After six years of Lacto Ovo vegetarian diet, I can say personally what are vegetarian benefits and what are the disadvantages of a vegetarian diet or in my case a meatless lifestyle. In the beginning, you think that you started a real fight with all that meat evil diet and the vegetarian benefits diet are immeasurable but as time goes on you realize that sometimes occur some disadvantages too.
Drastic diets have existed since ancient times being supported by various reasons such as religious, traditional, family, science, and more recently, today, environmental or moral concepts.
Many people consider a vegetarian diet as a food perfectly style, which protects the health, keeps them exceed the disease, and increases their longevity.
Over time, carefully studying human physiology, medical doctors and researchers were able to identify a wide range of substances that participate in complex metabolic processes, substances that can not be found entirely in the plant kingdom and body, deprived of them, will no longer function normally.
The human diet is omnivorous, which means he needs both food crops and those animals with metabolic enzymes and the mechanisms necessary for the absorption and metabolism of both substances from both the plant and the animal. People tend to think an exclusively vegetarian diet for a proper man would be perfect, but it is not, otherwise, man would have been … herbivore.
It is true that some animal products may be more toxic than some vegetable products such as pork and processed meat and sausages, smoked meat or fat, or even animal fat, but with the industrial evolution, there are plant products that are become harmful, such as kinds of margarine or vegetable food products from genetically modified soybeans. However, when we think of a vegan diet we could see some vegetarian benefits and advantages and of course some disadvantages at the same time.
What Are the Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet?
In general, a regularly adopted vegetarian diet (one day per week or one week per month) has beneficial effects on the body:
- Submit a further lower effort to the body during digestion;
- Detoxifies the whole body;
- Fiber content decreases the risk of diseases such as colon cancer, high cholesterol, hypertension and stroke, diabetes, etc.;
- Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of antioxidants to detoxify the body so as well in the fight against cancer, early aging, and cardiovascular diseases;
- Brings a lower intake of toxins to the body.
What are the disadvantages of a vegetarian diet?
Quality proteins (such as those found in animal products such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, chicken) are not found in plant products and the body can not synthesize itself. So there will be protein deficiency. Too much fiber can not be fully metabolized by the body.
Also, carential vegetarian diet is vitamin B12, essential for the formation of blood cells in many metabolic processes in the fight against anemia. Vegetarians will have megaloblastic anemia, sometimes severe. Omega3 intake is also low in an exclusively vegetarian diet, but it is very much found in fish. Neither vitamin D is found in abundance in the plant kingdom, as well as iron, it is found in some plants (even spinach), but in small quantities and in more difficult shape than absorbable iron that is found especially in meat ( chicken, beef or fish, avoid the pig).
The purely vegetarian diet is contraindicated in pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children because they deprive them of important nutrients for the developing fetus or infant, predisposing them to rickets, congenital malformations, abnormal growth, development of mental capacities, anemia so severe, etc.
A pure vegetarian diet deprives the body of high-quality protein, animal origin. Vegetable proteins (peas, chickpeas, beans, green vegetables, fruit and vegetable oils, cereals, vegetables and dried fruits, bread, flour, pasta, rice, semolina) are poor or do not contain all essential amino acids, particularly important for proper functioning of the body. Iron is found in large amounts in red meat, but not in plants.
Calcium Deficiency (contained in milk and derivatives, meat) can be quite important in a vegetarian diet, as vitamin D deficiency and recommend taking supplements for those who follow a strict vegetarian diet but only under medical prescription.
So, as you can see sometimes you have to think twice before considering that being meatless you will have only vegetarian benefits. My advice is to be well informed about the benefits and risks before you adopted the vegetarian diet lifestyle. Reasoning must be solid, and it is crucial to know how to combine dishes so you get all the nutrients needed for the good functioning of the body.
Read More: The Best 10 Benefits of Eating Healthy Food
Making Some Changes
Making informed, healthy choices and changes in our lives is the equivalent of following a path and this path is not any more difficult to pursue than the fork in the road that leads us to a different place or outcome. In reality, to live is to change. We have been evolving and transitioning into different phases of existence since our birth. Most of us do not live in the same neighborhood in which we grew up nor do we generally live out our lives with the parents who raised us.
