Vegetarian VS. Meat Diet
I’ve been a vegetarian for 5 years. For some, being vegetarian can come with a lot of social struggles. The difference between a vegetarian and omnivore is that the vegetarian does not include meat or fish in their diet. 5% of the population is vegetarian. Body builders eat lots of meat to increase their protein levels. However, organic fruits and vegetables are more easily consumed than meat products. On the other hand, vegetables can contain pesticides and other growing chemicals that are harmful to the body. Vegetarians and meat eaters are very different, but they have many similarities as well.
Many ask if a vegetarian diet can help you stay slim while others ask if you can even get the right amount of calories when you eat no meat. Many researches have shown that vegans and vegetarians have a lower average BMI than omnivores. This is because vegetarians tend to watch their diets closer and eat healthier, wholesome foods. However, this isn’t always the case. Just because someone is vegetarian, doesn’t mean they will eat healthy. Vegetarians have a higher risk of developing nutritional deficiencies from lack of animal protein. Omnivores do not, because a lot of the essential vitamins they need are found in meat. I’m a good example for this. When I first went vegetarian five years ago, I didn’t necessarily just eat fruits and vegetables. I lived off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chips and snack foods that contained no nutritional value. When I had to go to the doctor’s for a check-up, I got a blood test. The results showed that I had a few vitamin deficiencies. It took research on finding out the right types of foods to eat to fulfill all the nutritional values I needed. I changed my diet and included the right foods, and I became deficiency-free.
Meat is a protein source that contains all of the essential amino acids. Humans need to eat around 50 grams of protein a day. Meat is also an excellent source of iron, which is needed to support human life. Iron makes our bones strong and healthy. Red meat and poultry are rich in vitamin A, B, and D. These vitamins help produce energy from food to support the nervous system. Many of the essential minerals we need to survive are all found in meat as well. These keep our organs functioning well. Since vegetarians
don’t eat meat, they need to find other sources of these vitamins and minerals. They can be found in protein sources such as quinoa and soy.
Vegetarians are more likely to have lower cholesterol levels than meat-eaters. Meat-eaters have a higher risk for heart disease. Our bodies usually create that right amount of cholesterol we need to live. Eating animals can add more cholesterol than we need in our bodies. However, this is not always true. Some people naturally develop more cholesterol than they need. It is proven that vegetarians also have a lower risk of developing cancer.
There’s also a social tie-in for vegetarians. When I tell someone I’m vegetarian and they aren’t educated on the lifestyle, they usually ask me a lot of questions, such as, “You don’t eat meat? How do you live?” or “Do you just live off carrot sticks?” Some people even think I starve myself. This will always be a struggle that omnivores don’t usually have.
In conclusion, vegetarians and meat-eaters both have their pros and cons. Vegetarians take the cake on having more health benefits than meat-eaters. However, they also lack some vitamins that omnivores usually don’t. In my opinion, I believe vegetarians have the advantage over omnivores, health-wise. Omnivores usually have the advantage over vegetarians when it comes to eating out. Restaurants and fast food places offer huge varieties of meat dishes, and few vegetarian dishes. However, both vegetarians and omnivores have equally endless varieties of recipes they can create at home. Some people enjoy the taste of meat, while others don’t. It’s all a personal decision. I believe vegetarians and omnivores should both educate themselves on each other’s diets and lifestyles.