Eat your veggies!

Articles

Dig In: A Recipe for Healing the Planet With Your Fork by Steve Lustgarden

Calcium & Osteoporosis: Would it surprise you to learn that the main proponents of adding more calcium to your diet are companies that profit from the sale of milk and calcium supplements?

Realities: Startling facts excerpted from the Pulitzer Prize nominated Diet for a New America by John Robbins

Myths about Vegetarianism: No, vegetarians aren't skinny, sickly weirdos out to convert you to save the chickens. Odds are they're healthier than you are.

Related Links

Following is a selection of the thousands of web sites with information on health and vegetarianism:

Vegetarian Guide Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM)
Meat-Free Zone Earthsave International
Vegetarian Resource Group

Vegetarian Information from Vegetarian Diet Info

The Vegetarian Site

Veg Source
Living Vegetarian Vegetarian Times magazine
Veggie Sports Association Vegetarian recipes
Take the veg pledge! Vegetarian restaurants

 

Myths About Vegetarians

There are few things as pernicious as a myth. As Mark Twain noted, "It ain't what you don't know, it's what you do know that ain't so."

Here are a few attempts to debunk popular myths:

Myth #1: All vegetarians are animal-rights activists, weirdos, zealots, geeks, etc.

Weirdos and geeks? Try telling that to Brad Pitt, Angela Bassett, Lenny Kravitz, Liv Tyler, Mos Def, Kim Basinger, Orlando Bloom, or Shania Twain -- just a few of the tens of millions of vegetarians worldwide. (For more famous vegetarians, visit xxxxxxxxxxx. And no, Hitler wasn't a vegetarian.)

Some vegetarians are weirdos, of course, but some of every group are weirdos. Some are zealots, too, just like some religious people are zealots. But most are perfectly ordinary people who have decided that

Research shows that most people adopt a vegetarian diet for the health benefits. The second most cited reason is animal rights. Even the people who mentioned animal rights say that health is the number one reason they follow a vegetarian diet.

Myth #2: Vegetarians don't get enough protein, calcium, etc.

There was a time when nutritionists and dietitians even said this, but no longer. Now, we know that vegetarians get plenty of protein. What they don't get is the excessive amount of protein found in the typical modern diet. If you get enough calories and eat a balanced diet with variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, then getting enough protein is not an issue. In fact, most Americans consume at least twice the protein they need — kwashiorkoor (protein deficiency disease) is virtually unknown in the U.S., while diseases stemming from the overconsumption of protein are common.

The calcium myth is applied, in particular, to vegans - vegetarians who have eliminated meat and milk products from their diets. Somehow, the notion got started that the only good source of calcium is milk and cheese. Granted, milk does have a good supply of calcium, but so do many vegetables -- especially green, leafy veggies. The truth is, vegetarians suffer less from osteoporosis (a deficiency of calcium that leads to weak bones) because the body assimilates the calcium they eat more easily during digestion. The only serious proponents of this myth today are multi-billion dollar sales outfits like the National Dairy Council, which has had to pull ads claiming "Milk -- it does a body good" because a court found them to be false and misleading. The fact is, milk does a body more harm than good.

A vegetarian diet isn't out of balance. It has a good proportion of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat - the three macro nutrients that are the cornerstone of any diet. Plus, vegetarian food sources (plants) tend to be higher sources of most of micro nutrients. Another way to look at it is this: The average meat eater consumes one or fewer servings of vegetables a day and no servings of fruit. If a meat eater does eat a vegetable, chances are it's a fried potato. "Out of balance" depends on your perspective.

A well-balanced vegetarian diet provides all the nutrients you need for good health.

Myth #3: A vegetarian diet is all right for an adult, but kids need meat to develop properly.

This somehow makes the assumption that protein from plants isn't as good as protein from meat. The truth is, protein is protein. It is all made from amino acids. Children need 10 essential amino acids to grow and develop properly. These amino acids are as readily available in plants as they are in meat.

