There are lots of reasons why people choose to not eat meat: religious purposes, animal cruelty, the environment, and for their overall health.
Scientific studies continue to prove that cutting back on meat is beneficial for everyone. Not only does it reduce your risk of heart disease (our #1 killer), but also reduces your risk of developing cancer and type 2 diabetes.
In Loma Linda there are many people who are part of the religious group called the Seventh-Day Adventists. Part of their religion is about honoring your body by not consuming tobacco, alcohol and for some of them meat. I know several families that live within that community and I love some of their beliefs. I have been lucky enough to have been invited over, on a couple occasions to eat their delicious vegetarian food. Everything from home-made granola and fresh fruit, to delicious tofu dogs, and the best apple pie I've ever had in my life.
In the book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest, there's a whole chapter on Loma Linda which I found very inspiring. Even though America is facing a very grave obesity epidemic there are still communities that have figured out some of the secrets to living a long and disease free life. (I did another post related to The Blue Zones and you can read it by clicking here).
Also, in that book. most of the places and people that were studied and who had lived the longest were people that rarely (if at all) consumed meat.
The reason that I am so passionate about this topic is because most people think that they are consuming enough fiber, fruits and vegetables, but in reality they are no where close to eating what their bodies need.
It's my hope that some of you will take this information and try to implement it into your daily lives. Maybe you do Meatless Mondays or during the week you eat vegetarian meals and then on the weekends can eat regularly. Vegetarian diets are safe for everyone and will improve your health tremendously. Look online for fun vegetarian recipes; you'll be surprised at all the fabulous dishes you can make without meat.
Here's a couple of different vegetarian options:
- Vegan: Avoids dairy, fish, meat, eggs, and any animal derived foods. This is typically the hard-core vegetarian.
- Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian: Avoids meat, poultry and fish, but eats dairy and eggs.
- Lacto-Ovo-Pesco-Vegetarian: Avoids meat, and poultry, but eats dairy, eggs, and fish. This is the type of vegetarian diet that I am most comfortable with since I like fish and eggs.
- Semi-Meatless: Eats everything, but limits the amount of meat they eat to a few times a week or a few times a month.
~Vitamin B12 which is only found in animal products. Rachel did a great post about this and I really like the supplement that she recommended from Whole Foods. Click here to read her post.
~Omega-3 fatty acids which are found in fatty fish like salmon. Rachel and I both love taking our Cod Liver Oil and to read up on it's benefits click here. I like the brand Nordic Naturals from Whole Foods. I take the liquid form instead of the pills, because there's more "mg" in the liquid than the pills.
As of right now my family and I eat vegetarian about 3 days out of the week. I have more energy, get full faster and feel so much better in general. For me it is a worry free way of eating. I know that we are meant to eat fruit, vegetables, and complex carbs. When I stick to eating whole, unprocessed foods I lose a few pounds, have clear skin, and don't crave all the crap that I usually am struggling to not eat.