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Vegeterian Food, Lifestyle and Travel » Essential Vegetarian

Vegetarian diet not healthy. Really?

If you come across any articles in the press  about vegetarianism, you might, and rightfully so, get an impression that people like to jump to conclusions about everything vegan or vegetarian. A recent article on the Radio Taiwan International website is simply designed to make non-vegetarians feel better about themselves. At least if they don’t really think about what they’re reading.

According to Dr. Hung, one main reason is that many vegetarian foods are fried in oil that contains trans-fatty acids, and this form of acid is extremely harmful to the health.

Trans fat is bad for you - no argument here. However, is there a study that shows that vegetarians consume more trans fat than non-vegetarians? I want to see one before I believe anyone claiming this. No doubt a lot of people indulge in unhealthy eating habits such as consuming oil fried foods on a regular basis. However, if someone becomes a vegetarian for health reasons they’re sure to be more careful about eating anything that’s not fresh green vegetables or fruit.

Dr. Hung doesn’t stop here of course.

Dr. Hung said another reason is that vegetarians tend to eat a lot of bean products. But such products contain fairly high purine content that breaks down into uric acid.

I wonder if Dr. Hung knows enough about products that contain purine. In fact, meat products contain more purine than beans.

In a 12-year study that followed eating habits and gout incidence in large number of men it was found that eating food rich in purine, such as meat and seafood, was associated with high risk of gout… Moderate intake of purine-rich vegetables or protein was not associated with an elevated risk of gout.

Apparently it’s not like non-vegetarians are safer from uric acid in any respect.

It’s just another clueless attempt to say something silly about vegetarian diet and ask people to eat meat (not explicitly though) and lots of green leafy veggies and drink water - just to stay on the right side of fashion.

I’m just curious if one has to have a higher IQ to see how baseless the arguments of Dr Hung are?

Study (yes, another one) proves meat linked to cancer

Doctors from the US National Cancel Institute published a report that show how eating meat leads to higher risk of cancers. After studying 500,000 people aged from 50 to 71 for eight years, they diagnosed 53,396 cases of cancer.

The people in the top 20 per cent of eating processed meat had a 20 per cent higher risk of colorectal cancer - mostly rectal cancer - and a 16 per cent higher risk for lung cancer.

As reported in The Age this research only confirms what have been established in over a hundred epidemiological studies from many countries with
diverse diets.

The good new is that read meat is not proven to cause all cancers, eg gastric or bladder
cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, or melanoma. Is it any consolation?

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Vegetarian cannibal?

Armin Meiwes is a cannibal, at least he’s known as one for eating a man who didn’t have enough excitement in his life and volunteered for dinner.  When the court ordered a psychiatric examination for  Mr Meiwes they found that as a little boy Armin always wanted to eat his school mates. He resisted the urge for quite a while at least long enough to find someone willing to be eaten. Surely enough that last dinner brought Armin to prison. And now according to Armin turned “vegetarian”,  

“He finds the idea of factory farming as distasteful as his crime was and now sticks to vegetarian dishes.” 

That’s surely appears more radical than any trasformationof a butcher or a chicken farmer into a vegetarian, but aren’t we jumping to conclusions. The guy is quoted as saying he doesn’t like factory farmed meat. This doesn’t mean he turned vegetarian voluntarily. There’s hardly a choice in jail even other inmates cannot be classified as organic food.

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Spaniards against bullfighting

Although Spain’s national laws against cruelty to animals have abolished most archaic spectacles of animal cruelty, they specifically exempt bullfighting. Now a group of Spanish politicians, intellectuals, artists and environmentalists lead by the Green Party has called for the abolition of bullfights. It is claimed that public opinion in Spain is largely against bullfighting and according to some sources almost 70% of attendees at Barcelona bullring are tourists. In fact several towns in Spain have banned bullfighting altogether. In August 2007, state-run Spanish TV cancelled live coverage of bullfights claiming that the coverage was too violent for children who might be watching, and that live coverage violated a voluntary, industry-wide code attempting to limit “sequences that are particularly crude or brutal.”

Vegetarian oxy-morons

Previously we reported a case of a vegetarian butcher, now our curiosity got peaked by an article in Canadian Press titled Green party vegetarian sells illegal free-range chicken at B.C. legislature. It talks about a vegetarian selling a chicken as an act of civil disobedience in response to the new Food Safety Act regulations that technically prohibit farmers to slaughter animals for sale at the farm.