What's more,

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Myth #4: Vegetarians are weak, sickly, etc.

Try telling that to Andreas Cahling!

Vegetarians come in all shapes and sizes and from every walk of life. In fact, some of the world's leading sporting champions are vegetarian, so veggie food is certainly good for muscles.

Going veggie will not necessarily change the person you are or how you live your life, just the food on your plate for the better. People who follow a varied, well-balanced vegetarian diet are eating in line with current nutritional recommendations for healthy eating, as most vegetarian meals tend to be low in fat and high in fibre. Medical studies have shown that vegetarians are less likely to suffer from heart disease, cancer, diet-related diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, so a vegetarian diet is very good for your health.

 

famous vegetarians, past and present. The list is compiled with the aid of press cuttings and other contributions. Occasionally articles mistakenly suggest that a celebrity is vegetarian which may later be found to not be the case, please let us know if this is happens (sources are important!). If anyone thinks a name should be added, or knows of a WWW article that could be linked from here please fill in a form.

Sports Personalities

* Hank Aaron (home run champion in major league baseball) Source: A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian
* B J Armstrong (US Basketball star)
* Al Beckles (body builder)
* Sorya Bonali (ice skater)
* Les Brown (veteran runner)
* Peter Burwash (tennis)
* Andreas Cahling (bodybuilder)
* Chris Campbell (1980 world champion wrestler)
* Joanna Conway (ice skater)
* Sylvia Cranston (triathlete)
* Sally Eastall (Marathon runner - UK No 2, vegan)
* Di Edwards (runner, Olympic semi-finalist)
* Katie Fitzgibbon (marathon runner)
* Clare Francis (sailer)
* Louis Freitas (body builder)
* Carol Gould (marathon runner)
* Estelle Gray (cyclist) Source: A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian
* Sammy Green (runner)
* Ruth Heidrich (3-time Ironman finisher, marathoner, age-group record holder, Pres. Vegetarian Society of Honolulu) (vegan) Source: personal acquaintance, also...her book--A Race for Life
* Sally Hibberd (British Women's Mountain Bike Champion)
* Sharon Hounsell (Miss Wales Bodybuilding Champion)
* Desmond Howard (formerly w/Washington Redskins, now w/Jacksonville Jaguars) Source: PETA mailer
* Roger Hughes (Welsh National Ski Champion)
* David Johnson (BAA coach)
* Kathy Johnson (Olympic Gymnast)
* Alan Jones (British ski jumper)
* Billie Jean King (tennis champion) Source: A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian
* Killer Kowalski (wrestler) Source: A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian
* Jack LaLanne (Fitness guru) (vegan)
* Donnie LaLonde (Former Light Heavyweight Champion of the World. (Lost title to Sugar Ray Leonard)) Source: Article in San Jose Mercury News
* Tony LaRussa (Manager of St. Louis Cardinals - US team) Source: PETA, Animals Agenda, Animals Voice, Veg Times, others
* Silken Laumann (Olympic rower) Source: Cooking Television Show
* Judy Leden (British, European & World Hang Gliding champion)
* Marv Levey (Buffalo Bills Coach)
* Jutta Müller (multiple Windsurfing World Cup Champion) Source: Flutlicht 95/6/18 on Südwest 3 (German TV program)
* Jack Maitland (triathlete and fell runner)
* Cheryl Marek (cyclist) Source: A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian
* Leslie Marx (fencer;1996 woman's epee national champion)
* Kirsty McDermott (runner)
* Lindford McFarquar (body builder)
* Robert Millar (cyclist)
* Katherine Monbiot (world champion arm wrestler and nutritionist) (vegan) Source: The Vegan Society UK
* Monika Montsho (weightlifter, 2 x runnerup GB Championships 60kg, NW woman weightlifter of the year 1991)
* Edwin Moses
* Martina Navratilova (Retired Tennis Champion) Source: Magazine Interviews/Genesis Awards
* Julie Ann Niewiek (Basketball commentator) Source: Grand Rapids press/ Image Magazine
* Paavo Nurmi
* Robert Parish (Center - Warriors, Celtics, Hornets, Bulls) Source: Hearsay
* Bill Pearl (Bodybuilder, Mr America) Source: Getting Stronger by Bill Pearl, pg 399
* Bill Pearl (Mr. Universe and bodybuilder) Source: A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian
* Anthony Peeler (NBA Grizzlies basketball player) Source: NBA web site profiles
* Dave Scott (five time winner of the Ironman Triathlon) (vegan) "The New Laurel's Kitchen" cookbook
* Debbie Spaeth-Herring (Georgia State power-lifter) Source: A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian
* Jonathon Speelman (chess)
* Lucy Stephens (triathlete - vegan)
* Jacques Vaughn (All American point guard, #1-ranked Univ of KS Jayhawks) Source: Lawrence (KS) Journal World (numerous editions)
* Kirsty Wade (runner)
* Bill Walton (basketball player) Source: A Teen's Guide to Going Vegetarian

