Vegetarian Lifestyle – Healthy Or Not?

by Lily White
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Is a vegetarian diet really healthier than a meat-based diet? Good question. The answer is: It depends. What are the foods you’re choosing to include in your diet?

If you’re a vegetarian who consumes large quantities of soda, meat-free packaged foods, and trans-fat-laden potato chips, corn chips, muffins, and cookies, then your diet may be vegetarian but it isn’t healthy.

Eat as described above and add lots of ice cream and coffee creamers. Now you’ve created a high-fat, high-carbohydrate, high-sodium diet with many calories in relation to nutrients. Your diet is still vegetarian, but far from healthy.

To get fewer calories and more vitamins and minerals, follow these simple suggestions:

Reduce the serving sizes of chips, fries, and sodas. There is not one body on the planet that requires super-sized servings of these foods. You may also decide to eat these calorie-dense nutrient-poor foods less frequently.

Eat several servings of vegetables and at least a couple of servings of fruit every day, along with rice, beans, legumes, nuts, and whole-grain breads and cereals.

You can find many sources of dietary information online. The government food pyramids offer guidelines for several types of diets, including vegetarian. They give specific amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats required for healthy nutrition.

An alternative to the food pyramids is the New Four Food Groups advocated by physicians who encourage healthy dietary changes.

Many people voice concerns about plant-based diets. They worry about not getting enough protein or missing essential vitamins. What omnivores often don’t realize is that eating or not eating meat is not as important to their health as the total variety and nutrient content of all the other foods they eat.

A healthy diet contains the nutrients our bodies require to function optimally. This is true whether our diet is vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, omnivorous, or carnivorous.For many, a vegetarian lifestyle goes beyond meeting nutritional requirements for personal health. It fulfills their desire to contribute to the health of the environment, as well.



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