Vegetarian Diet Plan

The Overview

Vegetarianism has been the subject of many controversies. Many people feel that eating only plant products is unhealthy. But the fact is that vegetarianism has its benefits as well as its pitfalls. However, vegetarianism is gaining popularity these days due to health concerns, weight problems and celebrity endorsements. Some people are even following these meal plans for moral, cultural and religious reasons. So lets find out about these diets.

The Introduction

A vegetarian diet is a meal plan that consists of vegetables and other plant products. This meal plan does not include any animal products. Foods that are included are cereals, pulses, grains, grams, legumes, lentils, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and seeds.

The Types

There are many types of a vegetarian diet, such as given below:

  1. Pollo
  2. – Includes plant products and chicken

  3. Pescatarian / Pescetarian
  4. – Includes plant products and fish

  5. Flexitarian / Semi Vegetarian
  6. – Includes plant products, fish and chicken

  7. Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian
  8. – Includes plant products, milk and eggs

  9. Lacto Vegetarian
  10. – Includes plant products and milk

  11. Ovo Vegetarian
  12. – Includes plant products and eggs

  13. Fruitarian
  14. – Includes fruits, seeds and nuts

  15. Vegan
  16. – Includes pure plant products

The Pros

A veggie meal plan:

  1. Is tasty
  2. Is less expensive
  3. Gives a longer life
  4. Has less side effects
  5. Gives a feeling well-being
  6. Is excellent for digestion
  7. Protects the body from diseases
  8. Controls obesity and helps in weight loss process
  9. Can avoid diabetes, heart problems as well as cancer
  10. Is a complete, healthy, nutritious and balanced meal
  11. Provides the body with natural ingredients for good health
  12. Meets dietary recommendations for percentage of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, better than any other non-veggie diet
  13. Has lesser chances of contracting animal-borne infections such as Salmonella
  14. Has lesser chances of being exposed to pesticides and other toxins that accumulate as one moves up the food chain
  15. Reduces impact on the environment that includes the facts already stated

And Some More…

  1. In US alone, 70% of grain production is being fed to live stock.
  2. Livestock grazing in US is harming fifteen percent of endangered species.
  3. About four million acres of forest is felled each year to create cattle pasture in America.
  4. 2500 gallons of water, 10 pounds of grain, 33 pounds of top soil and the energy equivalent to one gallon of gasoline is required to produce one pound of beef.

The Cons

A veggie meal plan:

  1. Is deficient in Proteins and the 9 Essential Amino Acids
  2. Leads to memory loss, brain fog, mood swings, lethargy, lack of motivation, poor performance at workplace etc
  3. Is deficient in vitamins, calcium and iron
  4. Leads to anemia and osteoporosis in women as it does not provide enough Iron and Calcium intake
  5. Leads to high and low fluctuations in blood sugar levels, sugar addiction and even diabetes

The Bottom Line

A vegetarian diet is unfit for some individuals for some reasons. But these issues can be dealt with using alternatives. All in all, veggie diets are healthy in general, if taken in a planned and proper way.

Reference Links

http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09324.html
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/vegetariandiet.html