Nowadays humans suffer from diseases that didn’t exist in the past. These may start from a simple body pains but may lead to something already fatal. Many relate it to one’s eating habits, especially now that life means eating while working and everybody wants fast, convenient kind of meals. This is one of the reasons why sometimes I think of switching to all-Veggies diet.
What is Vegetarian?
According to the Vegetarian Society, a vegetarian is someone who does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or by-products of animal slaughter.
Vegetarian diets contain various levels of fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, nuts and seeds. The inclusion of dairy and eggs depends on the type of diet you follow.
The most common types of vegetarians include:
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid all animal flesh, but do consume dairy and egg products.
- Lacto vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid animal flesh and eggs, but do consume dairy products.
- Ovo vegetarians: Vegetarians who avoid all animal products except eggs.
- Vegans: Vegetarians who avoid all animal and animal-derived products.
Those who do not eat meat or poultry but do consume fish are considered pescatarians, whereas part-time vegetarians are often referred to as flexitarians. Although sometimes considered vegetarians, pescatarians and flexitarians do eat animal flesh. Therefore, they do not technically fall under the definition of vegetarianism.
As you can see, there are different kinds of Vegetarians. Before, what I understand about being vegetarian is just simply not eating meat. I never thought that there are different types and restrictions. But is it really that good to switch to all-veggie diet? Vegetarian diets can certainly be healthy, but nutrition experts say that there are some things you need to know to make the switch without losing essential nutrients. With no other food groups, it’s not only likely that you won’t get the energy you need to fuel everyday activities, but you might also become deficient in an assortment of nutrients. To promote good health, experts recommend to include foods such as fruits, nuts, legumes and whole grains in your diet — all of which qualify as vegetarian and vegan — along with plenty of vegetables.
What are the Dangers of Eating an All-Vegetable Diet?
Most moderately active men burn between 2,400 and 2,800 calories per day, while most women burn 1,800 to 2,200 calories. It’s extremely difficult to meet these numbers with vegetables alone. For example, 1 cup of raw, chopped carrots contains just 52 calories, while the same amount of boiled broccoli contains 55 calories. You’d need to eat 38 cups of carrots or 36 cups of broccoli just to consume 2,000 calories. With too few calories, you’ll likely feel lethargic and have a harder time focusing and performing vigorous activities.
Although vegetables are good sources of fiber and carbohydrates, they lack significant amounts of the macronutrients, fat and protein. Fat is necessary for healthy mental function, energy and nutrient metabolism, while you need protein for strong muscles and an effective immune system. The “2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans” recommends getting 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories from fat and 10 to 35 percent from protein. Beans, peas and tofu are good protein sources, while nuts, avocado and olive oil are healthy sources of fat.
Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency
With a vegetable-only diet, you’ll miss out on the broad range of vitamins and minerals present in a balanced meal plan. In particular, you may grow deficient in vitamin B-12 and vitamin D. You also run the risk of an iron deficiency. Even though some vegetables, such as dark, leafy greens, are rich in iron, they also contain chemicals called phytates that block absorption of the mineral. A diet deficient in vitamin B-12 or iron can cause anemia, a condition in which your blood doesn’t supply your body with enough oxygen.
Severely restricting food can be a sign of an eating disorder, particularly if you are trying to lose weight. Healthy weight loss does not involve drastic calorie reduction — and putting your physical image over your well-being could be a sign of deeper issues. Only a qualified health professional can diagnose such a condition. However, if you feel overwhelmed by your weight or your diet, speak with a counselor or other expert to help ensure optimal physical and mental health.
Although the benefits are real, becoming a vegetarian is not a lifestyle choice to make lightly. If not done properly, it can lead to some very real risks to your health. That’s why it’s important to consider vegetarian diet safety before taking the leap. Don’t just stop eating meat: You need to find an alternative source of nutrients.
About The Author
Charlotte has tried every buffet restaurant in the Metro and is on the quest to try the ones in the provinces soon. She's an active blogger and you can find her in her think tank in Marco Polo on weekdays. She used to think Oleia Topical Oil can help her loose weight since it's good for inflammation only to realize it's better for after work massages.