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Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet

Today Is World Vegetarian Day!

Grab your broccoli and tofu because today, Oct. 1, is World Vegetarian Day. It kicks off Vegetarian Awareness Month: 31 days devoted to celebrating this plant-based diet and teaching others about its benefits.

If you ever contemplated going vegetarian, here are some things you may want to consider. Ditching meat from your diet can help:

  • Reduce your risk of heart disease, strokes, and certain cancers since vegetarians tend to consume less cholesterol and saturated fat.
  • Promote weight loss since a healthy vegetarian diet is mostly made up of low-calorie fruits and veggies.
  • Promote regularity since a sensible vegetarian diet is chock full of fiber.

There are more reasons to eat a plant-based diet, so keep on reading.

  • Prevent global warming since cows, goats, and other farm animals emit methane gas, which is 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping solar energy. So the less animals raised for meat, the less greenhouse gasses produced.
  • Prevents deforestation and clear-cutting of rain forests. Many of the beef consumed by the US is imported from Central America, and in order to make grazing land for cows, dense forests are cut down.
  • Preserve our water supplies. One pound of beef requires an input of approximately 2,500 gallons of water, whereas a pound of soy requires 250 gallons of water and a pound of wheat only 25 gallons.

Are you a vegetarian? If not would you try going meat-free for all of October? Many readers successfully gave up meat for two weeks in our Give It Up Challenge — so what's two more weeks? Here are some great vegetarian recipes to inspire you in the kitchen.

Join The Conversation
weffie weffie 6 years
To the people who "had" to start eating fish/meat again--all you had to do was eat a healthy vegetarian diet. If you just stop eating meat and don't replace it with anything, of course your diet will be lacking in protein. With a balanced diet, most vegans actually get more protein than the average omni.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
Promoting it is not offensive, especially if you're a vegetarian/vegan for animal rights reasons. Promoting is not the same as shoving it down someone's throat. When people ask me questions, I'll speak highly of it because it has positively affected my life and the lives of animals. I think it's important for everyone to be educated before making the choice whether to eat meat or not. This doesn't mean I'll bring it up, but if people ask, I will tell them.
runswimmerrun runswimmerrun 6 years
I've been a vegetarian for 5 years, but I will not promote it or try to convince others. That is really offensive. It is the exact same thing as someone trying to get me to eat an animal. It has to be a personal choice. If someone asks for tips, I will share them gladly, but I would never get in someone's face about it.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
onlysourcherry - Yep, Yep! Sara: "because most Veg-Heads I've spoken too/read about are annoying as hell. " Funny you say that because we feel the same way about many omnis. You always hear that veggies are preachy, yet anyone who is a vegetarian knows it's the other way around. Have you ever been ganged up on, 10 against 1 at a dinner table when you're minding your own business? Yep, it's happened to me many times. Many, many times. I save so much money not eating meat too, it really is cheaper.
danakscully64 danakscully64 6 years
I've been a vegetarian for almost 6 years, I LOVE it :)
Spiderlove Spiderlove 6 years
And to the above poster... you CAN make a difference! The average vegetarian (not even vegan) saves 95 animals a YEAR!!! That's a huge thing!!!! Every single time you make a choice to not eat meat, you are making a difference! :)
Spiderlove Spiderlove 6 years
Vegan here, so it's always Veg Awareness month for me!!!
SaraNoH SaraNoH 6 years
Hmmm, I've considered adopting a more "vegetarian" diet but I dont think I could ever go completely. 1, because most Veg-Heads I've spoken too/read about are annoying as hell. 2, Mmm... chicken and TUNA (drool) and sushi (all time fav). and 3, I love animals but seriously doubt 1 person can change a whole lot. color me pessimistic but the meat industry's gonna be strong for quite awhile. Perhaps this month I'll try to avoid meats as much as possible anyways :)
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 6 years
I could never ever ever be a vegetarian! EVER!
leeluvfashion leeluvfashion 6 years
:cheer: I stopped eating red meat over 3-4 years ago; chicken for 10 months and turkey since last winter. I do not miss meat one bit and the soy/veggie alternatives are, in my opinion, even tastier. My only "vices" which I want to give-up sometime is the bit of organic milk (though in my own cooking, I use soy, rice or almond milk) and cheese; I love grilled cheese and spinach. So for now, I at least switched to organic and have it less often. ( :oy: ) Also I avoid fish which I would do even if I ate meat as I dislike most fish; my only slip was a tuna sandwich a year ago ( :oops: ). My diet is much cleaner than it used to be, and my system feels an improvement too. Choosing this lifestyle also helped me open my eyes, more so, to all the other delicious foods available that are cruelty-free and beneficial to ones well being. I am an animal lover and it only feels natural to avoid wanting to cause them harm.
Miss-Bree Miss-Bree 6 years
@BleedLikeMe, Happy Birthday!! I've had year-long stints of vegetarianism, but my excessive poorness in college got the best of me, and I just couldn't afford only veggies. Over the past few months, I've been considering converting again, and what a great time to start! I only eat meat (grilled or baked turkey, shrimp, or chicken) once every few days, so I'm not terribly dependent. Also, over the past year or so, I've switched over to raw, organic, and whole wheat non-preserved foods almost entirely. I think it's such a great thing, given the great discrepancies over the true cost/health of the American meat industry. Horay for veggies!
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
I've been a vegetarian for 11 years. I don't have any deficiencies. And I don't eat any type of muscle tissue (fish, chicken, puppies, whatever). If you are eating a vegetarian diet and have some sort of deficiency, it's because you're not choosing your veggie meals wisely!
lovesickblues111 lovesickblues111 7 years
I tried to be vegetarian but it was to hard... wish I could!
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 7 years
I am not a vegetarian but I see the benefit in eating less meat. I'd never have the willpower to give it up completely.
sarahcateh sarahcateh 7 years
I am a veggie, but I will eat fish about once a week. I don't eat any other meat though.
darc5204 darc5204 7 years
I definitely support eating less meat and enjoy plenty of vegetarian meals, but I won't give up meat completely. Tonight I'm going to make yumsugar's chicken & spinach pesto soup!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 7 years
Here comes the smart azz - I'm celebrating National Vegetarian Day with my dinner stir fry of shredded red and green cabbage, julienned yellow bell peppers, thinnly julienned carrots, diced zucchini, diced yellow squash, minced garlic, minced ginger, flax seeds, a touch of soy sauce and a touch of rice wine vinegar, steamed brown rice and the topper some very lovely VEGETARIAN FEED CHICKEN! Cause my species are omnivores. Omnivores who love veggies.
laellavita laellavita 7 years
i was a vegetarian for seven years, but had to start eating a little bit of chicken and turkey here and there because of so many injuries and protein deficiencies -- my doctor all but explicitly forbade me to continue my vegetarianism. i only eat those two animals and refuse to eat anything else, and even when i do, it's once a day at most.
schonefrauen schonefrauen 7 years
I'm a vengan, but also a Hypoglycemic and I have this issue with my belly:is bloated. I can´t eat grains a lot, also I can´t eat neither bread, pasta. I like a lot fish but sometimes tuna is start to don't like me. I feel terrible. Sooome help!
BleedLikeMe BleedLikeMe 7 years
I have a big piece of veal liver whenever I feel anemic though..
BleedLikeMe BleedLikeMe 7 years
I rarely eat meat, but I could never live without fish. It's also my birthday today. :) how sweet
elle-dub elle-dub 7 years
Spectra, I'm the same. I had to introduce fish into my diet, but I try to eat it sparingly. Even still, I've lost 30 pounds since giving up all the other meats and I feel better than ever. I don't think I'll ever go back.
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