Health and Fitness: Why I Am NOT a Vegetarian

Michael (2) From a philosophical point of view, I can understand vegetarianism as a concept. I am totally in favour of the ethical treatment of animals. I am no big fan of the inhumane slaughter of animals. I don't even like animals being used for entertainment in circuses or at aquaria.

From a health perspective, however, I'm not convinced that a strict vegetarian diet is conducive to good health. The statement that “vegetarian dishes are ALWAYS considered as healthy options” [emphasis mine] does not hold water.

I am sure that a majority of nutritionists would NOT agree with the statement that vegetarian dishes are always healthy. There are certain vitamins and minerals that can only be obtained from meat, poultry, dairy products, and fish.

Not only that, many vegetarian restaurants in Asia load their dishes with nitrate, salt, MSG, and other substances to trick your taste buds into thinking that the food tastes good.

Food Poisoning at Buddhist Temple

The worst case of food poisoning that I have ever experienced was the result of a vegetarian meal that I had at a Buddhist temple in Macau. After that horrific ordeal, I read that experiences such as mine were actually quite common.

Which is not to say that I NEVER eat vegetarian dishes. But to me vegetarian means fruit and vegetables that appear to be such and that have NOT been doctored to make them look and taste like meat, poultry, and/or fish.


3 Replies to “Health and Fitness: Why I Am NOT a Vegetarian”

  1. Personally, I believe we can all make the choices that are best for us in our own personal lives. If someone feels that they live a better life by only eating vegetarian or even the more hardcore vegan, good for them. However, my biggest issue with both of those who choose an mostly or all vegetable diet is when those individuals feel they need to “convert” the rest of the world to their way of thinking. These people are perhaps the most annoying.
    I took a challenge one time to make an all vegetarian meal for some vegetarian friends. I bought a couple of cookbooks and prepared several dishes. This was quite and undertaking. All the ingredients were organic and fresh. One of my guests complained that I made one pasta dish and that pasta was an inconsiderate thing to order. Another guest complained that the food was too spicy for them.
    All in all, I made a total of eight dishes and had two full plates of a sampling of each dish prepared. After the guests had departed and the dishes were all washed and put away, I was still hungry. I could not believe the amount of food I consumed and was still hungry.
    I made myself a turkey sandwich and finally felt like I had eaten something substantial.
    Since that time, I have learned I am blood type O- that makes me a poor candidate for living a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. My body will always crave and need good natural sources of protein. So I just try to eat as balanced and healthy a diet as I can. I have lost 50lbs this way and I haven’t really changed what I eat just have been more conscious about how and when I eat.
    Those individuals who complained about my cooking have never been asked back to my house for another meal.
    The moral of the story is, you cannot please everyone so focus on only those who can be.

  2. Just to clarify a couple of points – as a vegetarian, you can eat eggs and dairy, and those things have B12, which is the ONLY nutrient that is not readily available in a plant-based diet. Calcium, for example, is more digestible in higher quantities in Kale than in milk.
    It is possible to get B12 as a vegan. I use nutritional yeast in a lot of my cooking, which is loaded in B12 and has a nutty, cheesy flavor. I also drink fortified soy milk, hemp milk, and almond milk, so I’m good there.
    A vegan or vegetarian diet is very helpful when it comes to getting enough nutrients…but only if you take a whole foods approach that emphasized veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and whole grains. A vegetarian or vegan that eats mostly starches, pastas, breads, potato chips and other junk foods will not be very healthy and can gain weight.
    To Mr. Taylor, on a vegetarian diet you can eat a lot more food before you feel full, that’s true. But if you tried it for a month instead of a weekend, you would probably find that you would need less to fill up. If your body is used to eating certain foods (meat, in your case,) and you suddenly stop eating it (instead of gradually leaning away from it,) your body is still waiting for the chemicals to enter your stomach in the ratios they normally do, and your body gets confused. That’s putting it in really simplistic terms, but that’s what happens when a sugar-lover goes on a sugar-free diet…the body doesn’t get its fix, and the dieter feels ravenous and crashes. So if you have meat every meal every day and suddenly eat vegetarian for a day, your body is like, “what the heck is this crap?”
    A lot of people try to push their beliefs on others, no matter what they are, because they believe that their choices are best for everyone, or because they feel insecure with their choices. I try not to push my veganism on other people, but i do try to show the benefits of veganism by living them, and telling people about awesome, delicious, cruelty-free food. One vegan meal a week is an improvement over none. 🙂
    Last but not least, EVERY SINGLE FOOD has protein in it. It is really difficult to not get enough protein, even if all you eat is bread. Meat is not necessary in every meal. Optimally, an omnivore only needs meat or an egg once a week to supplement if there is not enough variety in their plant-based diet. This is coming from my research as an anthropologist, btw…I’ve only been vegan since March of this year.
    Happy eating!

  3. If we need meat for protein, then shouldn’t we have that meat in ourselves already?
    And studies have shown we really don’t need that much protein.

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