Why vegetarian food?

With the heightened health consciousness of some consumers, more and more people are interested in vegetarian eating.

Alternative protein sources are more appealing than ever. Legumes contain incomplete proteins, but can be combined with small amounts of meats, fish, eggs, and cheeses to add complete proteins, or to make a complete protein you combine things like beans and rice, peas and barley, or lentils and couscous.

Soybeans are the most nutritious of all beans and cause the least flatulence (a nice word for gas). Their average protein content is 40 percent compared to the 10 percent of the other beans.

Why try a vegetarian diet? According to Stephanie Pierson in Vegetables Rock!, “It can lower your weight, raise your consciousness, …give you energy, save you money, make a cow happy,… challenge the status quo,… and make you fart.”

Putting aside moral and ethical reasons for being vegetarian, there are many different ways to be one.

Total vegetarians (vegans) eat no meat, animal products, or dairy. Fruitarians only eat fruits (this includes tomatoes, avocados, nuts, seeds, olives and olive oil, and whole grains.

Then there are sub types of semi vegetarians. Pescovegetarians eat fish, pollovegetarians eat chicken, and lacto-ovo vegetarians eat dairy and eggs. Casual vegetarians (no reference to what they wear) only eat meat on weekends.

Whatever the type, they are all making choices about the food they eat – something we all could do more carefully for better nutrition.

The percentage of people now suffering from obesity is at a record high. Fewer than one-third of American adults engage in a regular physical activity. National surveys showed that in three day periods 30 percent of teens did not eat any fruit at all. We need to get a hold on this.

Whether we go vegetarian or not, we need to become better friends with vegetables and fresh, natural foods. As one professor of nutrition put it, “Don’t eat anything your ancestors wouldn’t have recognized,… the art of eating has become far too complicated.”

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