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The Vegan / Vegetarian Diet

I am "Veggie Curious".

Which is really a fancy way of saying I still eat meat, but I hang out with a lot of Vegans and Vegetarians. I believe in eating a healthy balance which includes lots of veggies of different colours (so I am getting a wide variety of nutrients and vitamins), nuts and berries, whole grains / whole wheat flour bread, muffins, pancakes, milk and cheese, and when it comes to protein I eat a lot of eggs (sometimes raw eggs), small to medium-sized portions of meat, green lentils (high in protein). I also supplement my protein intake on weightlifting days with whey protein.

And I do regularly stop to enjoy a sugary snack when offered one by a friend or family member. And I do so without feeling guilty because I know I exercise daily and my diet is pretty balanced that I can "take the hit" from cookies / doughtnuts on the rare occasions.

Lastly I also take a multi-vitamin twice per day, Vitamin D on a regular basis, and lots of water.

However my diet isn't for everyone. My diet is based on a very active lifestyle and varying degrees of self control and guilt-free treats. Not everyone can manage that level of self control.

Which leads us into the topic of Vegetarianism and Veganism - Two diets which require a lot of self-control if you love eating meat and are loath to give it up.

It would be one thing I suppose to be raised Vegan and thus never know what you are giving up, and a totally different thing to be raised in a "meat and potatoes" environment wherein bacon is the pinnacle of tasty delights.

However there are huge health and dietary benefits to going Vegan (or at least Vegetarian) if someone chooses to do so. And these benefits are difficult to ignore.

1. Avoids a lot of fried and fatty food

Meat-based foods tend to have a lot more fat on them and depending on preparation will be fried in grease. Pile on some cheese or butter or both and it will be tasty, but wholly unhealthy and fattening. By going Vegan you guarantee yourself that you won't be eating such fatty foods any more (unless you are stir-frying all your veggies constantly).

1st Note: Avocados are fattening. There are a lot of Veggie-eaters out there who get hooked on avocados and later discover they are fattening.

2nd Note: Some veggie eaters also end up filling up on bread, which means lots of carbs... and that is also fattening. So ideally you need to cut out bread and limit your carb intake to whole grains and small portions.

2. Less Option

Sine when is less options a good thing? Well when picking restaurants it really limits your options. You basically just look for the veggie items on the menu (sometimes marked with something green) and you're done making your decision while your omnivore friends are taking forever to decide.

3. Reduces Health Issues and Cancer Risks

The average human gets cancer approx. 40 times in their lifetime, but our immune system fights most of it off. As we get older our immune system becomes weaker and if we ate a lot of junk when we were younger we will have a build up of toxins and carcinogens in our system which will cause cancer tumours to become more serious.

4. Snacks are Easy

Just pack a few fruit when you go out and your snacks are all taken care of.

5. Increased Energy and Rarely Ill

If you cease eating meat for a month, just as a test, most people discover they feel more energetic. This is because their body isn't bogged down with all the negative things (fat, bacteria, etc) that come with eating meat. Meat is laced with bacteria and often when people get ill its due to a bacteria infection they ate. By cutting out this large source of bacteria your immune system doesn't have to work so hard and your body is ultimately rewarded with more energy.

Note: If you want to boost your energy levels even more you can take a daily Creatine supplement.

Conclusions

While it is true that humans are biologically meant to be omnivores, we should point out that when you look at our teeth most of our teeth are for eating veggies and its only the canines that are meant for ripping meat. Ultimately this means our diet is supposed to be 90% fruits, veggies, berries, etc and meat is supposed to be a rare treat.

So yes, you could stay an omnivore and embrace a healthier balance with more veggies in your diet, or you could go fully vegetarian or vegan and see if that lifestyle suits you.

Personal Note

Speaking for myself the vegan friends I like hanging out with the most are the ones who aren't trying to convert me. They recognize that I am an intelligent person who can make his own decisions and they're not pushing me into doing something. If asked, they will still talk about the benefits of their diet, but they aren't trying to ram it down my throat against my will.

Oh and vegan pancakes rock. :)

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