Vegetarian Diet

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Although it is much disputed and not always popular, vegetarianism is a very positive and productive dietary plan. Eating vegetarian is considered by many to be very healthy. The balance of nutrients is well rounded and all the requirements for a balanced diet can be easily met. On average, people who adhere to a vegetarian diet live longer than those who do not. The risks of heart disease and certain types of cancer are greatly reduced by following a vegetarian diet.

When choosing between following a vegetarian diet and a meat inclusive diet, there are many different factors to be considered. Once of these is the quality of meat available in most supermarkets. Unless frozen, meat does not have a very long shelf life and begins to go bad soon after being made available for sale. In comparison, raw vegetables will keep twice as long as raw meat. Another factor to consider is preparation. Raw vegetables can be eaten. Raw meat cannot. Raw meat must first be cooked at a minimum safe temperature for a certain period of time before it can be safely eaten

Cost effectiveness is very important to consider when choosing a diet plan. Excluding meat will reduce the average grocery bill by approximately on third. Compared to vegetables, meat is extremely expensive. For the cost of one 12 oz. Steak, you can buy enough food to make salad, stir-fry, and bread for three people.

When many people think of a well-rounded diet, they think of the four food groups: breads and cereals, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and meats and fish. Vegetarianism only excludes meats and fish and still provides for a well-rounded diet. Much of the protein and nutrients found in meat can be found in vegetarian foods such as beans and grain.

A large-scale comparison that can be made of vegetarianism and a meat inclusive diet is the amount of land used for the production of animals vs. the production of crops. The same amount of land needed to graze cattle can produce approximately twenty times the amount of plant crops. Crops are also much less expensive to grow and maintain compared to the cost of producing animals.

On a global scale, much could be done about the problems of world hunger by devoting more resources to crop production. A 300-pound cow will not feed nearly as many people as 300 pounds of grain and vegetables. As mentioned, not as much land is needed to produce crops as is needed for animals.

Many people who consider vegetarianism do so for humane reasons. The treatment of animals is often very inhumane on cattle ranches, chicken and pig farms, and other production facilities. Animals are often manipulated in many ways to force them to mass-produce more food. Chickens are physically manipulated to make them produce more eggs. Milk cows are forced to produce more milk. Many animals are injected with steroids, hormones, and other drugs to make them grow bigger so that more meat can be produced.

While there are many advantages to a vegetarian diet, there are also disadvantages. Most restaurants have very little if any vegetarian options on their menu. Practically none offer many vegetarian entrees. Close diet monitoring is important. You must make sure you get a good variety of items in your diet, especially things that are high in protein. Many organic products are hard to find. When they can be found they tend to be expensive because the current demands for them is not very high. Politically, vegetarianism is very left wing and not very popular is mainstream society. It is often frowned upon as if vegetarians are doing something others are not even though there is very little in a vegetarian diet that is not also in a meat inclusive diet. This is due, I think, in large part to the unfounded idea that vegetarianism is associated with radicalism.

Some of the spin-off concepts of the vegetarian diet are the vegan diet and the fruitiverous diet. A vegan diet excludes anything that is an animal product or by-product. Most people who choose the vegan diet are doing so from the animal rights standpoint regarding the treatment of animals mentioned earlier. In todayís political climate, this type of diet is gaining popularity. The fruitiverous diet is a diet that excludes everything but fruit and fruit juices. This type of diet is very unhealthy if followed for an extended period of time and is generally only used for a short period of time by those who are looking to lose weight.

A healthy, cost effective, and productive diet is something everyone who likes to take care of themselves strives for. Whatever your reasons for choosing a particular diet are, a vegetarian diet will meet your needs in a positive and productive manner. Bon appetite.