We have moved and grown and taken on new responsibilities such as a spouse, children, and a new house. We make choices along the way and although some of those choices have proved to be wrong, most were well thought out and involved a decision process based on all the data available to us at the time. Once we compiled all of the information at our disposal we decided what part of that information was correct and which part was not correct at least as far as our situation.
In the case of the house, we decided on we dissected the information provided to us by the seller/realtor, and that which we could attain from a buyer’s perspective. We probably found that not everything we heard from the realtor was true or at least applicable to our unique situation. We made choices based on this data and remembered to consider the source before we made our final decision. When at last we had reviewed all the information at our disposal and decided what percentage of that data had a direct bearing on our situation we then made a conscious choice.
We chose for instance to buy the house or to keep looking. If we chose to buy the house it was probably based on a decision that the house would meet the needs of our family as well as be a good investment and be affordable. We might even have projected a bit into the future and decided that the house would meet the needs of our family even if we had a few extra kids running around or possibly a dog or cat. The point is that we made a well-thought-out conscious decision and then acted on it whether positively (we bought the house) or negatively (we didn’t).
Choosing A Vegetarian Lifestyle
This same process is reasonable if we have decided to weigh the evidence in order to make a choice about our and our families’ eating habits. We have much data available with which to make a decision but the key is to decide which information is true, or at least which is true for our unique situation and which is not.
Some of my previous articles (which I hope you will read) have set forth some information regarding the differences between an animal-based diet and a plant-based diet. I have discussed the effects of one against the other in terms of our environment, our health, and the welfare of the animals that we share our planet with.
I am certainly not a pioneer when it comes to these concepts nor the subjects in which I have written. I too have compiled the data which was already there and at my disposal and made an informed decision as to what part of the available data was true and what was not true, at least as far as I was concerned.
I found that the farm factories which raise and then kill animals for our consumption were a multi-billion dollar industry. I also found that the gigantic, powerful organizations responsible for the raising, slaughtering, and distribution of meat and meat by-products had a motivation that went beyond concern for my health, the health of the environment, or the welfare of the animals whose flesh has provided them with their mansions and their Mercedes Benzes.
In a nutshell, I decided that the facts about the benefits or disadvantages concerning the consumption of animals could not be attained by consulting the folks who supplied the animals and their by-products to the big grocery store on the corner. I realized that there was true information out there but that to become properly informed I was not going to be able to use the information that came from the meat and dairy industry as my exclusive source.
That would be the equivalent of catching a wild fox to guard my chicken coup. The fox might not have my best interests at heart or at least his reasoning might be a bit obscured when a bunch of chickens was making his mouth water.
As was discussed the first step in becoming a vegetarian is to compile all the data available on the advantages and disadvantages of the subject and then make a decision based on your findings. Remember also to consider the source of the information as that plays an important role in determining what part of the information is useful and what part is not. Of course, the completion of Step 1 is to actually act on your decision whether positively or negatively.
In regards to the decision to become a vegetarian, this writer believes that if all of the evidence is weighed in the balance the only reasonable choice remaining would be to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle. As I have written in previous articles, and as many before me have shown far more ably than I ever could, your choice for vegetarianism is a choice for better physical health, and also will greatly benefit our environment, as well as the animals that share our planet.
Be Wary of Myths
When you have decided to make a healthy change in your life, however, there is a danger that you might be inclined to embrace any perceived good news concerning your former bad habits. If you have done any research at all (unless your data comes exclusively from the meat and dairy industry) you know that the old tired myth that vegetarians do not get adequate protein has been shown to be fallacious. The same is true for the myth about cows’ milk being the best source for calcium. This is just not so and the evidence is clear. Again it won\’t be as clear if you use sources connected with the meat and dairy industry as your guide, but then they no doubt have some ulterior motives for their madness.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency
There is a concern however that you should be aware of when changing your diet and adopting a vegetarian lifestyle. This is the issue of Vitamin B12 deficiency. Although this deficiency is extremely rare it nevertheless has been over-exaggerated whenever the case for a strict vegetarian diet is discussed. It is actually the last attack that could possibly be waged against a meatless diet and although it is not nearly as serious a concern as those who champion an animal-based diet would have you believe, it still merits consideration. Since every other attack on a purely vegetarian lifestyle has been shown to be lacking true evidence, this last attack will surely be blown way out of proportion.
