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Vegetarian Diet

Vegetarians around the world have long believed that a vegetarian diet is a healthier choice than a meat-based one.  Scientists now agree, citing several important health benefits of vegetarian diets.  Not only do vegetarians have less heart disease and fewer circulatory problems, but people on vegetarian diets also tend to have fewer incidences of cancer.  And, those who adopt a vegetarian lifestyle tend to lose and keep off excess weight with minimal effort and without feeling like they're 'on a diet'.

It's no wonder that people of all ages turn to vegetarian diets as a means to improve and protect their health.  But, others become vegetarians for ethical reasons.

Consider the following:

  • Over 1.3 billion people could be fed each year from the grain and soybeans that go to feed livestock in the United States alone.  If no one ate meat, the entire population of the United States could be fed highly nutritional vegetarian diets with enough food left over to feed one billion people elsewhere. In a world where millions of people die each year of starvation, this type of food excess and inefficiency is considered by many to be unethical.

  • Livestock in the US produces roughly 30 times more excrement than humans do. While humans in the US have complex sewage systems to collect and treat human waste, there are no such systems on feedlots. As a result, most of this waste leeches into the water supply. Clearly, the large-scale production and slaughter of animals causes serious environmental degradation.

  • It takes 7.5 pounds of high-protein feed to create 1 pound of consumable hog protein and 5 pounds of high-protein feed to create 1 pound of consumable chicken protein. Close to 90% of the protein from wheat and beans is lost when fed to livestock. An enormous quantity of resources are dedicated to producing wheat and soybeans just for the purpose of feeding it to animals -- which ultimately will be slaughtered and consumed as 'a good source of protein', even though they only provide about 1/5th of the amount they consume.

Factor in:

  • the enormous amount of methane gas generated by cows (a huge contributor to global warming)

  • the stripping of critical and fragile rain forests to create new grazing land

  • and the inhumane treatment of feed animals.

It's easy to understand why so many agree that adopting a vegetarian diet is an important contribution to everyone's welfare.

Should you consider becoming a vegetarian you may wonder: What do vegetarians eat?  The term 'vegetarian' generally describes a person who does not consume meat, poultry, fish, or seafood.  There are several types of vegetarians, however, and the vegetarian diet can fluctuate depending on which category the person falls into.

It's easier than you may think to consume a healthy and balanced vegetarian diet.  With a basic understanding of key nutrients and vegetarian protein sources, making choices that produce a nourishing vegetarian diet can become second nature very quickly.  Our Vegetarian Health Nutrition Fact Sheet outlines the main issues to keep in mind while beginning a vegetarian diet. Our Vegetarian Vitamins page continues the discussion by pinpointing vitamins and other trace nutrients that are essential to a healthy vegetarian diet.  Keep in mind that some new vegetarians experience bloating and other digestive upset which can quickly be helped with digestion aids, helping your body to make the most of a healthy vegetarian diet.



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Vegetarian Diet