Vegetarians are a little over 10% of the planet. They live without meat, claim to feel great and encourage others to follow their example. There are many reasons for becoming a vegetarian.
Many people after switching to vegetarianism note that their health and performance have improved. It is known that vegetarians live longer than meat-eaters, less likely to suffer from obesity, hypertension and cardiovascular disease. But no matter how much they praise vegetarianism, it has both pluses and minuses.
The pros of vegetarianism
- Maximum vitamins and minerals
Together with plant foods into the body receives a large amount of vitamins (especially a lot of vitamins C, P, beta-carotene) and minerals. This is certainly a positive thing, because with a mixed diet people pay little attention to this part of the diet.
- Cancer protection
A large amount of vegetables, fruits and berries in the diet contributes to the prevention of cancer. Therefore, oncologists advise everyone, whether a vegetarian or a meat-eater, to structure their diet so that plant foods take up 2/3 of the total volume.
Plants, because they contain a large amount of fiber, are a natural sorbent and actively removes toxins from the body.
- Potassium and Magnesium
Plant foods are good because they contain a lot of potassium and magnesium. Potassium regulates the water balance in the body, keeps blood pressure normal, and helps the heart work in a normal rhythm. Magnesium also ensures good functioning of the heart muscle and has a beneficial effect on the central nervous system.
- Low cholesterol and saturated fatty acids
Animal fats contain saturated fatty acids, which raise blood cholesterol levels and cause the development of atherosclerosis. Moreover, a normal content of vegetables, fruits and berries in the diet even reduces blood cholesterol levels.
The disadvantages of strict vegetarianism
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
Plant foods do not contain vitamin B12, which is essential for hematopoiesis and proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to negative changes in almost all organs and tissues. Especially sensitive to the lack of this vitamin is the nervous system. B12 is found in excess only in animal foods.
- Iron, zinc and copper deficiency
Sufficient amounts of readily digestible iron, zinc and copper cannot be obtained from plant foods. Their deficiency leads to anemia and immune problems.
Plant foods absorb from 1% to 6% of iron, and animal foods absorb up to 30-40%. Deficiency of this element leads to atrophic processes of mucous membranes of the digestive tract and nasopharynx, digestion is disturbed, hair follicles atrophy, broken nails and reduced protective function of the skin.
- Vitamin D deficiency
Plant foods lack vitamin D. Its deficiency leads to brittle bones, loss of hair and teeth, and in children – to rickets and developmental delays.
A word to the expert
“One should make a decision whether to be a vegetarian or not only with an eye on one’s health. Vegetarians can not be children and adolescents under 17 years – the body at this age continues to grow, he needs proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, not only vegetable, but also animal origin. Their deficiency can lead to impaired development of the child’s body and the manifestation of many diseases in the future. In addition, it is undesirable to become a vegetarian people, weakened by disease and operations, as well as the elderly – although the body does not require a large amount of protein, exclude it completely from the diet, yet should not. Lacto-vegetarianism and lacto-ovo-vegetarianism are certainly preferable to strict vegetarianism.
If you are going to become a vegetarian, first of all you should pay attention to the absence or reduction of proteins of animal origin in your diet and try to replace them with adequate plant proteins. For example, soybeans can be a source of protein close to animal proteins. Potatoes, nuts and mushrooms can also be used to create a good set of amino acids the body needs. But this must be carefully monitored. If there are difficulties in compiling a complete diet, you should contact a specialist. In addition, adhering to a strict vegetarianism, it is reasonable to feed the body with amino acids, vitamin deficiencies, perhaps dietary supplements, the same spirulina, for example, makes up for the lack of iron.
- Following fashion
There are far fewer vegetarians than meat-eaters, and therefore vegetarianism is often seen as a good way to stand out.
- To lose weight
Vegetables are less caloric than meat, and therefore some people become vegetarian, pursuing only one goal – to lose weight. This approach is not quite correct, if only because it is not necessary to refuse meat products completely, you can simply reduce the amount of their consumption.
- By conviction
There are people who believe that the meat of a slaughtered animal carries negative energy, and therefore when it enters the human body, it charges it with negative energy. This category also includes people who believe that the process of taking the life of any living creature is inhumane.
- Trying to stay healthy
Some people have to give up meat because of some disease. Those who are sure they will live longer without meat also don’t eat meat.
- Out of economy
Sometimes vegetarians become vegetarians out of necessity. Meat is now expensive, so not everyone has enough money to buy it. Although those who buy meat and sausage, too, can not be called with certainty meat-eaters: in meat products now a very high percentage of soy.
Types of vegetarianism
Veganism is one of the strictest types of vegetarianism. Only the consumption of plant foods is allowed. Vegans don’t even eat honey because it is a product of bee exploitation. Not only that, they do not use cosmetics, medications, or anything that has been tested on animals. Nor do vegans wear clothing made of leather, silk, or wool.
Lacto-vegetarianism – consumption of milk and dairy products is allowed.
Ovo-vegetarianism – only eggs are allowed from animal foods.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarianism – consumption of dairy products and eggs is allowed.
Pescetarianism – no meat in the diet, but fish.
Fruitarianism is one of the strictest kinds of vegetarianism. Its representatives eat only those plants that do not cause any particular harm. For example, fruits, berries, cereals, nuts. Beets, potatoes, celery root, etc. – taboo, because digging them out of the ground is murder.
Raw eating – only raw fruits and vegetables are allowed.
Vegetarianism (from Latin vegetus – strong, full of strength, vigorous, active) – a way of life, which is characterized by a diet that excludes or limits the use of the flesh of all animals (ie, meat, poultry, fish, etc.).
Vegetarians were: Buddha, Zoroaster, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Plutarch, Hippocrates, Ovid, Seneca, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Newton, Enstein, Spinoza, Rousseau, Byron, Voltaire, Nietzsche, Rabindranath Tagore, Tolstoy, Gorky, Bob Marley and many other great men.
Vegetarians include: Adriano Celentano, Paul McCartney, Pamela Anderson, Brad Pitt, Victoria Beckham, Alec Baldwin, Richard Gere, Sashko Polozhinsky (Tartak band), members of Dimna Sumish and others.