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Pros and Cons of Vegetarianism

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Pros and Cons of Vegetarianism

If you are looking to switch to a meat free lifestyle and adopt an all vegetarian diet plan then it is important for you to be aware of some of the vegetarianism pros and cons!

According to a new study called ‘Vegetarianism in America’ by Vegetarian Times, three percent of the adult population in the US is vegetarian. The study also quotes that another five percent claim they are ‘definitely interested’ in following a vegetarian diet somewhere in their future, while a ten percent state they follow a diet which is largely inclined towards vegetarianism. In this study over 53 percent of these vegetarians said they do not consume meat due to health related reasons!

Here is a list of some vegetarianism pros coupled with some vegetarianism cons which can allow you to make more well-informed decisions regarding your lifestyle choices.

Vegetarian Pros

Here are some vegetarianism pros which will not only help you benefit your lifestyle, but also the environment around you!

For a Healthier You

According to the American Dietetic Association; one of the biggest vegetarianism pros is that a vegetarian diet is ‘healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of diseases’. The diseases being spoken of here include heart diseases, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Another vegetarianism pro is especially beneficial for the moms out there. A vegan diet is appropriate even during lactation, pregnancy, childhood and adolescence.

Promotes Healthier Cholesterol Levels

Vegetarians benefit from consuming a diet which is high in dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals and complex carbohydrates. However, the bigger vegetarianism pro here is that they also benefit from consuming a diet which is free from saturated fat and cholesterol. Cholesterol is a component only found in animal food, making plant foods absolutely cholesterol free! So for those of you battling against high cholesterol levels, a diet laden with fresh vegetables is  ideal!

For the Love of Nature

Vegetarianism pros go beyond one’s own basic physical heath! According to the United Nations Foods and Agricultural Organization, one fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases are generated by livestock production. In addition, livestock production also relies heavily on large quantities of increasingly scarce resources such as water, oil and land, depleting them further. According to the United Nations the meat industry is ‘one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global’.

Moreover, most of these animals are raised under questionable conditions, adding to the unethical aspect of livestock breeding and production. According to an article titled ‘Rethinking the Meat Guzzler,’ published in the Jan. 27, 2008 issue of ‘The New York Times’, vegetarianism is the most powerful step an individual can take to address the need for humane treatment towards animals.

Vegetarianism Cons

For the human body to function at optimum level, it is a must to consume a well balanced diet. It is important to understand that being a vegetarian means letting go of all vital nutrients which can be derived from meat. While vegetarianism pros are all relevant, it is essential to be aware of the vegetarianism cons when switching to an all-veggie diet.

Possible Protein Deficiency

One of the biggest vegetarianism cons is that an all vegetable diet can possibly lead to protein deficiencies if you are not careful. Protein is a component highly essential for the maintenance and repair of cells and tissues and for the production of blood cells, enzyme and hormones. Proteins are more prevalent in meat and it is highly likely that an individual following a vegetarian diet may fall short on adequate protein levels the body needs. However, there are plenty of non-meat protein options available too. Some of these options include:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Broccoli
  • Tempeh
  • Soy milk
  • Brown rice
  • Peanut butter
  • Tofu
  • Whole wheat bread

So if you are a vegetarian then be sure to consume an adequate amount of these foods to fulfill protein requirements of the body!

Possible Mineral and Vitamin Deficiency

Not following a well balanced diet can lead to potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Another vegetarianism con arises when the body does not get an adequate supply of essential vitamins and minerals after cutting out fish, meat, dairy and poultry off the list. Different vitamins and minerals have different roles to play with the functioning of the human body. Eliminating meat, fish, dairy and poultry from the diet can lead to a deficiency in vitamins such as vitamin B12 and omega 3 fatty acids and minerals such as zinc, iron and calcium, to name a few.

A Challenging Lifestyle

Depending on where you live, vegetarianism may be a difficult lifestyle change to adopt! If you live in a big city, it may be relatively easier for you to explore different food options to make up for the nutritional deficiencies a non-meat diet may induce. But, if you live in a small town, then your options may be limited when it comes to replacing the vital nutrients that meat has to offer! Before you make a switch to vegetarianism, this vegetarianism con concerning ease of accessibility may be an important one for you consider!

If you are thinking about making a lifestyle switch and embracing vegetarianism then it is important to be well versed in vegetarianism pros and vegetarianism cons! Make sure you consult a professional dietician or a nutritionist when weighing vegetarianism pros against vegetarianism cons for a well-informed decision!

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