Nearly six years ago, I made the lifestyle decision to become a vegetarian. This decision was a transition over many weeks; I started by giving up beef and pork, then poultry and finally seafood (I loved sushi). This decision was solely based on my views on animal ethics at the time; but it did not take long for me to see that my dietary changes had positive effects on my energy and my body as well.
Vegetarianism has become more prevalent over the years. Not only is it possible to find a veggie option or two on every menu but there are restaurants that only serve vegetarian entrees, vegetarian groups, doctors that promote a vegetarian lifestyle, vegetarian cookbooks and research conducted on the long-term health benefits of vegetarian diets.
The vegetarian diet is now recognized by many groups, such as the American Dietetic Association, as not only adequate but also preventing and treating various chronic diseases. One study in Preventative Medicine found that each year, medical costs attributed to meat consumption were estimated to be as high as 60 billion dollars. This statistic considered health implications including cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease that were more prevalent among omnivores compared to vegetarians (Craig, 2011).
Now for the question of the day: How do vegetarians get their protein? Well, there are many sources of protein that are not meat-based including; eggs, beans, nuts, peanut butter, tofu, dairy, seitan, tempeh, even bread and vegetable sources such as spinach and broccoli have protein! If you are considering exploring a vegetarian diet, here are some resources:
Craig, W. (2011). Health Benefits of Vegetarian Diets. In Vegetarian Nutrition Info. Retrieved March 13, 2011, from http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/vegetarian_diets_health_benefits.php
Daniél C. Kimlinger, MHA
Human Resources Specialist