The Benefits Of Vegetarianism

The benefits of vegetarianism have been well established, and they can be substantial. The questions are the difficulty of transition, and leading a vegetarian lifestyle in the midst of a meat-based society.

Moving away from a meat-based diet in a society where animal protein is normally the main course of a meal has its challenges. The thought of never again having a juicy steak or some “brats on the grill” is for most, out of the question. Countless studies highlighting the safety issues and the effects of meat on the body over time are not a deterrent to most people, when the perceived alternative is “rabbit food”. Peer pressure can be another problem. Going to the local burger joint with some friends can leave a vegetarian feeling hungry, although some places now offer a few vegetarian alternatives. Unfortunately, those alternatives usually consist of the aforementioned rabbit food. Athletes, especially young high school and college athletes who need quality protein to fuel their growing bodies can also have problems with a vegetarian lifestyle. Let’s face it, that 260 pound football player most likely is not a vegetarian. It is possible to be a vegetarian and an athlete, but the diet will require more attentiveness than the average meat eater. There is also the fact that many people do not consume vegetables in any real proportion, mainly because of the taste factor. Vegetables can be very bland, and unless well prepared, not likely to attract a lifelong meat eater.

Vegetarianism is a lifestyle change, and with change comes pain sometimes. Making such a major change will undoubtedly force other changes in life, so the aspiring vegetarian will have to be ready for that. Many individuals are not ready for change, in any aspect of their life, so a transition this big will require commitment that most do not have. People get comfortable, and if something looks like it might be too much trouble…

The best way to transition to a vegetarian lifestyle is to take a gradual approach. Try going vegetarian once or twice a week and see how it goes. That way “falling off the wagon” is not an issue. A simple internet search can net thousands of vegetarian sites with recipes for delicious meals for every part of the day. Try it once or twice a week and see how much trouble it really is. Look for a few restaurants that either cater to vegetarians, or have vegetarian alternatives on the menu. See what kind of alternative sources of protein exist. Find out what other kind of nutritional challenges there are for vegetarians. If there are vegetarian restaurants in the area, talk to the people that work there, or even some of the other patrons. Many that feel part of a community are happy to talk about their common interests. Who knows, it may be possible to make a new friend. Message boards and other support forums on the web are helpful as well. Support can be the key to success. Unless family and friends are making the same commitment, other sources of support will likely be necessary.

Start slow and see how it goes. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for others, those bloated, constipated, headachy days of meat eating are thing of the past. And good riddance.

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