The Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet
Probably one of the most valuable benefits of a vegetarian diet is the education you will receive about yourself and your personal disposition as a result of the foods that you eat.
Thinking over, experimenting with and developing your own vegetarian food pyramid will give you an intimate glimpse into your body's reactions to different types of food groups.
For example, you will experience the difference between eating brown rice or whole wheat pasta as opposed to eating white rice or regular pasta. You'll learn first hand how easy it is to overeat the refined grain products and still feel hungry, while a smaller portion of the whole grain products will easily satisfy your appetite for longer periods without that "heavy feeling".
You will become more and more appreciative of the many different textures that you experience when eating fresh fruits and vegetables and how this adds to your satisfaction when dining.
And as you become more experienced and familiar with preparing your vegetarian fare you will come to appreciate the never ending variety of foods and flavors that are available from the plant knigdom. As a result, your expertise in the meatless kitchen will benefit from an increased aesthetic approach to your food preparation.
In short, the best benefits of a vegetarian diet are found in your increased enjoyment of your own culinary creations. But there are many more benefits of a vegetarian diet.
Balancing Body pH
Another of the major benefits of a vegetarian diet is a decreased risk of developing a metabolic condition called "acidosis". Acidosis is a condition where, as a result of the process of food digestion, the overall bodily pH value becomes predominantly acidic.
Scientists who have researched
"chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis"
suggest that a neutral or slightly alkaline body pH is associated with better overall health and longer life expectancy. When bodily fluid pH values trend toward greater acidity, there is an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, weak muscles, heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease and other health issues.
Briefly the process works like this. A diet rich in acid-yielding foods (proteins) can cause the body's pH chemistry to become out of balance and overly acidic, lowering pH levels. In an effort to correct the pH imbalance, the body draws on its alkaline mineral reserves like calcium and magnesium in the bones and muscles to neutralize the condition. Over time this leads to an increased risk of developing serious health problems.
Adding calcium and magnesium suppliments to the diet does not solve the problem because the underlying cause still remains. The best solution turns out to be adding more dietary potassium to the diet and reducing the amount of acid-yielding foods consumed. Potassium, which is abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables, produces an alkalizing effect on the body's pH levels, cancelling out the need for the body to further deplete its mineral reserves -- another of the definite benefits of a vegetarian diet.
It is interesting to note that the foods in all of the different food groups produce an acid-yieding effect on the body chemistry except one...fresh fruits and vegetables.
Therefore vegetarians (and carnivores) who eat a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables are less likely to be affected by metabolic acidosis than people who follow the SAD diet of meat and potaoes, three square a day or fast-food/drive-thru "cuisine".
Vegetarian Weight Loss
Following a sensible vegetarian diet plan will almost automatically result in the loss of excess weight over time. The reason is not because going meatless is a diet. Trying to just "go on a diet" while still eating highly refined and processed foods (empty calories) will only make the problem worse. A sensible vegetarian diet plan provides you with rich sources of all the healthy nutrients you need so you don't have those lingering "hidden hungers" that the body reacts to by constant snacking. As a result, your body weight and your appetite will eventually stabilize themselves at ideal levels.
Unfortunately, some people are plagued with serious metabolic disorders that should be addressed by a qualified physician or nutritional professional. But most people will notice the benefits of a vegetarian diet by going meatless and eating healthy in due course. See
Vegetarian Weight Loss
for more discussion on losing weight.
One of the most welcome benefits of a vegetarian diet is that fresh fruits and vegetables, even organically-grown produce, are cheaper by the pound than most animal-based foods and they are the most healthy foods you can eat. Don't try to pinch pennies in the produce section. Instead, cut back on anything and everything else if you're on a budget.
Consider the money you spend at the cash register adopting your healthy vegetarian diet to be doubling for you as extra health insurance premiums. However, you're investing in preventative care here rather than intensive care. Go for the preventative kind.
Bugs, Drugs and Hormones
Going meatless means eating lower on the food chain. Livestock animals consume a lot of feed over a lifetime. Plant pesticide and herbicide residues build up over time in their muscle tissues. Saying "no" to eating meat means you're no longer exposing yourself to those residues or to the drugs and hormones fed to and injected into those animals. By going meatless you will also no longer have to worry about salmonella poisoning, trichinella poisoning or any other foodborne diseases associated with exposure to animal food products.
You're in Good Company
Vegetarianism is hardly a passing fad. It is a lifestyle that has been practiced since the earliest of recorded times by countless peoples from all regions of the world.
Deciding to take advantage of the benefits of a vegetarian diet puts you in the company of many famous people who were practicing vegetarians. The following list is highly abbreviated and has been culled down to those names that are most likely to be recognized by the average person.
Philosophers and writers
Ralph Waldo Emerson
George Bernard Shaw
Henry David Thoreau
Physicians and Scientists
Leonardo da Vinci
Dr. Douglas Graham
John Harvey Kellogg
Dr. Dean Ornish
Dr. Albert Sweitzer
Dr. Benjmin Spock
Religious Leaders and Mystics
Bagwan Sri Rajneesh
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Billie Jean King
Now let's see how becoming vegetarian can bring a few
into our life and how to overcome them and thrive.
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