This raises some questions that are not even mentioned in the article. Why does a vegetarian sell chickens? What’s even more interesting that he’s actually protesting for his right to slaughter chickens on the farm. No doubt claiming to be a vegetarian is almost becoming a fashion statement. That’s how we hear of pollo and pesco vegetarians, and even flexitarians. We’ll probably invent even more new words to make us (not others) feel better about ourselves. Let’s just not forget that what behind these neologisms is a typical omnivore, that’s what humans are, unless they start taking into consideration well-being of other living creatures.

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Eat, drink and be vegan

Animal-derived ingredients are used in production of many alcoholic beverages. Most commonly the ingredients used are gelatine, egg white, milk protein. Until recently blood was added to some wines, however due to the outbreak of mad cow disease its use is now illegal. Alcoholic drinks rarely labelled with a list of ingredients and even if there was one anything that’s used in processing but didn’t make it in to the final products wouldn’t be listed. Many wine producers now realise that it’s not necessary to use animal derived ingredients. Many wines and beers are made cruelty free way and are suitable for vegans.

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Life in a vegetarian ghetto

Meat eaters in Mumbai have to hide their eating habits to be able to live in vegetarian only housing estates. Despite being the most cosmopolitan city, Mumbai is split along ethnic and religious lines. It’s estimated that as much as one third of the city’s population is vegetarian mostly people from Jain and Hindu religious groups.

Denying someone the right to move into an apartment on the grounds of caste or religious affiliation is illegal in India, but vegetarian-only homes occupy a gray area under the law. Although the government does not record numbers, vegetarian leaders say thousands of such buildings are dotted around the city. No other city in India has such a concentration of vegetarian ghettoes.

After reading this you might think that an airline serving only vegetarian food on board doesn’t look like such a radical idea for India at least.

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Bread is more nutritious than steak

We always knew that but here’s a scientific view of a “cereal chemist” (what a job title) J.R. Oliver.

Bread is able to provide more satisfying bulk (by virtue of the complex carbohydrates) and almost as much protein. As a protein source, bread is cheap: at $1.20/680 g loaf, bread will provide 45 g protein per dollar whereas T-bone at $8/kg only provides 18 g protein per dollar. However, bread protein is deficient in the amino acid lysine and as such cannot be used as a total meat protein replacement. Nonetheless it has a valuable contribution to make to the diet because of its proteins, its complex carbohydrates and also because it is a valuable source of many vitamins (B-group particularly) and minerals.

This is definitely a good news despite the claim that bread cannot be used as “a total meat replacement” due to lack of lysine. Legumes are one of the richest sources of lysine.

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Cheaper insurance for vegetarians

no meat rewardsUK’s Animal Friends Insurance (AFI) offers cheaper life insurance premiums to vegetarians. The insurer is offering this discount based on the assumption that vegetarians are a lot less likely to suffer from a variety of illnesses. The company estimates that “the risk of vegetarians suffering from cancers is reduced by up to 40% and from heart disease by up to 30%”.

If you don’t eat meat, then you could expect to save approximately 10% on your Life Insurance premiums for the entire life of your policy! For example a 30-year-old female non-smoker Non-Meat Eater could pay just over £5 a month for £100,000 worth of cover over 25 years!

By introducing this policy AFI plans to remove the unfairness in the insurance industry when only non-smokers get to pay cheaper premiums whereas vegetarians are not being rewarded in the same way for their healthier lifestyle.

Although there’s no medical test that would confirm that you’re a strict vegetarian, the insurer is confident that meat eaters will not take advantage of this.

AFI is a non-profit insurance company that donates net profits from it’s business to animal charities worldwide.

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Is vegetarian diet healthy?

Many people automatically think that vegetarian diet is healthy. This is not entirely true. Although it’s a lot easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle on a vegetarian diet, the very assumption that your diet is healthy only because it’s vegetarian can bring problems.

Sometimes vegetarians can be very unhealthy either through laziness or lack of planning. If you assume that you can eat junk food as long as it’s vegetarian, you’ll find yourself with lots of health issues sooner or later. This is one of the reasons why some  do not last as vegetarians. Without proper planning a vegetarian diet can easily lead to things like obesity or nutrient deficiencies.

It’s a natural reaction for many recent vegetarians to replace high in fat and protein foods (e.g. meat) with starchy carbohydrates e.g. bread, pasta, potato. If you have a tendency to gain weight easily, it’s better to keep starchy carbs and sugars to a minimum and instead get more of veggies (except potato) especially greens, nuts, soy and wheat protein, fruit and dairy products. Try to eat as often as possible even 6 times a day. When you plan your snacks and are never hungry you have less temptation to resort to junk food.

If you’re new to a vegetarian diet try to learn more about nutrition and carefully think how you can replace your usual non-vegetarian foods with vegetarian alternatives. By doing it only once you’ll ensure that you’ll enjoy your new diet a lot more and will be a healthy vegetarian.