There are many facts about vegetarianism that are interesting to know, but that can also help you decide if it’s right for you or not. Choosing to forgo meat is a personal decision that many people make for ethical or health reasons. If you’re on the fence about it, getting a better understanding of how it works and what it entails can really help. Here are some facts about vegetarianism that I hope help you make your choice.
1. There Are Several Types
Most people understand that vegetarians don’t eat meat, but one of the facts about vegetarianism that you should know is that there are several types. Some vegetarians merely avoid meat, poultry and fish while others also forgo eggs, milk or any type of animal product at all. The foods you choose to eat and not eat are up to you.
2. It’s Healthy
There’s nothing wrong with eating moderate amounts of animal products healthwise except that some types are high in saturated fat and calories. However, skipping meat makes many people worry about being deficient in protein and other nutrients you need for good health. The good news is that the bulk of a vegetarian diet is made up of fruits, vegetables and grains, all of which are nutritious.
3. You Can Still Gain Weight
While cutting meats from your meal plan can help you reduce your calorie intake and drop some weight, it’s not guaranteed. If you only skip meat but eat a lot of cheese and nuts, you may still be taking in more calories than you burn. Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you eat on a daily basis. That means that you can hinder your efforts with any type of food if you eat it in overly large portions.
4. It’s Good for the Environment
Surprised? While it’s true that growing fruits, vegetables, beans and grains does take energy, it’s far less than the energy needed to grow chickens, cows, pigs and other types of meat. It also takes more to process and package meats for shipping than it does to prepare plant foods for transport to the grocery store. By cutting out meat, you leave less of a carbon footprint, even if you only skip it a couple of days per week.
5. Lowers the Risk of Disease
In many ways, eating a vegetarian diet can reduce your risk of all sorts of health problems. Though cutting out meat isn’t a guarantee that you’ll never get a disease or illness, focusing on a healthy diet in general can keep you healthy and stave off health problems. A vegetarian diet has been linked to a lowered risk of heart disease, certain types of cancer, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, according to information published by Brown University researchers.
6. You Might Need Supplements
As I mentioned above, a vegetarian diet can be very healthy. However, there are certain nutrients that are only available from animal foods. One important one is vitamin B12. Avoiding meat can also result in deficiencies in calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin D. If you decide to become a vegetarian, talk to your doctor about taking a supplement to fill any gaps in your meal plan.
7. It’s Not Hard
When you have to eliminate a certain food due to allergies or other health problems, it can be very hard to avoid that food. However, becoming a vegetarian isn’t too difficult. Once you decide which foods you don’t want to eat, it becomes a matter of simply reading food labels and understanding which foods are acceptable and which ones aren’t. Fresh foods are your best bet.
Are you a vegetarian or do you want to become one? I’m a part-time vegetarian and only meat a couple of times per week. I don’t even miss it all that much. There are so many meat-free meals that taste delicious! Do you have any other facts to add?