He who pursues righteousness and loyalty Finds life, righteousness and honor.

(Proverbs 21:21 NASB)

Vegetarian Lifestyle, More than One Way to Eat

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I did some research a while back, well 5-6 years ago, when my daughters friends started wanting to participate in this style of life. I call it a style of life simply because in the United States this is not the norm. Over the years I’ve read several things about nutrition and the best information about fruits and vegetables can be found in vegetarian circles.

I personally love my veggies! I like the not so mainstream vegetables the most. Also since we abstain from meat for Lent it is handy to find filling and tasty meatless meals. No one can deny the benefits. I was born and raised around farming areas and my grandfather and his grandfather were cattlemen. I must have steak! It is just not normal to me. I do want to be healthier so I know I need to do more.

Many people think of vegetarians as one identical 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. Someone who is vegetarian could possibly 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. I’ve come to not like using white sugar, I don’t not use it. I try to find different ingredients or sugar alternatives.

Another 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. They base this 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. I’ve always heard it is much better to “steam” vegetables to retain the nutrients.

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. A friend of my daughter was not consuming enough protein and past out, scaring her poor mother to death! A trip to the emergency room found the culprit. So please if you are just starting out, please, please learn what you must do to maintain a healthy balance.

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Comments

  1. Mary Beth Elderton says:

    We con­tinue to eat meat but have cut it in half. In things like spaghetti sauce or tacos (and other Tex Mex which I LOVE) or casseroles I replace half the ground beef or chicken with smashed beans and finely chopped veg­gies. Hon­estly, using the same sea­son­ings there is lit­tle dif­fer­ence in the taste or tex­ture. We’ve cho­sen not to go vegan, because the vegan diet often calls for B12 and iron supplements–I don’t want to order sup­ple­ments, when a healthy diet should pro­vide those.

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