The Benefits of being a Vegetarian

Living life devoid of sufferings is what every man wants. Yet somehow we can't avoid bad things happening to us. One way or another, you’re going to lose your job, a dear friend, have a nervous breakdown or experience a terrible accident. There are circumstances we can't dodge in real life. Some of them will be imposed on us and we can't be held responsible for them, but for most of our miseries we are the only one to blame. We are all creatures of habit. Smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs and enjoying a Big Mac make us very happy most of the time. Soon enough, these occasional pleasures become our habits and we end up blaming God or society when things go wrong. Unhealthy life choices seemed not so dangerous at the time, because a burger doesn’t make you sick and it tastes really good. Add here eggs and bacon for breakfast, a glass of wine with a pork schnitzel for lunch and you will have coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, many cancers and obesity knocking on your door in a few years. In the last decade many people decided to become vegetarian or vegan. Not just because of the health benefits of being a vegetarian but because there are spiritual and environmental reasons as well.



In the yogic practice, every practitioner has to advocate vegetarianism as it is a part of their tradition. They believe all foods are classified into three categories: Sattvic, Rajasic and Tamasic. Sattvic foods are the foods that enhance the clarity of the mind and they improve the perception. These foods are light and the body wastes almost no energy to digest them. The individual who eats them is under a feeling of serenity, because they promote emotions like austerity, compassion, love and forgiveness. These foods include: lettuce, sprouts, parsley, squash, rice, sweet potatoes, peaches, pears, mango, coconut, pomegranate, beans and no meat. The nature of Rajasic foods is a little different. Yogis use these foods when they want to make their mind more agile and dynamic, otherwise they activate feelings of anger, manipulation, hate and temptation. In this food category are: sour milk and cream, cauliflower, nightshades, broccoli, tamarind, spinach, pickles, winter squash, red lentils, adzuki, toor dal, and meats like: fish, shrimps and chicken. Spicy, salty and hot foods also fall under this category. Tamasic foods are heavy, depressing and they dull the mind. Some of them are used to bring feelings of wholeness and stability. Some examples are fruits like: apricots, avocado, plums and watermelon, veggies like: onion, garlic, mushrooms and pumpkin, and: pork, beef and lamb meat. All leftovers and old food also increase this quality. If you think that yogists got it all wrong, maybe you should think from another spiritual perspective. All creatures have feelings just as we do. When animals are slaughtered they release clear feelings of pain, fear, agony and anger. All these feelings are passed down to the animal flesh, packed in bundles and sold in supermarkets. If you want to feed your soul, dead animals is not the way to do it when nature already supplied us with everything we need. The law of karma states that you will reap what you sow. You can justify your actions saying that you didn’t kill anyone and you order your steak in the restaurant, but you are still eating dead animal flesh. Most people think we haven’t evolved for centuries and that will be true if we keep contributing to this ancient food chain system. Animals eat animal flesh and that is part of their survival instinct. That’s the way of the jungle not modern societies. Nevertheless, it will be shameful if we continue slaughtering animals, when we already have plenty of food resources available.


Live Healthy

Hundreds of writers, medical and nutritional experts, have written books and reports about healthy living. If you don’t have enough spiritual reasons to leave out meat products from your diet, they will give you plenty of medical ones. Fat is the factor in the body that is killing us slowly. Meat and meat products are rich in saturated fats. While the body needs fat to work properly, it will be best if you make sure you eat foods with high levels of unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats. The saturated fats cause cholesterol levels to increase and cause heart attacks, strokes, clogged or narrowed arteries. One piece of beef, that weights approximately 400 grams, has more than 1200 calories and 100 grams of total fats. It also has a high percentage of vitamins B and iron but that doesn't make it good for your health. Iron and vitamins B can be found in many other vegetables, whole grains and fruits. For example, 150 grams of broccoli have around 0.5 total fats, one medium cauliflower has 1.6 total fat and summer squash have less than 0.5 fats per serving. So instead of one piece of meat, you can have an entire table full of healthy veggies rich with vitamins and minerals. That will keep your weight under control and leave your blood running normally through your system, without worrying about heart diseases and diabetes. Replacing your American diet with vegetarian diet, you can easily add up to 13 years to your life. Animal products slow down your metabolism because they tend to annihilate your energy. For the organism to digest one piece of meat it will take up to 4 hours, depending on its size. Fats take the most amount of time to digest, then proteins, then carbohydrates. That means your body has to waste more energy on processing fats than absorbing the healthy nutrients. This doesn’t concern the stomach exclusively, but the entire digestive system too. The pancreas, intestines and liver all work together to melt the food you eat. The pancreas and liver release enzymes to dissolve the food into its basic components, which later trough the intestinal walls is delivered to all parts of the body. What's left of the food is pushed down the colon with the help of the bowel movements. This process is complicated and it takes time. When you eat meat, the process exhausts the body even more. Fruits and vegetables contain fibers, which meat does not. Fibers support the flow of the food trough the digestive organs and takes what’s left in the colon. Undigested fat may stay there for a couple of weeks, making you feel bloated, causing pain, constipation, divertulicis or hemorrhoids. Even kids, teenagers and lactose intolerant people can feel the benefits of being a vegetarian. Calcium is the feature that strengthens the bone structure and their mass. Vitamin D, phosphorus and magnesium are the nutrients that help the calcium absorption without obstruction. Maybe you’ve heard somewhere that vegetarians are inclined to to have iron deficiency and you still worry about your kid’s nutrition, it’s good to know that you don’t have to. There are many fruits and vegetables with huge iron amounts. Some of them we use daily in our menu. We eat dried coconut, fresh parsley and olives few times a week, and you can enhance the iron intake with sun dried tomatoes, dried apricots, spinach and Swiss chard even more. Food borne illnesses take up to 5000 deaths every year and cause more than 320.000 hospitalizations. With a healthy vegetarian diet you can reduce the risk of getting infected with contaminated foods, parasites, viruses and bacteria and still be able to obtain a healthy protein intake. Menopause is a period when the organism starts to react extremely to the slightest disturbance, whether external or internal. It will be hard for your body to acquire enough oxygen with fat circulating and build up in your organs, so make a fresh green diet to supply the body with healthy nutrients.


