Craig Eats Good Meat
Vegetarian diet - that's behind it
What is a vegetarian diet?
No more animals to eat, people came up with the idea very early on. There are traditions that as early as the sixth century BC the sect of the Orphics had a vegetarian diet determined in their diet. Here asceticism was the reason for giving up animal food. The philosopher Pythagoras brought the vegetarian diet to Europe. In Germany it became more widespread in the 19th century. The Vegetarian Association Vebu estimates that around 7.8 million people in this country are currently vegetarians.
The motivation for a vegetarian diet varies. However, most of them avoid meat for ethical and health reasons.
Living vegetarian: Variants
Basically, a vegetarian diet is divided into the following basic forms:
- Lacto-ovo vegetarians do without meat and fish, but eat dairy products and eggs;
- Ovo vegetarians forego meat, fish and milk, but eat eggs;
- Lacto-vegetarians do without meat, fish and eggs, but eat dairy products;
- Pesco vegetarians do without meat, but eat fish;
- Vegans avoid all food that comes from animals.
Become a vegetarian
Becoming vegetarian is not difficult, because removing meat and the like from the menu is easy to implement. For those who still fancy a meat-like taste, the trade has many variants available, such as tofu schnitzel or soy sausages. There is no nutrition plan for a vegetarian diet, everyone eats as they see fit. In doing so, individual tolerances and personal well-being can be taken into account.
In general, it is not a problem to take in sufficient amounts of protein and the amino acids required by the body through plant-based products through a vegetarian diet. Even athletes can only meet their protein requirements with plant-based food. Legumes, soy products, nuts, seeds and grain products contain all the important protein building blocks.
As in the non-vegetarian diet, three to five meals a day are common. Those who are vegetarian, however, generally eat more consciously, since typical “meat nutrients” such as zinc and iron, as well as the calcium contained in dairy products, have to be balanced in other ways.
The vegetarian diet usually consists of wholesome foods with plenty of grain products and potatoes as well as plenty of fruit and vegetables. Exceptions are the so-called "pudding vegetarians", who mainly eat heavily processed foods with a high nutrient density (white flour, sweets).
Vegetarian Diet: Benefits
To many, a vegetarian lifestyle still appears to be associated with great renunciation. Images of emaciated, pale figures haunt critics and the persistent rumor still lingers that a meatless diet leads to deficiencies. Various studies have shown that not eating meat is unhealthy per se. Vegetarians, but also people who rarely eat a piece of meat or fish, live longer than the general population, according to a study by the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg. While this result could be due to the generally healthier lifestyle of the study participants, living without meat offers health benefits such as:
- Many vegetarians are more health-conscious.
- People who are vegetarian have lower blood pressure values and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Vegetarians suffer less from typical common diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- The cancer death rate is lower in vegetarians than in meat eaters.
Vegetarian diet: cons
In order to maintain a permanent vegetarian diet, you need some nutritional knowledge in order to avoid deficits. For example, you should know that and how the biological value of protein-containing plant foods can be increased by combining them in order to get enough protein or which foods contain critical nutrients such as vitamins D, B12, B2, iron, zinc or iodine. Precise knowledge is required, especially for children and pregnant women. Particular attention should be paid to the following nutrients:
In contrast to vegans, vegetarians do not have such a big problem with thinking about their vitamin B12 requirements. The vitamin is mainly found in animal foods, so anyone who also eats cheeses such as Camenbert or Emmentalter can use it to secure their supply. Nevertheless, one should keep an eye on the values.
The iron intake is usually normal - at least in lacto-ovo vegetarians it is no lower than in mixed foodists. According to studies, the values of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and folic acid are even higher. Vegetarian food provides a little less iron - because the human body absorbs vegetable iron less well. However, those who consume enough vitamin C and avoid foods that inhibit iron absorption (black tea, coffee, garlic, onions) should not have any deficiencies in a conscious and varied overall diet. Women can also meet their iron requirements well through a vegetarian diet if they try to eat a lot of iron-containing foods, such as legumes or whole grain products.
Omega-3 fatty acids
While a vegetarian diet is often rich in omega-6 fatty acids, omega-3 fatty acids can be missing. They are important for heart and vascular health, as well as eye and brain development. Vegetarians should make sure to supplement their meals with flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil, and soy products. Pregnant and breastfeeding women who have an increased need for omega-3 fatty acids could also benefit from the addition of certain microalgae.
More prone to depression
A study by the University of Hildesheim found that vegetarians suffered more often from depression, anxiety disorders and psychosomatic complaints, although the type of diet seems to be more of a consequence than a trigger of the disease.
Vegetarian diet: conclusion
If you choose wholesome food and eat a varied diet, that's the vegetarian diet suitable as permanent food. You have to deal more intensively with your diet and acquire special knowledge, but then you can benefit from the advantages of the meat-free diet.
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