Many times when I have discussions with people regarding a vegetarian lifestyle they cannot comprehend what life would be without meat. I have to admit I thought the same way. Since I love to cook and experiment with food and its presentation I found the transition educational, fun, healthy and delicious.
In studying the Vedic or Indian culture I came to learn how sacred the cow is in their culture. I even asked a mentor, “with all the cheese and dairy products you eat your arteries should be clogged, right?” To my amazement the answer I received was that it is not an issue as long as one does not combine the diet with meat. I can’t say there was any science behind that statement and went along with my mentor considering he was in excellent health and the yogurt and cheeses were fantastic.
The three factors people have giving up meat is habit, believing they will not get protein and that a meal cannot be delicious without meat. My advice is to begin slow and simple. Purchase a vegetarian cook book or obtain a variety of free recipes online and start with those most appealing.
For many that have become vegetarians or in the process, turned away from meat for a variety of reasons. A primary reason to abandon meat is because science has shown a diet, especially in raw vegetables, is beneficial in preventing and reversing health issues. Others believe a vegetarian diet protects the environment. Excessive amounts of water are used in raising beef and other livestock, water that could be used for other purposes. Cattle raised for consumption produce methane, which is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Land is also cleared for purpose of raising cattle or for growing grain for cattle. People feel good going vegetarian when they know they’re helping the environment.
Getting fiber through meat or dairy products is almost impossible, but vegetarians usually eat much more fiber than meat-eating people. Additionally, cholesterol comes from eating animal products, and people who have no animal-based foods benefit from this lifestyle. Overall, vegetarians and especially vegans usually weigh less than people who eat meat.
In the end, like everything else, it is a choice. If you’re on the fence, having considered it or even think you can’t do without meat, give it a try. You will learn another world. You will learn a variety of great cooking techniques, great herbs and spices and just may become healthier, energetic and vibrant.