“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”
– Albert Einstein
There are many reasons to go vegetarian, or simply eat less meat. Some of us want to live healthier lives or do our part to reduce pollution. Others have made the switch because we want to preserve Earth’s natural resources or because we love animals and are ethically opposed to eating them.
Other reasons to chew on:
You’ll ward off disease. Vegetarian diets are more healthful, particularly in preventing heart disease and reducing the risk of cancer. A low-fat vegetarian diet is the most effective way to prevent coronary artery disease because vegetarians consume no animal fat and less cholesterol and instead consume more fiber and antioxidant-rich produce – another great reason to listen to Mom and eat your veggies!
You’ll keep your weight down. According to a study by the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California, overweight people who followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet lost an average of 24 pounds in the first year and kept off that weight 5 years later. They lost the weight without counting calories or carbs and without measuring portions or feeling hungry.
You’ll build strong bones. Health care practitioners recommend that we increase our intake of calcium the way nature intended— through foods. Many vegetarians enjoy small amounts of dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and lactose-free milk. But if you wish to avoid dairy altogether, you can still get a good dose of calcium from beans, tofu, soymilk and dark green vegetables.
You’ll have more energy. Good nutrition generates more usable energy. Balanced vegetarian diets are naturally free of cholesterol-laden, artery-clogging animal products that physically slow us down and keep us hitting the snooze button morning after morning. And because whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are so high in complex carbohydrates, they supply the body with plenty of energizing fuel.
You’ll help save the environment. Some people become vegetarians after realizing the devastation that the meat industry is having on the environment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency , chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers. Huge areas of forest are cleared every year to grow animal feeds and cattle rearing is one of the highest contributions to greenhouse gases.
You’ll spare animals. Many vegetarians give up meat because of their concern for animals. Ten billion animals are slaughtered for human consumption each year. And, unlike the farms of yesteryear where animals roamed freely, today most animals are factory farmed—crammed into cages where they can barely move and fed a diet tainted with pesticides and antibiotics.
You’ll save money. Eating vegetables, grains and fruits in place of the 200 pounds of beef, chicken and fish each non-vegetarian eats annually would cut individual food bills by an average of $4,000 a year.
And most of all…it’s a breeze. It’s almost effortless these days to find great-tasting and good-for-you vegetarian foods, whether you’re strolling the aisles of a supermarket or walking down the street at lunchtime. And it is possible to follow a well-balanced vegetarian diet and still ensure you are getting all the essential nutrients, by eating enough pulses, whole grains, vegetables, fruit and nuts. But in no way does that restrict you to boring green plates. The wide array of modern, creative and extremely tasty vegetarian food available these days means that you can still eat like a gourmand, be healthy and do your bit for the environment!
If you need inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Sign up for a cooking class, try out one of our Recipes or go check out a new veggie restaurant on the weekend. So rather than asking yourself why go vegetarian, the real question is: Why haven’t you gone vegetarian?