As our society is becoming more health conscious in a widespread and mainstream way within the last decade or so, increased buzz around healthy eating habits and different types of diets is no surprise. Today I’d like to explore the vegetarian diet.
There are different reasons for becoming vegetarian and there are also different levels that can be followed depending on how strict one wants to be. It all boils down to personal preference, reasons and beliefs. Vegetarians restrict their diets, whereas vegans completely cut out any type of animal products from their lives such as leather or products tested on animals.
For personal health reasons, my best friend recently decided to become a semi-vegetarian, where he follows a vegetarian diet Monday to Friday, but enjoys a little bit of meat over the weekends. For myself, I have opted to follow in his footsteps but only allow fish and seafood on weekends, making me a pesco-vegetarian. Or can I call myself a semi-pesco-vegetarian?
Growing up in my family, meat was everything. I loved it. I couldn’t do without it. At one point when I was a kid, I remember attributing a couple migraines to not eating enough meat that same day and those unsubstantiated connections reinforced the idea of never giving up meat.
This is definitely going to be a shift. But I’m determined.
Based on quick research, here are some of the pros and cons to becoming vegetarian:
- May lower cholesterol and blood pressure
- Antioxidant-rich foods
- Promotes weight loss
- Reduced risk of serious illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, kidney stones, heart disease
- Environmentally friendly
- Sticking to a strict diet
- Potential vitamin and mineral loss (B12 being the big one)
- Harder to source out protein
- Potential interference with existing medical conditions (always consult a doctor first)
- Restricted options when dining out
- You need to do your homework, does not mean automatic health benefits
I’m going to try this out for a month and I’ll let you all know how it goes. Meanwhile, if you’ve been doing this for a while and have stories to share, by all means let me know your experiences. What worked? What was challenging? Changes you’ve seen? Anything.