Why I’m Giving Vegetarianism a Try in 2019.
The average American consumes over 200 pounds of animal meat each year. But why do we consume so much when we can get all the nutrition we require from non-animal sources? Many people remain unaware of the high toll chowing down on meat at nearly every meal takes.
Our addiction to asking Where’s the beef? contributes to global warming, deforestation and world hunger. In addition, consuming meat damages our health just as it claims the lives of innocent animals. I’m certainly not one to push anything on anyone else, but I adopted vegetarianism about a month or so ago and I’m resolving to continue that into 2019. I love it so far.
Here are some reasons you may want to give it a try:
Reduce or Eliminate Bad Fat
Many meat products, especially beef, contain high amounts of saturated fat. Saturated fats raise our LDL cholesterol levels and can clog arteries, leading to heart attacks. Furthermore, a diet high in saturated fat may cause blockages in the vessels surrounding our brains, leading to stroke.
Increase Energy and Eat Better
The high fat content found in meat means consuming more calories overall. Fat contains nine calories per gram, more than twice the calories in a similar gram of carbohydrates or protein.
Consuming too many calories doesn’t just cause us to break a belt buckle or two. When we overeat, we become tired and sluggish as all our body’s energy gets directed to digesting our meals. Eliminating meat from our diets help us lose weight and also gives us an energy boost.
Get More Vitamins
Those switching to vegetarian eating generally up their consumption of vegetables and whole grains significantly in order to get the calories and amino acids they need. A varied diet rich in veggies and grains provides a bonus in the form of extra vitamins and minerals.
This nutritional boost can benefit our overall health greatly and also leave us with smoother skin and lustrous hair and nails as an added bonus.
Save the Rainforest
Raising cattle requires a lot of land, land that could otherwise be used to grow lower cost, more nutrient-rich foods. In addition, cattle-raising destroys the planet’s rainforests. Cattle farmers make up a full 70% of the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.
Decrease World Hunger
Animals require a lot of fuel to grow large enough to slaughter. Livestock typically consume five times as much grain as human beings. Eliminating the need for livestock could potentially feed the millions of people worldwide battling hunger.
Spare Animals’ Suffering
Many carnivorous eaters love animals but nevertheless turn a blind eye to the suffering their dietary choices cause to the creatures they consume. Factory farming causes millions of animals misery every day.
Imagine being forced to sit or stand in one position your entire life. Pigs kept in gestation crates cannot turn around or stretch out in any way. Even seemingly innocuous egg production causes suffering. Farm workers callously cull male chicks from the egg-producing females and toss them into a meat grinder while they are still alive.
Vegetarian Recipe Ideas
If knowing the true cost of eating meat makes you want to tackle the vegetarian eating challenge, how can you be sure that you’re getting adequate protein? Luckily, Mother Nature has provided humans with a plethora of cruelty-free foods that, when combined, meet everyone’s daily amino acid requirements.
Nuts and seeds provide much of our daily protein requirements. While snacking on nuts seems obvious, get creative and use them in your cooking as well. Who doesn’t love a nice serving of Pad Thai topped with chopped peanuts? Give this recipe a new twist by experimenting with adding almonds or cashews to your peanut mix.
Many ancient grains such as amaranth and quinoa also pack a powerful protein punch.
Quinoa takes about the same amount of time to cook as rice does, and can be used like rice as a base for veggies and sauces. Simply add two cups of water for every cup of quinoa you plan to make, and let the grains simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Top with broccoli, carrots and water chestnuts for a crunchy, nutritional meal.
Pasta offers a whole world of culinary delight. Think outside the pasta jar and whip up some plant-based Pasta Primavera loaded with spring veggies. Chop some tomato, basil and peppers, and toss with pasta and olive oil for a heart-healthy dinner.
These are just a few of my favorite recipes that helped me start. Once you give yourself the chance to get really into the diet, the interest in fun, new recipes comes almost naturally. I love cooking now more than I ever did before.
Vegetarianism benefits our health, improves the welfare of animals, and allows us to do our part to make the world a better place. With the many options that exist now due to advances in culinary and nutritional science, there’s really not much of a reason for anyone to consume meat anymore. Given the way meat consumption can do so much damage, becoming a veggie-saurus just makes sense.
In 2019, I urge anyone reading this to give vegetarian eating a try.