Vegetarianism is a lifestyle and a dietary choice, in which an individual chooses to completely, or partially exclude eating the meat of any kind, including fish, poultry, or any other animal products, such as dairy products. Therefore, a vegetarian menu is only made of vegetable products. The benefits of vegetarianism are well-known and widely accepted, starting with the reduced consumption of unhealthy fats, reduced consumption of high-calorie foods, or the wish to lose some weight, and ending up with the spiritual benefits of not eating products made of the flesh of any living organism. Stepping out of this carousel of reasons of fats, calories, weight loss, and spiritual benefits, the truth is that any one of us should go vegetarian one day a week.
Nutritionists believe that going vegetarian one day a week is a way to fight against obesity and a method to make people be healthier and happier.
Types of vegetarianism
There are several types of vegetarianism, depending on the permissiveness of their daily diets:
- Vegan: the most drastic type, meaning a total exclusion of any animal product, such as dairy, eggs, meat and derivatives, allowing only the vegetable consumption
- Lacto-vegetarianism: diet based on fruits, vegetables, and dairy products
- Ovo-Lacto vegetarianism: diet based on vegetable products, dairy, eggs, and honey
- Partial vegetarianism: diet containing, besides vegetable, dairy, and eggs, small amounts of white meat, such as chicken and fish, in particular
Other types of vegetarian diets are:
- Fruitarianism: involves only the exclusive consumption of nuts, seeds, nuts, fruit
- Macrobiotic diet: it contains mainly dried legumes and whole grains
Benefits of vegetarianism
The benefits that such a regime implies differ greatly depending on the type of diet itself.
If children and teenagers follow such a regime, experts recommend consulting a nutritionist in order to draw up a list of foods that can be eaten without any risk for the development of deficiency syndrome, which means the lack in the body of the necessary vitamins, proteins, and minerals. Therefore, opting for an extreme vegetarian diet may lead to a deficiency of Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, riboflavin, zinc, iron, and potassium.
If the diet does not contain fish, it can occur a lack of essential fatty acids.
A balanced vegetarian meal can help to supply the body’s needed amount of proteins. The human body needs the proteins in order to have a proper functionality of the metabolism, proper functions of the cardiovascular system, immune system, and digestive system.
Proteins are biochemical substances consisting of macromolecular chains of amino acids.
Proteins are divided into two categories:
- essential protein: needed by the body for a proper functionality of all its systems
Depending on the content of amino acids, proteins are classified as having medium-to-high biological value, or lower. Superior proteins are those that contain all the amino acids in sufficient quantities, such as dairy, meat, fish, eggs, and soy products, while lower in value proteins are having lower nutritional value, also (e.g dried vegetables).
Experts recommend people to adopt a vegetarian diet that contains few animal products, too. Vegetarian diets such as Ovo-Lacto, or Lacto-vegetarian, or partial-vegetarian, are recommended.
A vegan diet is more demanding in terms of nutrition because of its restrictive pattern. To prevent the deficiency syndrome when opting for a vegan diet, consult a nutritionist because he can help you preparing a list of foods that meet the nutritional requirements of your body.
Go Vegetarian One Day a Week
People who adopted a vegetarian diet extend their lifespan by an average of 5 years, according to the data presented by the Academy of Nutrition and Diet. Meatless diet protects against heart disease and hypertension.
If you remove the meat from your daily diet, you’ll have no choice and you’ll eat more fruits and vegetables to satisfy your hunger. Therefore, vegetarians are more healthy and have high levels of fiber and nutrients.
You lower your risk of developing cancer.
Vegetarians have lower risks of developing cancer, only because they eat many foods rich in antioxidants that protect against the development of cancer cells. On the other hand, some meat contains amino acids that favor certain types of cancer. Even going vegetarian one day a week can make a difference.
If that didn’t convince you to cut off the meat, and go vegetarian one day a week, maybe thinking that even some top stars did it will convince you. Fighting for a healthier life and a healthier planet, stars of music and movies cut off meat for one day a week. Among them are, Paul McCartney, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kelly Osbourne, Kate Moss, Oprah, Yoko Ono (John Lennon’s ex-wife), Jessica Capshaw, and Denise Richards.
One day a week vegetarian – imposed by the law.
If still not convinced, maybe you’ll reconsider when you’ll find out that being a one day a week vegan is actually imposed by the law of a small Belgian city.
The Belgian city of Gent is the first city in the world that adopted a one day a week vegetarian diet for its residents. Local authorities have decided to opt for vegetarian meals for one day a week, which is called veggie day.
The example provided by civil servants and councilors will be followed by children in schools.
By this measure, the authorities want to combat obesity in the population. Gent city’s authorities made maps for the 90,000 inhabitants, in order to help them locate the restaurants which are part of the project and offer vegetarian meals for the veggie day.
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