I said I would write this post a while back, like 2 weeks ago, and I’m finally getting around to it. Of course this is all my personal opinion from things I’ve read. Becoming a vegetarian was an easy choice for me because I haven’t been buying meat for the past 8 months. I wasn’t buying it just to save money. Beans are a lot cheaper than meat. I have been reading a lot about vegetarianism and veganism. I was considering going vegan then I stopped and thought, “take baby steps Richelle.” I’m really good at jumping in full-bore with things, but I find it can be harder to achieve. I get burnt out. So I decided to officially go vegetarian first and see how that goes.
Why, you ask. Well there’s a few reasons. Like I said, it saves me money, but also because it’s better for my health, the environment, and animal welfare.
Meat is very acidic, and our bodies function best in a slightly alkaline environment. Numerous ailments can be linked back to being too acidic, such as a runny nose, skin eruptions, heartburn, eczema, inflammation, arthritis, poor circulation, chronic fatigue, weakened immune system, and cancer. Being too acidic is also a breeding ground for bad bacteria, yeast, and fungi. That’s why it’s so important to eat lot’s of veggies. Green juices, smoothies, and sprouts are all alkaline. Of course food isn’t the only thing that can make us acidic. Stress, booze, drugs, and lack of exercises all make our systems acidic.
I found it very interesting in the “Crazy Sexy Diet” book when Kris says that being acidic forces our body to pull it’s own minerals to neutralize the acids to keep the blood pH alkaline. Losing these minerals from the body, especially teeth and bones causes a loss of bone density. So we’re told to consume dairy products to prevent osteoporosis because they are full of calcium, but actually because they’re acidic it can cause calcium to leach out of the bones when we consume them. I have hot water with lemon juice every morning to help balance out my pH. Our bodies actually become slightly acidic overnight and lemon actually becomes alkaline in the body. It’s a good way to start the day.
Of course we know meat is full of unhealthy fats as well. Artery clogging saturated fats and cholesterol. Some meat has less than others, but considering the difference in plant sources of protein which are very low in unhealthy fats, it’s quite significant. Here’s a list of different protein sources and there fat contents. Meat also takes longer to pass through the digestive system, allowing it to begin decomposing in the body. Ewww, that doesn’t sound appealing to me. Here is a link that describes how humans are more similar to Herbivores than Meat-eaters.
The industrial food system dumps millions of tons of pollutants into our environment every year. Animal agriculture is also responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions each year than all the planes, trains, boats, cars, and trucks on earth. Isn’t that crazy? It seems like such a simple thing to give up meat to help the environment. Forests are also being bulldozed to make room for animal agriculture. This is contributing to global warming. For more on how eating meat affects the environment click here, and here.
Animals are treated inhumanely on factory farms. Reading and learning about this made me feel sad. I love animals and believe they have souls and can think and feel just like us. I have a dog and would never imagine treating her the way animals on factory farms are treated. How is a cow or pig so different from a dog or cat. I don’t think they are different. Here is some more reading on the inhuman treatment of animals on factory farms.
These are the reasons I decided to become vegetarian. I don’t feel deprived at all and still get to eat lot’s of yummy foods. What do I eat for protein? I have lot’s of options including beans, peas, lentils, whole grains like quinoa and farro, soy products like tofu, edamamme, and tempe, nuts and seeds, dairy products like greek yogurt and cottage cheese. One thing I can’t get from plant foods is vitamin B12. Meat is the only good source of B12, so I want to get a supplement. I did get a vegetarian multi-vitamin that has the B vitamins in it, but I would like to get a separate B12 supplement to make sure I am getting enough. Another thing people ask about when they hear I am a vegetarian is if my iron is low. I get lot’s of iron from eating leafy green veggies, whole grains and beans. By eating vitamin C rich foods with these it helps my body absorb the iron. My energy definitely hasn’t plummeted since I quit eating meat and I would notice on my long runs if it had. I am excited to be able to do something to help the environment and animal welfare, it makes me feel good.