Thursday, October 15, 2009

National Vegetarian Month!

October is vegetarian awareness month. With the title in place, this can be a great motivator to give going vegetarian a try for at least the remainder of the month.

When done in the right way, becoming vegetarian can be extremely beneficial to your health. Because of the nature of a balanced vegetarian diet, which consists mainly of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins, it can be a healthy aid in losing weight. Vegetarians tend to have lower BMIs and have a more conscious awareness of what they are consuming.

A vegetarian diet can also help to reduce the risk of heart disease because of the decrease in cholesterol and saturated fat that is being cut out by eliminating meat. A balanced vegetarian diet is full of fiber which promotes proper digestion and regularity. It is also linked to a decreased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.

After all, what could be unhealthy about eating a bunch of fruits and vegetables? And that is the key to keeping a vegetarian diet healthy. Don't think you can just swap your burgers for meatless pizza and start losing weight. One still has to be mindful about what they are putting into their body. Also, it's important to be conscious about getting an adequate amount of protein. Nuts (also containing healthy fats and omega 3's), yogurt, soy, and beans and legumes are great, lean sources of protein. While eating fruits and vegetables is great, don't forget to add protein to almost every meal you consume. Proteins will help to leave you satisfied for longer periods of time and will make the transition from meat to no-meat easier.

A vegetarian diet not only does wonders for the body. It is also wonderful for the environment as well. With gas emissions and smog filling our air and global warming increasingly on the rise, every bit of environmentally friendly action is important. Farm animals used for meat emit a substantial amount of methane gas, a gas 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping solar energy. Methane and other greenhouse gases are big contributors of global warming. Also, cows need a lot of grass to munch on. In order to make room for these big, grassy fields that farm animals require, rain forests of often clear-cutted, causing an increase in deforestation. And cow doesn't just gotta eat. Its gotta drink too. Cows and the manufacturing techniques used to process them when they're slaughtered puts a drain on our water supplies. One pound of beef requires an input of approximately 2,500 gallons of water, whereas a pound of soy requires 250 gallons of water and a pound of wheat only 25 gallons.

So give vegetarianism a try, both for you body and the environment. If a balanced diet is kept, you should feel extra energized and good about yourself for knowing you're doing your part in keeping the Earth and your body healthy.

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