What You Need to Know about Vegetarianism and the Lifestyle Changes It Involves?
Vegetarianism means not eating seafood, red meat, white meat or products that contain them. In some cases, it also means not consuming dairy products or some categories of dairy products. The first records of this practice lead back to ancient Greece and India, around the 5th century BCE.
Why Do People Become Vegetarians?
Various people have various reasons to stop eating meat and derived products. Here are the most popular:
- Ethics – to protect animal rights or to follow religious teachings;
- Health – studies have shown that vegetarians are healthier;
- Cultural beliefs – there are many cultures in which certain types of meat are not consumed;
- Savings – meat and derived products can be pretty expensive;
- Aesthetics – vegetarians are less predisposed to obesity and their skin is healthier.
Types of Vegetarianism
Although the vegetarian diet regime is based on the absence of meat of any kind, various types were differentiated, according to the other food categories consumed and the way they are consumed. These types are:
- Ovo – they eat eggs, but no dairy products;
- Lacto – they eat dairy products, but no eggs;
- Ovo – lacto – they eat eggs, dairy products and honey;
- Vegans: they do not consume any animal products (no meat, no dairy products, no eggs and no honey);
- Raw vegetarians: they only eat fresh fruits and seeds, cooking them only at low temperatures;
- Fruitarians: they only eat fruits, nuts, seed and other parts that can be harvested without harming the plants;
- Sattvic vegetarians: their diet is based mainly on plants, may include dairy products and honey, but no eggs. They never eat onion and other leek related plants and they do not drink coffee, tea or alcohol.
What Are the Health Benefits of Vegetarianism?
Important medical and sociological studies have shown that vegetarian diets are very helpful in preventing and treating some diseases. The tests performed confirmed that those who eliminated meat and derived products from their meals had:
- Lower levels of cholesterol and saturated fats, thus lower risks for developing cardio-vascular diseases or obesity;
- Higher levels of fiber, potassium, magnesium, antioxidants and vitamins, meaning a stronger immune system and better body-mind coordination.
Turning to vegetarianism can be a beneficial decision for anyone, as long as it is supported by accurate information and the meals are balanced and carefully conceived, to include all the nutrients the human body needs in order to function properly.