To Be or Not To Be a Vegetarian?

Many vegetarians think all meat eaters are completely wrong.
Many meat eaters think vegetarians are crazy.
I don’t agree with either extreme.

Joke: How many vegetarians does it take to screw in a light bulb?
I don’t know, but where do they get their protein!?

We are all different with individual needs. Just as there is no one type of meat eater, there is no one type of vegetarian. Some meat eaters eat pork, some don’t. Some vegetarians eat dairy, some don’t. Vegetarians eat a variety of different foods for a variety of reasons.

8 Reasons Why People Become Vegetarians

1. Health concerns:
A vegetarian diet can be a balanced diet filled with nutritious vegetables which can be alkaline-forming and health-building. Harvard researched the eating habits of 110,000 adults for over 20 years found that a one 3-ounce serving of red meat daily was associated with a 13 percent greater chance of dying over the course of the study. A vegetarian diet can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

2. Spiritual reasons:
Commitment to non-violent food; not supporting the killing and suffering of animals. Hinduism and Buddhism hold vegetarianism as an ideal way to promote nonviolence and spiritual fulfillment. Seventh Day Adventists and Jains are vegetarians. Seventh Day Adventists are among the healthiest people in the world today.

3. Personal choice:
Sometimes for no explainable reason, a person just finds that they simply do not want to eat meat. Whenever they see it they have no interest in eating it so they never include it in their meals.

4. Food safety:
Close to 5,000 Americans die of food-borne diseases every year. Food poisoning is mostly from animal products. Factory farms, slaughterhouses, and meat packing plants are extremely unsanitary places.

Next: Four more reasons

5.  Animal rights:
Animals raised for meat in factory farms live in truly abysmal conditions and are treated badly prior to and during slaughter. Also, the animals are often given drugs to make them grow bigger, producing more meat. This is not healthy to animals or humans. Animals have feelings and a personality just like humans!

6. Environmental reasons:
Meat production is the creating destruction of our natural resources and causing pollution, producing more greenhouse gases than all the cars in the world. Read The Food Revolution by John Robbins to become enlightened on this subject. Also check out our article “Nice Cow – Baaad Cow Effects.”

7.  Political reasons:
If resources were diverted from meat production, there could be enough food to feed everyone on the earth. Producing meat is wasteful; it takes 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of meat. According to the United Nations, raising animals for food (land for grazing and land to grow feed crops) now uses 30 percent of the Earth’s land mass.

8. Economic reasons :
In much of the world, people do not eat meat because it costs more than beans or rice. Meat is a special-occasion dish if it’s ever eaten. As societies become more affluent they start eating more meat. The China Study goes into much detail about how the health of a nation declines as they become wealthy enough to eat large portions of meat.

So what is a vegetarian?

Next: The 8 kinds of vegetarians

There Are Eight Types of Vegetarians:

  • Vegan: Eats only plant products; does not eat any animal products at all, not even honey.
  • Lacto-vegetarian: Eats all fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy products.
  • Ovo-vegetarian: Eats eggs along with a plant-based diet.
  • Lacto-ovo vegetarian: Eats both dairy products and eggs.
  • Fruitarian: Eats a vegan diet that is mostly raw fruit, grains and nuts. They believe only plant foods that can be harvested without killing the plant should be eaten.
  • Macrobiotic: The goal is to create a balance between ying (positive) foods and yang (negative) foods. There are ten levels of diet; not all levels are strictly vegetarian. Macrobiotics perceive meat as highly yang, which most people try to balance with a highly yin food like sugar – a terrible combination.
  • Pesco-vegetarian (or pescetarian): Eat fish with a diet that is primarily vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts.
  • Semi-vegetarians: Eat fish and a small amount of poultry with a diet that is primarily vegetables, fruits, grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts.

Are you one of the above?

Next: What do vegetarians eat?

What Do Vegetarians Eat?

Contrary to what most meat eaters think, vegetarians don’t just eat salad or simply eat the meat and potato meal with out the meat, or the hamburger without the bun.

A wise vegetarian eats a wide variety of vegetables with lots of whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds and maybe a little dairy and egg.

There are so many concerns when one is choosing to be a vegetarian and here are the sort of questions I hear often.

1.  Where am I going to get my iron?
Dried beans, lentils, spinach, Swiss chard, molasses and dried fruit are especially good sources of iron and better on a per calorie basis than meat. Iron absorption is increased when iron foods are combined with foods containing vitamin C. Do note: vegetarians do not have a higher incidence of iron deficiency than meat eaters.

2.  How about calcium?
Green vegetables are filled with calcium (spinach, kale, okra, broccoli, green beans, collard greens), and so are almonds, sunflower seeds and dried beans.  Two tablespoons of black strap molasses has 400 mg of calcium. You get as much or more calcium in 4 ounces of firm tofu or 3/4 cup of collard greens as you will in one cup of cow’s milk.

How much calcium is needed?

  • Adults 19-50 years and men 51-70 need 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
  • For women over 51 and men over 70,  1,200 mg of calcium per day is recommended.

Keeping a balance in the acid/alkaline department will help keep your calcium in your bones. When we become too acidic, the body steals the calcium and other minerals from the bones. Meat is acid-forming and vegetables are alkaline-forming. So there we have another good case for not eating too much meat.