The truth is that Vitamin B12 is essential for the process of cell division and the formation of blood. Although Vitamin B12 is found in animal food products it is not actually synthesized by plants or animals. Bacteria is the agent necessary to make this vitamin. It is true that a strict plant-based diet might fail to provide adequate amounts of Vitamin B12 but it is also true that this deficiency is very, very rare. In his excellent report (McDougall Report, Vol.6, No.11) Dr. McDougall says that the chances are about 1 in a million. You should really read the entirety of this report. You can go to the McDougall Newsletter Archives and click on the Nov. 2007 issue to read this wonderfully informative letter.
All the pulpit pounding surrounding this deficiency notwithstanding, it really becomes a non-issue when you take a supplement that supplies about 5 micrograms of Vitamin B12 daily. This is more than an adequate amount according to Dr. McDougall. Personally, I am a vitamin freak and have had a long affair with the Multi-Vitamin, ‘Centrum’. This multi-mineral supplement has been providing me with the recommended 5 micrograms of Vitamin B12 long before I knew it was necessary. So I have actually never had a B12 issue and never will. As a matter of fact, even if you have been a vegetarian for a long time and have never taken a B12 supplement you are really very likely not at any huge risk. But why not supplement this possible deficiency anyway? It is as simple as taking a good multivitamin.
In conclusion, You might have a good idea where this is going by now but if you don’t I promise that I will continue this discussion in my next article. For right now, however, I would like you to at least consider that there is a wonderful way to eat a variety of amazing foods that will be an absolute delight to your taste buds and these foods will actually aid in your quest for a healthy heart, a diabetes-free existence, lowered rates of cancers of all varieties, and weekly weight loss without even trying. You will feel better, have more energy, and will know that your choice is helping not only your health but your environment and also the animals that God has created for our enjoyment and wonder…
I hope you will really consider the benefits of a strictly vegetarian lifestyle and sift through all the evidence. I think when you are really informed, the choice will be clear. The only actual reason to continue eating meat after you have done your research is that it tastes good. If in your estimation ‘tasting good’ is a good reason to continue eating meat in spite of the evidence, then there is not much anyone could say. If that is your choice then you will certainly have to live with your decision and very likely die with it. But please be assured there is a healthier, environmental and animal-friendly alternative.
Types of Vegetarians
Many people think of vegetarians as one homogeneous group that just doesn’t eat meat. But nothing could be further from the truth. There are different categories of vegetarians as diverse as the reasons for going vegetarian in the first place.
A vegetarian is generally defined as someone who doesn’t eat meat. But someone who is vegetarian could conceivably eat dairy products such as milk, eggs, and cheese. A Lacto ovo vegetarian doesn’t eat meat, fish or poultry, but does consume eggs, milk, or cheese. A Lacto vegetarian consumes milk and cheese products but doesn’t consume eggs.
A vegan is someone who doesn’t consume any animal product or by-product, including dairy food. They eat only vegetables, fruits, nuts, grains, and legumes. They also don’t use animal products, such as leather. Vegans also don’t use white sugar because it’s often processed with a substance derived from animal bones that whitens the sugar.
There are other categories within the vegetarian community. Fruitarians, for example, eat only fruit. Their rationale is that fruits, including fruits such as tomatoes, are self-perpetuating and don’t need to be planted to create the food source. They consider it a way of eating that’s most in balance and harmony with the earth, the most natural.
All of the above will eat cooked vegetables, fruits, and legumes. There is also a growing movement towards eating only raw or living foods. This is based on the assumption that cooking food processes most of the nutrients out of it, and to get all the nutritional value, vitamins, and amino acids from food, it’s best consumed raw, or juiced. If cooked at all, it should only be cooked to slightly over 100 degrees, so the nutrients are still retained.
The more restrictive you become with your diet, however, the more educated you need to become to be sure you’re getting all the necessary proteins and vitamins that you need to maintain good health, especially muscle and heart health.