The Benefits of Being a Vegetarian

To Name a Few……

Many persons are convinced about the benefits of being a vegetarian and are contemplating making the switch but they are afraid. They think their diet will be too restricted and they will no longer be able to enjoy food.

Are you one of those persons?

Well I am here to help you get rid of those fears as I share with you just a few of the great benefits of a being a vegetarian.

First of all, who is a vegetarian?

A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat.  In other words, they eat no animal flesh whatsoever.

Vegetarians can be sub-divided into the following groups.

Lacto-ovo vegetarians

These are vegetarians who include eggs and dairy in their diet.

Lacto vegetarians

These vegetarians use dairy but no eggs in their diet.

Ovo vegetarians

These are vegetarians who use eggs but stay away from dairy.

Strict vegetarians

These vegetarians eat no animal flesh whatever neither do they consume any eggs or dairy products. Their diet is 100% plant based.

So what are the benefits?

The first things that tend to comes to mind when people speak about the benefits are the health considerations, but people become vegetarian for a range of reasons. There may be environmental, ideological, ethical, or religious reasons. But it is true that often, the focus is on health.

Let’s go ahead and look at these 11 benefits enjoyed by persons who avoid meat and meat products in the diet.

1. Better health

Research suggests that a predominantly plant-based diet can reduce the risk for a number of diseases.

Already we can see a benefit as this results in a reduction in medical expense.

Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Studies show that persons on a plant-based diet were, on average, 25% less likely to die of heart disease. This can be attributed to the fact that without meat, your diet will be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, factors which are implicated in heart disease.

Lower Cholesterol Levels:

Vegetarians tend to have lower levels of cholesterol and most importantly, lower levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol.  This is again due to the fact that their diet is low in saturated fats and cholesterol. (Dietary cholesterol is only obtained through the consumption of animal products.) The low cholesterol levels results in decreased risk of atherosclerosis.

Lower Blood Pressure:

Many hypertensive persons have been able to come off medication and maintain a normal blood pressure when they adopt a vegetarian diet.

Aids in Weight Control: 

Following a plant-based diet usually means you’ll take in fewer calories overall. This is key to losing and maintaining weight loss.  Studies have found vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index (BMI) on average compared with non-vegetarians. A  lower BMI is usually associated with longevity and a reduced risk for many chronic diseases.

Reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes:

Research suggests that a predominantly plant-based diet can reduce the risk for type 2 diabetes. In studies of Seventh-day Adventists, results showed that vegetarians’ risk of developing diabetes was half that of non-vegetarians.

Not only does a vegetarian diet reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes but for those who already have the disease, this diet can be used to manage their disease. There are many persons who can testify to the fact that they have been able to come off their diabetic medication with diet and lifestyle change.

Known to give some protection against Cancer:

Hundreds of studies suggest that eating lots of fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, and there’s evidence that persons on a plant-based diet have a lower incidence of cancer than those who are not. Plant-based diet also slows down the progression of some cancers such as breast, colon and prostate.

This is not an exhaustive list of the health benefits, but I am sure it is impressive enough to help you make the choice to switch to a vegetarian diet.

2. Meals can be prepared more quickly

The long process of thawing out, seasoning and the long cooking of meat is over.

A full vegetarian meal can be put together in minutes.

3. Less incidence of contamination of food

Food-born illnesses, bacteria, parasites, and chemical toxins are more common in commercial meat, poultry, and seafood when compared with plant foods (particularly organic fruits and vegetables). 

Many incidents of bacterial contamination result during the handling of raw meat, poultry and fish. These meats have to be cooked thoroughly and at certain temperatures to reduce the risk of disease.

As a  vegetarian, you don’t have to worry so much about “cooking thoroughly”. As a matter of fact,  you can intentionally under-cook your food……..or even have it raw.

4. Longer lifespan

Healthier diet leads to longer life.

A study done among Seventh Day Adventists showed that vegetarians live six to nine years longer than non-vegetarians.

5. No guilt

Can you be happy knowing that you are slaughtering animals for your food when there are other options?

You certainly won’t feel sad when you chop off the head of your cauliflower to prepare your meal.

If you have to chop the head off a chicken though…. that’s a different matter.

6. You can identify what you are eating

Do you really know what you are eating when you cook minced meat?

What really is in that ground up stuff you serve to your family as beef? You can’t be too sure, can you?  However you certainly can identify the carrots and broccoli in your vegetable casserole.

7. Better looking skin

Good skin comes from within and a well balanced plant-based diet provides more antioxidant vitamins such as A, C, E to replenish the skin allowing you to look younger.

8. Great variety of meals

Gone are the days when the perception of a vegetarian was that of a weird little  person who munched on raw vegetables all day. We’ll leave that to the rabbits.

Nowadays people are recognizing that there is a wide choice of foods for vegetarians.

9. You are not alone.

Millions of people around the world are vegetarians

Vegetarianism is a much more accepted custom that in years past. Less people will look at you like you are a weird.

The result is that there are now lots of dining out food options which was quite a challenge for vegetarians in past years.

There are also many vegetarian meal delivery services that will deliver meal kits or completely prepared and ready to eat meals.

10. You will be helping to save the environment

The production of one kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for three hours while leaving all the lights on at home? This gas is produced as methane from the digestive systems of the animals.
Also, it takes far more water and land to produce meat than it does to produce plant protein.   And to think that so many places in the world suffer from drought each year.

11. You will save money

How you ask? Well there are two main ways.

Firstly, believe it or not, vegetarian protein cost less than meat. You don’t believe. Well next time you go to the supermarket, go to the bulk bin and pick up your lentils, garbanzo, split peas, lima beans, pinto beans, black beans, red kidney peas….and so on.  Try it and see if the cost is not less than if you were buying meat.

Secondly, as mentioned earlier, with all the health benefits, you will be spending much less on doctors bill and medicine.  A whopping savings there.

The Takeaway

Vegetarians are not nutritionally deficient or always hungry as some people still think. On the contrary, a balanced vegetarian diet can be nutritionally sound and extremely beneficial for all ages and stages of life, including infants, the elderly, and even athletes. Good health, reduced incidence of disease, better management of existing health problems and many other benefits can be derived from following a vegetarian diet.

Make today the day that you embrace the vegetarian lifestyle and experience the benefits of being a vegetarian.