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
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
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
of protein', even though they only provide about
1/5th of the amount they consume.
amount of methane gas generated by cows (a huge contributor to
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:
do vegetarians eat? The term 'vegetarian'
generally describes a person who does not consume meat, poultry,
fish, or seafood. There are several
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
protein sources, making choices that produce a
nourishing vegetarian diet can become second nature very quickly.
Vegetarian Health Nutrition Fact
Sheet outlines the main
issues to keep in mind while beginning a vegetarian diet. Our
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
digestion aids, helping your body to make the most of a
healthy vegetarian diet.