Totally ditching pork, chicken and beef from your daily menu plan can be quite challenging. But it does present a variety of health and body benefits that can prolong your life. If you decide to stop eating animal proteins, then, you will lessen the risk of you getting sick from eating animal meat. Your skin texture and look will surely improve. And yes, again, I have to repeat – your life will be prolonged.
But, it is not that easy. There may be some things that you need to watch out for if you want to shift to being a vegetarian. Here are some things that might happen to your body when you stop eating meat:
YOU CAN AND YOU WILL LOSE SOME BIT OF WEIGHT
Dr. Neal Barnard from George Washington University says that through his research, a normal person can lose up to 10 pound in 44 weeks when shifting from animal protein diet to purely vegetable meals. This research was a clinical trial which was under his personal supervision. He also added that going “herbivore” will naturally keep the pounds off your waistline without having to cut on calorie intake or resort to high intensity workouts. Wow, it will make your waist smaller – how cool is that!
BUT… Yeah, there is a big BUT… Some newly transformed vegetarians have reported that they experienced a bit of bloating but it was temporary. The doctor said that it might be due to an increase on vegetable carbohydrates like beans plus the fact that protein is significantly reduced by non-eating of meat.
HEALTHY BELLY IS ON THE WAY
When you eat purely vegetables, it brings about a good effect to your tummy. Vegetables contain the good kind of microorganisms that will protect your stomach from the bad microorganisms. This is one of the risks of eating meat – the bad microorganisms. Now, by totally eliminating meat products, the risk of you eating harmful pathogens is greatly reduced. No bad microorganisms, no inflammation of the belly. No inflammation means healthy belly! (These statements are backed up by research studies.)
To give an example – do you know what Diverticular disease is? In its worst stages, it can be a type of cancer – cancer of the bowel. The colon walls will have an accumulation of sacs and it is very painful. What can cause this? According to studies, one of the major causes of Diverticular disease is the food we eat.
The more fiber you eat (from veggies and fruits), the more regular your bowel movement will be. This will decrease the chances of you contracting Diverticular disease. It is one of the best benefits a vegetarian can experience compared to a meat-loving person.
YOUR OTHER INTERNAL ORGANS WILL BE HEALTHY TOO
Being a vegetarian will make your heart work better too. In fact, studies show that eating vegetables in lieu of animal protein can significantly lower a person’s blood cholesterol level to 35%. If the cholesterol is going down, this means that diseases like stroke, peripheral and cardiovascular diseases are also contained.
If you stop eating meat and substitute your meals with vegetables and fruits, your blood pressure will also drop – risk of hypertension will also lessen. Obesity can be kept at bay and the risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes is not anymore imminent.
Another problem with eating too much meat is chronic inflammation which can be a symptom of asthma, heart ailments, degenerative disorders and worst, cancer. But if you eat fruits and vegetables only, inflammation will be put at rest – thanks to kale, broccoli, spinach, cabbage and a lot more.
(Check Happy Ranker’s article on Miracle Foods and Super Foods. It will help you decide which fruits to include in your veggie diet.)
CANCER RISKS ARE REDUCED
This has been proven that at least 30% of those who contract cancer have attributed the disease to their daily diet of eating meat. There is also study which showed that vegetarianism is much less likely to develop any type of cancer compared to those who regularly eat animal protein. The saying – watch what you eat – is definitely true for this situation.
A study of those patients with colon tumors showed that most all of them are meat eaters. Vegetables and fruits move easily in the digestive tract because of fiber. Cancers of the stomach, reproductive system and tissues are also less likely to happen to vegetarians because they eat antioxidants and meat is absent in their meals.
VEGETABLES, FRUITS AND SUPPLEMENTATION
There is also a bit of a drawback when you decide to eliminate meat products from your diet. Meat contains zinc and the body needs all the zinc it can get. Fruits and vegetables don’t always have zinc and if they do, it’s just a small amount. So, this is the issue.
This is something that you need to give attention to when you are a vegetarian because zinc-deficiency can lead to other types of disorders. Plus veggies are rich in Phytic acid. This acid reduces absorption of zinc in the body – so the problem lies here.
If you lack zinc, chances are that you will have a weak immune system. You may experience memory loss and your other senses like the eyes and the taste can be affected too. It is also possible to have allergies, hair loss and diarrhea. That’s the disadvantage of not having enough zinc in your system.
It can be remedied though by taking zinc supplements and add to your daily diet a serving of cashews, mushrooms, spinach, chickpeas and cocoa. These foods are super rich in zinc and can provide what your body needs.
Aside from zinc, you may also lack vitamins like iron, B12 and calcium. How can you fix that? Well, you can also take vitamin supplements but natural is always a better option. Some of the foods high in iron are peanuts, dried fruits, broccoli and legumes. If you are looking for foods rich in B12, then, you will get that with yeast. As for calcium, there’s milk, almonds, bread and sesame seeds. Plan your menu well on a day to day basis and include all these supplements.
And also, don’t forget your protein – eggs, cheese, tofu, black beans and more. See this article for high-protein snack suggestions by Happy Ranker. (Except for the jerky, all is good!)
HEALTHY AND GLOWING SKIN
It is also a fact that vegetarians have healthy skin and their cheeks are glowing. The vitamins that you get from eating vegetables and fruits especially Vitamins A, C and E are best in fighting free radicals. These free radicals are the culprits when it comes to skin pigmentation and blemishes. Be sure to eat berries, cherries, citrus fruits and prunes.
HEALTHY MENTAL HEALTH AND OVERALL WELL-BEING, WITH OMEGA-3 SUPPLEMENTATION
There was a study on mood changes and mental health difference on vegetarians. Some scientists proved that eating purely vegetables can change one’s mood and mental disposition. It may present problems like anxiety and depression. But there were others who had no change in their psychological health.
With this, and to take no chances, psychologists agree that vegetarians must supplement their diets with Omega-3. If you are not fond of taking Omega-3 supplements, you can always add these foods in your diet – walnuts, chia seeds, and egg yolks. If you eat fish, salmon is the best bet.
SMART CHOICES IS SMART LIVING
Being a vegetarian has a lot of perks and because you know that you are eating the right kind of foods to make yourself live longer, it is an achievement. Some people just don’t care about it that way but you do. You just have to make smart choices and plan your meals carefully each day.
Remember all the tips mentioned here especially all about the zinc-deficiency, some absent vitamins and the Omega-3 fatty acids supplementation. You have to make an effort on how to balance the benefits that you get from meat, incorporate that in your vegetarian lifestyle and come out secured of all the necessary nutrients your body needs.