I’m by no means wanting to convert people… I figure that anyone interested can readily find information out there if needs be… but I’m just outlining some of the health related reasons why we have chosen to go vego… and why we are thinking of raising our children as vegetarian.
Did you know that studies of vegetarians show lower levels of pesticides in breastmilk? Pesticides such as DDT, chlordane, and heptachlor and industrial biproducts such as polychlorinate d biphenyls (PCBs) .
There are so many myths about vegetarianism. There was a time when nutritionists and dietitians even said that vegetarians lacked protein and calcium in their diet, but no longer.
Now, it is known that vegetarians get plenty of protein. What they don’t get is the excessive amount of protein found in the typical modern diet. If you get enough calories and eat a balanced diet with variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, then getting enough protein is not an issue.
The calcium myth is applied, in particular, to vegans. Somehow, the notion got started that the only good source of calcium is milk and cheese. Granted, milk does have a good supply of calcium, but so do many vegetables — especially green, leafy veggies.
The truth is, vegetarians suffer less from osteoporosis because the body assimilates the calcium they eat more easily during digestion.
A vegetarian diet isn’t out of balance. It has a good proportion of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat – the three macro nutrients that are the cornerstone of any diet. Plus, vegetarian food sources (plants) tend to be higher sources of most of micro nutrients.
Another way to look at it is this: The average meat eater consumes one or fewer servings of vegetables a day and no servings of fruit. If a meat eater does eat a vegetable, chances are it’s a fried potato. “Out of balance” depends on your perspective.
Another myth is that babies and children need meat in order to grow. This somehow makes the assumption that protein from plants isn’t as good as protein from meat. The truth is, protein is protein. It is all made from amino acids. Children need 10 essential amino acids to grow and develop properly. These amino acids are as readily available in plants as they are in meat.
People who follow a varied, well-balanced vegetarian diet are eating in line with current nutritional recommendations for healthy eating, as most vegetarian meals tend to be low in fat and high in fibre.
Medical studies have shown that vegetarians are less likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer, diet-related diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, so a vegetarian diet is very good for your health. On average, vegetarians live 7 years longer than their meat-eating peers.
So much of this I wasn’t aware of until recently and now I’m reading more and researching more into what I hope to become the norm to my family.
I’ll admit that we were opposed to the idea of raising our children as vegetarian at first. I was pretty naive about the health benefits and ability to get all you need from things without meat… Not to mention the mere thought of criticism put me off.
I’m still pretty spooked about the criticism side of things. Anything outside the norm is bound to be questioned and we’re used to that I suppose (what with our relactating, public breastfeeding, baby wearing, bed-sharing, cloth-diapering parenting ways…).
But I think I worry about uneducated, ignorant, narrow-minded less-researched people who will think that we are somehow malnourishing/abusing/neglecting or somehow not doing the best for our children.
Especially because we were both slight as children and no doubt (especially looking at our Cameron here) our kids will follow suit and I am anxious about people assumming that they’re skinny due to vegetarianism rather than that just being them.
I am by no means saying that a balanced diet that includes animal products is wrong or what-not – just in case people draw conclusions. I’ve never been the healthiest person (I’m very much a stick-to-what-you-know kind of gal… hence this being a process). Vegetarianism is just another way about getting your nutrients.
But, it’s all an adjustment in many ways and I’m merely sharing that with you all.
So, I’m thumbing through vegetarian cookbooks, looking at vegan recipes online, searching out vego restaurants, talking about vegetarian food pyramids with Mike and stocking our pantry full with new and wonderful grains, legumes, oils, condiments/spices/herbs as we start to broaden our diet rather than restrict it.
P.S. ZOMG to anyone who knows us – we’re eating tomato. Yes, tomato peoples. Now you know we have our serious faces on.