Wednesday, April 1, 2009

5 Myths About Eating Vegetarian

I was a vegetarian over 20 years ago. I was young, married and had a carnivorous husband to cook for. I had been raised on a meat and processed foods diet. It was alot harder then. I didn't know any vegetarians, there was no internet to get information from, and few vegetarian books were available. The food tasted like cardboard. The prevailing wisdom of the day was that you had to combine proteins at every meal, or you would get deathly ill. Most recipes contained soybeans, soy flour or tofu. I hate soy. Eventually I let go of my vegetarian ways.

Two years ago when the poisoned dogfood scandal broke, I woke up. I started learning about what is really in processed foods, how meat animals are raised, and how diet really affects your health. Things most americans would rather not know, because if they knew they would have to change their eating habits. I changed mine. I went back to a vegetarian diet eating mostly whole foods. Information is much easier to get today. The food tastes great- it's no longer cardboard-like rice cakes, and soy at every meal. It's now known that combining proteins at each meal is unnecessary, as long as you eat a variety of plant foods you will get enough protein. It's easy to stick to eating healthy when it's this enjoyable and my body feels so much better. Now if I eat something processed and full of additives my body rebels. I get stomachaches. Artificial colors make me feel like I have restless leg syndrome. My tastebuds also prefer real food; processed foods taste too salty and artificial to me now. Here are some commonly held misbeliefs about going meatless.

5 Myths About Eating Vegetarian

1.Vegetarians do not get enough protein. According to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) most americans get twice the amount of protein they need. Excess protein has been linked to osteoporosis, kidney disease and some cancers. As long as you eat a variety of plant foods you'll get enough protein. Go here for the New 4 Food Groups from the PCRM.

2. Vegetarians and vegans do not get enough calcium. Calcium absorption from veggies is higher than from dairy. Animal protein tends to leach calcium from bones, causing it to be excreted in the urine. So fill up on broccoli, kale, collards, and beans ( black, great northern, etc.)

3. Vegetarians do not get enough iron. Legumes, whole grains, and dark green leafy veggies all contain iron. To help your body absorb iron, eat foods containing vitamin c with foods containing iron. You can also cook with cast iron pots.

4. Vegetarians and vegans do not get enough vitamin d. The human body was designed to make the hormone vitamin d when sunlight directly touches the skin. This is the most efficient source of vitamin d. During the warmer months, 10-15 min. in the sun is usually all you need, and it is impossible to get an overdose of vitamin d this way. Your body can store some of this. All milk that is fortified with vitamin d uses chemically synthesized d.

5. Vegetarians are less healthy than meat eaters. Study after study prove this untrue. Vegetarians have less cancer and heart disease and greater longevity than meat eaters. Granted there are some vegetarians that live mainly on processed and junk foods ( just because they make organic toaster pastries, fake meat, and french fries, it doesn't mean they're good for you) but most vegetarians eat a healthy diet.

Vitamin b12 is the only real concern. If you do not eat eggs or dairy, or fortified processed foods like cereal, soymilk and fake meat, then you probably need a supplement.


Jenny April 1, 2009 at 7:54 PM  

Thanks for the comment. I'm glad to have found your blog. I look forward to trying many of your recipes. YUM!

helensjourney April 2, 2009 at 5:28 AM  

Thanks for the comment and for the myths of being a vegetarian. I thought some of those things before becoming a vegetarian, but as you said, I now eat healthier than I did as a meat eater.

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