Responsibly Considering a Vegetarian Diet

Millions of people have chosen not to eat animal-derived foods anymore; their reasons are as much diverse as they are noble, starting from compassion towards billions of animals being killed annually and ending with the desire of leading a healthier lifestyle. The first mentions of a vegetarian regime appeared in ancient India, but it seems that the ancient Greeks were not unaware of this lifestyle either. Although generic called the vegetarian diet, in reality there are more types of healthy vegetarian diets, all very different from the nutritive and food behavior points of view.

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The strictly vegetarian diet

This basic diet includes vegetarian healthy meals and excludes all animal-derived foods: chicken, fish, pork, beef, eggs, cheese and dairy. Most people also avoid bee honey. This one is extremely difficult to follow, but if strictly respected, should exclude all animal-derived products merchandised in stores (cookies and crackers that contain milk or eggs, all alimentary additives that derive from different animal parts etc.). The only solution remains preparing all meals at home, so as to know the ingredients origin.

This strictly vegetarian diet is based on beans, lentils, walnuts, soy and seeds (as proteins), cereals and starch-rich vegetables (as carbs), seeds and oils (as fats). This diet comes along with an increased risk of calcium, iron, vitamins B2 and B12 deficiency.

The lacto-vegetarian diet allows the consumption of milk and dairy products, besides the vegetal-derived ones.

The lacto-ovo vegetarian diet is one of the most spread and popular versions of vegetarian diets in 2015. It excludes red meat, fish and chicken meat, but allows the consumption of eggs and dairy products, next to the vegetal-derived ones. By comparison, this version is usually included in the list of healthy vegetarian diets.

The semi-vegetarian diet excludes red meat, but not fish or chicken. It also includes eggs and dairy. Semi-vegetarians are not officially considered vegetarians. Adepts of this diet are also called flexitarians.

The raw vegan diet is only based on raw vegetal-derived products or those prepared at a temperature below 37oC. Naturists think preparing food at a higher temperature leads to a nutritive value loss, and subsequently to a toxic character for the human organism.

fruitarian-diet-vegetarian-life-style-articleThe fruitarian diet is a very strict diet. Adepts only consume fruits or other vegetables actually classified as fruits (tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants), occasionally walnuts and seeds. This diet is considered dangerous because of the fructose excess it implies.

Pescetarians are people who consume vegetarian healthy meals, namely they only eat fish meat or seafood, next to vegetal aliments. Although this term is not frequently used, more and more people adopt such a vegetarian diet for winter, either for its benefits, either as an intermediary step towards a stricter regime.

Are vegetarians healthier?

famous-vegetariansA vegetarian diet is generally benefic for the organism. First of all, a lower effort is needed for digestion. Also, fibers are essential for detox and diminish risk of affections like diabetes, arterial hypertension and cancer. Fruits and vegetables contain a large amount of antioxidants, which are really helpful when fighting against cancer, heart disorders and premature aging. On the other hand, it must be remembered that man’s regime is omnivorous and the digestive system – as length and enzymatic equipment – is adapted to such a diet. Moreover, a vegetarian diet deprives the organism from superior quality proteins (vegetal proteins lack some essential amino acids), iron (found in red meat), vitamin B12 (which can lead to severe anemia), calcium and vitamin D.

What should vegetarian diets for winter consist of?

  • Eat green vegetables at least 3 times a week: broccoli, cabbage, spinach, stevia – these are true vitamins packs. Also, to receive the necessary amount of minerals and vitamins, eat vegetables of all colors. Fruits and vegetables can be consumed fresh, dry, canned, frozen. Take vitamin supplements that contain vitamin B12 if you are a strict vegetarian.
  • Drink at least 2 liters of liquids per day. Water helps overcome cravings, especially if you are a new vegetarian.
  • Less sugar. Best replacers for sugar and honey are brown sugar syrup and agave syrup.
  • Whole cereals to clean the organism from toxins and improve digestion. Avoid white flour products.
  • Protein foods. Beans, peas and lentils are the alternatives to meat.
  • Dairy products. In case you are vegan, replace dairy with soy milk or drinks based on rice and oat.

In case you are not certain about switching to a vegetarian diet, but believe in the power of example, here is a list of famous vegetarians: Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Gandhi, Antoni Gaudi, Anthony Hopkins, Aristotle, Lev Tolstoy, Benjamin Franklin, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Claudia Schiffer, Demi Moore, Franz Kafka, Paul McCartney, Steve Jobs, Betty White, Leonardo da Vinci.

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