There are few campaigns around promoting and encouraging a greener diet and the intake of vegetables. Most of them started in The States but they have gain worldwide recognitions. Now we are not surprised when we see a Meatless Monday on the menu of a restaurant, or see the same campaign all over health and nutrition promoting blogs and sites.
The Vegetarian Awareness Month is held in October, starting next Sunday 1st with the World Vegetarian Day and ending up the 1st of November with the World Vegan Day. But this is not a new celebration, actually it was established in 1977 by the North American Vegetarian Society (and adopted internationally one year later) in order to bring awareness to the ethical, environmental, health and humanitarian benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.
I’m not vegetarian or vegan, but I am a huge advocate of a greener diet, mind and life. I love to encourage people to eat more veggies, fruits, grains, beans, more nuts and seeds. But what I would like to make clear is that being vegetarian is not synonymous of healthy. I have met many vegetarian who followed a very poor diet, just chips, refined flour and candies, is vegetarian, but it’s not good for you.
When you go vegetarian is very important to have a well planned diet. The key is to incorporate a good variety of ingredients that will provide you a variety of valuable nutrients. Healthy fats, high fiber veggies and grains, super antioxidant fruits, complex carbs and lean protein is all your body needs.
When you eat more veggies and follow a properly balanced vegetarian lifestyle you can feel and experience some of the following health benefits:
Some studies and research suggest that vegetarians suffer less from depression and have better mood profiles.
A proper vegetarian diet is naturally low in fat, saturated and cholesterol and have been shown to reduce heart disease risk. The intake of fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, flavonoids and carotenoids is higher in a vegetarian diet. This rich food properties can contribute to lower risk of diabetes, diet-related cancers, constipation, obesity or macular degeneration.
Plant sources are less contaminated with toxins, bacteria, parasites or antibiotics than meat or fish.
Plant growing requires less energy and farmland.
If you stick to traditional plant ingredients, pulses, grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, you will save a good bunch of money. They tend to be less expensive than meat or fish. Just watch out for trendy vegetarian ingredients, superfoods…
BETTER ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE
Venus Williams or Djokovic are just two examples of world-class vegetarian athletes. There are conflicting studies, but some defend that a rich vegetarian diet may be optimal for sports performance.
If we look for the oldest people in the planet and make a study about them, we will find out that most of them follow a rich plant-base diet, leaving meat and fish just for exceptional occasions.
Whether you want to become vegetarian for health, ethical or animal welfare, there are some important recommendations to keep in mind when you transition to a vegetarian diet. But for them, you will have to wait to next week’s post.
Meanwhile experiment with new vegetables. Add more pulses and beans to your meals. Try new combinations. Or even commit to a full vegetarian day or week. Just increase the awareness of a greener life and let’s celebrate the Vegetarian Awareness Month.