10 Benefits of Going Vegetarian

Going VegetarianOne of my health-coaching clients just inquired about going vegetarian, asking for resources and some ideas on how to get started. So I thought a post about going vegetarian might be a good resource for others as well. In Part 1 of this 2-part post, I’ll talk about the benefits of going vegetarian. In Part 2 I’ll talk about tips for becoming vegetarian.

I’ve been a vegetarian for 25 years, and my husband has eaten a vegetarian diet for over 40 years. We do eat fish on occasion; so one friend dubbed us “Veg-Aquarians”, which I love! I’ve actually been mostly-vegan for the past 10 years, since finding out I was allergic to both dairy and eggs. So what are some reasons for going vegetarian?

Why Go Vegetarian?

There are almost as many reasons for going vegetarian as there are vegetarians. For me personally, I’d learned enough about the treatment of commercially farmed animals, and decided that another mammal didn’t need to die in order for me to live. The health benefits of going vegetarian were an added bonus.

I don’t have a problem with eating fish because they aren’t inhumanely treated (although there are definitely issues with bycatch); fish swim freely up until they are caught; and there are some good health benefits to eating cold-water fish. That being said, I do follow the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Guide when buying seafood at the grocery store or at restaurants. And I won’t eat farmed fish, because it’s not healthy for the planet.

There is a significant amount of evidence to support a plant-based diet as being the healthiest way to eat. Even if you’re not inclined to go totally vegetarian, you might be inspired by some of the benefits below to try “Meatless Mondays”, or go veg two or three times a week for your health and the health of the planet.

Here are ten benefits of going vegetarian courtesy of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, my holistic health and nutrition school.

10 Benefits of Going Vegetarian

  1. Better Mood: research indicates that vegetarians are happier than their meat-eating counterparts
  2. Disease Fighting: vegetarian diets are usually lower in saturated fats, which can help to reduce cholesterol, heart disease, and other ailments.
  3. Leaner Figure: a healthy vegetarian diet comprised of grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables usually contains fewer calories than the Standard American Diet (SAD). Of course, it’s possible to be vegetarian and subsist entirely on junk-food, so be conscious of what you eat if you are going for the leaner figure.
  4. Fewer Toxins: Food-born illnesses, antibiotics and chemical toxins are more common in meat-based diets than plant-based diets.
  5. More Earth-friendly: a plant-based diet is gentler on the planet, using less energy and fewer resources to grow plants than meats.
  6. Better Vision: studies show vegetarians have better vision and less macular degeneration than the average population.
  7. Money Saving: plant foods are generally less expensive than meat foods, saving on overall costs of meals.
  8. Better Athletic Performance: a vegetarian diet may be the perfect performance enhancer—conflicting studies exist, but the numbers of vegetarian world-class athletes continues to climb each year.
  9. Supporting Animal Rights: what ever your reason for going vegetarian, animal welfare is improved in the process.
  10. Longevity: vegetarians live longer, healthier lives compared to meat eaters.

So now that you have some reasons for going vegetarian, what are some ideas for getting started? If you have trepidations or don’t quite know how to begin, stay tuned for Part 2 later this week where I’ll give some great tips on becoming a vegetarian.

Please leave a post if you have other tips to share on going vegetarian…

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