What does it mean to be a Vegetarian?
Typically a vegetarian is a person who doesn’t eat meat or fish. They do however eat and use animal product e.g. clothes & cosmetics.
When did Vegetarianism start?A bit of history first - the Greek philosopher Pythagoras officially started vegetarianism but called it a “Pythagorean diet” until in the mid 1800 people started calling it vegetarianism. As he was a philosopher, the main reasoning for him starting a meatless diet was that he thought every living being had a soul, including livestock. However, it is thought that many people had a mainly plant based diet combined with occasional meat eating, due to the struggle and cost of hunting.
Types of Vegetarians
Lacto-vegetarian diets: They do not eat meat, fish, eggs, poultry but they eat dairy products.
Ovo-vegetarian diet: They do not eat meat, fish, dairy products, poultry but they eat eggs.
Lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet: They do not eat meat, fish and poultry but they eat eggs and dairy products.
Flexitarian diet: They mainly follow the typical vegetarian diet however they occasionally eat meat, poultry and fish (non strict diet).
Pescatarian: They do not eat poultry and meat, but they eat fish sometimes dairy and eggs.
How Vegetarians get their nutrients
Calcium: This helps bones and teeth and is normally gained by having dairy products. However, vegetarians can get this mineral in some plant based sources e.g. dark green veg, kale, broccoli, fruit juices, cereal.
Vitamin D: Helps bone structure that you normally get this from cow’s milk. However, some cereals, soy and rice milk have Vitamin D, and also having sun exposure can help the intake of Vitamin D.
Vitamin B12: You need this vitamin for red blood cells production. You can only get a sufficient amount of this vitamin if you eat meat so vegetarians are recommended to have supplements for this vitamin – one ViDrate sachet contains a large portion of your recommended vitamin B12 allocation.
Protein: This helps maintain healthy bones, organs, muscles and skin. You can get this from dairy products and eggs however vegetarians can get this from soy products, lentils, nuts, seed, whole grain and meat substitutes.
Iron: Helps red blood cells. You can get iron form plant based sources, however from these it is not that easily absorbed. Therefore, vegetarians are recommended twice the amount of iron compared to people who eat meat. Plant based foods that have iron in are dried beans, whole grain products, dried fruit, to name a few. If you eat foods, which are rich in Vitamin C, then you are more likely to absorb more iron.
Zinc: It’s more easily absorbed from meat than plant based sources, however you can still get zinc from foods such as whole grains, nuts, and soy products. If you eat dairy cheese contains a good source of zinc.
Omega three: This is crucial for good heart health. You usually get this from fatty fish and eggs however as a vegetarian you can get this from walnuts, flaxseeds, soybeans, canola oil and soy oil.
Iodine: This is the component in the thyroid gland which controls your metabolism. Foods that contain iodine are soybeans, sweet potatoes and a ¼ teaspoon of iodized salt contains a sufficient amount of iodine for the day.
Why do people become Vegetarians?
Studies show that vegetarians are typically lighter and have a lower body mass index than people who are not vegetarian. Vegetarianism helps heart health as it has shown that vegetarians have a lower blood pressure, triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol. This all helps and reduces the risk of heart diseases.
Some people disagree about the ethics of raising animals to later kill them for food. For example, veal is made by killing cows who are around 5 months old. These calfs, along with other types of livestock, could live in inhumane conditions for all their life.
Animals have to graze, and in less developed countries this can lead to deforestation. Extensive cattle ranching accounts for 80% of current deforestation. That is the equivalent to 340 million tons of carbon being released into the atmosphere each year. The factory’s which also produce this meat and other animal products, also produce greenhouse gasses, which therefore contribute even more to climate change.
Meat is an expensive source of protein so cutting it out of your diet may help reduce the cost of meals.
Vegetarians & ViDrate
ViDrate is a natural supplement, which works very well with a vegetarian lifestyle, as it contains a large portion of your recommended daily value of vitamin B12, which you can only get from animal products. ViDrate is also better for the environment than single use plastic, ready to drink products as its packaging reduces plastic waste by over 99% in comparison and uses a natural sweetener, stevia, and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. ViDrate also contains Vitamin C, which has further amazing health benefits too.