“People eat meat and think they will become strong as an ox, forgetting that the ox eats grass” – Pino Caruso. In the United States around eight million adults have converted to vegetarianism; removing meat, fish and poultry out of their diet. Some vegetarians do eat eggs and dairy products depending on how extreme they want to go considering vegetarian diets. ‘Vegan’ a “total vegetarian” remove any animal byproducts from their diet while pescatarians (partial vegetarians) avoid meat but still eat fish. Reasons for converting range from weight loss, morals, to anatomy. When following the diet and continuing a healthy lifestyle it seems like a better alternative. As of recent, researchers have been able to back up that vegetarianism promotes healthy weight, delivers complete nutrition, and human anatomy has evolved to support a primarily vegetarian diet.
In many different studies vegetarians have been seen as healthier without the meat and a proper diet; eating fruits and veggies instead of an abundance of unhealthy snacks. In an Oxford University study, out of “37,875 healthy men and women (ages 20-97), 5.4% of meat eaters were obese compared to 3% of vegetarians” (Procon.org). In the study it continued to include that the people who ate meat had 8.3% higher BMI then the vegetarians. There is an obvious health shift when eating like this; Americans who struggle with obesity or weight in general could solve their problem by converting. Some argue that removing meat from ones diet could cause a lack of necessary nutrients; however, there are many plant based alternatives to meat that can give the same nutrients.
Nuts, beans, dairy, and legumes are some healthy high-protein based foods that can substitute for meat. The American Dietetic Association stated, “ [all] appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits” (Harvard Health). Emphasizing on “appropriately planned”; when converting to vegetarianism, you cannot remove meat from your diet and not replace the nutrients you are missing from meat. If you cannot become a complete vegetarian it is still good to be aware of how much meat you are consuming and trying to utilize available alternatives. However, always remember that this diet is not impossible and can be done while still getting the necessary vitamins, fats, proteins etc..
Another common argument between “meat-eaters” and “non-meat eaters” is whether or not human evolution was meant for humans to consume meat or for a plant-based diet. Many people who refuse to take meat out of their diet claim that humans have been eating it for hundreds of years, why stop now. Some say that a “dense form of nutrients and protein that, when combined with high-calorie low-nutrient carbohydrates such as roots, allowed us to develop our large brains and intelligence” (Procon.org). When looking at our teeth and length of guts they do not quite fit the bill for carnivores or herbivores therefore we look to our closest ancestors; apes and monkeys and they stick to a plant based diet with an occasional piece of meat. Some theorists think that going back and sticking to a plant based could be our next evolution. That “we should only eat meat if it benefits it now. The the important question is how it impacts out bodies today” (Newman).
Completely converting an entire country into vegetarianism, let alone state, is impossible and would without a doubt would affect our economy. However, when it comes to a person wanting to better themselves and become a healthier person, then one person at a time is a good start. Being vegetarian is not impossible and depends on each individual person how much they believe it will affect them. Continuing a healthy lifestyle and making better choices when it comes to consumption are all part of vegetarianism and the different sub-diets within it. Taking out meat from your diet and replacing it with nuts or beans would benefit a persons health tremendously all while still fulfilling their nutritional needs. Society seems to be afraid of removing meat out of their diet because they “could never live without it” when evolution and humanity around you tells you the complete opposite. Stay openminded to new concept as this world continues to evolve.
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