I can't believe I am actually writing a blog on this topic. I was raised in the midwest, on a true meat and potatoes diet. Normally, if I haven't had a meat protein at a meal, I feel like I haven't eaten. Lately though, I have been unable to stop thinking about the animals these meals come from, how they are treated, and what they are pumped full of that is really no good for me.
After doing some research online, I have learned more about the many benefits of the vegetarian diet, and why I may want to include more vegetarian meals in my future.
Vegetarians tend to stay slimmer naturally.
No crazy fad diets, no yo-yoing (my specialty). I'm not crazy about the way our country idolizes stick skinny women, but the lovely lady in this picture looks fit and healthy and ideal to me.
It is really better for the environment.
Who knew? I would have guessed that eating more meat would be saving the plant life, which would be better for our environment. Over grazing livestocks hurts the environment through soil compaction, erosion, and harm to native plants and animals.
It's important to stand up for animals.
This one is probably the most important to me. Raising animals in confinement is cruel, and about 50% of meat produced in the U.S. come from confined animal feeding operations where animals live in filthy, over crowded spaces. They are also pumped full of unhealthy hormones to produce more and larger animals. Many are slaughtered in an inhumane way. All of this breaks my heart, and not just because of the picture of the baby pig below. But look at that face. Damn you bacon.
The vegetarian diet will shrink your risk of getting cancer.
I HATE cancer. There have been countless studies that show that those who ate the most red and processed meats were found to have the highest risk of breast cancer, as well as colon, prostate, pancreatic, and gastric cancers.
Your heart will thank you for eating a more vegetarian diet.
Meats high in saturated fat raises LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases your risk of coronary heart disease.
Eating vegetarian is easier than ever!
For just about every item on the market, there is a meat -free version that's surprisingly good. This can really help you decrease your meat intake, without feeling too deprived. You just need to remember to eat them sparingly, because they are often loaded with sodium.
My defense for eating meat has always been that it's "the circle of life", and just take a look at our human canine teeth. We were meant to eat meat. I still believe this to be true, but I will not contribute to the abuse of animals, the abuse of our environment, or the abuse of my health. I have made a commitment to spend the extra money and buy only organic, cage free, hormone free meats and also to incorporate more vegetarian recipes into my diet. If we all did this, I think it would make a big difference.
So choose a day! How about Meatless Mondays? Who's in?