In celebration of Vegetarian Awareness Month, I published a couple of posts on Vegetarianism in the Accidental Travel Writer.
The two posts attracted some very impassioned responses from readers.
The following is by Suellen Zima (pictured left) of Laguna Woods, California.
Suellen is the author of an award winning memoir. She also publishes a very insightful blog (see below to for more on Suellen).
Glad you asked about vegetarianism because I have just completed my pledge to be a vegetarian for one week.
I finally learned the difference between being a vegetarian and a vegan. In addition to not eating meat, a vegan does not eat fish, eggs, dairy. Some restrict or eliminate oil. A general rule is not to eat anything with a face or a mother.
I've met many happy vegetarians and I can appreciate the freedom from guilt of killing animals and the tortures they endure before death. I have found other benefits. Even if you buy organic fruits and vegetables, it costs less than a meaty diet. Grains and beans are cheaper than meat, and I discovered several types of beans and grains that I had never tried before.
Reliance on Soy
One disadvantage for me is the reliance of vegetarians on soy products. First of all, in the U.S., a lot of soy is genetically modified, but you don't know which soy is or isn't because it's not required to be on the label.
And some of the soy products used instead of meat are pretty tasteless to me. So, if I do more with vegetarianism, I wouldn't use soy substitutes for meat.
Although apparently you can get enough protein if you're careful on a vegetarian diet, it's generally accepted that it's necessary to take some B12 supplements to meet the B12 requirement of our bodies.
Because of the way our metabolism works and the structure of our teeth, we are clearly meant to be omnivores rather than herbivores. And, our bodies were designed for feast or famine. But, in today's world in the U.S., we feast too much. Portions are way too large, and much of the food we eat is far from what nature intended in a whole variety of unhealthy ways.
There are many fat vegetarians because they eat large quantities of high caloric food and carbohydrates. And I did get hungry more frequently. I was told by a vegetarian friend to "graze" rather than have complete meals. So, it was just different from my usual pattern of eating.
Although I admit that I "felt" lighter, the scale disappointed me by staying just about where it was before. So, I'm not sure my body is noticing the difference in how I'm eating. It was a worthwhile experiment because I thought a lot more about what I was eating. I'll most likely be less of an omnivore than I was, but not a committed vegetarian or vegan.
To Read the Original Posts