritional requirements. However, dieticians have explained that plant-based meals are low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and salt.
Likewise, plant-based meals may be planned in order to obtain the essential nutrients normally obtained from meat, fish, and poultry.
Vegetarians may consume diets dominated by fruits, vegetables, cereals and grains. In place of meat products, lacto-ovo-vegetarians may use nuts, lentils, eggs, nuts, peanut butter, dry beans, and peas. Vegetarians avoiding milk may find other sources of calcium and Vitamin D-enriched foods.
Also, vegans may have to take vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure adequate intakes of nutrients that may only be obtained from animal-based meals.
Consciousness on healthy living involves awareness on the different options and forms of vegetarianism. Here’s to a healthy lifestyle and well-being to all of us!