I have been a vegetarian for close to ten years, and one of the most common questions I receive is about the health benefits of being a vegetarian. People are curious if there are any benefits, and if they are noticeable. I can confidently say without a doubt that becoming a vegetarian has been one of the greatest things I have every done for my health.
It is important to look at human evolution and biology to get an idea of why vegetarianism is beneficial. People will often point out that as humans we are meant to be carnivores since we have incisors. However, historically humans were hunters and gatherers, and relied mostly on vegetation and whole grains for food. Meat was only consumed occasionally, and often required more energy to procure than humans received from it. Our bodies were not designed to consume meat everyday, and you will not become sickly if it is eliminated from the diet.
Protein is another concern people have about vegetarianism. However, protein is not very difficult to find and it is not singularly found in meat alone. Many nuts, vegetables, and other plant sources contain plenty of protein. It can also be supplemented with protein shakes. In fact, most Americans consume more protein than they need.
Becoming a vegetarian has helped me live a healthier lifestyle. My bad cholesterol levels have dropped and are in a very healthy range. Despite coming from a family with a history of diabetes and obesity, I have healthy blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy body mass index and weight. I no longer feel sluggish after meals, and I no longer experience digestive problems. Overall my energy levels have increased, allowing me to have the energy to workout nearly everyday. Believe it or not, I actually feel better entering my thirties than I did as a teenager.
Perhaps one of the greatest health benefits of being a vegetarian is the array of different foods I was forced to experiment with. I was always a very picky eater. Giving up meat forced me to try foods I would have otherwise turned away. New favorites like black beans, vegetable wraps, and roasted red peppers emerged. These new foods brought better nutrition into my daily diet, and also helped me experience new tastes and flavors.
Without getting into details, animals raised for food are not treated well. There are plenty of other websites that deal with the details about animal cruelty, so that is all I’m going to express here. However, it is important to note that these animals are given hormones, high levels of antibiotics, and are often sick when slaughtered. These contaminants do not disappear when the meat is nicely packaged and arranged at the grocery store. They are also not magically eliminated when the meat is cooked. Some scientists and food experts feel that these practices in the meat industry are why girls are maturing at earlier ages, and why we have strains of diseases that are resistant to antibiotics.
There are so many health benefits of being a vegetarian. It naturally lowers cholesterol levels. Vegetarianism makes it easier to eat healthy foods by forcing you to try new vegetables and protein sources. It also prevents you from eating toxins associated with meat. Consider becoming a vegetarian and live a healthier lifestyle.
Editor’s note: Thank you for sharing this story Julie! I appreciate your thoughts and personal experience with being a Vegetarian. Are there any other vegetarian readers out there? We would love to hear your health success of becoming vegetarian! Leave your comments below!