3.  Where will I get my protein?

I get this question SO often I have written a separate article on it called “The Protein Myth.”

Often people think that plants are devoid of protein and even many vegetarians believe that they have to eat eggs, cheese or beans to get enough. Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds, and nuts all contain essential and nonessential amino acids.  Here is a fact: all plant foods have protein in them. Even fruit has protein in it!

How much protein is enough?
The amounts established by the National Academy of Sciences are:

  • A 160-pound man needs about 58 grams of protein a day
  • A 120-pound woman needs about 43

Eat 2 – 4 servings of fruits, 3 – 5 servings of vegetables, and 6 – 11 servings of whole grains and your diet will include substantial amounts of vegetable protein.

Next: My own story and position about meat


As I said at the beginning of this article, vegetarianism is not the only way to go. There might be some bodies that need some animal protein for very good reasons.

My Own Story:
I have been vegetarian much of my life. When researching how to overcome my 15 years of ill health though, I had a Vital Assessment done. To my surprise, eating lamb tested positive for me. I was hesitant but decided to give it a try in the spirit of regaining my health. I knew my body needed something.

I found lamb that was raised humanely and organically, and once a week for several months I ate a small portion. I was surprised how my body felt to receive this nourishment. It was medicine for my body. Medicines, as we all know, are to be taken sparingly.

Eventually I did not want to eat the meat any more and coincidentally, my next Vital Assessment came back with lamb testing negative.

Next: What are your options?

So you decide to be a vegetarian

There is a whole arena of foods that you probably have not yet discovered that will fill the gap that may be left by meat. For instance, there are dozens of varieties of grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. Also, there are things like tofu and tempeh and a whole vast range of vegetables that perhaps you have yet to discover.

So you decide you do not want to give up meat
You many not want to give up meat for a variety of reasons which is fine. The only thing that I say to those I am working with is to simply eat less. A little goes a long way. We know from all of the research that lots of red meat is simply not healthy.

Dr. Dean Ornish suggests that red meat lovers can reduce their risk by cutting meat one day a week. Something as simple as a Meatless Monday can help, he said. “Even small changes can make a difference.”

Watch for an upcoming article: Tips for a Vegetarian. I will go into detail about all of the things you can do to make for a healthy vegetarian diet that is easy to digest.

High Protein Vegetarian Recipes:

Joke: “I’ll eat anything if it doesn’t require me to wear Randy’s Homemade Mango Mud Mask.”  -Perry Block at Nouveau Old

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Vegan Desserts:

Are you a vegetarian? Why?

238 comments

Fi T.
Fi T.2 months ago

Balance is the trick

Pieter De Klerk
Pieter De Klerk1 years ago

I am on the fence! To be or not to be? I do not mind, but people can be so critisizing!

Dale Overall

Okay, later in the article the author says that eating meat is fine, just eat less of it and if at all possibly eat organic meat as factory farmed meat is filled with antibiotic and growth hormones. It is true, many people eat far too much meat at one sitting and this is unhealthy, just as eating too much raw bok choy (some poor lady almost died eating three pounds of the raw bok choy per day or drinking too much herbal hibiscus tea at one go (some have bad side effects if consuming too much of this!) and please, nutmeg is a wonderful spice in tiny amounts but consuming a whole one at one time will result in death! Everything in moderation. We know what pesticides on veggies can do to us along with the growing studies on GMO foods.

Dale Overall

Not everyone gets their meat from factory farms, there are many rural farms that raise animals organically and in splendid conditions where they see the sunshine and run free. I agree with Nicole B with the comment that a vegetarian diet is NOT for everyone and obviously an omnivore diet is not for some as well. Stop trying to convert us to either vegetarian or vegan as it isn't going to happen. Some of us don't eat a lot of meat as a portion the size of a deck of cards is all that is required for protein for those eating meat. Those on a non-meat diet...fine but others will still eat meat which has been part of the diet for generations.

Tanasije Rakic
Tanasije Rakic4 years ago

It will be hard for me to become vegan, but i have to do it for the animals!

Ignatz Z.
Ignatz Z.4 years ago

Vegetarians are on the right path.

Kiana S.
Kiana S.4 years ago

I have been a vegetarian my entire life. I was born and raised that way and even the smell of cooking meat is completely nauseating for me, probably because it wasn't something I grew up with. I do know that some people occasionally need to eat meat to stay healthy and I don't think there's anything wrong with that as long as they do it in a sustainable and ethical way. I always find it very ironic when I end up defending sustainable hunting to omnivores. It drives me crazy when people who have no idea where their meat comes from say that hunting is "cruel". You want to talk about cruel? Lets talk about that factory farmed piece of cow you ate last night. Ugh, rant over. Moral of the story- if you're going to eat meat do everyone involved a favor and know its history.

Dan B.
Dan Brook4 years ago

please visit my

Eco-Eating

www.brook.com/veg

Victor M.
Victor M.4 years ago

This not for me

Ha L.
Ha L.4 years ago

Great article. ^^ It annoys me when people are on either extreme, too, whether ridiculously opposed to veganism or a omnivorous diet. My philosophy, personally, is that I won't make you become vegan, so don't make me eat meat or animal products. Some people may not agree, but it's my own opinion. Shouldn't you be able to control what you put in your own body?