This week is my last week of college classes for my first semester! It is crazy to think how fast this semester went by! I guess being busy 24/7 makes time go by extremely faster. Unfortunately that means exams are next week, so pray for me.
Today I wanted to talk about something people often have the wrong perception of. Some do not even know what it means to be a vegetarian or vegan. A true vegetarian excludes red meats, pork, chicken and fish from their diet. There are several different variations of being a vegetarian:
Semi vegetarian- Will sometimes consume chicken fish or milk.
Lacto ovo vegetarian- Do not eat meat but have milk and eggs in their diet.
Lacto-vegetarian- Only consume milk and no other animal products.
Pesco- vegetarian- Only consume fish.
Pollo- vegetarian- Eat chicken/ turkey only.
Vegan- Abstain from all meat products, eggs, milk, and honey.
Yes, it is possible to get all the proteins required from these types of diets.
By following any of these diets you are at lower risk of: Heart disease, Diabetes, Gallstones, Stroke, High Blood Pressure, Obesity, Kidney Stones, Chronic Bronchitis, and Colon Cancer. This is because these diets are lower in saturated fat, high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
However, avoiding meat is less important than eating foods with known benefits. For example, eating a cheese pizza because it is vegetarian is not always going to be the healthiest choice.
It is important to think about complete proteins. These are proteins that have all 9 essential amino acids that are extremely important for protein synthesis. Complete proteins are found in animal foods, soy protein, and complementary proteins. Complementary proteins are from plant sources that are used together to provide the sufficient amounts of the 9 amino acids. An example of this would be peanut butter on whole grain toast.
Unfortunately, there are certain nutrients only found in animal products. These nutrients include Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Zinc, and Iron. This would be the only downfall to being vegan/vegetarian because our bodies cannot produce these nutrients on its own. Some people have to end up getting B12 shots because they become so deficient in that vitamin.
Hope this was helpful to anyone who was curious about this topic!
PS. If you have ever considered becoming a vegetarian or vegan, I suggest only doing it for one meal, for an example only for lunch or only for dinner, and if you feel it is something you would like to do, then go for it! There are definitely health benefits!