Source: http://veggie.org/veggie/famous.veg.athletes.shtml

Isn't it difficult being a vegetarian?

Not at all. Vegetarian food is now available in almost every supermarket, shop, restaurant and hotel -- it's everywhere. It costs no more and, in a lot of cases, far less. It is easy to prepare and chances are you are eating many vegetarian foods already, without giving it much thought. girl reading

Will I have to change where I shop or eat

Not necessarily. There has been a major growth in the amount of vegetarian ready-made meals and ingredients available in shops and supermarkets.

If you don't mind the taste of meat but hate the thought of the cruelty that accompanies it, there is now an authentic array of meat substitutes or analogues, such as burgers, sausages, even 'fake bacon' and 'meat-type' fillets. You can also find frozen soya-based proteins which you can add to your favourite dishes and most would find it difficult to notice much difference in taste, texture or appearance.

To add to this, vegetables, pulses, nuts and grains are very under-utilised in traditional, western, meat and fish-focussed meals. Adopting a vegetarian diet opens up a whole new and exciting range of flavours. Vegetarian meals tend to be a lot more imaginative and diverse, so why limit yourself?

If you are eating out, you will also find a wide selection of veggie meals available, even in fast food outlets. Eating good veggie food has never been easier.

Q: What will I say to family and friends?

Most people now tend to be very interested in and open-minded about vegetarianism, it certainly makes for many an interesting topic of conversation.

It is definitely nothing to be embarrassed or secretive about as a vegetarian diet is now just another dietary option and a hugely popular one at that. There are also many non-vegetarians who regularly eat vegetarian meals. Most people do now see the sense in, or at least are conscious of, the advantages to be had from eating a diet that not only tastes fantastic, but is healthy and gives a far better deal to animals and the environment.

It is wrong to believe that you will constantly get caught up in mealtime arguments with friends and family, or that you will be the butt of all the jokes. Slabs of meat or fish aside, what types of meals can't you eat that meat-eaters can? Best of all, why not get others to give vegetarian food a try?

Q: Aren't vegetarians hypocrtitical because some still wear leather or exploit cows for dairy products and consume eggs, even free-range?

The argument for becoming vegan is a very powerful one indeed -- that is to give up dairy products and eggs. Some hold the view that veganism is the only logical progression for vegetarians.

As a vegetarian you should not feel guilty. Realistically speaking, few make the step from meat-eater to vegan overnight. In many ways, vegetariarnsm is a very important 'halfway house' for some. Going veggie is all about personal choice -- you choose how far you want to take it.

If everyone was to adopt a vegetarian diet just think how much needless slaughter and misery would be prevented. Far from being hypocritical, even if you never make the transition to veganism, you will still be making a very valid and considerable contribution to reducing animal cruelty and safeguarding the environment.