Environmental and Ethical Benefits of Eating Vegetarian

When you decided you want to go veggie, you should know that there are more than spiritual and health benefits of being a vegetarian. EPA is short for the environmental protection agency in America and they stated that animal farms are responsible for 173.000 miles of the water pollution. The runoff that comes from these farms is one of the greatest polluters of all rivers and streams. All the land those animal farms use can be used for growing vegetables and fruits instead. 8 times more oats can be cultivated than meat on just one acre of land, almost 9 times more broccoli and 39 times more soya produces. If you don’t care about agricultural statistics you must be concerned about the well being of mother earth. Animal farms are environmentally dangerous not just because of the residue they leave behind, but because other ecological reasons. The land they use is being deforested, which leads to soil erosion. When crops are cultivated, the soil they use must be suitable, meaning rich with vitamins and minerals. Animal farms reduce the soil natural resource, while agricultural farms maintain it on a yearly basis. Meat produced on large slaughterhouses is not as healthy as the one produced on small private farms, because large farms use hormone stimulation, artificial breeding and fattening. When the animals reach the size and weight the manufacturer wants, electric prods, holding pens and tail twisting takes place. This is a very dishonorable way to end the life of any living creature and if you ever visit a slaughterhouse, you are bound to become a vegetarian out of ethical reasons.


What to do if you love the taste of meat

Many vegetarians adapted their lifestyles to this way of nutrition because they don’t like the taste of meat. On the other hand, if the only thing stopping you to feel the benefits of being a vegetarian is the smoky, yummy meat flavor, you should know there are vegetarian products designed just for you. They are called meat analogue, meat substitutes, faux meat or mock meat. Tempeh is just one delicious example. It’s a soy product produced by controlled fermentation of soy beans, that binds them together into a burger patty. This non-meat burger is similar to tofu, but with different textural and nutritional qualities. You can cook it with soups, add it in salads or fry it and serve with sauce. Yuba is another appetizing product that you will love to use in your cooking. This too is a soya based product but its delicious taste comes from the thin skin that forms on the soya milk. The skin is then dried and made into sheets. With Yuba you can wrap a dim sum, fold it into mushroom pockets or crispy Yuba rolls.

Options - being a vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian

Once the reasons and benefits of being a vegetarian become obvious and you are determined to make a step forward to a better health, everything will become easier. If you still love the taste of turkey in your mouth you can call yourself a semivegetarian or Flexitarian. All vegetables, grains and fruits are the main part of their diet, but they are allowed to enjoy an occasional piece of meat. If your entire family wants to follow your steps in your new diet plan, it will be best to let your kids eat meat every now and then. Lacto vegetarian is a person that doesn’t eat any type of animal flesh and eggs, but continue to eat dietary products. Ovo vegetarians are people who avoid meat and dietary products, but have eggs in their dietary plan. This vegetarian diet is best for lactose intolerant people. Vegans avoid eating everything that comes from an animal and it’s a matter of choice whether you eat honey or not. Same as every major life choice, becoming a vegetarian will be hard at the beginning. Take baby steps, learn as you go and never give up on your decisions. Very soon your body will thank you for your improvement and provide you with more energy and health, so you can live a long, fulfilled life everybody yearns for.


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