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Veggie Times Print E-mail

Veggie Times

What is a vegetarian?
A vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat or fish. There are many different types of vegetarians. Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat eggs and dairy products, like milk and cheese. Ovo-vegetarians eat eggs, but not dairy products. Vegans are vegetarians who do not eat eggs or dairy products.

Why become a vegetarian?
There are many reasons to choose a vegetarian diet, including your health, animals, the environment, and religion.
Choosing a vegetarian diet full of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans will help keep you healthy. Vegetarians have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and many other diet-related illnesses than their meat-eating friends.

Since eating habits are formed in early childhood, choosing a vegetarian diet can give your child the opportunity to enjoy a variety of nutritious foods—and to carry those healthy eating habits into adulthood. A well-balanced vegetarian diet is safe and healthy for any person at any stage of life, including infancy, childhood, and adolescence. Vegetarian diets provide all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that growing children need.

Did you know that each vegetarian saves 100 lives a year? Chickens, pigs, turkeys, and cows undergo great stress before they show up in neat, tidy packages at the grocery store or your favorite restaurant or fast-food joint.

One of the best things you can do for the environment is to go vegetarian. About 80 percent of the farmland and nearly half the water used in the U.S. are used to raise animals for food. These animals produce thousands of pounds of waste, which often spill into lakes and streams and contaminate them.

Vegetarianism is a growing trend. There are around 1.4 million young people ages 8 to18 who call themselves vegetarian. Famous vegetarians include Avril Lavigne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Natalie Portman, Andre 3000, Tobey Maguire, and Prince.

Notes on Spatulatta's Vegetarian Recipes

Back to School Wheat- and Lactose-Free
Some people have difficulty digesting certain foods, like wheat or milk. People with celiac disease are sensitive to the proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye. Eating these foods can make people with celiac disease very sick, so they must take care of their digestive systems by avoiding these foods.

People who are lactose intolerant can not digest milk and other dairy products. At least 75 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. These people can become sick to their stomachs if they consume milk, cheese, or other dairy products. They can avoid having an upset stomach by leaving dairy out of their diets. They can choose healthy, non-dairy alternatives, such as soy and rice milk and non-dairy cheeses, yogurts, and ice creams.

Millet Salad
Millet is one of the world’s oldest and most important grains. It was considered one of the five sacred crops by the ancient Chinese. Warrior farmers valued millet so much that in preparation for the long, severe winters they would bring the grain indoors. Millet is low in fat, high in fiber, and an excellent source of protein.

The word edamame means “beans on branches.” Better known as the soybean, edamame is eaten as a snack, a vegetable dish, and is used in soups or processed into soy milk, soy cheese, and sweets like soy ice cream. Edamame is packed with many of the basic nutrients that keep us healthy, including calcium, iron, potassium, and folate.

Teddy Bear Tea (fruited tea with raspberries)
Raspberries are a fruit that grow on a prickly shrub, like blackberries. Raspberries come in many colors: red, black, purple, and gold. Raspberries have no fat, cholesterol, or sodium and they contain lots of vitamin C.

Cauliflower-Carrot Poodle
Carrots are a root vegetable. The orange part that we eat grows underground. The first carrots grown by humans were purple and yellow. People used them for medicine. Today, they can still be used as a medicine: Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which our bodies convert to vitamin A. Beta-carotene, which gives carrots their orange color, helps our bodies fight disease.   

Cauliflower, as the name suggests, is actually a flower. The part of the plant we eat is the head of the underdeveloped flower. Cauliflower is white because while it is growing, the head is surrounded by large green leaves that shield it from sunlight. Cauliflower contains sulphorafane and indoles, which are phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that may help reduce the risk of certain cancers.


This discussion of vegetarianism and the vegetarian lifestyle is brought to you by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, especially good nutrition. PCRM’s main focus is on the role a vegetarian diet can play in optimal health and disease prevention.


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Read other articles about vegetarianism and health:

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine