Vegetarian / Vegan Living
Vegetarian and vegan diets are fast becoming a blossoming trend in the world of diet and nutrition. Notable public figures and celebrities have publicly shared how a vegetarian or 100% plant-based vegan diet has helped them achieve weight loss and significant health improvements.
The enjoyment they feel in actively participating in their own health, as well as doing their part to protect both the animal world and the environment is a powerful driving force. Many also feel a much higher degree of inter-connectedness to both the animal and the plant kingdom.
When it comes to the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, there is a right and a wrong way to approach it. When done right, this is one of the healthiest dietary philosophies that you can follow.
What is a vegetarian...
- Lacto-vegetarian (includes dairy products)
- Ovo-vegetarian (includes egg products)
- Lacto-ovo vegetarian (includes both dairy and egg products)
- Raw vegetarian (eats only a raw food diet, which may include raw meat, eggs and/or unpasteurized dairy)
Other less-common variations include:
- Fishetarian (includes animal/seafood – very similar to the Macrobiotic diet)
- Chickenetarian diet (includes only chicken meat)
- Fruitarian (eats only raw and dried fruits, and sometimes includes honey)
What is a vegan...
Non-food items include products such as leather, certain types of glue, food polish, and some personal care products and cosmetics. A vegan also aims to not purchase any product that has involved animal testing in its manufacture.
A raw vegan is a vegan who only includes raw vegan foods. This is a variation of the raw food diet.
Are Vegetarians Healthier Than Meat eaters?
There are many thousands of healthy vegetarians and vegans around the world who serve as a shining example as to the success of their dietary philosophy. There are also thousands of unhealthy "junk food" vegetarians and vegans who eat large amounts of processed foods and feast on their own versions of cakes, candy, pastas, ice cream, and processed and refined foods.
When we choose to eliminate animal products, but have little to no education on how to eat a balanced diet, it is very easy to fall prey to a non-meat version of the standard American high-processed junk diet. Taking the time to educate yourself is very important in not only ensuring your vegetarian or vegan diet is healthy, but will also prevent any nutritional deficiencies. Let's do just that:
Doing Vegetarian/Vegan Right
As with any other diet, there is a right way and a wrong way to approach becoming a vegetarian or vegan. A variety of fresh, raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and beans all play an important role.
Vegetarian and vegan diets share much in common with raw food living! Learn about the many benefits of incorporating more raw foods in your diet. ...Read more
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Why More & More People Are Avoiding Meat
There are many reasons people are turning towards a vegetarian or vegan diet, some of which may surprise you. The choice to voluntarily restrict or completely eliminate animal products is mainly ethical, health-related, cultural, or philosophical, but a growing number are now refusing to eat factory-farmed meat.
Is Eating Meat Bad For Us?
Some vegans and vegetarians firmly believe that eating meat is unhealthy. But the study of many long-lived cultures free of the chronic diseases we suffer from today has shown us that vegetarianism was a rarity. In fact, meat and/or dairy formed a substantial part of their diets, no matter where in the world they existed.
The skyrocketing rates of chronic in the western world is a consequence of the industrialization of our food chain and the unhealthy and inhumane factory-farming practices that now make eating meat not only dangerous for our health, but devastating to our environment. It is what we have done to our meat and dairy that poses the health hazard, not the meat or dairy itself.
Always Listen to Your Body!
Ease Into It
Some people try vegetarian diets and find them too difficult to stick to. If you are ready to dip your toes into the vegetarian lifestyle, here are some helpful tips to get you on your way:
- If your goal is to become a vegan, then always begin with becoming a vegetarian. Suddenly removing all meat, eggs, and dairy is a very drastic change for your body to adjust too, and you will find yourself suffering from very strong cravings that will likely sabotage your success.
- Begin by reducing the amount of animal foods in your diet while increasing the amount of plant foods. Especially increase vegetables and fruits high in water content as they are both filling and highly nutritious. If you are craving the denser foods, increase legumes and pseudo-grains such as quinoa, while eating small quantities of high-fat foods such as nuts, seeds and avocados.
- ONLY choose meat that has been pasture-raised, eggs that come from free range (pasture-raised) chickens, and wherever possible, unpasteurized (raw) dairy. Most supermarkets now sell raw cheese in the natural food section of the refrigerator.
- Choose one type of animal product and omit it completely from your diet. It may be chicken, or turkey, or fish, or red meat. Choose what you will miss the least. When you experience no more cravings for the animal product you have eliminated, then choose another animal product to eliminate. Continue eliminating animal products at a pace you can easily adjust too, while increasing plant foods.
- When you are at the point where animal products form a very small part of your diet, continue to further reduce the amount you eat to less than 1 time each week.
At this point, you will find that animal products no longer call out to you, and removing that last vestige of meat from your diet will be very easy. Please be patient with yourself as you transition. For some people, it will be easier than for others. It may take a month, or it may take 6 months. There is no rush, and there is no competition. Always go at the pace your body is comfortable with.
Some people do well on a 100% vegan or vegetarian diet, whereas others do much better with occasional pieces of high quality meat or fish products when their body calls for it. Learning to listen to your body and honoring its needs is what is important. Depending on your lifestyle, and your life's experiences, occasionally your body may require nutrients in animal protein, and this need may ebb and flow.
My diet is vegetarian, with 70-80% raw foods; however, at certain times, my body calls out for something different. Here is a good example. Upon the death of my beautiful, 5 year old Alaskan Malamute, I was emotionally devastated. I went for many days not wanting food of any type. I even had to force a glass of water into my body. It was an unbearable time when my life suddenly and temporarily seemed to lose all meaning for me.
When I was ready to stomach some food, my body suddenly craved blood-red meat. It was a primal urge for rare meat that felt almost survivalistic. I honored my body's calling and ate very rare (seared) pasture-raised red meat. Then, as fast as the craving started, it suddenly stopped about 5 days later.