This next week I will be embarking on a new challenge with a few of my friends. We will attempt to eat a vegetarian menu this week. In light of this, I asked my brother, who is a vegetarian, to write a blog for me about the benefits and different aspects of being a vegetarian.
Troy Lyon is a licensed massage therapist in Portland, Oregon. He is an avid student of health, and plans to move to the Boulder, CO area to study nutrition this year. He loves to mountain bike, snow board, do yoga and spend time with his wonderful wife, Rae. You can contact Troy at email@example.com.
First, Let us examine what vegetarianism means, as it differs from person to person, culture to culture.
Vegetarianism encompasses the practice of following plant-based diets (fruits, vegetables, etc.), with or without the inclusion of dairy products or eggs, and with the exclusion of meat (red meat, poultry and seafood). However, many choose to alter their diet, but manage to remain a vegetarian. These classifications are as follows:
An ovo-vegetarian diet includes eggs but not dairy products, a lacto-vegetarian diet includes dairy products but not eggs, and an ovo-lacto vegetarian diet includes both eggs and dairy products. A vegan diet excludes all animal products, including eggs, dairy, and honey. A Semi-vegetarian diets consist largely of vegetarian foods, but may include fish or poultry, or sometimes other meats on an infrequent basis. And a pescetarian diet, for example, includes “fish but no meat”.
One might choose to practice vegetarianism for issues such as environmental, animal cruelty, or religion, but this topic will focus on the health benefits of eating vegetarian.
Many studies have been done that say vegetarians tend to have lower body mass index, lower levels of cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and less incidence of heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada have stated that at all stages of life, a properly planned vegetarian diet is “healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases”.
The connection between infected animal and human illness is well established in the case of salmonella; an estimated one-third to one-half of all chicken meat marketed in the United States is contaminated with salmonella. Only recently, however, have scientists begun to suspect that there is a similar connection between animal meat and human cancer, birth defects, mutations, and many other diseases in humans.
The reason for this being is the mass consumption and production of factory farmed animals. When the demand is high, the producers see a need to meet that supply, and often do so with added growth hormones and inadequate nutrition for the animals, so that they produce a faster and higher yield. This situation becomes hazardous to us humans when we eat what they eat, and if they are diseased, we are eating that too.
Information and research gathered primarily from Wikipedia.com
Now let us talk nutrition: Many skeptics ask “Do vegetarians receive enough protein in their diet?”
Studies at Harvard University as well as other studies conducted in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and various European countries, confirmed vegetarian diets provide sufficient protein intake as long as a variety of plant sources are available and consumed.
Foods to eat that insure you are receiving adequate protein; Quinoa (a grain grown in South America that is high in protein),Tempeh, tofu, combination of leafy greens, and vegetables, and wild caught fish.
I believe that eating vegetarian offers many health benefits and an increase in energy, but one must do the work to research, meal plan, eat nutritious foods, and test to see what works for their own body. Our body operates on what we feed them, so it is our responsibility to provide the fuel that is needed to operate the most efficiently and effectively.
Here is a sample menu of a typical day of my diet:
Wake up: I always start off the day with fruit (apple, banana, grapefruit, orange) It is easiest to be absorbed and digested on an empty stomach and provides great nutrition and healthy sugars to jump start my day.
Breakfast: Quinoa, Two eggs seasoned with tyme, oregano, salt and pepper, and ¼ avocado. Toast with nut butter (peanut, almond, sunflower).
Snack: Lara bar (nuts and fruits) or fruit. Coconut water.
Lunch: Organic vegetables; leaf lettuce (not iceberg, the darker in color the more nutrients), mushrooms, tomatoes, avocadoes. Sunflower seeds and ¼ cup quinoa.
Dressing: Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, dab of mustard, (mix and dress)
Add grilled or canned tuna, salmon for added protein and fish oil which is good for your joints.
Snack: Fresh veggies; Tomatoes, celery, broccoli, carrots. Dried fruit, nuts.
Dinner: Vegetable soup (zucchini, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes). Spinach salad with cranberries, almond slices, blueberries and apples. Rice.
Dessert: Dark chocolate
It has taken me many years to refine my diet to where it is now, but it works for me. Try different foods often and see how it affects your body. Notice your energy levels, mood swings, bowel movements, mucus, etc. and you will discover the foods that your body wants to be fueled on.
Eating nutritious foods is good for your body, mind, soul and the environment, plus it makes cooking fun and delicious.
Think Healthy, Eat Healthy, Be Healthy, and Be Happy.
Nutrionalist and Licensed Massage Therapist 17114