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Vegetarianism in a Nutshell

Have you ever wondered exactly what vegetarianism
really is and what its health benefits are? Broadly,
being a vegetarian means choosing not to eat meat.
ďMeatĒ includes beef, pork, poultry, fish,
shellfish, game meat and all other kinds of animal
flesh. But there are actually three specific
types of vegetarianism, defined by the kinds of
animal products that are (or are not) included in
the diet.

Ovo lactovegetarians do not eat meat but they
do include eggs (ovo) and dairy products (lacto) in
their diets.

Lacto ovo egetarians do not eat meat or eggs but
they do include dairy products (lacto) in their

Vegans do not eat animal products of any kind (meat,
eggs, dairy products, and frequently honey as well).
All of their food comes from plant

Thinking of kicking the meat habit, here's a few
celebrity vegs that have- Indie.Arie,Coretta and
Dexter King, Dick Gregory, Erykah Badu, Prince, and
Russell Simmons.

People may choose vegetarianism for reasons of
health, ethics, environmental concerns or
spirituality. Regardless of their reasons,
vegetarians experience a number of health benefits
from a meat-free diet. Vegetarians have a
significantly lower incidence of heart disease,
diabetes, arthritis and all types of cancer than
omnivores (people who eat both animal and plant
products) do. And meat-eaters who switch to a
vegetarian diet often find their arthritis symptoms
improve, blood pressure and cholesterol go down, and
weight drops to a healthier level. Vegetarians
tend to live longer than omnivores and have greater
physical endurance as well. Interestingly, women who
eat meat during pregnancy have children
whose blood pressure is higher (both as children and
as adults) than women who do not eat meat during

Vegetarians consistently get higher levels of fiber
and antioxidant nutrients in their diets than
omnivores do. Though the media tend to focus
on fears that a vegetarian diet does not contain
adequate protein (or calcium, for vegans), the fact
is that a thoughtfully-planned vegetarian diet
plenty of protein and calcium. Soybeans contain
complete protein that is as high-quality as animal
protein, but unlike meat, soy also provides fiber and isoflavones that can ease menopausal symptoms and help protect against heart disease. Did you know that a cup of steamed broccoli contains as much calcium as cup of milk?

Another health consideration is the accumulation of
toxic chemicals in meat. Commercially-raised meat
contains hormones,antibiotics and pesticides.
Non-organic eggs and dairy products also contain
these sbstances. Since meat is higher up the food
than vegetables, these unhealthy substances are more concentrated in meat than in vegetables. In fact, a pound of meat contains 14 times as much chemical residue as a pound of vegetables. Fish and seafood arenít much better they are often contaminated with the toxic heavy metal mercury, a by-product of coal-fired plants that ends up in the oceans and rivers where fish live.

Meat is also more expensive and less efficient to
produce than plant-based foods. Each pound of beef
on your grocery store shelf took 12 pounds of grain
soybeans to produce. And while a pound of grain takes
25 gallons of water to produce, a pound of beef takes
2,500 gallons (no, thatís not a misprint). And a
commercial animal farm can produce as much sewage on a
daily basis as a whole human city. Thatís no small
matter, when we think about environmental concerns.

There are also ethical issues regarding the treatment
of animals raised for meat on factory farms. Did you
know that animals that are raised for our food are not
legally classified as animals, but simply as property?
Animal cruelty laws simply donít apply to them.

Whether you choose to reduce your meat consumption or
eliminate it altogether, you can rest assured
that youíll be improving your health and lessening
load on the environment. In this era of expanding
population, dwindling natural resources and chronic
illness, thatís a prudent choice.

Recommended Reading:

Diet for a New America by, John Robbins

The Vegetarian Way by, Virginia and Mark Messina

Holistic Health by, Lliala Afrika,ND

Rev. Laura Perry, N.D. is a naturopath practicing in
Woodstock, Georgia. She can be reached by phone at 678-445-0357, by e-mail at or via the web at

For more information, please contact us at (770) 621-5056

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