Like the Sun, Moon, and Earth, there are three kinds of vegetarians in existence: ovo-lacto, a vegetarian that eats vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, as well as eggs and dairy products. Lacto, a vegetarian that eats everything the "ovo-lacto" does, except eggs. Finally, we have vegans, a vegetarian that eats what the rest of the others eat, except for any kind of animal products, period. Each group of vegetarian is unique, but branches from the same tree of life.
Why would anyone want to be a vegetarian? Well there are many reasons as there are stars in the heavens. Some reasons are for health purposes, religious/spiritual, environmental, and the love and protection of animals. Other reasons may be for very personal ones. No matter the reason, we all meet at the same intersection on the road of health.
What Can Vegetarianism Do For Me?
Science has proven time and again that vegetarians are among the healthiest people on the planet. They live longer and are less prone to chronic diseases. Eating a low fat vegetarian diet can also help in losing excess weight. Obesity can lead to adult onset diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and cancer. Eating a vegetarian type diet can reverse heart disease and other health complaints such as arthritis. In addition, the vegetarian diet can lower blood pressure. Because potassium is plentiful in fruits and vegetables, the vegetarian diet lowers blood pressure by helping the kidneys abolish sodium and modify blood pressure-regulating enzymes.
A vegetarian diet decreases the thickness of blood. As a result, it flows more easily through blood vessels. This in turn means the heart works less to push the blood. Further more, a vegetarian diet benefits you by using millions of kidney cells to filter and purify your blood. A meat diet over works the kidneys and slowly kills off the kidney cells called nephrons. Animal protein, when broken down in the body, produces waste products that strain the filtering power of the kidneys. If you've lost any kind of kidney function, due to infection, diabetes or even high blood pressure, your increased chances of nephrons damaging your kidneys are high. Plant based proteins on the other hand, do not damage or harm your kidneys in anyway.
As a new vegetarian, no doubt you'll be wondering if you'll be getting the right nutrition and certainly enough of it. Yes and yes, there's no reason why you would be under nourished being a vegetarian. Fruits and vegetables provide crucial nutrients such as vitamins C and E, beta carotene and lycopene. Such nutrients are referred to as antioxidants and their function is to help fight diseases by neutralizing substances called free radicals. Antioxidants contain disease fighting properties that protect cells from damage.
Religious & Spiritual Paths
Many religions practice some form of vegetarianism. In the East, you have the Hindus and Buddhists. In the West, you have Christians like the Seventh Day Adventist. Many Eastern and Western Mystics also follow the vegetarian path. Through meditation and other spiritual practices, they have gained a greater awareness of how they should be eating and treating their bodies. Even Jewish Mystics follow the vegetarian lifestyle.
For The Love of Planet & Animals
Among other reasons for becoming a vegetarian are environmental and animal rights issues. Raising animals for food causes topsoil loss, erosion and isn't a light matter. This sort of farming (livestock agriculture) is rapidly deteriorating the world's crop lands. It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat, compared to 390 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef. Livestock produce massive amounts of excrement, which has been shown to pollute soil, water, and air. Animals such as chickens, pigs and cows are forced to live in In-Humane conditions which cultivate disease and emotional, physical, and mental pain, as well as discomfort. The methods used to kill these creatures for the sake of feeding the masses are usually pretty violent and heart breaking. Scientist has proven that animals have feelings too and they surely feel pain.
Eat Right -- Live Well
That's right, many people just want to eat healthy and feel better in there lives. It truly feels good to be a vegetarian in everyway. You can't go wrong with better health, helping the planet and its creatures. You also share a common bond with some of the world's most famous people: Pythagoras, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Gandhi, and Charles Darwin. There are plenty of other famous people such as actors and actresses of our time, that are vegetarians and proud of it.
A New Beginning
Vegetarianism isn't just something that you do or way of eating, but also a state of being that illuminates your mind, spirit, emotion and body in a way of existing, that allows you to experience life in a very rewarding and positive way. To be a vegetarian, is to see the hidden harmony in a world of disguised chaos. I can assure you, we're unique individuals.
Gabriel Foster is the editor for http://www.gabrielfoster.com, the online magazine for both vegetarians and natural health enthusiasts.