Have you ever thought that perhaps too much of your diet is made of meat? Do you think vegetarians are just plain crazy? Ever tried meatless Monday?
I have been a vegetarian for almost 20 years and have been through two very healthy pregnancies during that time. It’s not as hard as you may think!
These are the questions that I get almost every time I share this tidbit with people:
But what do vegetarians eat?
Fruits and veggies, lots of beans and legumes, nuts, and most vegetarians eat cheese and eggs. Maybe the occasional tofu dish or veggie burger. It’s not hard to find or create a wide variety of meatless dishes. For the record, it’s not all about the tofu!
How do you get your protein?
The daily protein recommendation for men is 56 grams/day, for women it is 46 grams. The average American man eats 100 grams/day and female eats 70 grams/day. Animal protein is only one way of many to meet this daily intake. Some examples: 1/4 cup of kidney beans is 11 grams. 1 cup milk is 8 grams. 1/4 cup of peanuts is 9 grams. With a well balanced diet, meeting the protein need is not an issue for a vegetarian.
But WHY go vegetarian?
There are many reasons that I have been a vegetarian for so long. Aside from a visit to a chicken processing plant that I will never forget, here are a few:
-Possible decreased risk of cancer, such as colon cancer
-Better kidney health – less calcium excreted
-Easier to balance proportions and reduce over-consumption – have you ever tried to order fast food without getting meat?
-Animal protein takes about 100x the water needed to produce grain protein
-One calorie of animal protein requires 10x more fossil fuels to produce than 1 calorie of plant protein (info-graphic by Door to Door organics)
-Global warming: the livestock sector is estimated to produce 18% of global greenhouse gases (Food and Agriculture Organization report, 2010)
Think about it!