According to PETA, we could save 100 animals each year if we gave up eating meat.
Occasionally, I have flirted with becoming a vegetarian, but knew realistically I wasn’t able to give up grilling meats or heavenly salmon. I do eat more grains and vegetables now; and even have gone several days in a week without meat. And, I have always love salads, the bigger and more varied the better. The statement above and the sorry state of meat sold at the grocers got me thinking though. (Have you noticed how tough the meat is? And remember, the lobby loving U.S. Congress allowed the meat industry to sell cloned meat without labeling it) Given all of that, I wondered: What does it really mean to be vegetarian?
I have heard that a vegan lives a much stricter diet, as in not even animal products like eggs and cheese. Well, that ain’t happening, so back to the possibility of vegetarian. Some folks believe it’s okay to eat poultry and fish as a vegetarian because it’s not meat.
However, according to the experts (PETA included), a vegetarian eats only plant-based food. No animal flesh of any kind. Some try to even avoid any substances that involve cruelty to animals. Eggs, cheese, and all dairy are allowed if desired.
In addition to vegetables, vegetarians consume beans, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds and fruits. If protein is a concern, all of these foods provide protein. Without the cholesterol and saturated fats issue. And whatever else they’re doing to our meat. Steroids anyone?
Vegetarian diets may be lacking in iron, calcium, protein, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and zinc. It’s essential that vegetarians make certain to consume the daily allowance of these vitamins and minerals, even if through a daily multivitamin or supplements. Of course, it’s possible to get the right amount of these from the diet if you know what fruit, vegetable, grain, etc carries the biggest wallop in terms of these vitamins and minerals.
For instance beans and dark green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, kale, romaine lettuce) are loaded with iron. You simply have to calculate daily needs for the vitamins and minerals and how much your chosen menu provides. And, bonus, study after study has shown that obtaining these from actual food far outweighs getting them from a pill or liquid.
If you want to learn more about becoming vegetarian or to actually get started, PETA offers a free vegetarian/vegan starter kit. This kit reportedly helps makes the transition easier. It even includes recipes, tips and videos. Get the starter kit here.
Personally, I’m still on the fence. I wonder if it’s possible to be part-time vegetarian. You know 3 months on, 3 months off. Hmmmm.
But best wishes to you if you choose this journey!
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- What’s the Better Option? Meat vs. the Veggie Alternative (fitsugar.com)